Here's looking at you, North Vancouver.
A new ranking of small Canadian cities puts the North Shore's most metropolitan municipality in the sixth spot. The City of North Van was outpaced by B.C. peers Victoria and Kelowna, but beat out other top-10 finishers Burlington and Lethbridge.
The list was produced by consultancy Resonance, which advises clients in real estate, tourism and economic development. The firm's best cities rankings "quantify and benchmark the relative quality of place, reputation and competitive identity for cities all over the world."
Resonance noted that North Van, the city with the smallest population in its top 25, has some of the biggest natural attributes of any city – large or small – and increasingly urban ones, too.
"Start at the urban gateway to the city, in Lower Lonsdale, North Van’s downtown – today a magnetic gathering place that has absolutely blossomed over the past decade, with some of Metro Vancouver’s most open, accessible and walkable public spaces forged from and woven into a historic and authentic working waterfront," reads the report.
The list also tips its hat to the region's unique public transportation.
"The proximity of this edge-of-the-wilderness location to the vast built environment cannot be overstated: downtown Vancouver is a mere 15 minutes by one of the most spectacular modes of public transit on the planet – the SeaBus," the report continues.
But Resonance lamented the heavy traffic that backs up on the North Shore's two major bridges that connect to downtown, which many North Vancouverites rely on to produce the sixth-highest household income among small cities. No wonder commuters rank fourth in cycling to work, the consultancy said.
"But biking here transcends traffic jams. This is the birthplace of North Shore mountain biking, after all." With the numerous activities afforded by the local mountains, the report highlights that locals rank first in its self-employed category.
"Who could stick to a 9-to-5 with the great outdoors calling daily?"
To be considered a small city, it must have a population of less than 200,000. Around 60,000 live in the City of North Vancouver.
"Our Best Cities rankings have been the global benchmark for measuring city performance since 2014, used by global governments and media like National Geographic and Afar to evaluate the trajectory of the world’s urban centres both large and small," Resonance president and CEO Chris Fair said in a statement. "The Best Cities rankings are composed of experiential factors that people consider most important in choosing a city to live and visit, as well as empirical factors that business decision-makers consider important for business or investment."
Last year, Vancouver ranked 46th in the consultancy's list of world's best cities.