uhaul growth index

Toronto doesn't make list of top Ontario cities people are moving to

Whether because of economic hardship brought on by the pandemic, the sudden widespread acceptance of remote working, or any combination of factors, Canadians have been fleeing urban centres in droves, especially right here in Toronto.

Many take the do-it-yourself approach to moving, renting out trucks from services like U-Haul to get their lives relocated. That company's annual Growth Index listings were revealed this month, offering some insight into where former big city dwellers are flocking to start their new lives.

U-Haul has ranked the number of moves across all ten Canadian provinces and dozens of cities, determining the places drawing in the highest numbers of new residents, and there are certainly some surprises in this year's rankings.

According to the figures, Alberta was the top province for DIY moves, but Ontario wasn't too far behind, taking the #3 spot and rising dramatically from the #10 position it held in 2020.

In fact, 14 of Canada's top 25 growth cities were in Ontario last year, including all three of the top spots on U-Haul's nationwide list. Yet somehow, Toronto failed to even crack the top 25.

Just like 2020, North Bay was not only Ontario's top moving destination — at least for those renting U-Haul trucks — but the highest-ranking in Canada.

North Bay saw a 40 per cent year-over-year increase in U-Haul arrivals, and while departures also climbed by 27 per cent, arriving customers still accounted for almost 60 per cent of one-way traffic to North Bay last year.

Belleville came in at the #2 spot nationwide for 2021, rising from a fourth-place ranking in 2020, while Greater Sudbury also climbed the charts from sixth place in 2020 to third place in 2021.

Jake Spelic, U-Haul Area District Vice President of Eastern Canada, notes how the early days of the pandemic triggered "a mass exodus from Ontario to other provinces, particularly the Maritimes."

Spelic says that these new arrivals to the province "were in search of cheaper housing as they worked from home" but says that "we are starting to see that trend reverse."

Lead photo by

Jonathan Castellino

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