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Three Canadian cities make it into the top 10 most livable

According to the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver ranked third on the global list, followed by Toronto and Calgary in fourth and fifth respectively. The Canadian cities were beaten only by Vienna in second and Melbourne, which topped The Economist’s Livability Ranking.

The annual survey of 140 cities uses more than 30 factors to gauge the state of healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability, culture and environment — rendering a score out of 100. Vancouver lost marks only for petty crime rates, availability of quality housing and congested road networks, with report authors citing a series of infrastructure projects such as the new Evergreen transit line “that will no doubt have a long-term benefit, but in the short-term they can be disruptive.”

Toronto received a “Tolerable” rating (as opposed to Acceptable) for roads, public transit and housing while Calgary waned in temperature ratings.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi mused that his city’s spot on the ranking proves a “thriving business community, and a vibrant cultural scene that is attracting people from around the world” ¬— echoing comments from Stephen Harper’s speech at the Stampede last month when the Prime Minister declared the Alberta metropolis as the greatest city in Canada.

The only other Canadian city to make the Economist list was Montreal in the 16th position. Australia was the only country to outperform Canada, posting four cities in the top 10. The authors say the trend among the most livable cities shows a preference for “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Canada’s density is 3.40 people per square kilometre, while Australia’s is 2.88.

The results vary little from the last ranking released six months ago, with Vancouver maintaining the third spot after slipping from first place in 2011.

Most of the top-tier countries are separated by fractions of a percentage — the first-ranked Melbourne is scored 97.5, only 1.8 points higher than 10th-place Auckland, N.Z. The Economist Information Unit uses the ranking to provide suggestions on how businesses should compensate employees working abroad in cities “where living conditions are particularly difficult.”

Economic development experts from the listed cities say that The Economist report could lead to tangible benefits.

“It’s certainly circulated to an audience of potential investors and investors that may be interested in relocating to our city,” said Randy McLean, a strategy director at the City of Toronto, adding good scores in categories like education will help attract top management talent and their families.

“Certainly it’s encouraging,” he said

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