40 of the Most Caring Towns in Canada


With the holiday season approaching, many of us are in a caring mood. But some places provide an outpouring of support no matter the season. This is why we used social listening to find which cities were most tied to tags like “#caring,” “#charity,” and “#volunteer.” After looking through thousands of data points, we compiled a list of the most charitable cities in the country.

Whether these places make a difference with their active volunteering, food bank donating, or sustainability promoting, you can count on these towns caring about the world around them. Ranked in order of number of mentions, here are some of the most giving cities in Canada.

1. Lake Louise/Banff, Alberta

Mentions: 72,061 combined

Maybe it’s something in the crisp, clean air, but both Lake Louise and Banff receive high marks for being amongst the most caring places in the country—especially when it comes to the environment.

 

  • This is where hardy adventurers with Parks Canada can participate in mountain cleanups, vegetation removal, weed control, trail maintenance, and providing general updates on wildlife.
  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, one of the most famous hotels in the world, has participated in No Net Negative Environmental Impact for the past decade to cut down human impact on nature. They also celebrate Earth Hour each year, use energy-efficient fixtures, and utilized a recycle program to save about 1.5 tons of waste from entering landfills.
  • The city of Banff itself is doing its part for the environment. Banff has the most electric car chargers per capita in Alberta, recycles about 60-percent of all waste, and is aiming to have all new buildings meet or beat Silver LEED certification—much like the already-awarded Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre.

 

2. Athabasca, Alberta

Mentions: 42,536

Located on the banks of the Athabasca River, there’s something peaceful about Athabasca, Alberta, that seems to sweep into the gentle nature of town. That doesn’t mean they aren’t passionate about making a difference, however.

  • The Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society has supported two families that have escaped war-torn countries to find safety within town. The organization is now working to sponsor two more families in the area.
  • Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS), based in Athabasca and Edmonton, has connected 8,988 animals with loving families, and continues to make an effort with volunteer fostering and adoption events.
  • Speaking of volunteering, we’d be remiss not to talk about Keepers of the Athabasca. This powerful group is made up of First Nations, Inuit, Metis, and environmental groups who do everything they can to keep the waters clear and air clean.

3. Windsor, Nova Scotia

Mentions: 41,925

Via Quick As a Wink Theatre

Windsor may be tied to its hockey roots, with body slams and aggressive play, but underneath, this town is a big softie.

  • Whoever said you can’t donate to society and enjoy entertainment at the same time? Quick As A Wink is a community theatre group that puts on a variety of acts around the area. Not only that, they also provide art seminars and workshops.
  • Windsor has a sharp eye on the future, especially when it comes to the environment. The Integrated Community Sustainability Plan is one of those long-term plans, with initiatives related to habitat preservation, energy reduction, and better waste management.
  • New Boundaries is also doing its part to help the community, especially when it comes to people. The group helps adults with diverse abilities find part-time work or volunteer within town.

4. Dawson City, Yukon

Mentions: 40,940

It may be surrounded by wilderness, but Dawson City has a tame heart. From the environment to kittens, this town knows how to make a difference.

  • The Humane Society Dawson has been around since 1995 and is a champion of matching pups and kittens with loving homes, with roughly 40 animals going to fosters and 25 going to forever homes each year.
  • Dawson City is one of the country’s leaders in sustainability, as they started progressive measures back in 2007. By 2012, the town was considered carbon neutral. To make a difference, the city uses LED lights in all government buildings, solar powered crosswalk lights, and low-flow toilets.
  • You can’t talk about Dawson City without mentioning the Conservation Klondike Society. Founded in 1992, this group operates a recycling depot for people to use, and participates in education programs to help residents understand the simple ways they can care for the planet.

5. Jasper, Alberta

Mentions: 34,553

Via Jasper Pride Festival

With beautiful sights and challenging landscapes, is it really a surprise that the people of Jasper challenge themselves to do more every day? In fact, it’s one of the most generous cities in the region.

  • The Friends of Jasper National Park is involved with a variety of things, like maintaining unruly trails, bird mapping, presenting education programs, and manning the gift shop.
  • Tons of volunteers help with the annual Jasper Pride Festival each year. This includes everything from staffing ticket booths to being an ambassador for the event.
  • Call them elves or call them heroes, but the members of the Community Caring Fund bring nothing but good throughout the year. Around the holidays, the group leads Santas Anonymous, which ensures that everyone has access to a hot meal and small gift. The group also promotes the Diversity Project and Wilderness Access Program to better connect the community with nature and each other.

6. Calgary, Alberta

Mentions: 21,339

Calgary is a big city with a lot to give. Whether it’s helping refugees settle into a new life or making sure families have enough to eat, this town gives an outpouring of support.

  • Calgary Syrian Refugee Support Group, which is made up of volunteers, does everything it can to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and furniture. The organization also helps with English lessons and social events.
  • The Calgary Food Bank is the largest in the city and runs on the goodwill of volunteers and donations. In 2016, the bank gave out 262 baskets of food per day.
  • When it comes to homelessness, Calgary believes in workshops that will help the community. This includes offering classes about self-care, first-aid, housing questions, and suicide prevention.

7. Gimli, Manitoba

Mentions: 20,587

Given how many festivals take place in Gimli, Manitoba, it’s little wonder there is such a sense of tradition and community in town.

  • When it comes to events, volunteers are the backbone of town staples like the Gimli Film Festival, where they help with setup, teardown, tickets, and transportation.
  • Speaking of volunteers, it’s hard not to step back in awe of everything Gimli District Health Auxiliary does. Founded in 1968, the group supports the health of the community by providing much-needed equipment like chemotherapy chairs, canes, and extra mattresses.
  • When it comes to the planet, the city is looking for fresh perspectives. The Gimli Environmental Advisory Committee is actively seeking new members to help promote recycling and sustainability around town.

8. St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Mentions: 19,829

St. John’s: as lovely as it is caring. With sustainability and inclusivity on the forefront, this town gets high marks for its helping nature.

  • John’s International Women’s Film Festival is one of the oldest women’s film events in North America. The festival’s objective is to promote and support women behind the camera as directors and producers.
  • Speaking of women, the St. John’s Status of Women Council is a powerful entity that looks out for the welfare of its population. This includes running Marguerite’s Place for those who need to escape dangerous situations and increasing women representation in elected office.
  • The Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council is another remarkable group in town. The organization puts on events to help with the integration of cultures to make new members of the country feel welcome.

9. Thessalon, Ontario

Mentions: 18,442

Sitting on the edges of Lake Huron, Thessalon, Ontario, has a certain sense of peace and tranquility that passes down to its locals.

  • The Rivers Speak group has supported about 1,500 members through the years to share their stories and art with each other. This sharing culminates in a community play, with storytelling, graphics, and music.
  • Love strolling through nature on your weekends? Well, the people of Thessalon do, too. The Community Gardens program is looking for volunteers to keep the landscape clean and welcoming for residents and visitors to enjoy.
  • When it comes to nature, you’ll want to look out for the Voyageur Trail Association, which works with volunteers who clean the hiking path from Sudbury though Sault Ste. Marie onto Thunder Bay.

10. Victoria, British Columbia

Mentions: 16,521

Victoria, British Columbia, is regarded as one of the prettiest towns in Canada, and the townspeople do everything they can to make the community as beautiful and heathy as possible.

  • The city has ambitious plans of sustainability. By 2050, Victoria’s goal is to cut down greenhouse gases by 80 percent, and have 100 percent renewable energy. This includes offering incentives for homeowners to use natural gas for heating and encouraging citizens to invest in electric cars.
  • Newborns can count on extra TLC at Victoria General Hospital. A group of volunteers—including some moms who had their babies in the hospital decades prior—are available to hug and hold newborns if their parents are unable. It’s shown that hugs promote better health for the young.
  • Volunteers also make the Royal BC Museum one of the top museums in the country. Roughly 250 locals apply each year to help, with roughly 46,000 hours a year going toward school programs and other activities.

11. Tofino, British Columbia

Mentions: 16,314

Via Queen of the Peak

With clear blue waters, Tofino understandably cares a great deal about keeping the environment as healthy as possible.

  • The Community Sustainability Department goes over every proposed city project and gives advice of how new changes will impact the environment, along with recommendations of where development should begin.
  • Clayoquot Biosphere Trust also makes a huge difference for the surrounding environment. The group offers funding for local research, training classes, and conservation of the area.
  • Queen of the Peak is a name you’ll want to remember. It’s one of the best all-women surfing competitions in the world. Created in 2009, the event grows each year, with over 100 women competing in 2016. The contest aims to have more women participate in this relatively new sport in the country.

12. Red Deer, Alberta

Mentions: 15,135

Via Flickr/Premier of Alberta(photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

No stranger to fires in the region, Red Deer has a long history of battling the elements both for its citizens and neighbouring towns.

  • This year, Red Deer County has already sent a group of firefighters to help battle the flames of southern Alberta, and last year dispatched 80 firefighters and officers to help with the Fort McMurray wildfire.
  • Getting immigrants and refugees comfortable is a top mission of the Central Alberta Refugee Effort. The group has partnered with the Red Deer Public Library to help with English as a second language, information about housing, and any questions about Canadian citizenship.
  • Have some building materials lying around? Habitat ReStore collects items for Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Society, which assists in homebuilding for low-income working families in the region.

13. Peterborough, Ontario

Mentions: 14,815

Peterborough, Ontario, is no slouch when it comes to giving back to the community. In fact, donating time and effort for a variety of organizations makes all the difference in the world.

  • Sustainable Peterborough works with the Climate Change Action Plan to implement ways to reduce fossil fuels around town, lower energy use, and work with partners to monitor results.
  • No animal is too big or too small for care in Peterborough—including turtles! The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre maintains a turtle hospital and is active in field work and educational opportunities about the slow-moving creatures.
  • Speaking of animals, the Peterborough Humane Society has been making a difference since 1941. The group’s goal is to prevent animal cruelty and help abandoned animals find their forever homes.

14. Kingston, Ontario

Mentions: 12,750

You can call it the reigning “king” of kindness. Kingston, Ontario, knows how to take care of its citizens.

  • The Kingston Food Bank puts on a variety of programs throughout the year to help feed as many community members as possible. This includes an annual food blitz and food bins at a variety of local festivals.
  • The city is also doing its part by supporting the Homelessness Prevention Fund, which provides grants for folks who need a little bit of help avoiding eviction.
  • One of the best events in Kingston is Disabilities Mentoring Day. Spearheaded by KEYS, the event pairs employment-ready individuals with disabilities with companies that can use their skills. Working professionals attend the sessions and provide answers about job requirements and tasks.

15. Kelowna, British Columbia

Mentions: 11,853

Via Shoe Bank Canada 2015

Lovely Kelowna isn’t just a pretty place; it’s a giving city as well. From trees to shoes, this city knows what it takes to make a difference—making it one of the most philanthropic cities in the country.

  • Shoe Bank Canada is a crucial organization for collecting lightly used shoes and giving them to people in need. Kelowna offers more than 40 collection partners (local businesses) that collect shoes on behalf of the bank.
  • The Central Okanagan Community Food Bank is a non-profit organization that makes a huge impact everywhere. The main Kelowna location helps roughly 2,500-3,500 locals every month, with about $3.5 million worth of food donated each year.
  • Paws It Forward is a “Best of Kelowna” award winner as a top charity in the city for three years in a row. Not only do they help animals find loving homes, they also ensure that all pets are spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.

16. Port Hardy, British Columbia

Mentions: 11,764

Call it a port of safe harbour, if you will. Port Hardy, British Columbia, is always looking for opportunities to make a difference for the community.

  • Better at Home is doing what it can to help local seniors feel more independent and supported. This includes asking volunteers to make friendly visits, take care of yard work, and pitch in with grocery shopping.
  • Who you going to call in an emergency? Port Hardy Fire Rescue is ready and able. This volunteer group is ready to lend a hand firefighting, along with road rescues and other emergency situations.
  • Seafood is no laughing matter in coastal cities. As delicious as it is, certain protections must be in place to keep the seas full. Quatse Hatchery has been advancing environmental monitoring and habitat restorations for over 30 years, and continues to be a leader in the city.

17. Kitchener, Ontario

Mentions: 11,721

Via SkateABLE

From making the environment blossom to making refugees feel at home, Kitchener, Ontario, kicks it up a notch when making a difference.

  • Green initiatives are nothing new for this town. In fact, there’s been a Strategic Plan for the Environment in place since 1992. This includes promoting community bike share systems, adding charging stations for electric vehicles, and reducing greenhouse emissions.
  • Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation is a rock star in the area, in providing support to a variety of causes. In particular, they encourage people to donate to the Immigration Partnership Council Fund for Syrian Newcomers, and will match donations up to $400,000.
  • The Volunteer Action Centre is also a fantastic hub of giving within the community. The organization pairs volunteers for programs like Strong Start, a weekly meetup to help kids learn how to read, and SkateABLE, a weekly group that helps skaters with physical disabilities get on the ice.

18. Vancouver, British Columbia

Mentions: 11,530

Vancouver means business when it comes to helping out its citizens. Whether it’s for the old or young, the city believes in small actions making big impacts.

  • Three Links Care Society is one of the leading senior citizen organizations in the city. Volunteers sign up to spend time with seniors by helping with activities, encouraging meals, or simply spending the time to talk.
  • The Vancouver Foundation is a powerhouse in funding a variety of grants. To name just a few, they’ve contributed to Burrard Marina Field House, which is putting on a community art project around social issues; Out In Schools, which advocates for LGBTQ2; and SPEC, which is helping small-scale farmers adapt to climate change.
  • Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia has been a cornerstone of advocacy since 1954. The Vancouver-based organization continues to educate the public about cerebral palsy and help those with it reach full potential.

19. Toronto, Ontario

Mentions: 11,029

Via Holiday Helpers

The biggest city in Canada knows a thing or two about making a mark. From the arts to the holidays, caring is a number one priority in Hogtown.

  • Holiday Helpers is an extraordinary group that provides Christmas packages to low-income families. Each package includes an artificial Christmas tree, grocery store gift card, and gifts from the family’s wish list.
  • The Ontario Arts Council is a big believer that everyone should enjoy (and participate) in the arts. This is why they make an effort to fund groups like deaf artists, young artists, and indigenous artists so that everyone has a louder voice in the creative scene.
  • Live Green Toronto is a local program that’s aiming to make sustainability goals real. This includes reducing emissions by 80 percent before 2050 and gathering volunteers for the annual spring cleanup (over 190,000 joined this year).

20. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Mentions: 11,013

Halifax doesn’t like to brag, but it’s one of the most caring cities in Canada. Furthermore, it remembers past kindness and passes it along to those in need.

  • Giving Tuesday, which takes place nationally on the last Tuesday of November is taken with utmost seriousness in Halifax and Nova Scotia at large. Last year, the city was able to contribute 360 volunteer hours, 40 bags of clothing, over $120,000 for a variety of charities.
  • The Veith Street Gallery Studio Association (located at INSIGHT GALLERY), provides workshops and open art shows for artists with mental illness or other challenges to showcase their individual creativity.
  • Each year, Halifax donates a giant Christmas tree to the city of Boston, and has done so for decades in thanks for American help after the Halifax Explosion. In 1917, two ships—one carrying explosives—collided and everything within a 2.4-km mile radius was destroyed, with 1,500 people killed. Boston was the first city to arrive with nurses, doctors, blankets, and aid. Halifax has never forgotten it, and continues to ship a mammoth Christmas tree across 1060 km each year in gratitude.

21. Revelstoke, British Columbia

Mentions: 10,563

If you think that the only thing people do in Revelstoke is ski and hike, think again. This city is quite active in providing utmost care for its citizens.

  • Revelstoke Community Foundation is a powerhouse in town. Last year, it raised roughly $44,000 in donations and doled out funds to a plethora of groups, like the local food bank, summer day camps, and the performing arts.
  • Talk about a great name. Revelstoke Bear Aware is a group of volunteers that tackle two problems at once: (1) Helping reduce bear activity by harvesting excess fruit off resident property (2) Donating those extra fruits and veggies to Community Connections Food Bank. The group also helps with education programs about dealing with bears.
  • Speaking of the great outdoors, Revelstoke Climbers Access Society is a non-profit organization that maintains climbing areas in and around Revelstoke for all climbers to enjoy. In fact, they oversee Shaketown and Begbie Bluffs and are trying to expand their responsibility for more areas.

22. Edmonton, Alberta

Mentions: 10,558

Community is a top priority in Edmonton—and that means making every single person feel included and supported.

  • Uncles & Aunts at Large is an award-winning organization that’s also one of the longest-running groups in Edmonton. Established in 1967, the organization’s volunteers mentor and support kids from single-parent families.
  • We Belong is another important initiative in the city. This program stems from the Gateway Association, an Edmonton-based nonprofit that pairs people with intellectual disabilities with employers. To do this, they unpack job descriptions to match tasks with a worker’s abilities.
  • Boyle Street Organization is also making waves in the community. Whether it’s supporting those with mental health issues, collecting backpacks of essential goods, or even helping with pet food supplies, this group is what Edmonton is all about.

23. Ottawa, Ontario

Mentions: 10,349

As the nation’s capital, Ottawa makes a point to set an example for the rest of the country.

  • Ten Oaks Project is a volunteer organization that supports youths from the LBGTQ+ community. Each year they offer three camp programs that include workshops, guest speakers, and regular camp activities.
  • The Ottawa Food Bank is a driving force in the city. Each month, the organization feeds 41,500 people, with about 54,400 kg of food produced for the cause each year.
  • Refugees are also a priority in the city. For instance, Refugee 613 is a group of community partners and sponsorship committees that work to help with housing, health, and outreach.

 

24. Barrie, Ontario

Mentions: 9,607

Barrie, Ontario, sets the bar of giving. Whether it’s helping folks with chores or protecting wildlife, this town does it all.

  • Day of Giving is a major event in Barrie. Each year, volunteers band together to help neighbours in need with everything from painting to window cleaning.
  • It’s no secret that it gets cold around here in winter. Which is why Barrie Out of the Cold is so important. The group provides a warm place to sleep and warm meal to eat for the homeless population from mid-November through April.
  • Even animals are looked after around here. Located just outside of Barrie is the Bear Creek Sanctuary, which does its part to protect rare and endangered species.

25. Orangeville, Ontario

Mentions: 9,099

There’s a rosy outlook on life in Orangeville, Ontario, and they extend that cheerful and helpful attitude to the rest of town.

  • Orangeville Musical Theatre is a non-profit community theatre that’s completely run by volunteers. They seek out individuals looking to try their hand at acting or stage production and express themselves in new ways.
  • In late 2016, the Orangeville Food Bank transitioned away from food boxes (hampers) to a more natural shopping model. Individuals are given points each month and can shop for items in the store, using their points.
  • If you love animals, Paws & Claws Thrift Stores make it easy to contribute. Any time you buy the lightly used books, housewares, or clothing, a portion of the proceeds goes to caring for abandoned animals.

26. Inuvik, Northwest Territories

Mentions: 8,943

27. Lethbridge, Alberta

Mentions: 8,411

28. New Liskeard, Ontario

Mentions: 8,212

29. Windsor, Ontario

Mentions: 7,837

30. Fredericton, New Brunswick

Mentions: 7,738

31. Parry Sound, Ontario

Mentions: 7,600

32. London, Ontario

Mentions: 7,454

33. Kamloops, British Columbia

Mentions: 7,451

34. Belleville, Ontario

Mentions: 7,365

35. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Mentions: 7,018

36. Chilliwack, British Columbia

Mentions: 6,757

37. Winnipeg, Manitoba

Mentions: 6,670

38. Regina, Saskatchewan

Mentions: 6,578

39. Sydney, Nova Scotia

Mentions: 6,473

40. Hamilton, Ontario

Mentions: 6,400

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About Author

Jennifer Cuellar

<p>Jennifer Cuellar is a writer, an avid explorer, and fan of all things Games of Thrones-related. When she’s not sipping tea in a café by the beach, she’s off writing about wondrous cities you simply have to visit. From mountain peaks to downtown streets, there’s a world of adventure waiting to be explored. She spotlights top cities to tour, which attractions you’ve got to see, and off-the-beaten path activities to try during your next vacation. Let’s go travel!</p>

4 Comments

  1. The photo for Athabasca is incorrect. That is likely a photo of the Athabasca Falls/Glacier. Athabasca has a beautiful riverfront view, minus the mountains. Our caring community makes up for the lack of mountains and it sure it beautiful around here. ☺️☺️☺️

    Reply
  2. As a biology professor with Athabasca University (and therefore a frequent visitor to Athabasca) and a resident of Calgary I can attest to the commitment of both of these communities to caring. During the fires in Slave Lake I was sitting in my office in Calgary when an email arrived around 9 am asking for help from the staff of Athabasca University for those fleeing the fires in Slave Lake. By 3 pm that same day another email arrived saying that they had received so many donations they didn’t need anymore. I was stunned and so proud of what the community of Athabasca was able to achieve in such a short time frame. During the floods in Calgary in 2013 I was completely impressed and proud of my own community. I don’t think there was a citizen in Calgary that didn’t know someone that was directly affected and didn’t step up to help in some way. From restaurants delivering free food, to donations, to block party clean-up initiatives, to dropping off boxes of gatorade for those helping out, this city did it all. The thing is that this kind of community spirit doesn’t stop, it is always there whether in the face of a major disaster, or in helping citizens each day. There are countless examples of environmental stewardship, outreach, and support that I can cite in both communities, however, I cannot comment here without mentioning the Athabasca River Basin Research Institute and Science Outreach Athabasca, both of which are based at Athabasca University. We have been proud to drive research into preserving the health of the river basin and in connecting and informing the citizens of the Athabasca region.

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