Love for bikes puts Stratford near top of livable cities ranking
MoneySense magazine’s annual rankings of the best Canadian cities to live in have been released, and one southwestern Ontario city is standing out from the pack.
Out of 200 cities surveyed by the magazine, Stratford found itself near the top, in 14th place – up 56 spots from 2012.
Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson says he’s happy to hear the news.
“It tells me that we’re on the right track,” he tells CTV.
One of the brightest spots in Stratford’s ranking was its love for bicycles.
Nearly 4.6 per cent of Stratford residents cycle to work, putting the Festival City third in the country in that index.
Katie Brown is one of those 4.6 per cent. No matter how cold it gets outside, she can be found commuting to and from work on two wheels.
“Rain, snow, sleet, shine – I’m out riding, Lots of canuck left in me,” she says.
“It’s a great saver of money, it’s great exercise and it’s just a really nice way to get some fresh air.”
Ross Taylor, owner of Ross’ Bike Works in downtown Stratford, says his business has stayed steady despite economic woes elsewhere.
“The economy is still a little tough, prices of everything going up,” he tells CTV.
“(Biking) is a cheap, efficient way of getting around.”
Stratford also scored well when it came to employing its residents in arts and recreation-related fields, finishing 16th in the country in that category.
Mathieson says he hopes an addition to the University of Waterloo’s campus and a decrease in unemployment will help propel Stratford even closer to the top next year.
The top three cities in the 2013 edition of the rankings were Calgary, St. Albert, Alta., and Burlington.
Other local rankings of note:
- Overall, Guelph finished 41st in the rankings, Waterloo 46th, Kitchener 68th and Cambridge 82nd.
- Waterloo finished 10th in number of citizens biking to work, with Guelph 19th
- Waterloo’s population growth came in as the eighth-highest in the country
- Cambridge had the 11th highest property tax rate of the 200 cities surveyed
- Centre Wellington finished 32nd overall and finished strong in a number of categories, including low crime severity index (first), employment rate (eighth) and arts and rec employment (18th)