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10 Worst Cities to Live in Canada: Part 9, Kenora, Ontario

4 January 2013

Travel all the way west in Ontario, almost until you run smack dab into Winnipeg, and you’ll come across the small city known as Kenora. This city, which was once actually considered to be both a part of Ontario and Winnipeg (if you can figure that one out,) began its life being known as “Rat Portage.” Thankfully, that’s no longer one of Kenora’s problems as they’ve changed their name around, and turned other things around for the city, too.

We first heard of Kenora being named “one of the worst places to live in Canada” from MoneySense magazine; but we suggest that they do a bit more digging before they deem this Northwestern city a bad place to live. Kenora has seen its share of troubles just like any other Canadian city, with an undecided location just the beginning of it, but this town has always been in a fairly affluent portion of the province of Ontario, and its forecasted growth should fill residents with confidence in the future.

Firstly, Kenora’s economy stops just short of booming. While it may not have the fast hustle and bustle, profit-making businessmen running around within every inch of it, the average household income in Kenora is $59,946. While that’s just slightly lower than the national average, it’s also more than cities and towns in the surrounding area. Most of the jobs from which those incomes come are through forestry, tourism, and mining.

And most of the residents have a job; another good indicator that Kenora is a booming city in which to live. With an unemployment rate of 7.17 per cent, this is on par with the national rate, but it’s also lower than what you’ll find in nearby areas.

The forestry industry in Kenora took a huge hit in the 1980s, when Canada was entering into a recession that would greatly impact nearly every industry within the country. While many forestry plants and operations were shut down during this time, the industry largely came back and is still very prevalent in the area today. However, when it comes to the real moneymaker for Kenora, there’s no denying that lies in its tourism.

Tourism is huge in Kenora. Huge. With the Lake of the Woods surrounding the city, there are numerous places for cottages to be set up, trails available for hiking and biking, and a number of other lures and draws for visitors. Many of these are environmental, as Kenora is a beautiful town in a serene setting and so, the cottage industry is very much alive in this country. To help Kenora boost its cottage industry, it’s also surrounded by visitors that help double the population during the summer months. The neighbouring province of Winnipeg, the neighbouring state of Minnesota, and other parts of Canada are all areas from which tourists come to visit and enjoy Kenora throughout the entire summer.

So why was Kenora placed on MoneySense’s list of the worst places to live in all of Canada? Their reason was a lack of arts in the community. A quick glance through MoneySense’s comments though, and other places online, shows that folks aren’t too concerned with arts, especially when there’s so much natural beauty surrounding the area. So maybe Kenora isn’t really such a bad place to live after all.

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