Are you considering a move to Saskatchewan but looking for a peaceful location away from the big cities? If so, you may be interested in our pick of the nine best small towns in Saskatchewan to live in.
Saskatchewan generally isn’t the first province that people think of when moving to Canada (or within Canada). However, it can be a great choice thanks to a low cost of living, good job opportunities and a very active provincial immigration program.
9 Best Small Towns In Saskatchewan
So which towns did we choose, and how did we choose them? We have tried to select attractive towns (or small cities) in good locations. They are large enough to provide a good community and range of amenities but still have a small-town feel.
No town is perfect, so we have also tried to point out the pros and cons of each town. If you would like more information, we have written individual articles on each of these towns/cities, which can be found on this website.
Best Small Towns In Saskatchewan
|Best Small Towns In Saskatchewan|
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|(Population 2021 Census Data; Property Costs Correct As Of Feb 2023)|
Reasons To Live In Saskatchewan
Before choosing your ideal hometown, you need to know whether Saskatchewan is the province for you. Saskatchewan offers excellent education, affordable healthcare and safe communities, but this is typical of Canada. So, what sets Saskatchewan apart from the rest of the country?
Most of Canada experiences cold, harsh winters with moderately hot summers, and Saskatchewan is no different. However, its location in central Canada, away from any major bodies of water, means that temperatures tend to be more extreme than in other parts of the country.
Saskatchewan has very harsh winters, where temperatures will likely remain below zero for several months. In addition, summers are hot in the province’s south, and high humidity can make these months uncomfortable.
However, the good news is that Saskatchewan competes with Alberta for the title of the sunniest province in Canada. If you can brave the winters, you will be rewarded with a dry climate, probably with more than 2000 hours of sunshine annually.
The prairies of Saskatchewan have a very special kind of beauty that some will hate, but many others love. The landscape is generally flat, often very flat, with vast open spaces and dramatic skies. Some of the best sunsets I’ve seen have been on the prairies in winter when the snow-covered landscape reflects the colours of the sky.
Cost of Living
Most immigrants find the cost of living high in Canada. However, Saskatchewan is one of the cheaper provinces, and this is a draw for people from inside and outside Canada.
One of the main reasons for this is that the cost of housing is very low. For example, the average price of a property in Saskatchewan is around 50% lower than the average in Canada. And real estate prices are even lower in the smaller communities in the province.
Estevan is the eighth largest city in Saskatchewan but is still relatively small, with just a population of just over 10,000. This community is known as the sunshine capital of Canada, and with more than 2400 hours of sunshine a year, it is officially the sunniest city in Canada.
The city has excellent amenities for its size, but it heavily relies heavily on the energy sectors and may feel a little industrial to some. However, it is based in a rural setting with options for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and cross-country skiing.
Educational options are good, the public education system offers dual-track French immersion programs, and the city has a post-secondary institution.
Fort Qu’Appelle is one of our favourites on our list of the best small towns in Saskatchewan. This small town has a beautiful location on the shores of Echo Lake; it is a popular tourist destination with numerous summer and winter outdoor activities. These include hiking, swimming, boating, cross-country skiing and fishing.
Real estate prices in Fort Qu-Appelle are among the highest of our best small towns in Saskatchewan. However, they are still more than 20% less than the provincial average.
This is a very small community with less than 2,000 residents, and this is the main downside of Fort Qu’Appelle. However, thanks to its tourist industry, amenities are better than you might expect, and it is less than a 1-hour drive to Regina.
If you are looking for a small, peaceful community, then Gravelbourg is a great place to live. This tiny historic town has a population of under 1,000 but remarkable amenities for its size. It also has some of the lowest crime rates in Saskatchewan and Canada.
The countryside surrounding Gravelbourg is attractive, and the climate here is warmer than most of the small towns in Saskatchewan on our list.
This is probably our favourite town on this list due to its European feel. The town was initially founded as an outpost for French Canada, and even today, the community is largely bi-lingual.
For some people, this community maybe just a bit too small, and it is around a 2-hour drive to Regina, the closest large city.
Moose Jaw is the second largest community on our list of the best small towns in Saskatchewan, with more than 30,000 residents. However, it still has a small-town feel and a rural setting.
One of the significant benefits of Moose Jaw is its diverse economy; it has seen strong growth in recent years, and this seems set to continue. The growth has been partially driven by aggressive tax policies to attract new investment and is helped by excellent rail and road infrastructure.
The city has lower crime rates than most of Saskatchewan, making it a safe place to raise a family, and schools and healthcare facilities are also excellent. In addition, Moose Jaw is located near several lakes and rivers where you can fish, swim, or go boating.
Prince Albert is the biggest and most northerly of our best small towns in Saskatchewan, around a 1.5-hour drive northeast of Saskatoon. This small city is a regional centre serving more than 150,000 people, meaning it has excellent amenities and a good range of job opportunities.
Another benefit of Prince Albert is its low real estate prices. The average home is almost 45% lower than the provincial average and less than half of the Canadian average. The city is also known for its beautiful surroundings and outdoor recreational activities.
However, there are a couple of downsides to living in Prince Albert. Firstly, as the most northern of our choices of small towns in Saskatchewan, the community also has the coldest weather, with an average January low of -23°C.
The second downside is that its crime rates for Prince Albert are significantly above provincial and national averages.
Swift Current is a small city surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, with great recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing and boating. It also has a robust and diverse economy and good job opportunities.
Property prices in Swift are the highest on our list of the best small towns in Saskatchewan. However, they are still around 10% less than the provincial average.
The city is very safe, with low crime rates for Saskatchewan and good educational options, including dual-track French immersion programs and a post-secondary institution. The only downside we can see with Swift Current is that it is almost a 3-hour drive from the closest major city.
Watrous is one of the smaller towns on our list of best small towns in Saskatchewan, with under 2,000 residents. However, this small community has surprisingly good amenities for its size.
Watrous lies almost mid-way between Saskatoon and Regina in a peaceful rural area known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities (such as swimming, fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter). The community is just 5km from Manitou Beach, a popular tourist destination.
Watrous is a safe community with very low crime rates and would be an excellent choice for someone looking for a quiet rural location. However, on the downside, some may find a community a little too small, and the closest city is over an hour’s drive away.
Weyburn is a good choice for anyone looking for a good standard of living at a low cost. In 2018 MoneySense named Weyburn the best place to live in the Prairies for the second year in a row.
Agriculture is the pillar of the economy for Weyburn, with the largest inland grain gathering point in Canada. Over half a million tons of grain pass through the Weyburn terminals yearly.
The city is very safe, with some of the lowest crime rates among our picks of the best small towns in Saskatchewan. Educational options are good, the public school system includes dual-track French immersion programs, and the city has a post-secondary institution.
Yorkton has a small-town charm, but as a regional centre, it offers big-city amenities such as a regional hospital. The city also has a strong economy, based largely around agriculture and good job opportunities.
For families living in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, there is an excellent range of educational options. Dual-track French immersion programs are available within the city, and the public high school offers advanced placement courses for students that want to get a head start on their college education.
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North Battleford – The One That Didn’t Make The Cut
North Battleford does have several positives; with around 13,000 residents, it is small enough to have a small-town feel but big enough to have reasonable amenities.
This city is also surrounded by very attractive countryside and several parks, which are good for outdoor activities, and there is a ski hill around a 30-minute drive away. North Battleford can also offer the standard Saskatchewan benefits of a sunny climate and a lost cost of living.
However, North Battleford has one major downside, which led us to exclude it from our list of the best small towns in Saskatchewan. The crime rates for this small city are amongst the country’s highest, and it regularly competes for the dubious honour of being the most dangerous city in Canada.
Conclusion – Best Small Towns In Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan, often overlooked by many considering a move within Canada, offers a plethora of small towns that promise a peaceful life away from the hustle and bustle of big cities.
With a blend of natural beauty, affordability, and community spirit, these towns present a compelling case for those seeking a balance between rural charm and essential amenities. Whether you’re drawn to the sunniest city in Canada, Estevan, or the European feel of Gravelbourg, there’s a corner in Saskatchewan waiting to welcome you.