The Economist recently announced their annual list of the 140 most livable cities in the world. Their ranking is based on several factors including health care, personal safety, environment, education, etc. In other words, all the good things we all strive to have and aim to perfect.
Incredibly but overall not surprisingly, three Canadian cities were in the top 5 (Vancouver #1, Toronto #4, Calgary #5). But does this matter to the average person who wakes up in the morning, rushes to get ready, take their kids to school and deal with the stresses of health and bills?
Probably not. Especially not to those who commute in the Toronto area.
But what a list like this really does is confirm to Canadians that this country really is something to behold. Although many don’t need a list like this to confirm what they already know, many others don’t realize it until they travel abroad and start missing the comforts and structured ways of going about simple tasks.
They include, getting medical care when needed, walking down the street with little to no fear or standing in a straight line at Shoppers Drug Mart, with nobody pushing you because somehow pushing people in line magically makes it go faster. Paying with a debit card isn’t a bad deal either. Personally, for me it’s going into a Tim Horton’s, getting a chocolate dip doughnut. A maple dip too. After all, we do consume the most doughnuts per capita.
Of course it’s always great to be recognized on an international level. But locals will tell you that there are many problems and that the list is inaccurate.
- Unemployment is still a problem.
- Schools are overcrowded.
- Population is swelling leading to further urbanization.
- Road conditions (in Toronto, anyway) are horrible most of the time.
- Plans to finance and expand public transit (in Toronto, anyway) have been a mess.
- The cost of riding a lack-luster public transit system is too high and sometimes not worth it.
- Finding a family doctor has been nearly impossible for thousands of people.
- The amount of time spent in cars commuting is unnecessarily and unfortunately causing further environmental damage.
But every country has its challenges. No country is perfect. At least I don’t think so. I’ve heard Switzerland comes pretty close. Closer than Canada? I could do Geneva. Do I know anyone in Switzerland? Don’t think so. Not yet.
But ask Canadians where they would rather live and they will say nowhere else. Except maybe Switzerland. Australia. USA. Of course, the irony in all of this is the fact that most Canadians wouldn’t move to Toronto.