| Communities

Take note – this isn’t your grandparent’s retirement plan where you’re expected to settle into a rocking chair and talk about the weather. Our idea of retirement is doing what you love and doing it often! We’ve put together our top 10 towns perfectly suited to retirement living – located right here in good old Ontario.

To give you a better idea of housing costs you can compare them to the Canadian Median home price of $481,500 and Ontario’s Median home price of $569,336. The Cost of Living Ratio is based on the amount of income required to afford the average house price in the areas listed. The ideal affordability level is 3. 

Without further adieu, here are the top 10 retirement spots in Ontario:

Image via Macleans


1. Ottawa

Median Home Price: $418,232

Population: 1.25 million

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 9, Dual-Income Ratio: 4

Property Tax: 1.07%

Climate: Ottawa might not be for you if you hate snow and cold. It also has a warmer and more humid summer as it is not really on a large enough body of water to keep it cooler. We’re talking severe snow and cold especially when compared to Toronto. Your average summer day is 21°C in the hottest month in July and in the winter, you’re looking at below -10 °C in the coldest month of January. The average precipitation is 538 mm with an average snowfall of 175.4 cm.

Amenities and Housing: As the capital of Canada, Ottawa offers world class dining, museums, galleries and shopping. The Rideau Canal provides activities year-round including bike trails in the summer and skating in the winter. It is also a highly cultural city with tons of annual festivals and its own Little Italy and China town. The Byward Market provides an exciting place to shop comparable to the Kensington Market in TO. Also, unlike many smaller communities, Ottawa has a dependable transit system. If you can master the colder winters, there’s no shortage of housing choices from rehabbed historical condos in the trendy parts of town to charming homes along the canal. It also offers outstanding healthcare.

2. Toronto

Population: 2.9 million

Property Tax rate: 0.635%

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 20, Dual-Income Ratio: 9 

Climate: Lake Ontario keeps Toronto warmer in the winter and comfortably cooler in summer when not hit with horrible humidity that is. If you hate humidity, even with the cooling effects of the lake, Toronto might be a bit moist in the summer for your taste. Toronto can also still see some pretty severe winter weather although not compared to Ottawa. Summer is hottest in July with an average of 22°C and winter is coldest in January with an average of -5 °C. Average precipitation is 419 mm and an average of about 121.5 cm of snow.

Amenities and Housing: Toronto is a vibrant city with tons of different areas to meet your needs. It is jam packed with museums, shopping for all income levels, cultural areas for people from around the world and world class dining and entertainment. There is really something for everyone when living in Toronto with an unusually large amount of greenspace for a city of its size. It is easy to get around from most neighbourhoods offering bus, subway or streetcar service at your door. From the condos of Libertyville to the charming bungalows of East York and the historical homes of Trinity Bellwoods to the many varied options in Mimico, there is something to suit your budget. As Canada’s largest city you will also have access to everything you need including state-of-the-art healthcare. 

Image via PTBO Canada

3. Peterborough

Median Home Price: $448,875

Population: 121,721

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 14, Dual-Income Ratio: 6

Property Tax Rate: 1.42%

Climate: Peterborough can have some unpredictable weather due to its varied elevations. Its location on the Oak Ridges Moraine in the south can reduce precipitation. However, in the north and west of the area you can see cooler, wetter conditions. It has seen some flooding as well as some extreme wind and thunder storms. Summer highs peak in July with an average slightly lower than other locations on our list of 19°C and the coldest month of January dropping to about -8 °C. Precipitation reaches 443 mm and average snow of about 137.9 cm.

Amenities and Housing: This thriving community is located on the Otonabee River and the Trent/Severn waterway. It celebrates art, theatre and the outdoors with picturesque streets and heritage homes providing the idyllic location if you’re looking for country charm. It has been attracting more and more festivals every year due to its strong sense of community. It’s downtown not only offers outstanding shopping and dining, but also lovely historical architecture. It offers a selection of beautiful historical homes as well as a growing number of interesting condos and retirement options. It is close to many lakes and attractions and has been dubbed the Gateway to the Kawarthas. It is right on the Trent Canal making it attractive to boaters. The local hospital offers a wide range of health and emergency services. 

4. Stratford

Median Home Price: $319,900

Population: 31,465

Cost of Living: We did not find anything specific to Stratford, but it is comparable to London as it is in the same vicinity. 

Property Tax Rate: 0.013%

Climate: If you don’t like rain, Stratford seems to have higher rainfall than other parts of Ontario at 505 mm and an average of 194.3 cm of snow. Summer highs are warmest in July with an average expected at 21°C and their coldest winter temps are in January falling to -5 °C.

Amenities and Housing: This is home to the Stratford Shakespeare and Summer Music festivals making it the ideal spot if you love to be entertained. It’s on the scenic Avon River, featuring charming historical buildings, tree lined streets, a unique shopping area downtown and lovely parkland along the Avon. The closest hospital is a bit farther away, so this is something to keep in mind. However, if you choose a retirement community with onsite care, you’re golden. 

5. London

Population: 383,822

Medium Home Price: $368,490

Property Tax Rate: 1.18%

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 11, Dual-Income Ratio: 4

Climate: London is close to Stratford keeping it in the same ranges for temperatures, rainfall and snow.  

Amenities and Housing: London has the fifth largest population in Ontario. Located on the Thames River, it has parks linked by trails and is close to Grand Bend and Corunna. It doesn’t have the usual urban sprawl and instead is surrounded by farms and woodlands. There is also more art and culture here than many people realize featuring a 100 heritage sites, an art gallery and even an annual world class air show. The draw here is not only that it’s located smack dab between Toronto and Detroit, but it also has some of the best hospital care in Ontario thanks to Western University. London also has an interesting selection of homes from stunning historical properties close to the university to more modern choices such as condos. 

6. Niagara-on-the-Lake

Population: 17,511

Medium Home Price: $418,479

Property Tax Rate: 0.009%

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 13, Dual-Income Ratio: 5 

Climate: This is another area that sees more rain than other places on our list. The average precipitation is 516 mm which is one of the contributing factors that make this area great for wine. You’ll also see warmer average temperatures in the hottest month of July at 22°C and in the coldest month of January of -4 °C. The good news is, despite the scary snowstorms you might hear about in the Golden Horseshoe, there is less than average snowfall here at 137.1 cm.

Amenities and Housing: Located in the heart of wine country, it’s also close to the U.S. border. You can enjoy the stunning beauty of Niagara Falls and walking and bicycling trails make it easy to stay active. Keep in mind it’s a tourist destination, so it does get a little overwhelmed in the historical downtown area, but you also get to enjoy the lovely shops and restaurants whenever you like. It is also home to the Shaw Festival making it ideal for theatre lovers. As already mentioned, it’s also slightly milder here than some of our northern picks which means better weather to enjoy the sites. They also have an excellent medical facility with exemplary standing.

7. Guelph


Median Home Price: $436,00

Property Tax Rate: 0.99%

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 11, Dual-Income Ratio: 4

Climate: Guelph gets a little cooler than most spots on our list with their July summer temps peaking at 20°C and winter dropping a little lower at -6°C. You will see less than average compared to the other places on the list at 471 mm and less snow on average at 155.1 cm.

Amenities and Housing: This town has been rated one of Canada’s top spots to live offering clean living and a low crime rate. It has an ever growing list of festivals including Musicfest, the Multicultural Festival, Ribfest, Jazz Festival and Taste of Guelph. It’s culturally diverse with theatres and galleries to keep you busy. It’s also perfect for the die-hard golfer. If you love nature there is over 1000 hectares of parks, 70 km of trails and plenty of rivers and lakes ideal for walking, running, cycling, canoeing and kayaking. Its downtown is also known for excellent entertainment and it also offers outstanding medical care including a long-term care facility. 

8. Kingston

Population: 123,798

Median Home Price: $366,582

Property Tax Rate: O.13%

Cost of Living: Single Income Ratio: 10, Dual-Income Ratio: 4

Climate: The average summer temps here reach 21°C and winter lows drop to a not too frigid -3 °C. There is a little less precipitation in the area with an average of 404 mm of rain and 157.1 cm of snow.

Amenities and Housing: This is a gorgeous historical town located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. It’s a haven for sail boats and its lovely downtown has plenty of shopping and dining. It is home to 30 museums, art galleries, and historic sites and even has its own symphony. Kingston also has a diverse theatre scene with several local companies producing a varied selection of plays and musicals throughout the year. Unusual festivals such as FebFest in January and WritersFest attract people from around the world. With a low cost of living and excellent health care it is perfect for retirement living. 

9. Cobourg

Population: 19,440

Median Home Price: $290,900

Property Tax rate: Unavailable

Cost of Living: It was hard to find the cost of living info for this little town, but it was listed 28th on the list of 47 best places to live in Canada by Moneysense, which includes affordability. 

Climate: Cobourg experiences cooler temperatures that might make it more appealing in the summer if you prefer breezier comfortable temps sitting at about 19°C. Of course, that also means colder winters with an average of about -8 °C. It’s also slightly wetter with the average precipitation for the year at 443 mm and the average snowfall in January of about 32.8 cm (annual snowfall was not available).

Amenities and Housing: Located on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has a lovely waterfront as well as an historical downtown popular with beach goers and tourists in the summer. It also has plenty of biking and walking trails, and parks in hand with a growing art scene. Housing is charming and diverse ranging from historic homes to newer condos. It is a town known for its hidden gems both in its attractions and real estate. It offers the basic health care and emergency services, but health insurance is required for special treatments. 

10. Collingwood

Population: 21,793

Median Home Price: $349,900

Property Tax Rate: 1%

Cost of Living: It was hard to find the cost of living info for this little town, but it was listed 17th on the list of 47 best places to live in Canada by Moneysense, which includes affordability. 

Climate: Collingwood is warmest in July with a cooler average temperature of 19°C. The coldest month is February with a slightly colder low reaching -6 °C. There is higher than average precipitation in Collingwood at 670 mm. A lot more snow can be expected in this ski destination with an average of 175.6 cm.

Amenities and Housing: Collingwood is known as one of the few ski towns in Ontario close to Blue Mountain. It’s located on the southern tip of beautiful Georgian Bay and the white sands of Wasaga Beach. If you love to keep active, this is the place to be as it offers activities year-round with Skiing and snowboarding in winter and golfing, boating, cycling and hiking in the warmer months. There is an unusually large variety of condos in the area thanks to the touristy nature of the location. This tourist hot spot is busy year-round, offering a low cost of living and basic healthcare. 

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