Best places to retire in Ontario

Updated for 2018!

There's no definitive list that suits everyone, no one perfect place to settle, but a number of  locations in Ontario are generating a lot of buzz for retirees. Towns with small sizes, a range of amenities for seniors, affordable real estate, low crime rates and relatively good weather are propelling the following locations to the top of the list when it comes to the best places to retire in Ontario.

Find the best places to retire early!

Top cities in Ontario for seniors

Owen Sound

Affordable housing as well as cultural and outdoor activities geared towards adults 55+ makes Owen Sound a top retirement destination for many Ontarians. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), as well as Yahoo Finance[1] and The Globe and Mail[2] have all singled out Owen Sound as a top Ontario retirement destination.
Find Owen Sound retirement residences.


Stratford is gaining a name for itself outside of its theatre festival, which it’s so well known for. According to Melissa Leong, of the Financial Post, this quaint community has among the lowest living costs of North American cities, and housing costs are between 10-30% lower than current Canadian and American averages[3].  MoneySense also lists Stratford as one of the top 10 places to retire in Canada, citing it’s low property taxes, good access to doctors, and temperate climate[4].
Find Stratford retirement communities.

Elliot Lake

This small city, located in northern Ontario made The Globe and Mail’s[5] list for top retirement locations in Canada. It could be the beaches and lakes, hiking, skiing and snowmobile trails, or the affordable living options enjoyed by it’s 11,000 residents that makes this idyllic town so popular amongst retirees.

Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Niagara region offers affordable housing and a booming cultural pulse including wineries, restaurants and theatres. With close proximity to both the GTA and southwestern Ontario, it’s no wonder that the Niagara region has the second-highest percentage of seniors in Ontario (behind Peterborough)[6]. Considered the 7th best place to invest in Canada, in 2017. [10]


In Peterborough one in five people are seniors, reports Leong. “We were noted as being one of the best cities in the country as being age friendly and we continue to build on that structure as we move along,” says mayor Daryl Bennett, who cites the variety of cultural activities and affordable living as reasons for Peterborough’s popularity amongst seniors in Ontario[7]. In 2017, it's listed as one of the best places to invest in Canada. [10]


With the same latitude as the northern border of California, Windsor is Canada’s most southern city, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this wine-rich area made The Globe and Mail’s[8] list for best retirement cities in Canada. Windsor is a popular choice amongst Ontario seniors, who are enjoying the low-cost of living that Windsor offers.
Find Windsor retirement homes

Other notable Ontario cities that are ideal for retired people include Oakville, Burlington, Ottawa and Kingston, all of which made the mark for MoneySense[9] when it came to good access to health care and low property taxes.

Best places to retire early!

Retire early in some of the best cities in Ontario.

Active adult lifestyle communities are ideal for those who have emptied the nest but want a secure place to call home in Ontario. Communities often have onsite security staff, as well as many other features like golf, onsite casinos and many other amenities that make these exciting places to live in retirement. Ontario's best cities offer some of the very best in active adult living:

London, Ontario is itself a gateway to southwestern Ontario, while many nearby communities make great retirement destinations that combine affordability, safety and proximity to a number of great beaches on both Lake Huron and Lake Erie.  These destinations include small towns like Corunna, Grand Bend and other excellent small Ontario towns in which to settle.In 2017, London, ON is #17 on a list of the best cities in Canada, in which to invest. [10]
Find London area active adult living communities. Check out our new reviews of SW Ontario adult lifestyle communities.

Collingwood and Wasaga Beach are the sunshine destinations for families and retirees across the province. Collingwood is home to several unique communities for active adults.

Kitchener-Waterloo is also a hub city in south-central Ontario, with many beautiful little towns nearby, where active lifestyle communities thrive. Notable active living communities are found in New Hamburg and a number of other towns near KW. Check out active living communities in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area. In 2017, KW is listed as the fourth best city in Canada in which to invest. [10]

Toronto, of course, offers all the best things in life, ranging from a world-class entertainment district to Blue Jays' games to the Ripley Aquarium, and too many other attractions to mention. It may have some of the most expensive real estate in Ontario but that's because it's the most desired place to live. In spite of its renowned high real estate prices, it's still considered one of Canada's best places to invest.[10]
Find active adult living in the GTA.

Before you pick a small town to live in, take into account your own needs of course; many people focus on where extended family is. We also recommend that you think ahead to other concerns, such as the availability of home care services and other alternative health care. Finally, look at new developments in the area you are considering, and consider how those will impact your life.

[1] Yahoo Finance.

[2] The Globe and Mail

[3] Financial Post

[4] Money Sense

[5] The Globe and Mail

[6] The Globe and Mail

[7] The Financial Post

[8] The Globe and Mail

[9] Money Sense

[10] MoneySense's Best places to invest for 2017.

Best places to retire elsewhere!

Learn about other great places to retire in Canada:

Read reviews!

Read reviews of adult lifestyle communities in central Ontario or reviews of BC active lifestyle communities.

Written by Kimberley Fowler. Updated by Jim Huinink (2016, 2017, 2020)

Below are premium active living communities across Ontario. They’re not specifically towns or cities, of course, but they do indeed qualify as some of Ontario’s best places to retire.

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