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Whitehorse and Yellowknife on Top 20 List

January 18, 2015

Cities Journal has published a list of the top 20 small cities in Canada. The territorial capitals of Yukon and NWT made the cut.

Dawson Creek, BC was number one on the list, but alas lies at only 55 degrees north latitude.

Small cities are scattered throughout the Canadian landscape, but there are some that stand apart from others. The cities on this list represent the best quality of life that Canada has to offer. Each of these cities will make a great vacation spot or a perfect place to start a family. These cities have rich historical roots, thriving economies and many leisure activities. Best of all, you can get a taste of the small-town atmosphere while having access to the same amenities that attract people to large cities. 

The City of Whitehorse is embarking on a $55 M building consolidation project (new City Hall and services building). Construction will begin in 2016. The City is in the midst of developing a new economic development strategy. Whitehorse is somewhat of a retail shopping hub for the territory and indeed for the Mackenzie Delta and even some Alaskan communities.

The City of Yellowknife just completed a comprehensive background review for its economic development strategy last year. Yellowknife has a dozen businesses catering to winter tourism—the aurora borealis. The NWT aurora tourism brings in more than $20 M in expenditures each winter.


Both cities are wonderful places to live and raise a family. As centers of government each has a large public sector that accounts for roughly one half the labour force. In the past 5 years the public sector has expended, while the private sector has not. Perhaps the economic development strategies should address the imbalance, as well a building on existing strengths.