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Seven best places to retire in BC

British Columbia's most senior-friendly spots



Where are the best places to retire in British Columbia? Every year, a number of sources provide lists of best places to invest, live and retire in BC. Here is our take.

We look at what are your best choices, based on a variety of sources, as well as comments from BC residents themselves to bring you, our take on the best places to retire in the province of British Columbia.

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  1. West Vancouver, BC

    West Van is the highest ranking BC city on the list of best places to live, according to MoneySense.1 It qualifies as a small town, while standout qualities that drove up its ranking are low taxes, low crime and excellent walking and biking paths, along with higher than average public transit. West Vancouver also has low unemployment and a median household income of $82,000 annually.2 The price of living here is very expensive but those who live there are happy to call it home, thanks to the annual Home Arts Festival. 

    Mary is one retirement home resident who loves the full life at her retirement home. "Life is so full," she says. The great thing about living here, she tells us, is that "you can always keep active here… and you can always see the fun in life."

    Check out a full list of West Vancouver retirement communities.

  2. Victoria, BC

    Victoria is listed #5 on MoneySense's list of best places to retire in Canada, the highest placing city in all BC. Why? The average property tax in the city of Victoria is $1026 per year. There are 3.73 doctors per 1000 people and the city has 319 days of the year above freezing. All that healthy sea air and temperate climate also makes it one of the healthiest places to live in all of Canada. Nearby towns include Saanich, also listed as #13 on Canada's Best Places to Live1.

    Low property tax rates make it easy for Victoria seniors to travel more than people from some other BC cities. Scotty Day, resident in a Pacific coastal retirement home, says it best: "We’re always excited to go away. But without exception, when we return, we always say, ‘It’s so good to be home!'"  Read Scotty's story here

    Find our complete list of Victoria retirement living suites

  3. Nelson, BC

    Nestled deep in the interior of British Columbia, Nelson offers some of the best living conditions in the province, according to MoneySense, who called it the tenth best place to retire in all of Canada. Some of the notable features of living in Nelson are low average property taxes of $1600 per annum and 262 days per year of temperature above freezing. Nelson also features the beauty of the interior mountains and nearby Kootenay Lake.

    Check out retirement living in nearby Kelowna.

  4. Vancouver

    Vancouver was listed by The Economist as the #3 most liveable city in the world in 2016, a position it held as early as 2014. The contiguous city, The District of North Vancouver is listed #8 on the list of Canada's Best Places to Live in 2016. There's little doubt that Vancouver is a world-class destination for living and investing. Vancouver's free and easy lifestyle, spectacular scenery and superb natural environment are all legendary, as are its real estate costs, of course. What about actually living and retiring there?  The Economist ranks it so highly based on categories including stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

    Find the best places to retire in Vancouver.

  5. Duncan and Arbutus Ridge

    The northerly end of Vancouver Island is full of legendary places to live including Comox Valley (highlighted by the Financial Post in 2013 as a small BC town with big savings3 and ranked #71 overall among best places to live1) and other places. Not far away is Parksville, BC, "Canada's retirement capital" which is the community with the highest percentage of seniors in all of Canada4

    Further south (so, just a bit warmer), there is Duncan and area, another highly sought-out destination. Arbutus Ridge is as wonderful a place as any to settle. Duncan itself is listed as #183 on Canada's Best Places to Live. Beatrice tells us about life here: "You live here, you know, and there's so much beauty around you - the Strait, with its amazing ocean wildlife -- we've seen whales regularly since moving here... that aspect of life here is amazing. But then there's so much to do! There are daily sports activities on the water, there's golf, there are other activities... and the people are all so wonderful. They really are the best people, here, in our community." Beatrice is an owner of a home in a Duncan-area active adult lifestyle community.

    Find some great places to retire near Duncan and Arbutus Ridge.

  6. Burnaby, BC

    Ranked 59th overall on Best Places to Live for 20161.  The third largest city in British Columbia, Burnaby was also listed in survey by Maclean’s magazine (albeit in 2009), as Canada’s best run city based on factors including efficiency and effectiveness of city services. The population of Burnaby is only 244,000 (as of 2016) and the median household income in the average household net worth in the city is $650,000. The prosperity of people in the city is a product of people's energy and confidence, as exemplified by Dorothy, a senior resident of Mulberry Parc. As she says, "We keep very busy… When people say they’re bored, it’s because they’re not doing anything. Here, there’s always something to do."

    Find a complete list of the best Burnaby retirement homes.

  7. Surrey, B.C

    Listed #104 on the Best Places to Live in all of Canada (for 2016), Surrey is a large city with a growing population. Surrey is a great place to retire because of its relatively low crime rate, its temperate weather (as found throughout BC).  Surrey is a relatively green and progressive city, with over 7% of the population traveling to work by public transit and 6.5 % of the population working in health care. It has a somewhat lower annual rainfall than other BC cities. 

    Pam Bricker says her mom loves her retirement in Surrey. "She always want to come 'home' to BC but she lived in Seattle. When she finally retired here and she loves her home in Surrey… There are many shops and conveniences within walking distance of where she lives with and there are a wealth of other people her age with whom to socialize." 

    Find the very best retirement homes in Surrey, BC.

In the end, who can decide for sure what is the best place to live or retire? You may have your own ideas that run completely contrary to that of the "authorities." Most people, when they consider their own needs, they want to be close to family or other things important to them.

We also urge you to consider things like the availability of home health care services and other health care, in any town or city you are considering. There are many things to think about, and really, the best place to live is anywhere where you have good friends and loved ones nearby and you enjoy life to the fullest. It may not, in the end, be a place, so much as a state of mind. In any case... happy searching!

Sources and further resources

1moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2016-full-ranking/
2moneysense.ca/../the-best-place-to-live-in-british-columbia/. MoneySense magazine bases its annual list on access to healthcare and amenities, crime rates, weather and other factors.
3business.financialpost.com/../small-towns-can-offer-big-savings-for-retirees: Comox Valley is noted for an average housing price below $400,000 as well as winter temperatures averaging about 7 degrees Celsius. The Financial Post and others list the best places to retire in Canada, based on other criteria.
4theglobeandmail.com/…/how-moving-to-a-small-town-can-fund-your-retirement/
The Global Retirement Index, developed by Natixis Global Asset Management and CoreData Research, looks at the best places in the world to retire; in 2016, it lists Canada 10th, ahead of the United States but behind others including Norway (#1), Switzerland (#2) and others, mainly European countries. 
The Economist tracks the world's most liveable cities. E.g. economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/08/daily-chart-5.
See also moneysense.ca/save/retirement/canadas-best-places-to-retire-2016/.

Look closer at BC's best retirement communities

Tapestry at Arbutus Walk

Tapestry at Arbutus Walk

2799 Yew Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 4W2
A senior living community in Vancouver, BC offering luxurious seniors' apartments in an active community, along with assisted living and other options.
Tapestry at Wesbrook Village

Tapestry at Wesbrook Village

3338 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6S 0A6
This beautiful Vancouver seniors' community offers a variety of private suites, along with community services including dining, wellness activities and more.
OPAL by Element

OPAL by Element

438 West King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Y2J4
438 West King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 2J4 Opal offers a full continuum of support from Independent Living, Assisted living all the way to Complex Care, allowing the opportunity for aging in place.
Mulberry PARC

Mulberry PARC

7230 Acorn Avenue, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5E 4N9
Mulberry PARC is a welcoming home and community in the heart of Burnaby, BC with the largest 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom retirement home suites available.
The Concorde Retirement Residence

The Concorde Retirement Residence

3235 Skaha Lake Road, Penticton, British Columbia, V2A 6G5
The Concorde has a warm and welcoming atmosphere with comfortable dining & excellent views of the mountains, along with extensive program activities; The Concorde is perfect for an active living & entertaining lifestyle.
Gilmore Gardens

Gilmore Gardens

4088 Blundell Road, Richmond, British Columbia, V7C 5V1
Like a condominium, you furnish your suite with the comforts from your home, including pets. At Gilmore Gardens, it's the people, residents and staff alike, that make this independent senior living community so special.
Thornebridge Gardens

Thornebridge Gardens

649 8th Avenue, New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M 2R2
Thornebridge Gardens is one of New Westminster’s finest retirement residences, providing luxurious, worry-free surroundings with life enriching services that inspire healthy senior living. Many options are available!
Granville Gardens

Granville Gardens

1550 West 49th Avenue,, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6M 0B3
Located in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood, Granville Gardens offers residents the opportunity to stay active and live in a well-appointed urban community, surrounded by shopping centres, parks, community centres.
Hawthorn Park Retirement Community

Hawthorn Park Retirement Community

867 KLO Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y 9G5
Living at Hawthorn Park Retirement Residence means you have choices & can customize the services you need, as you need them. We offer three lifestyle opportunities; supportive living, assisted living & complex care.
Summerhill PARC

Summerhill PARC

135 West 15th Street, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7M 1R7
Summerhill PARC near the heart of Lonsdale and 15th Avenue in beautiful North Vancouver offers a highly social retirement community living experience. 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
Arbutus Ridge by the Sea

Arbutus Ridge by the Sea

600 Fairways Place, Cobble Hill, British Columbia, V0R1L1
Arbutus Ridge is a 50 + seaside community located minutes from Victoria via a beautiful drive over the Malahat. There are 646 homes distributed over a park like 150 acres interlinked with the Arbutus Ridge Golf Course.
The Village Langley

The Village Langley

3920 198th Street, Langley, British Columbia, V3A 1C8
We believe that the desire to achieve well-being, purpose and fulfillment does not diminish with a dementia diagnosis. We focus on the possibilities of each Villager with support to live life with laughter, love and joy.
Oceana PARC

Oceana PARC

1575 George St, White Rock, British Columbia, V4B 0B6
At Oceana PARC, our residents thrive with access to physical and mental fitness programming, social activities, chef-prepared meals, transportation and more. Come discover why life is better at our new residence.
Westerleigh PARC

Westerleigh PARC

725 - 22nd Street, West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7V 0B3
Westerleigh PARC offers refined retirement living in one of West Vancouver's most sought after addresses. Studio, 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
Cedar Springs PARC

Cedar Springs PARC

3633 Mount Seymour Pkwy, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7H 0A9
Located near Mt. Seymour in Vancouver's North Shore, Cedar Springs PARC offers retirement living within a beautiful natural environment. 1- and 2-bedroom suites available.
The Heritage

The Heritage

3630 Brown rd, west kelowna, British Columbia, V4T7Y9
The Heritage Retirement Residence encompasses an active living & entertaining lifestyle with supportive & assisted living measures, Our highly skilled registered health care team will provide assistance when you need it.
Cherish at Central Park

Cherish at Central Park

917 Avrill Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V9B 0T2
Cherish brings a new approach to senior living that has been called innovative and the way of the future. Our Independent Living rental suites and condominiums provide choices for estate preservation and peace of mind.
Courtyard Gardens

Courtyard Gardens

7051 Moffat Road, Richmond, British Columbia, V6Y 3W2
Courtyard Gardens offers an enriching community, with quality staff & friendly & caring environment. 107 Private & Subsidized suites in Assisted Living, 31 Private Pay Extended Care studio suites & 1 Respite Suite.
Sherwood House

Sherwood House

280 Government Street, Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 0B5
At Sherwood House we offer active adult and independent retirement living, pet friendly, featuring delicious homemade meals, daily activities, weekly housekeeping in a secure environment in Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island
Arbourside Court

Arbourside Court

13751 - 74th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3W 1A8
Welcome to Arbourside Court, a retirement home in the heart of Surrey, BC. Proudly serving our senior residents since 2001. Many activities to enjoy and new friendships to be made, we are always bustling with laughter.
Chartwell Carlton Gardens Care Residence

Chartwell Carlton Gardens Care Residence

4108 Norfolk Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5G 0B4
Chartwell Ridgepointe Retirement Residence

Chartwell Ridgepointe Retirement Residence

1789 Primrose Court, Kamloops, British Columbia, V1S 0B7
Chartwell Birchwood Retirement Residence

Chartwell Birchwood Retirement Residence

45650 Patten Avenue, Chilliwack, British Columbia, V2P 1S4
Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence

Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence

32679 - 6th Ave., Mission, British Columbia, V2V 1Y8
Chartwell Kamloops Retirement Residence

Chartwell Kamloops Retirement Residence

628 Tranquille Road, Kamloops, British Columbia, V2B 3H6
Chartwell Langley Gardens Retirement Community

Chartwell Langley Gardens Retirement Community

8888-202 Street, Langley, British Columbia, V1M 4A7
Chartwell Churchill House Retirement Residence

Chartwell Churchill House Retirement Residence

150 W. 29th Street, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7N 0A1
Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence

Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence

32331 - 7th Ave., Mission, British Columbia, V2V 6T7
Chartwell Hampton House Retirement Residence

Chartwell Hampton House Retirement Residence

45555 Hodgins Avenue, Chilliwack, British Columbia, V2P 1P3
Chartwell Imperial Place Retirement Residence

Chartwell Imperial Place Retirement Residence

13853 102nd Ave, Surrey, British Columbia, V3T 5P6
Chartwell Willow Retirement Community

Chartwell Willow Retirement Community

12275-224th Street, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, V2X 6H5
Chartwell Lynnwood Retirement Residence

Chartwell Lynnwood Retirement Residence

9168 Corbould Street, Chilliwack, British Columbia, V2P 8A1
Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community

Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community

1222 King George Blvd., Surrey, British Columbia, V4A 9W6
Chartwell Renaissance Retirement Residence

Chartwell Renaissance Retirement Residence

6676 203rd Street, Langley, British Columbia, V2Y 2Z1
Chartwell Chatsworth Retirement Residence

Chartwell Chatsworth Retirement Residence

1831 Parkview Crescent, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1X 7G7



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