Canada has a long history of welcoming U.S. citizens when things are unsavory or dangerous at home. Beginning with the United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada to escape the Revolutionary War, through to the African Americans who reached freedom via the Underground Railroad and the Vietnam War draft dodgers, Americans have looked to Canada as a sanctuary in the wings during times of political turmoil.
Canada is frequently suggested as a non-American utopia post-election. Every four years, almost half of all Americans grow disgruntled and threaten to leave the country for greener political pastures after a disappointing election.
American presidential races often follow contentious battles between candidates with wildly divergent ideologies that raise tensions between citizens. To escape that environment or avoid upcoming legislation, Americans who supported losing candidates discuss expatriation to English-speaking countries like Australia, the U.K., or Canada.
In an example that shocked pundits, pollsters, and media worldwide, Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Americans researched a move in sufficient number to crash the Canadian immigration website late on election night. Searches for flights to Canada spiked by nearly six times.
Canada is a liberal country that generally bristles at ultra-conservatism, so these discussions make sense when Republicans win. Still, Democratic victories also inspire the desire to flee for people to the right, or even further left.
If you've found yourself looking for calmer political waters, where should you go? Whether miffed about a recent election, worried about upcoming results, or looking for a change of pace that's not too different from the U.S., here are some suggestions.
If Money Is No Object, Move to Vancouver, British Columbia
If you read Trump's The Art of the Deal and already made your millions, but still want to escape the United States to live somewhere with higher taxes and socialized medicine, Vancouver is one place to consider moving to in Canada.
Lauded as one of the world's most livable cities, Vancouver seems to have it all: a great location next to ocean and mountains, a mild climate, clean air, first-class public transportation system, and low crime rate are just a few of this West Coast city's perks.
But this blissful BC backdrop comes at a price. Outsiders from both within Canada and abroad, have been moving to Vancouver in droves, in turn driving up the real estate market to the point that homes selling for more than one or two million dollars are about as common as a conservative at a NASCAR race.
Other options for the affluent might include Toronto or Calgary.
If You Love Big Cities, Move to Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is a big, bustling city, comprising diverse neighborhoods, shopping districts, and a financial center. Like New York City, Toronto is thoroughly multicultural embodying a patchwork of ethnicities across its landscape, including large populations of Chinese, Indian, Scottish and Greek. Like Chicago, Toronto sits on a Great Lake, giving residents ready access to fresh water and beaches. Like both cities, Toronto boasts thriving art, culture, and theatre scenes, and eateries that range from street meat to $300 sushi.
In addition, Toronto has loads of green space and is relatively clean and safe, with homicide rates far lower than those of its U.S. counterparts. In fact, The Economist once ranked Toronto as the eighth safest major city in the world and the safest major city in North America.
Other big-city options are Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.
If You Love Europe, Move to Montreal or Quebec City
Unique in North America, the province of Quebec is a bastion of French culture. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, explorers and fur trappers from France arrived on Quebec's shores. Though they eventually turned over power to the British (English speaking Canada), French Canadians maintain a strong identity by continuing to speak their language and promote their culture, primarily for Québécois in Montreal, and Quebec City.
Montreal, though largely a bilingual city, still has all the hallmarks of French culture, including in the cuisine, stylish dress, cafe culture, architecture, Catholicism and overall lifestyle. Quebec City is more francophone than anglophone, so you better brush up on your French should you choose to move here.
Ottowa is an alternative option for a Euro vibe.
If You Want an Uncomplicated Lifestyle, Move to Newfoundland
Newfoundland gets its share of ribbing from fellow Canadians. Canada's youngest, most easterly province is somewhat isolated and its largely rural population is known for its uncomplicated nature, which is misconstrued for humor's sake into "Newfie" jokes that poke fun.
But talk to anyone who has been to Newfoundland and they rave about the experience. What's more, in a province that has a stunningly beautiful and rugged landscape, almost completely surrounded by ocean, it is still the friendliness, authenticity, and warmth of the people that impress visitors the most.
Other simple options are Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and other places in the Maritimes.
If You Love the Mountain Life, Move to Canmore, Alberta
With ready access to incredible trails and ski hills within protected wilderness parks, Canmore has been gaining in popularity but strategic town bylaws are helping keep it human in scale and pedestrian friendly.
If You Can't Stand the Cold, Move to Victoria
The mild climate is only one in a long list of benefits to living in Victoria. This British Columbia capital, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just off the mainland, beautifully balances prestige and history with laid-back west coast geniality.
In addition, it is a gateway to a luscious lineup of coves, inlets, coastal islands, and overall Pacific Ocean gorgeousness.
Gardens bloom early and long in the "Garden City," a moniker given to Victoria for its temperate, sub-Mediterranean climate that rarely rises past 30 C or drops below freezing.
Oh, and by the way, 30 C is 86 F. If you are moving to Canada, you better learn your metric.
If You're Tight on Cash, Move to Moncton, New Brunswick
With the average new house selling for well under $200,000 and a one-bedroom apartment renting for less than $700 per month, Moncton is definitely one of Canada's most affordable cities.
But living in Moncton doesn't put you in a teensy town in the middle of nowhere. It is plum dab central to all the Maritime provinces, half an hour's drive to the famous Bay of Fundy Tides and an hour to Confederation Bridge, which takes you to Prince Edward Island.
With a population of 139,000 people, Moncton is big enough to have lots of amenities for immigrants, like universities, hospitals, and an airport, but still was ranked as the most polite city in Canada by Readers Digest.