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10 Worst Cities to Live in Canada: Part 10, Leamington, Ontario

When we saw that Leamington, Ontario made it to MoneySense’s 10 worst places to live, we were doubtful at best. After all, the reason given by MoneySense for Leamington being such a rotten place to live is that they have the least amount of public transit available in all of Canada. That didn’t seem like such a good reason to us, so we dug a little deeper. As it turns out, the lack of transit is actually a huge problem in Leamington. And it’s one of the places that may need it the most.

Leamington, Ontario was never a huge bustling city. But it did okay in the years prior to the recession. Being just 45 minutes away from Windsor, those that lived in Leamington often enjoyed very profitable employment in places such as Windsor and Kingsville. However, once the recession hit, those in Leamington and the surrounding areas suffered. Manufacturing plants were close down, and those that could remain open still experienced massive layoffs and firings. Yes, Leamington was directly effected, and it’s not surprising that in the several years since the recession, this small town has been promoted as a retirement town.

It may be because of their “retiree town” status that Leamington has some of the lowest stats when it comes to household incomes and employment rates in all of Canada. Leamington’s unemployment rate is a whopping 10.4 per cent, with their employment rate sitting at only 62 per cent. That means that just over half of the population is working at all, and that it has an unemployment rate well over the 7 per cent that the national average is seeing right now. The fact that Leamington is a big draw for retirees is one very large reason why for this, but still, those are both large numbers.

Those that are working also aren’t seeing many high-paying jobs, especially in the years following the recession that hurt this town so much. Currently, the average household income in Leamington is $25,116 before taxes; and $22,891 after taxes. Luckily, Leamington mortgages are relatively cheap, with the average home price being between $125,000 and $200,000. Still, it is hard to see how anyone can live on such a low average household income.

Of course, if you’re not a retiree and need to work, Leamington is not entirely devoid of jobs. Heinz still remains one of the biggest manufacturing plants in all of Canada, and they are located right in Leamington. Many those employed right in town are employed through Heinz, as they are unsurprisingly, the area’s largest employer as well.

For those that want to move to Leamington to retire, it may not be a bad idea; and many have already made the transition to the town. Leamington does have a number of amenities such as a WalMart and a Burger King, along with some other businesses and shops. For those that don’t need to travel outside of the city in order to work, these businesses and services can provide for just about anything that’s needed. If you can get to them.

For those that don’t drive, there is some public transportation, but it is extremely limited. Few buses run, and when they do they are few and far between. They definitely don’t stray outside of the town’s limits and so, if you want to go any farther than that, you will most definitely need a license and a car. Or at the very least, a ride.

Leamington, Ontario definitely isn’t a huge vibrant city with an overfilling population. But it’s also not a desolate small town on Ontario’s outskirts. It is full of retirees because of the amenities offered, and there are services and businesses available for anyone that wants to take up life here. It does have its challenges, especially if you’re looking for a Toronto lifestyle, but it’s also a very quaint and cute town that many residents are very happy to call home. And, if you like tomatoes, you’ll be happy to know that this city’s over 700 greenhouses help make it the “Tomato Capital o the World.”

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