Why are Canadian cities so much nicer than American cities?


The question I answered was “” but it got merged with “Why are Canadian cities so much nicer . . .”

I’ll never forget going to Niagara Falls for the first time – it was 1992. The American side was noticeably dumpy and then we walked across the Rainbow Bridge to Disney World. That was my impression of Canada for a long time. It’s still mostly true. Niagara Falls, NY is still pretty dumpy. Niagara Falls, ON still looks like Disney World.

Canadian cities, generally, are cleaner and safer than US cities. But better? It depends on what’s important to you.

I didn’t find Vancouver to be markedly different from Seattle. Seattle is bigger but aside from that . . ? I think there’s more cultural and aesthetic distance between San Francisco and Seattle than between Seattle and Vancouver.

Calgary and Denver? Meh. Again, Denver is bigger, similar vibes though.

Montreal looks like if you put Boston where Pittsburgh is. But in French. The architecture is a little different, especially for older homes and apartment buildings but it doesn’t feel like a different country. Montreal can also really looks like Cincinnati in places but people in Montreal have that Boston level pride in their city. No one in Cincy seems to care that much. I like Montreal a lot. This is always my first choice for visiting Canada. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive to fly there.

(this is the actual Montreal Metro map but, to be silly, the station names have been translated from English to French or from French to English.)

Toronto. It reminds me of DC if you took the federal capital stuff out and replaced it with Atlanta’s skyline. Like DC it has sprawling suburbs full of apartments, it’s kind of bland, but it’s a nice enough place. It’s still a big city with some energy.

So maybe Canadian cities are better places to live and US cities better places to visit? But then Canadian housing is really expensive. And Canadian winters are long and cold. Don’t get me wrong, Seattle, Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago, Buffalo, Burlington – all those places have rough . But Canada is entirely north of there

I don’t know. I don’t think there are many important differences between the two countries in terms of urban life. Take the train to work. Get your coffee at Tim’s. Get your lunch from Chipotle. Work out at LA Fitness. Get your groceries at Whole Foods. Watch the Blue Jays play the Yankees or the Flames play the Avalanche.

The differences between New Orleans and New York is bigger than the differences between Buffalo and Hamilton. Maybe US cities have violent neighborhoods that Canadian cities either lack or don’t have to the same degree but this doesn’t typically affect you if you don’t live in one. There are pros and cons to either country. Take your pick.

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