We’ve ranked the eight best places to buy a vacation home in Canada and here are the results:
- Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
- Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
- Kelowna, British Columbia
- Banff, Alberta
- Whistler, British Columbia
- Muskoka Lakes, Ontario
- Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
- Tofino, British Columbia
Each of the above markets was assigned a VPO Score based on the following criteria:
- Activities & Amenities
- Year Round Use
- Family Friendly
For more information on these markets, including popular activities and a detailed VPO Score breakdown, click here. Using the criteria noted above, here are the eight best places to buy a vacation home in Canada, ranked from #8 to #1.
#8. Tofino, British Columbia
- The skinny: Primarily a summer destination, Tofino is a true outdoor paradise. From the crashing waves on one of Tofino’s many beaches to the impressive forests, nature is never far away. While the temperature can dip in the winter months, many travellers frequent Tofino’s beaches even in the winter months to take in the beautiful winter swells. Tofino comes it at #8 on our list primarily because it ranks low on affordability and activities/amenities available.
- Closest major city: Victoria (315 km)
- Population: 1,932
- 2018 median sale price: $940,500
- 2019 median sale price: $1,250,000
- 2019/2018 Price (%): 32.9%
#7. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
- The skinny: Located where the Niagara River and Lake Ontario meet and less than 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario (or “NOTL” as the locals call it) is popular among tourists, retirees and day trippers. Shopping, wine tasting and tours to Niagara Falls are all popular activities as is the colonial-style architecture. NOTL also plays host to many festivals throughout the year which draws both locals and tourists to the lakeside community. NOTL scored relatively low in the affordability category and average in all other categories.
- Closest major city: Toronto (129 km)
- Population: 17,500
- 2019 average sale price: $809,000
- 2019/2018 Price (%): 7.7%
#6. Muskoka Lakes, Ontario
- The skinny: A popular getaway for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario is Canada’s true cottage country. The township includes Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and many other smaller lakes. Muskoka Lakes received top marks in the family friendly category but scored poorly in the activities/amenities category.
- Closest major city: Toronto (238 km)
- Population: 6,588
- 2018 Single Family Median Price: $327,750
- 2019 Single Family Median Price: $350,000
- 2019/2018 Price (%): -6.8%
- 2020 Median Price Forecast: $385,000
- 2020 Median Price Forecast (%): 10.0%
#5. Whistler, British Columbia
- The skinny: Traditionally an alpine ski town, Whistler, BC is now a year round destination. Mountain biking, hiking, ziplining, swimming and whitewater rafting are just a sampling of the spring and summer activities that Whistler offers. Looking for a place to shop and eat? Look no further than Whistler Village, which has won numerous design awards over the years. Whistler scored high in the year round use and family friendly categories, but poorly in the affordability category.
- Closest major city: Vancouver (121 km)
- Population: 11,854
- 2018 Single Family Median Price: $2,400,563
- 2019 Single Family Median Price: $2,359,875
- 2019/2018 Price (%): -1.7%
#4. Banff, Alberta
- The skinny: A resort town located in Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta offers the typical comforts from home while maintaining a delicate balance between commercial development and nature. Located on the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is surrounded by towering mountains and beautiful countryside. Banff is also home to natural hot springs which draw tourists from far and wide. During the winter months, there is no shortage of ski terrain as Mt. Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village are all close by. Similar to Whistler, Banff scored high in the year round use and family friendly categories, albeit at a lower price point than Whistler.
- Closest major city: Calgary (127 km)
- Other nearby destinations: Canmore (24 km)
- Population: 7,851
- 2019 median detached/semi-detached price (Bow Valley): $975,000 (+14.7% from 2016)
- 2019 townhouse median price (Bow Valley): $700,000 (+18.6% from 2016)
- 2019 apartment median price (Bow Valley): $500,000 (+22% from 2016)
#3. Kelowna, British Columbia
- The skinny: Often called “Canada’s Napa Valley”, the beautiful Okanagan Valley is home to dozens of wineries, rolling vineyards, golf courses and more all overlooking picturesque Okanagan Lake. In the center lies the bustling city of Kelowna, BC. As the largest city in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna has more to offer than just beaches, wineries and sun. Look no further than Kelowna’s downtown core where you’ll find restaurants, shopping, a casino and a lakeside boardwalk. Kelowna is the most affordable entrant out West and had a strong showing in all other categories.
- Closest major city: Vancouver (389 km)
- Other nearby destinations: Vernon (51 km), Penticton (63 km)
- Population: 131,654
- 2018 Single Family Median Price: $659,950
- 2019 Single Family Median Price: $640,000
- 2019/2018 Price (%): -3.0%
#2. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
- The skinny: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia has more to offer than just picturesque views and historic sites as tourists flock to the region year-round for sailing, golfing, cross country skiing and many other activities. The areas of Baddeck and Ingonish are particularly popular and real estate in these areas is in high demand as a result. Bras d’Or Lake is similarly popular among vacationers looking for some R&R and, as compared to the rest of the country, waterfront property in the region is quite affordable. Cape Breton Island scored particularly well in affordability (the best in the group) and the family friendly category.
- Closest major city: Sydney
- Population: 98,722
- Average residential price: $153,352
- 2019/2018 Price (%): 10.5%
# 1. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
- The skinny: The champ is here! A four season resort town, Mont-Tremblant has a bit of everything for the outdoor enthusiast. From skiing and snow shoeing in the winter, to hiking and swimming in the summer, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you occupied throughout the year. It’s no wonder Mont-Tremblant is one of the best places to buy a vacation home in Canada. Mont-Tremblant scored high in all categories, including affordability and activities/amenities.
- Closest major city: Montreal (137 km)
- Population: 9,646
- 2018 Single Family Median Price (Laurentides): $200,000
- 2019 Single Family Median Price (Laurentides): $206,500
- 2019/2018 Price (%) (Laurentides): 3.3%