Edmonton among best places in Canada to live during the pandemic: MacLean’s

EDMONTON — Alberta’s capital city has risen from the middle of MacLean’s Best Communities ranking to the No. 5 spot, partly because of how Edmontonians have been able to live during COVID-19.

Edmonton’s best three features which landed it at the top of the list are internet access – also listed as many other cities’ best asset – amenities, and health.

But, internet access as a city’s best feature?

That’s because the 415 communities across Canada were judged in a pandemic context.

“Our revamped ranking assumes remote work is here to stay, asking where people should move if they’re not tied to an office and a commute,” reads an excerpt about the MacLean’s methodology.

“We eliminated categories assessing the local economy, since remote workers won’t have to look for a nearby job, and added a category assessing internet quality. We also streamlined some categories. For example, we eliminated rent data in the affordability category, since rents and property prices are closely correlated and it’s safe to assume a community with high housing prices will also have expensive rents.”

Each community was compared to its peers and ranked in every category, then assigned points on a curve. For example, internet quality based on data from CIRA’s internet performance test was worth 14 points – and measured how many people could “comfortably” work or study from home. House affordability was worth 19 points, weather 17, and health 11, with specialists and doctor offices per 100,000 residents being evaluated.

Edmonton ranked fifth after Halifax, N.S., Fredericton, N.B., and St. Thomas and Belleville, Ont.

It was estimated in the average Edmonton household, 12 people could work or study remotely from home on a single internet connection.

The capital city also has 902 doctors’ offices per 100,000 residents, far more than Halifax’s 437.

However, people can find primary real estate in the Maritime city for $314,000, compared to Edmonton’s average price of $377,000.

Think something else is more important? The list lets you decide the weighting of each category.

Just under 50 Alberta communities made the list, with Brooks in the southern part of the province earning the only other spot in the top 10. Calgary ranked 31.

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