Stop and smell the roses in The Garden City
The hub of the Niagara Region, St. Catharines is famous for its picturesque outdoor spaces. It has over 1,000 acres of gardens, parks, and trails – all impeccably cared for. In striking contrast to its manicured gardens, St. Catharines is a large manufacturing centre, playing host to the Canadian division of General Motors. In fact, most people in the area work either in manufacturing or telecommunications. When not at work, St. Catharines–ites love being out and about, enjoying the city’s mild weather year round. How is that possible, you ask? Unlike the rest of Southern Ontario, where the winters are harsh, St. Catharines has its own “microclimate” thanks to the moderating influence of the great lakes and the shelter of the Niagara Escarpment. The best part of this microclimate? It makes the area perfect for wineries – and there are many!
While there’s a large low income community in St. Catharines, it can be hard for other low income Canadians to move to the city, as there’s a constant shortage of affordable housing units. Basically, there aren’t enough units to fill the need already in the area, so units have a constant waitlist. That makes it almost impossible for anyone coming into the community to find affordable housing units. There are a variety of housing options for those who can afford full rent though. While most rentals are in homes, there are also high and low-rise apartment buildings.
Typical housing type:
Modest, detached homes, but there are a good number of other options too.
While some people assume that because there’s a significant low income population in St. Catharines, the city must have a high crime rate, that’s simply not the case. Actually, St. Catharines is safer than supposedly “safe cities” like Guelph and Coburg. So don’t buy into the classism of assuming that a low income community equals high crime rates!
Avg. rent by housing size:
Avg. rent compared to other Canadian cities
St. Catharines is 2% lower than the Canadian average
If you’re all about the comforts of home – from a yard to a dishwasher – St. Catharines is the place for you. Rental websites have a ton of houses on offer, many of which are pet-friendly.
Of course, with Brock University in town, there’s also plenty of housing for students, especially near the university. Student-oriented housing tends to be cheap. If you want even cheaper options, go for a 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom that you can share, or a basement apartment in a private home that is being rented out by the owner.
The population in St. Catharines boomed in 1950s – and has been on the rise ever since. The city isn’t very diverse, with the vast majority of locals identifying their backgrounds as English, Scottish, Irish, or German. A lot of people have blue-collar jobs or are retired, as there’s a significant older population. Income levels are on the lower end. In fact the average income per person is just $26,997. This leaves a number of locals struggling to afford housing and bills.
Perfect for: Retirees who love puttering around the area’s gardens and those seeking jobs in manufacturing or telecommunications.
Not-so-perfect for: Anyone looking for a diverse community or affordable housing.
Life & Style
Life in St. Catharines is less about work – and a lot of residents have already raised their families. So what do they do with their time? Have fun of course! And there’s a lot of it in the area. Wine tours are big amongst tourists and locals. Sports are also big in the area, which has a number of facilities for local teams. Some locals are more into cultural pursuits, spending their time at St. Catharines’ museums and in the arts scene. The one part of St. Catharines that’s still struggling to figure out its place in the community is downtown. There are a number of revitalization projects on the go though, so the hope is that these will help revamp the downtown core.
Wineries – so many wineries! Okay, there are other things too – but don’t ever forget about the wineries… For those who are looking for local produce, there are also great farms in the area and the St. Catharines Farmers Market. Locals enjoy the many parks, including Lakeside Park, which has its own carousel and beach. There are a number of provincial parks and conservation areas for those seeking more of a getaway. The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre is a family favourite in the area, as are the many sports facilities. There are also a good number of restaurants, bars, and clubs in the city. Shoppers will love the Niagara outlets, which offer great deals on brand name clothing. Plus you’ll just be a hop, skip, and a jump away from Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake – both of which are worth a trip.
Rodman Hall Art Centre
Lock 7 Viewing Complex
St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre
Short Hills Provincial Park