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Vaughan, Ont., home of Canada’s Wonderland, is also the country’s most lucrative market for business. Photo: iStock

How do you go about picking the country’s best place to do business? Every company will have its own criteria for a desirable location, after all.

A retail outlet dependent on a local clientele will do best in a community with high incomes and a rising population. An exporter, by contrast, will favour cost advantages such as cheap space and power. Organizations requiring specialized skills may need to be near a big city or university, or offer an appealing lifestyle.

These communities boast the best combination of a large and growing population, high household incomes and high educational attainment—making them highly desirable for retail, financial and other service businesses that cater to a localized market.

Here are Canada’s Top 10 Most Lucrative Markets for 2016:

1. Vaughan, Ont.

Population: 322,525
Annualized Population Growth: 1.68%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 7,117,409
Avg. Household Income: $120,631
Unemployment rate: 5.75%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 61.29%

2. Milton, Ont.

Population: 99,698
Annualized Population Growth: 2.66%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 7,408,813
Avg. Household Income: $115,327
Unemployment rate: 4.80%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 65.55%

3.  Spruce Grove, Alta.

Population: 31,612
Annualized Population Growth: 3.13%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 1,396,240
Avg. Household Income: $122,100
Unemployment rate: 5.75%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 78.83%

4. Saskatoon, Sask.

Population: 306,794
Annualized Population Growth: 2.58%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 325,722
Avg. Household Income: $101,628
Unemployment rate: 6.76%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 69.08%

5. Okotoks, Alta.

Population: 30,267
Annualized Population Growth: 3.63%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 1,538,971
Avg. Household Income: $119,243
Unemployment rate: 7.72%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 76.1%

6. Richmond Hill, Ont.

Population: 207,709
Annualized Population Growth: 1.63%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 6,829,952
Avg. Household Income: $108,025
Unemployment rate: 5.92%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 62.32%

7. Grande Prairie, Alta.

Population: 67,993
Annualized Population Growth: 3.41%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 105,513
Avg. Household Income: $116,401
Unemployment rate: 7.23%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 77.89%

8. Winnipeg, Man.

Population: 796,364
Annualized Population Growth: 1.32%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 904,565
Avg. Household Income: $85,562
Unemployment rate: 6.26%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 66.26%

9. Estevan, Sask.

Population: 14,315
Annualized Population Growth: 1.30%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 24,916
Avg. Household Income: $138,890
Unemployment rate: 5.65%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 81.18%

10. Oakville, Ont.

Population: 202,299
Annualized Population Growth: 1.46%
Population within a 1-hour drive: 7,300,652
Avg. Household Income: $147,646
Unemployment rate: 6.00%
Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 62.57%

 

 

Click here for vital facts and figures on 219 Canadian municipalities »

The Canadian Business Best Places for Business relies on a mix of self-reported data from the municipal governments and independent demographic and market data. Market indicators factored into the ranking of Canada’s Most Lucrative Markets were as follows: population (higher is better); population growth (higher is better); population within a one-hour driving distance (higher is better); median household income (higher is better); percentage of residents with a university degree (higher is better); percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree (higher is better); unemployment rate (lower is better); and value of building permits issued in the previous year (higher is better).

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