Best Places To Live On Vancouver Island: Explore The Top 7 Most Idyllic Places To Relocate 

Best Places To Live On Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is home to some of the most picturesque and desirable communities in Canada. Did you know that Vancouver Island is home to over 864,000 people and is the 43rd largest island in the world? With so many great places to live, like vibrant Victoria, harbor city Nanaimo, seaside Oak Bay, or scenic Langford, how do you figure out which one is the best places to live on Vancouver Island? 

In this post, we’ll be highlighting the best places with top communities on the island, giving you a glimpse into what makes each one special and providing you with key information that may influence your decision. So, whether you’re looking for a bustling city, a quaint small town, or a peaceful rural paradise, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore the best places to live on Vancouver Island! 

7 Best Places To Live On Vancouver Island 

1. Victoria: 

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is also the largest city and capital of the province, which is known for its mild climate and rich history. Victoria is a lively, multifaceted destination with an array of attractions like the Inner Harbor and the Parliament Buildings. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. 


Strong Sense of Community:  

Victoria is home to a diverse and friendly population, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in local events and activities. The city has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with a range of annual events and festivals, such as the Victoria International Jazz Fest and the Victoria Film Festival. 

Top neighborhoods in Victoria: 

  1. Rockland area 
  2. James Bay 
  3. Fernwood neighborhood 
  4. Fairfield Area 

Strong Economy And Job Market:  

Victoria has a number of major employers, including the provincial government, the University of Victoria, and healthcare organizations. The unemployment rate in Victoria is consistently lower than the national average, currently at 4.1% 

Great Place To Raise A Family:  

Victoria offers excellent educational institutions, like the University of Victoria and Camosun College. The city also has a low crime rate and relatively low cost of living (one-bedroom apartment rent: $1,650) compared to other cities on Vancouver Island.  

Access To Nature and Parks: 

Victoria is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, including the stunning Butchart Gardens and the rugged West Coast Trail. The city has more than 50 parks and trails, with over 10,000 acres of parkland, and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.  

2. Nanaimo: 

Nanaimo, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island for many reasons, like better job opportunities, affordable living costs, and so on. Living in Nanaimo is a great choice for those who want to experience the city lifestyle while still being able to appreciate the outdoorsy side of Vancouver Island.  


Affordable Living Cost: 

Compared to other cities on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo offers an affordable housing market and lower overall living expenses, making it a great option to relocate without breaking the bank. 

  1. One-bedroom apartment rent: $1,500 
  2. Median house price: around $800,000 

Top areas in Nanaimo: 

  1. Downtown area 
  2. Harewood neighborhood 
  3. Brechin Hill Area 

Job Opportunities:  

Nanaimo’s economy is diverse, with a mix of retail, healthcare, education, and manufacturing sectors. According to the City of Nanaimo, the unemployment rate as of October 2021 was 6.1%, which is lower than the national average of 8.9%. 

Quality Educational Institutions: 

Nanaimo is home to Vancouver Island University, a well-respected institution that offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Additionally, there are several renowned elementary and secondary schools in the area, making it a great place to raise a family. 

Proximity To Other Destinations:  

Nanaimo’s location on the Island makes it a convenient base for exploring the rest of the island and the mainland. Whether you’re looking to take a day trip to Tofino or catch a ferry to Victoria or Vancouver, Nanaimo is a hub that has better connectivity to those destinations. 

3. Langford: 

Langford is a mix of urban and rural landscapes. Just like Nanaimo, it offers all the perks of city living while still being surrounded by nature. The city’s expansion has been swift in recent years, yet it has retained its small-town atmosphere. 


Affordable Living Cost: 

One of the most appealing aspects of Langford is its cost of living. Unlike other cities on Vancouver Island, Langford is relatively affordable, making it a great option for families and young professionals looking to stretch their budgets. The low home price is a reason why Langford is one of the most livable cities in Canada. 

  1. One-bedroom apartment rent: $1250 
  2. Median house price: around $900,000 

Vibrant Community:  

Langford is a bustling, growing community that offers a wide range of activities and events for residents to enjoy. From community festivals and fairs, such as the annual Langford Days, to farmers’ markets and live music events, the city always has something happening. 

Top neighborhoods in Langford: 

  1. Bear Mountain 
  2. Westhills  
  3. Thetis Heights 
  4. Mill Hill 
  5. Happy Valley 

Convenient Location:  

Langford is located just minutes from Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. In addition, Langford is well connected by public transportation, making it easy to access to other nearby towns. 

Places To Cheer You Up: 

From the attractive Goldstream Provincial Park to the historic Hatley Castle, there’s always something new and exciting to discover for you in Langford. Moreover, the city boasts numerous parks and trails, such as the Galloping Goose Trail and the Bear Mountain Resort, which are perfect for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. 

4. Duncan: 

Duncan is located in the Cowichan Valley region of Vancouver Island, in the south-central part. The city also has a variety of local shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a great place for foodies and shopping enthusiasts. 


Affordable Living Cost: 

The cost of living in Duncan is relatively low compared to other cities on Vancouver Island. Living in Duncan is 13% cheaper than the national average. Housing price is really affordable here, and the city has a strong sense of community, making it one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. 

  1. One-bedroom apartment rent: around $1000 
  2. Median house price: around $600,000 

Community Spirit: 

Duncan has a strong sense of community pride and regularly hosts events such as farmers’ markets, festivals, and community fairs. Additionally, the city has a lot of active community groups and organizations, including sports teams, gardening clubs, and volunteer organizations, that provide many opportunities to get involved and make new friends. 

Top neighborhoods in Duncan: 

  1. Maple Bay 
  2. Crofton 
  3. North Cowichan 

Quality Educational Institutions: 

Duncan is home to several excellent educational institutions, making it a great place for families with children. The city has a number of elementary and secondary schools, as well as a college and a university. Some of the top-rated schools in the city include Sunrise Waldorf School and Maple Bay Elementary

Places To Cheer You Up: 

The city is home to over 40 parks and hiking trails, including the beautiful Cowichan River Trail and the Cowichan Valley Trail, which stretches over 160 km. One of the must-see places in Duncan is the Quw’utsun Cultural and Conference Centre. For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Cowichan River Provincial Park is a great place for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. 

5. Oak Bay: 

Oak Bay is a beautiful seaside municipality located on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. It is known for its lush forests, stunning ocean views, and abundant wildlife. On top of it, Oak Bay has a beautiful and peaceful community with a strong sense of community spirit.  

Oak Bay

Quality of Life:  

Oak Bay has a low crime rate and is considered one of the safest communities in British Columbia. Not only that, it is the second-least dangerous community in Canada. The community also offers a variety of services and programs to support residents’ well-being, including health and wellness programs, youth services, and senior services. 

Strong Sense of Community: 

Oak Bay is known for its tight-knit community and friendly residents. The community hosts several annual events, such as the Oak Bay Tea Party, which brings together residents and visitors for a day of fun and celebration. 

Top neighborhoods in Oak Bay: 

  1. The Uplands 
  2. South Oak Bay 
  3. Downtown 
  4. Rockland 


Oak Bay offers a wide range of amenities, including excellent schools, parks, and recreational facilities, including the Oak Bay Rec Centre. The community is home to several top-rated schools, including Oak Bay High School , which received an 8.2 out of 10 rating on the Fraser Institute’s school ranking. 

Places To Cheer You Up: 

The core of Oak Bay is home to many unique boutiques, vibrant art galleries, and an array of eclectic eateries. A short walk away lies Willows Beach, a tranquil setting perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, and other vessels. The Oak Bay Marina is full of grand yachts and luxurious homes, which are sure to leave a lasting impression on you. 

6. Colwood 

Colwood, nestled on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Its abundance of opportunities to explore nature’s wonders is a reason why it’s on our list of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. From hiking through lush forests to kayaking on crystal-clear waters or fishing for salmon, you can do everything here.


Convenient Location: 

Colwood is just a short drive (15 minutes) away from Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. It means you’ll have easy access to all the big city amenities while still being able to enjoy a quieter, more laid-back lifestyle. 

Outdoor Activities:  

The city has several parks and trails, such as Colwood Creek Park, which is perfect for hiking, biking, and running. The city also has several beaches, like the Esquimalt Lagoon and the Royal Roads University Beach, that are great for swimming and surfing. 

Natural Beauty: 

Colwood is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including beaches, parks, and hiking trails. For example, the Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a great spot for bird watching, and the Hatley Park National Historic Site offers beautiful gardens and historical buildings. 

7. North Saanich: 

North Saanich is a coastal community located on the northern end of Vancouver Island. The small town’s slow-paced and relaxed lifestyle helped it on our list of best places to live on Vancouver Island. Additionally, North Saanich is known for its mild climate, making it an ideal location for those who enjoy milder weather. 

North Saanich

Great Place For Retirees:  

North Saanich is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island for retirees. It has a growing population of retirees who appreciate the natural beauty, mild climate, and slower pace of life. The average age of the population is 57, which is a lot higher than the Canadian average (41). 

Community Resources:  

North Saanich has a variety of community resources and activities that are geared toward retirees, such as the Panorama Recreation Centre, which offers a wide range of programs and services, including fitness classes, aquatics, and an art studio. 

Top areas in North Saanich: 

  1. Bazan Bay 
  2. Central North Sannich 
  3. Curteis Point 
  4. Victoria Airport 
  5. Swartz Bay 

Proximity To Victoria:  

The town is just a short drive from the bustling city of Victoria, meaning you can enjoy all the amenities and services of a larger city while having a small-town feel. Victoria is just 30 minutes away by car from North Saanich. 

Places To Cheer You Up: 

North Saanich is home to several beautiful places, including John Dean Provincial Park and Deep Cove Park. These parks offer a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, picnicking, and bird watching. The beaches in North Saanich are also popular among locals and are the perfect spot for a day out with family and friends. 

Is It Worth Living On Vancouver Island? 

Vancouver Island boasts a high quality of life. With lower unemployment rates and higher median household incomes than the national average, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Plus, with a diverse range of communities, from Victoria’s bustling city life to the charming rural towns of Cowichan Valley, you’ll never be bored. Each community of the island has its own unique character and culture, making for a fascinating and engaging place to call home. 

Moreover, Vancouver Island is a natural paradise, with easy access to parks, forests, and beaches, making it a perfect place for nature lovers. Not only that, but it also offers a great environment for families, with a high-performing education system and a safe and friendly community. So, is it worth living on Vancouver Island? The answer is a resounding YES! 

Is Vancouver Safe? 

According to recent crime statistics, Vancouver Island has a lower overall crime rate compared to BC. Violent crime is relatively uncommon on the island, with less than 8 offenses per 1,000 people.  

But it’s not just crime rates that make Vancouver Island a safe place to live. The island has a relatively low population density, which helps foster a feeling of security and belonging. Of course, no place is completely immune to crime, and Vancouver Island is no exception. Still, the island’s low crime rates and strong community spirit make it a safe place to live in. 

Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Living in Manitoba

Final Words: Best Places To Live On Vancouver Island 

Vancouver Island is a great place for those looking for a blend of natural beauty, urban amenities, and a laid-back lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for a place to retire, raise a family, or simply escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Vancouver Island has it all. So, pack your bags and head to explore any of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. Trust us; you won’t be disappointed! 

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