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Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Pat Spracklin, author of the article, and do not reflect the attitudes or views of the photographers whose work is used below –
We’ve told you about some of the underrated immigration destinations in Canada, now check out our list of places prospective Canadians should avoid: the poor places, the racist places, the isolated places, the depressing places, the worst of the worst! Naturally, the tiny towns in the woods of Northern Ontario or the southern shore of Newfoundland would be the worst of the worst, but let’s be reasonable. Here are list of towns and cities with a substantial population (at least 5000 residents) that might seem like a decent idea to a prospective immigrant interested in a slower pace of living.
Photos Credit to:
1. New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Photo by Verne Equinox, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by JBarta via Wikimedia Commons
High crime rate? Check.
High unemployment? Check.
High cost of living? Check.
Limited access to services? Check.
High property taxes? Check.
Bad weather? Check.
Despite being a small, quaint city just a few hours from Halifax, New Glasgow tops polls of the worst places to live in Canada. How could those 10,000 people stand it? They must have all been born there.
In 2009 New Glasgow ranked 36th out of 208 in StatsCan’s crime severity index. The crime rate increased from 2011 to 2012, and was significantly higher than the provincial average.
In 2006, New Glasgow had an unemployment rate of 7.7%. It has decreased since then and, as of the 2011 census, it was 5.7%, or slightly lower than the provincial average.
The cost of living in New Glasgow was estimated by one website to be 4% higher than the cost of living in New York City, but only 30.3% of those reporting say their households earn more than $60,000 Canadian per year (after taxes).
Property tax in New Glasgow was higher than the average in Nova Scotia and significantly higher than Halifax up to and including 2013.
New Glasgow receives 1212 cm of precipitation per year (that’s more than Vancouver).
2. Kitchener – Waterloo, Ontario
Photo by Tina, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Tyx via Wikimedia
Photo by JustSomePics, via Wikimedia
Congratulations, Kitchener / Waterloo, you are the hate crime capital of Canada! Despite hosting two universities and a massive tech company campus, the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge tri-city area experiences a high per capita rate of verbal and physical assaults on ethnic, religious and gay minorities. Despite its location in the highly diverse Southern Ontario region, Kitchener has inherited the mantle from the previous main offender, Calgary.
In 2011 Kitchener-Waterloo was surpassed by Peterborough, Hamilton and Ottawa in police-reported hate crimes, however the rate remained at nearly double the national average.
3. Thetford Mines, Quebec
The third of the three rogues’ gallery dwellers is poor Thetford Mines, the heart of Quebec’s asbestos mining region and the winner of the title Most Polluted City in Canada. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangerous health effects of asbestos, Canada still mines the dangerous mineral, and the biggest mine in a populated area is in Thetford Mines.
4. Bay Roberts, Newfoundland
Photos by Werner Koehler, via Wikimedia Commons
Many, many other rural communities on the east coast could make this list, but Bay Roberts appears because it has the highest unemployment rate in Canada, at 17%. Despite the oil, gas, mining and hydro-power booms in Newfoundland, Bay Roberts has somehow managed to avoid the job benefits. This wouldn’t seem so peculiar if Bay Roberts wasn’t just an hour’s drive from money-drunk St. John’s and other rapidly expanding bedroom communities like Conception Bay South.
The unemployment rate has improved as it was 20.7% in 2006
5. Sarnia, Ontario
Photo by P199, via Wikimedia
Sarnia itself may not be so bad, but its view of and proximity to American heavy industry helps to reinforce the fact that this border town is polluted. It also has an empty downtown and a shrinking population.
6. Saint John, New Brunswick
Photo by DDD DDD, via Wikimedia
Photo by Shipley07, via Wikimedia
Photo by Michael d40, via Wikimedia
Long known as the unglamourous milltown cousin to its apostrophic neighbour to the east, St. John’s, Saint John is a dirty, stinky pulp and paper port on the Bay of Fundy. Despite the natural beauty nearby, the city has a declining population and few economic opportunities outside of the paper mills, nuclear power plant, and small university satellite campus. Don’t end up in Saint John when you want to live in St. John’s!
7. Nanaimo, BC
Photo by Masterhatch, via Wikimedia
Photo by galina75, via Wikimedia
8. Thunder Bay, Ontario
Photo by Derek Hatfield, via Wikimedia
Photo by P199, via Wikimedia

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