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Best Cities in Canada to Start a Business

Written by Jessica Steer
While starting a small business can be a very exciting adventure, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. The location of a business ultimately depends on the type of business you wish to start and if the location you choose is accommodating. You typically want to find a place that has a good customer base and is financially accommodating.
Table of Contents

    Top 10 best places to start a business in Canada

    While Canada, in itself, can be a great place to start your own business, there are certain cities that are just a bit better than the others. Many factors come into play like the region’s economy, if the place has many highly skilled employees and how progressive the place is when it comes to business development.

    Toronto, Ontario

    One of the best places to start a business in Toronto. It is one of Canada’s larger cities and close to Canada’s fourth largest city (Ottawa). It is also one of Canada's tech hubs and home to globally competitive companies. . There is a lot of talent in Toronto and it is a fantastic business climate due to the amount of competition around. There is also a lot of support for small businesses in Toronto as well.

    Not only is Toronto one of the fastest growing places in all of North America, there are also a diverse amount of languages spoken and is home to 8 of the most world-renowned universities. With over 6.4 million different people and well over $4 million is investments in 2020 alone, it is an amazing environment for those in tech as well as entrepreneurs.

    Edmonton, Alberta

    Another great Canadian city for a start-up is Edmonton. This may come as a surprise to many because it has always been known for being in the oil and gas industry as well as the energy sector. These sectors in themselves make up a large portion of the entire country's financials but, with the decline in industrial development and the drop in oil prices, it has opened up to allow for a more diverse economy.

    With Alberta’s economy growing and the fact it has higher paying jobs as well as lower housing prices, it is attracting many Canadians to this area. Not only that, Edmonton has 10 different post-secondary schools. With that many graduates every year, there are plenty of workers which is always a bonus for any new businesses.

    Calgary, Alberta

    Just like Edmonton, Calgary is also one of the most popular cities right now. Not only does Calgary consist of an average population between 25 and 54, they also have one of the highest average household incomes at $104, 530 annually. On top of all of this, Calgary is a tourist hot spot, which makes it a prime location for businesses.

    Not only that, Calgary has many consumer markets that are extremely popular. This can range anywhere from auto and transportation to consumer products. The city itself is super supportive of the small business community and often offers grants and other benefits to small business owners.

    Vancouver, B.C.

    There are many reasons why Vancouver is one of the best places to start a business. The first is that it is one of the most popular cities to live in. Just like Calgary, they provide a lot of support in the form of grants and tax write-offs for start-ups. This startup business foundation really helps new entrepreneurs and leaves them high on the startup index. They add significant value to the job market that has so much talent.

    As mentioned above, there are a lot of talented people in Vancouver but they have some of the most talented software developers. Also, over half of the city's population have a college or university degree. Depending on the type of business you start, this can be very beneficial. On top of all of this, there is more of a work life balance in Vancouver than most other Canadian cities, and it is close to Silicon Valley.

    Waterloo, Ontario

    While Waterloo isn’t as large as Toronto, it is still located in the largest province in Canada and is one of the fastest growing communities. There are so many high value companies in this area, it’s nickname is “Silicon Valley of the North”. With so many Universities in the region as well, it is a prime location to look for qualified employees.

    Another reason Waterloo is such a hot spot, is because it is so diverse. There is no specific industry that is currently booming, it’s a combination of many. This is great for small businesses because it increases the chances of success.

    Winnipeg , Manitoba

    Winnipeg is starting to become a really popular city to start out with a business idea. This is mainly due to the low cost of living. Manitoba is one of the less expensive provinces therefore, it is attracting a lot of new talent. Another advantage that Winnipeg has is that it is located in the heart of North America. This location advantage can make a large difference when it comes to shipping.

    Not only is Winnipeg a strong business choice, but it is also a great city for work-life balance. Not only is it a great place to experience things, it thrives off of its business, artistic and community development. It provides a great mix of great quality of life and affordability, which is perfect for starting a business.

    Kelowna, B.C

    This traditional vacation spot is now an up and comer in the business industry. Since a lot of businesses have started transitioning to a remote platform, living and creating a business in a more outdoor based environment. Along with that, Kelowna is also relatively affordable for living as well as commercial expenses.

    The industries in Kelowna are very diverse. There is everything from tech to construction all the way to agriculture. They even have their own airport that just happens to be one of the busiest airports in Canada making international and domestic travel easy to access.

    Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Being that Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia as well as Canada’s largest city. It has a population of over 370,000 which is a great selling point if you are thinking about starting a business in this area. It is one of the largest cities on the east coast which makes it a central point for a lot of people. There is plenty of transportation in Halifax that connects it to the rest of the world. It also has the Port of Halifax which is one of the leading ports in the world. This makes Halifax a well connected international city. Well this, and it is home to a major airport.

    In recent years, there has been a large growth in Halifax in the areas of Science, Industry and education. People in Halifax love the fact that they have a great quality of life, there is a well-educated workforce and that there are world class business parks. All of these things make starting in a business in Halifax a great idea.

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    There are plenty of reasons to start a business in Saskatoon, the first being that they offer plenty of grants and funding. They have plenty available to entrepreneurs seeking assistance, the kind of assistance depends on the industry you choose to enter. On top of this there are plenty of banks and lending institutions that focus on helping small businesses get their start. Often times you can even get grants and loans from the Canadian government to start with beginning your small business.

    The lower cost of living in Saskatoon also makes a large difference. The less you spend on a start up, the more money you can make. There are plenty of tax credits to help with your business, and a lot of support is provided. The fact that Saskatoon is also in the center of Canada, helps with travel. Being centrally located is always ideal.

    Victoria, BC

    If you have ever been to Victoria, BC, it makes sense why people would want to start a business here. Just like many of the other places that we have mentioned, Victoria is beautiful and offers an amazing quality of life. Not to mention, Victoria is also close to Vancouver and Seattle. This makes it a prime location for a global business opportunity and the fact that it is a tourist hotspot doesn’t hurt.

    Which province is the best to do business in Canada?

    While there are plenty of business opportunities throughout all of Canada, the best province to do business in is Ontario. Ontario is the largest province in Canada, has the largest population and is home to the second most expensive city in Canada. This in itself shows you the popularity of the province. It is extremely diverse in cultures which is also a plus when starting a business. There are plenty of small towns close to the city that are considered to be extremely affordable but are also close enough to the business sector. Overall, if you are looking for it, in Ontario you can find it.

    Best city to open a business

    Out of all the places mentioned above, the best city to open a business is Toronto. While it is a huge tech hub that has a well educated workforce, they also are well known for their food scene. This is huge for those who are looking to open a restaurant. Given the diverse cultures in Toronto, one of the many businesses that are great to open is a restaurant. Overall, Eastern Canada in itself, is the best part of Canada to do business.

    Cheapest place to start a business

    Ultimately either Calgary or Edmonton are the cheapest places to start a business. They have some of the lowest corporate taxes and they have no provincial sales tax. Even though they are one of the cheaper provinces with the lowest cost of living, they have a very strong economy.

    What part of Canada has the most start ups?

    While there are plenty of other major startup cities, one of the most major startup cities is Vancouver. Its closeness to Seattle and Silicon Valley is a big plus for those looking to start a business. There is great office space and it has a high caliber of life. It also attracts people with the fact it is one of the top 5 places to live.

    Is Canada a good place to start a business?

    Overall, Canada is a great place to start a business. There are different places for all walks of life and the top 10 cities to start a business are spread out all over the country. Not only that, some places are even much cheaper to start a business than the states. There are many central cities in Canada that make conducting business throughout the world simple, and the new era of working remotely really helps with enjoying the quality of life that Canada has to offer.

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