Be honest: when you think of the term “Startup Capital of Canada,” you probably don’t think of the tidy capital of New Brunswick, an hour’s drive from the Maine border.
But take a closer look, past the 19th-century streetscape, galleries and glassy Saint John River and you’ll find an economic ambition poised to welcome the urban exodus with talent that ranks #6 in our Educational Attainment subcategory (as well as tops among Canadian small cities in our Creative Class subcategory). Given the high talent level in Fredericton companies, it’s heartening to see the city also tie for tops in our Income Equality subcategory—a key metric for new residents who can rest assured that fair opportunities and compensation exist for employees.
The city’s tireless economic development organization, Ignite Fredericton, is keen to point out that this is a place that values new talent and residents from everywhere, citing that “over 6.8 per cent of the City’s population are immigrants who have moved to Fredericton from more than 50 countries from around the world.” Newcomers are supported by a network of community organizations that arrange language training, settlement services, employment services, business support and family-oriented programs. With that kind of welcome mat, is it any wonder that Fredericton ranks #4 in the country in our Relocation subcategory?
But there’s infrastructure for eager entrepreneurs as well. Local leadership likes to point out that the city was the first in Canada to offer free public Wi-Fi, but this is also a place with low lease costs, corporate tax rates and utility prices. This special blend has authoritative sources like KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives report declaring the city the most cost-competitive for business in Canada and one of the best value jurisdictions in North America. UK-based fDI Intelligence magazine is the source of the “start-up capital of Canada” title, declaring that the advantage “makes it a choice destination for talented immigrants, and the #1 micro-city in North America for business.” That’s some high praise for its economic clout. Fortunately, Fredericton also delivers in livability and as a great place to grow up for the kids of all those ambitious parents.
Let’s start with house prices. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the benchmark for single-family homes was $294,400 as of April 2022, up 30.6 per cent year-over-year, and the benchmark apartment price was $244,400, up by virtually the same percentage.
What you get is a walkable, colonial gem, rich in culture (it’s ranked #8 for Museums and #9 for Theatres among Canadian small cities). The street grid radiates out from the banks of the beautiful Saint John, which flows through the centre of the city. A network of over 90 kilometres of wooded paths traces that flow, perfect for cycling, walking, running or cross-country skiing.
Urban investment over the pandemic has been extensive, led by a multi-million-dollar makeover to the Historic Garrison District that will open early next year, complete with a Great Lawn, performance stage and new children’s play area.