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An Analysis of Place Rankings of Canada: Based on a Comparison Method

2021-05-31 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

Introduction:

When type “best city rank Canada” in google search engine, around 460,000,000 results will pop  out within 1 second. It has proven to be a popular project to rank cities or communities within a certain area, a country, a province or even a county. From the numerous records obtained from the searching, it is obvious that such large amount of data and opinion can be helpful but at the same time, challenging for the decision making process when it comes to choose of residence, business site and vacation. In fact, most of the ranking lists were created for the purpose of “branding”. Governments and investors wisely employed the data collected from their communities to paint a good image for the sake of attracting more investment, residents and visitors (Haney et al., 2015).

Reasonable as the rankings seem to be (especially under the condition that the data and statistics are easy to manipulate and explain in the way benefit the publishers most), are they really helpful as a reference to a person, a family or an entrepreneur when they are trying to make the right decisions in choosing a place to settle down? Moreover, to a person or a family, the choice of cities to live in would be an explanation by personal preferences, making it harder to determine the value of a rank list for a topic like “what is the best city to live in Canada?”.

In this report, a synthetic analysis will be discussed based on a comparison method to exhibit an insight view of the ranks published through websites and  social media platforms. Six different ranks from various of sources will be analyzed and compared in the aspects of content, data, factors and calculations used to form the ranks. Based on the above discussions, I would like to share the opinions of what is an idea place to live permanently from my own perspective and what information I may refer from the ranks to make my decisions of residence.

 

Objectives

Six ranking lists are included in this report, as listed below:

1) “10 best communities for immigrants in Canada 2019” by Maclean’s;
2) “Best communities to retire in Canada 2019” by Maclean’s;
3) “25 best communities in Canada 2019” by Maclean’s;
4) Video “ 10 Best Places to Visit in Canada” by Touropia on YouTube;
5) “ Best Places for Canadian Millennials in 2018” by point2home;
6) “The Best Canadian Cities to Raise a Family” by Selena Ross, Reader's Digest Canada.

Factors and Calculation Method Utilized by the Rankings

Ranking lists of cities and places are usually made for certain purposes and delivery of different types of information. Most of the ranks available online is to provide the information for individuals and families about proper residential communities, usually covering everything including economy, affordability, demographics, taxes, commute, crime, weather, health, amenities, culture and etc. Others usually focus on delivering one specific aspect of information to attract certain types of people. For example, a rank for tourists are trying to display the rank by showing outstanding sceneries (10 Best Places to Visit in Canada - Travel Video - YouTube, n.d.). Or a realty website which published a ranking list to attract young adults to the cities where its business partners  have a bunch of properties for renting (Top Millennial Hot Spots in 2018 - 85 Canadian Cities Ranked | Point2 Homes News, n.d.).

In the six ranking lists mentioned above, more than 10 types of factors have been taken into consideration, however, the publishers can never say that their ranking lists have covered every side of information from a certain area. Fortunately, it is still possible for us to get a summary over all the factors ever mentioned in the ranking lists. The factors will be divided into three groups for further discussions. The first group of factors commonly employed in the ranking lists are more straightforward, easy to be quantified, including average household income, unemployment rate and so on. The second group is a bit more obscure, usually a concept consists of information from several different aspects. To describe the factors from this group, more than one set of data are required. For example, when describing the health condition of a certain community, measurements such as obesity rate, ratio of family doctors, hospital and nursery coverage within certain areas, etc. will all have to be taken into consideration. The third group of factors are not possible to be quantified at all, and thus they are not able to be compared with a set of unified, common acknowledged criteria, like community culture and atmosphere. Usually, the third group of factors are where underlying most of  the controversies about the place ranking, while it is not possible to determine the rank without discussing about them.

Among all the mentioned lists, Maclean’s lists are formed from the most detailed, clear calculation method, leading to more persuasive results.

According to Maclean’s, data from 415 communities crossover Canada were collected for the analysis and ranking purposes, under categories including wealth and economy, affordability, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture, by collaborating and sharing the data with Environics Analytics Company. Maclean’s ranking lists consist of both integrated ones like “25 best communities in Canada 2019” and individual disciplined ones like “10 best communities for immigrants in Canada 2019”. To produce varied types of ranking lists, Maclean’s utilized weighted calculations on each categories. In this case, different types of factors can be included based on priority of people with different benefit of interest. In the integrated ranking list, “25 best communities in Canada 2019”, the weight of each category is assigned with the criteria whether the factor is important to average people from the author’s perspective of view. The author of the rank will assign more credits to more important categories to average people. On their website, people can also build their own ranks based on their priority with the data from all categories (Best Communities in Canada 2019: Methodology - Macleans.Ca, n.d.).

The scale of the weighting system is curved base on the comparison between the 415 communities within their database. Take median household income as an example, the community with the highest median household income will be assigned 4 points under this subcategory, while the community with the lowest median household will be assigned 0 point. Any other communities in between will receive a score in between 0 to 4 depending on the rank. For missing data under certain category, a similar figure will be assigned based on the publisher’s analysis. For more detailed score description, I would recommend checking at “Best communities in Canada 2019: Methodology”, Maclean’s (Best Communities in Canada 2019: Methodology - Macleans.Ca, n.d.). Other ranking lists usually display the factors individually with the rank in each category without integrating the data sets, like the “ Best Places for Canadian Millennials in 2018” by website  point2home, making it less persuasive to readers (Top Millennial Hot Spots in 2018 - 85 Canadian Cities Ranked | Point2 Homes News, n.d.).

What Makes the Top Cities Stand Out?

In general, top cities stands out because two reasons:

1)  The culture is widely acknowledged within the community. In such a community, the residents are highly involved in community activities and interacted frequently between each other. Usually, this type of cities/communities are small in size with medium to small amount of populations. Typical examples including Burlington, ON and Grimsby, ON. It does not mean that big cities cannot stand out in the aspect of best for living. Even if the big cities are less affordable, the convenience on amenities and high standard health care system compensate the drawback factors. For example, Toronto is the best communities to retire in Ontario Province (Best Communities to Retire in Canada 2019, n.d.). According to a retired resident, she chose Toronto mainly because of the good health care provided there.

2) Balance of convenience and affordability & balance of life and economy: another important reason that the top cities have become people’s preferences is that living in those communities will help the residents find the balance point between life and financial adequacy, as well as the balance between convenience and affordability. Take Burlington as an example, whose location enable the residents, especially the new immigrants and young people who are seeking for more opportunities to enjoy the amenities in Toronto while avoid the high housing price in big cities (10 Best Communities for Immigrants in Canada 2019 - Macleans.Ca, n.d.; Toronto Tops List of Canada’s Most Youth-Friendly Cities - The Globe and Mail, n.d.).

Best Choice of Cities to Live Permanently

Currently, I live in St. Catharines, ON. St. Cathartines does not actually show up in any of the list, but it usually known for being near to the Niagara Fall and as “The Garden City”. In my opinion, the city is one of those who achieved a balance of environment, affordability and amenities. It is near to the tourist attraction as well as Toronto, with convenient commuting in between.  Also, the cultural environment is friendly to me, as a foreigner in Canada. To me, St. Catharines is similar to another supercharged small town, Burlington, ON, but with less population.

My major concerns when choosing a permanent residential communities will focus on affordability, opportunities, community culture and amenities. In this case, I am trying to settle down at somewhere reach the best balance of the above four factors. Living in the big cities like Montreal and Toronto will be less affordable and will certainly impact on my life qualities. Before I reach my 30s, I will consider live in big cities for more opportunities to develop my career and enlarge my network. After having family, I would start my own small business and will choose a supercharged small town within reachable distance from major cities so I can support my family better regards of finance and spend more time with them with a slower working pace.

Among all the ranking lists, I like the ones from Maclean’s best for the systematically calculation method utilized with reliable data sources. In fact, when it comes to real choices in life, the rank will not be too helpful because the choices are usually limited and cannot cover every aspect I am looking forward to. But overall, the Maclean’s ranking lists provide me with a general, objective impressions on major communities in Canada.

Conclusion

A variety of rankings list of cities and communities are available online based on different factors and calculation methods. Some of them are well equipped with detailed, reliable data while others are vaguer with only verbal descriptions. From my perspective of view, I appreciate the ranking lists derived from reliable data with reasonable calculation methods. My ideal permanently residential place should reach the balance of affordability, opportunities, community culture and amenities. 


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