by Nicole Spiteri
Sep 25, 2017

Where to next? Three little-big Ontario cities we’d gladly call home.

Where to next? Three little-big Ontario cities we’d gladly call home.

So, you’ve decided that your time as a resident of the bustling metropolis that is Toronto is coming to an end. You’re looking to slow down your lifestyle, or for more space for your growing family. Whatever the reason, making the jump from a bustling metropolis to the burbs can be intimidating.

Thankfully, more and more cities in southern Ontario are embracing big-city amenities while staying true to their slow living, small town vibes. These are our top three picks for little-big cities we’d gladly call home.

via Conde Nast

Prince Edward County

Why We Love It: The Food Scene

It seems that every day this eastern wine region is getting more and more attention. And for good reason. South of the 401 just outside of Kingston, this stunning municipality is home to Sandbanks Provincial Park and numerous conservation areas. There are no shortage of outdoor activities to partake in here. It’s like cottage country…but better equipped for city slickers.  

Aside from breathtaking scenery (and of course, the WINE!), the county’s incredible food scene has everything a little-big city needs.

Head to downtown Wellington to satisfy your boozy brunch cravings at The Courage Bar. Grabbing a cold one with friends is easy when you have Midtown Brewing Company, Parsons and County Road Beer Co. And takeout comfort food? You’ve got Prince Edward Pizza, The Lighthouse Restaurant at Picton Harbour Inn, and County Yum Club, to name a few. You certainly won’t miss dining al fresco, as there are plenty of patios choose from. Would you prefer to dine vineyard side (Norman Hardie) or lakeside (Drake Devonshire) today?

Beyond the food scene, the main strips of downtown Wellington and Picton are bustling with artisanal and vintage shops, cafes and food markets. You won’t have to give up your Sunday morning latte and window shopping here!

Average Home Price (all stats via Zolo, June 2017)

Detached Home: $404K
Townhouse: N/A
Condo: N/A


via Toronto Star


Why We Love It: The Culture

This Golden Horseshoe city has been referred to many times as the “Brooklyn” of Canada because of its gritty spirit, laid back attitude, and focus on arts and culture. With annual events like The Supercrawl (Hamilton’s resident music and arts festival), Hamilton Fringe Festival and Hamilton Pride, there’s no question as to whether or not this place boasts a big city vibe. There are over ten galleries, multiple performing arts theatres, and both large and small scale music venues to suit the needs of every art lover.

Last but not least, cozy cafes, artisan shops and array of restaurants are abound along James Street, providing a surprising amount of variety for a small downtown core. And there’s no shortage of places to grab a drink with friends either.

Bonus: The Architecture

Think you’ll miss the jaw-dropping Victorian homes during your strolls along Palmerston? Think again. Hamilton has a bounty of stunning heritage homes, with many for sale well below Toronto’s multi million-dollar price tags.

Average Home Price (all stats via Zolo, June 2017)

Detached: $613K
Townhouse: $476k
Condo: $314K

via City of Orillia


Why We Love It: The Great Outdoors

Toronto has an awesome set of parks to enjoy the sunshine and stay active outdoors. But imagine you lived somewhere that had nearly 30km of trails within the city borders? That place exists, and it’s Orillia.

Whether you get your fix from biking, running, or a leisurely walk, the city of Orillia puts a priority on ensuring its residents have the ability to easily and cost-effectively maintain an active lifestyle. There’s even a portion of the city’s main trail that’s regularly plowed during the winter months, allowing for the bravest to continue their morning jogs year round. In addition to the trails, Orillia boasts two awesome beaches with plenty of opportunities swim, play beach volleyball and more.

However, don’t think that the abundance of outdoor activities means you have to sacrifice the culture of a big city. Orillia boasts a thriving downtown scene, complete with a museum, opera house, art galleries and a brand new library. A variety of festivals and events occur year round, so don’t be surprised if you stumble upon an acoustic performance while getting coffee, or a community movie night while strolling along the beach.

Average Home Price (all stats via Zolo, June 2017)

Detached Home: $416K
Townhouse: $304K
Condo: $412K