Ontario’s Top 3 Outskirts Cities To Live In (Besides GTA Toronto And Ottawa)


There’s more to Ontario than just Toronto.

Have you ever wondered what the top cities in Ontario are?

Maybe you’re thinking of moving to Ontario and you’re needing a bit of guidance.

Or… you already live in Ontario but you want to see if your city breaks the top 3.

Perhaps you’re thinking of moving within the province and aren’t quite sure where the best place to live is quite yet.

As great as Canada’s capital, Ottawa and Ontario’s capital, Toronto are, Ontario has way more to offer. In fact, this list was extremely difficult to narrow down with all of the incredible lineup of cities in Ontario.

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province. Considering almost 40% of Canada’s population lives in Ontario (according to Statistics Canada), there’s good reason to believe this beautifully diverse province has something for everyone.

Now, you may not agree with the list. You might be wondering where your city is, or how we picked the cities. Don’t fret. You can find out below how we chose each city.

Without further ado, let’s get right down to business and talk about the top of the top.

P.S. This list is in reverse order… if you just want to see what city made it to the number one spot, then scroll to the bottom.

Ontario’s Top 3 Cities To Live In (Besides Toronto And Ottawa)


3. Sudbury, Ontario

Coming in at number three is Sudbury, Ontario.

Sudbury, technically called Greater Sudbury (perhaps because it’s greater than most Ontario cities?), is part of the Sudbury provincial electoral district.

With a population of 164,000 (2017), Sudbury is the most populous city in Northern Ontario.

With a quieter, more spacious, family-oriented alternative to the crazed city life that Toronto has to offer, Sudbury has really climbed up in the ranks over the years.

As the unofficial capital of Northern Ontario, Sudbury offers the best of both worlds: the fast-paced city life and the slower, quieter, life outdoors.


3 Things To Do In The City

1. Surround yourself in nature at the 970 hectare Lake Laurentian Conservation Area (with lakes, trails, and wildlife)
2. Visit a local brewery such as the  favourite Stack Brewing or the brand new Spacecraft Brewery
3. Go snowmobiling at one of the largest groomed snowmobiling trails on Earth (with over 1,200 kilometres of trails)


2. Barrie, Ontario

Just ahead of Sudbury is the second place, Barrie, Ontario.

Barrie has a population of 153,000 (2017) and is located in Central Ontario, on the Western side of Lake Simcoe (the biggest lake in Central Ontario next to Lake Huron and Lake Ontario).

At just an hour drive away from Toronto, Barrie is the small, nearby, Winter wonderland city, home to the Barrie Colts of the OHL, multiple ski resorts, and a massive lake that completely freezes over in the Winter.

But Barrie isn’t just a Winter enthusiast’s dreamland. It’s also a hot spot in the Summer. With average Summer temperatures of 25 degrees Celcius, Lake Simcoe becomes the oasis for family lake days from June to September.


3 Things To Do In The City

1. Have a Summer Beach Day at Barrie Centennial Park (at Lake Simcoe) where you can dip your toes into the hot sand, play volleyball, take a dip in the water, or go for a boat ride on the lake

2. Dine at the Golden Mile – Barrie’s popular strip of restaurants and shops on Bayfield Street

3. Get your Winter Wonderland on at one of the many ski resorts (Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Snow Valley, or Blue Mountain). You can go do it all: skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tubing, and snowshoeing.


1. Kingston, Ontario

Here’s your number one.

Kingston is a city of 136,000 (2017) people in Eastern Ontario, located on the Eastern end of Lake Ontario, the Western tip of the St. Lawrence, and the start of the Rideau Canal. The three bodies of water joined together perfectly making Kingston what it is today.

Known as the “Limestone City” for its limestone foundation that it was built on, Kingston has an array of 19th-century buildings (including the city hall) that offers a much different feel than updated and modernized cities like Toronto. It just has that authentic, rich, historical feel to it.

This gorgeous city is more than just a pretty city though. It has a variety of sights to see and activities to always entertain.


3 Things To Do In The City

1. Go on a boat trip around the Thousand Islands (with over 1,800 islands to see up the St. Lawrence River)

2. Sail the St. Lawrence at Crysler Park Marina and dine at a restaurant along the river.

3. Go back in time by visiting one of the historic landmarks (Fort Frederick, Upper Canada Village, Murney Tower).


P.S. Want to do a road trip to the Big Apple? Kingston is Canada’s closest major city to New York City, NY, notching in a drive of just over 6 hours.

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