Salmon Arm named best community in B.C.

Maclean’s magazine ranks city as sixth best place to live in Canada

A recent Maclean’s report confirms what many Salmon Arm locals already know: that they live in the best community in B.C.

On the morning of Thursday, Aug. 8, as the city’s residents were making their way to work, taking their children to meet up with friends at a playground, or maybe getting an early start on a hike on one of the local trails, Maclean’s released its Best communities in Canada feature, ranking and comparing communities across individual provinces and the country. In the rankings, Salmon Arm has the honour of being the best community in B.C., the sixth best community in Canada and the only B.C. community in the top 10 of the 415 communities ranked nationwide.

All of this made for a good Thursday morning for Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison.

“For our city to be the number-one most desirable city to live in and the best community in British Columbia and Canada is pretty amazing,” said Harrison. “We know how lucky we are to live here but when you see it in comparison to other places it really does confirm it.”

According to Maclean’s independently conducted analysis, one of the measures in which Salmon Arm particularly shines is affordability; the city ranks number one in the country. This measure takes into account the average home being less than $500,000 ($428,517), as well as data used to arrive at the city’s other rankings in categories of wealth and economy, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture. The city also ranks high for taxes (property tax as percentage of average income: 1.7 per cent), wealth and economy and demographics.

Read more: Best B.C. cities to live in: millennial edition

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Regarding demographics, Salmon Arm ranks 51 in Canada (23 in B.C.) for best community for retirement, while for families, the city ranks 59 in Canada and number two in B.C. This reflects what Harrison has seen over the past three or four years – more younger families choosing to put down roots in Salmon Arm.

“It’s been a turn in real estate where over 50 per cent of real estate transactions in our area have not been to retirement people, they’ve been to people of a younger generation…,” said Harrison. “Although it’s really still very attractive to retirees, and they’re a very important piece of what happens here, the turn to families and the younger generations is exactly where we’re trying to direct our energies. It’s reinforcing the fact that what families are looking for is… a quality of life, they are looking for outdoor experience, they are looking for amenities that fit the values that they have, that their children have.”

Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) economic development manager Lana Fitt is thrilled with, but not surprised by, the city’s rankings. Not just because Maclean’s gave the city advance notice of the results, but also because the rankings confirm what the city found during the recent community planning process from which the city’s new brand, Small City, Big Ideas, was born.

“I think this is a great part of the story we’ve been trying to tell for Salmon Arm and this just gives it some great exposure,” said Fitt.

SAEDS and the city plan to capitalize on Salmon Arm’s best community status with an ad in Maclean’s magazine, as well as a push on social and digital media.


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