What Makes Burlington One of Canada’s Happiest Cities?

In rankings of the happiest cities in Canada, Burlington frequently tops the list. This picturesque city of 183,000 residents in southern Ontario has been dubbed “the jewel of the Golden Horseshoe” for its enviable location on the shore of Lake Ontario and proximity to Niagara Falls. But Burlington offers much more than natural scenery that contributes to its residents’ high quality of life and overall happiness.

Recreation and community activities abound in Burlington. With over 400 parks in the city, as well as kilometers of hiking trails, recreational sports facilities, and public beaches along Lake Ontario, there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities. Festivals and events like the Sound of Music Festival, Apple Harvest Festival, and Santa Claus Parade also foster community togetherness. An abundance of options for fitness, culture, learning, and entertainment help prevent boredom and encourage social interaction.

Burlington has a thriving local food scene, supporting residents’ happiness through healthy, high-quality meals. From artisanal coffee shops to farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, and the Burlington Farmers’ Market, the city champions fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Even Burlington’s local hospital, Joseph Brant Hospital, has an organic garden, therapeutic kitchen, and on-site farmers market. Access to nutritious whole foods and a sustainable food system boosts health and overall well-being.

The city’s master-planned neighborhoods, ample green spaces, and balanced commercial and residential development contribute to an attractive built environment. Strict urban planning guidelines ensure high standards for architecture, environmental sustainability, and access to amenities like schools, parks, transit, and retail within each neighborhood. Well-designed buildings and infrastructure promote a sense of community connection and safety.

With a low crime rate, affordable cost of living, reputable schools including a top-ranked high school, and short commute times, Burlington offers a family-friendly environment and sense of security that fuels happiness and life satisfaction. Strong economic opportunity and job growth provide meaningful work for many residents, while proximity to larger cities like Toronto and Hamilton open up more career options.

The secret behind Burlington’s success as a happy city is that it gets the fundamentals right. Natural scenery, community events, local food, an enviable built environment, and economic opportunity—Burlington nurtures all the essential ingredients for health, work-life balance, safety, and quality of life. While happiness depends on individual choices and attitudes, Burlington creates the best possible conditions for its residents to thrive.

Of course, Burlington isn’t without its share of issues, but its focus on sustainable development, community wellness, and fulfilling lifestyles has shaped the city into a place where happiness can flourish. For those in search of a city that supports the good life, provides a strong community, and offers opportunities for meaning through work, leisure and health, Burlington deserves its reputation as one of the happiest cities in Canada. Overall, what makes Burlington happy is that it gives residents abundant reasons to smile.

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