Eight Ontario Towns and Cities that Offer a Top-Notch Lifestyle

Ontario is Canada’s most densely populated province, a place that has almost half of the country’s population within its borders. It is the site of the Greater Toronto Area, one of the biggest metro areas on the continent, and the nation’s capital in Ottawa. But beyond Toronto and Ottawa, there is much more to this province.

Ontario is filled with small towns and big cities, but it is also one of the most abundantly beautiful places on the planet. From the Muskoka Lakes to Algonquin Park, it is a province that has a lot to offer. If you are interested in moving to Ontario but don’t want the expensive cost of living in Toronto, numerous other great options provide an incredible Ontario lifestyle.

Let’s look at eight different towns and cities those looking to live in Ontario should consider.


Oakville is a town in the GTA along the shores of Lake Ontario. It is home to well over 200,000 residents, a thriving town consistently growing. There is a lot to like about Oakville. It is a short drive from Ontario and has easy access to the famed Niagara region. The town itself is a busy suburb with great shopping, restaurants, and numerous waterfront trails. It has the unique distinction of being Ontario’s largest town, and it has a high quality of life.


West of Toronto but just east of Oakville, you’ll find Mississauga. Mississauga is a major city in its own right, home to roughly 800,000 residents. It is also located on Lake Ontario and is a major cultural and commercial hub. Port Credit is one of the most commonly visited parts of the city, a waterfront area with shops and restaurants and a working lighthouse. There are also great parks and woods in Mississauga, perfect for hiking. It is a big, busy city alongside Toronto, offering an easy commute and a cheaper alternative.


Hamilton is a big city on the western tip of Lake Ontario. It is a short drive from Niagara Falls, a city with excellent access to nature. Hamilton has a significant industrial past that is still felt to this day, and today stands as a major cultural center only an hour’s drive from Toronto. Hamilton has excellent museums and galleries, delicious restaurants and great shops, and beautiful nearby trails. The Bruce Trail is well-known as a waterfall-spotted destination for hikers.


Guelph is a southern Ontario city with over 130,000 residents. It is an agricultural spot with nearby farms and fields, giving them a fantastic farm-to-table food scene. It is the site of the University of Guelph, a premier Ontario university that gives it a young population with many bars and restaurants open late. Guelph has nearby parks and forests perfect for exploring, making it popular for canoers and hikers.


Kitchener is a busy city home to almost 250,000 residents, bordering Waterloo. It is a growing area roughly 60 miles from Toronto and it is a vibrant, family-friendly city to live in. It has excellent restaurants and food attractions, including a top-notch farmer’s market. It also has cultural attractions like THEMUSEUM, an arts and science center with interactive displays. It is a fun city with much to do.


Waterloo is a city located right next to Kitchener. It has a population of just under 120,000, and it is a pleasant town with lots of young people. Waterloo is the site of both Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, giving it a massive student population that provides it with a lot of energy. Waterloo is consistently ranked amongst the best places to live in Ontario, an affordable and fun community with lively nightlife.

Greater Sudbury

Greater Sudbury is a city that is roughly a four-hour drive north of Toronto, far removed from the GTA. Greater Sudbury is only a short drive from two of Ontario’s best-known natural parks, with Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park within striking distance. Greater Sudbury is a busy city with a lot to do. It has top-notch family-friendly museums, an exciting history, and great shopping.

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay is a city along Lake Superior. It is far removed from Toronto, an estimated 14 and a half-hour drive from the city. Thunder Bay is a waterfront city with an interesting past as a prominent 19th-century trading outpost. It has numerous top-notch trails and parks nearby, and if you’re in the right place, you can spot a moose or wolf in the area. Thunder Bay is home to over 110,000 residents and is a busy city with many great year-round activities.