New Glasgow finds itself once again on the bottom end of the annual MoneySense list ranking Canadian cities. But on the bright side we’re not dead last this time.
This year the magazine has ranked New Glasgow 196 out of 200 communities across Canada. Last year the town ranked 190 out of 190 that made the list.
To be factual, when MoneySense says New Glasgow, they are actually referring to the town and surrounding communities included in a census grouping.
Don Sutton, online managing editor for the magazine, says he hopes that no one here in Pictou County takes the results personally.
“Unfortunately we just follow the statistics and crunch the numbers,” he said. The cities fall where they fall. If we could be bribed then we would be.”
This winter the Town of New Glasgow with the support of the surrounding communities started a campaign to tell MoneySense why they believe this area is a great place to live. They printed 400 postcards, sent by participants to the magazine.
Sutton however said he hadn’t heard of the campaign, but seemed intrigued by it.
The magazine uses the statistics they can get to make their list, which includes information on everything from the temperature and the amount of rainy days to the percentage of people who bike to work and have access to public transit, he said.
While no one wants to be at the bottom, he said there are things that can’t be measured, which may make a certain area a great place to live.
There are other things meaningful in life, such as families, friends, a diner with fantastic pizza or a place people go to drink beer that can’t be calculated.
“We measure what we can measure and compare what we can compare,” he said.
Sutton admits he’s never been to New Glasgow.
“I’d love to go though,” he said.
In New Glasgow today, there were plenty of people who dismissed the ranking.
"The fact is [MoneySense] doesn't live here and they don't understand what it's really like here,” said Cindy Hemphill, owner of The White Lotus in downtown New Glasgow.
“I think, especially downtown, it's very historical and pretty in the summer."
Scott Hoare, owner of The Coffee Bean Kitchen said MoneySense just looks at the places they want to.
"I've lived in Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax and there are going to be things that people don't like in a town or city,” he said. “I think here in New Glasgow, we were industry based and now that industry is gone and we're still trying to figure out what to do."
New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan also released a statement on the ranking.
“Money Sense has determined which categories make for the ideal city and those are qualities that differ greatly from person to person,” he stated. “We do not see value in pitting community against community and creating a list that positions so many communities in such a poor light.”
MacMillan said the community worked hard with the support of local representatives and media in their campaign to send 400 postcards to MoneySense.
“We expected the new ratings would be released in 2013 and we wanted to communicate to MoneySense prior to these new ratings but more importantly to other communities across Canada that the five towns and rural municipality of Pictou County have many strengths to offer,” he said.
He said the town does appreciate that MoneySense did some changes to their survey by categorizing communities according to small, mid and large cities and that they have added new categories and even seem to have gotten some facts straightened out, such as a community college being in the area.
“However, to try and quantify a life experience is a very difficult task. Stats are stats but their selection and interpretation can be very pliable,” he said. “What makes a place a good home is as varied as the communities and people across this great nation.”
Halifax was the highest-ranking Nova Scotia community at no. 20.
On Twitter: NGNews Adam
With files from John Brannen
Overall Rank: 196
2012 Overall Rank: 190
Bike to work: 0.39%
Walk to work: 5.71%
Transit to work: 0.41%
Rainy days/year: 121
Days above 0°C/year: 204.1
Pop. change ’11 to ’12: 1.70%
Average house price: $127,577
Years to buy a home: 2.02
Average household income: $63,233
Average household net worth: $167,024
The top 5
1. Calgary, Alta.
2. St. Albert, Alta.
3. Burlington, Ont.
4. Strathacona County, Alta.
5. Oakville, Ont.
The bottom 5
196. New Glasgow, NS
197. Alma, Que.
198. Dolbeau-Mistassini, Que.
199. Summerside, P.E.I.
200. Lachute, Que.