Sarnia makes list of top 25 growth cities in Canada

Moving truck at a house on Erie Shore Drive on March 3, 2020 (Photo by Allanah Wills)

Sarnia has been named one of the top 25 cities that experienced growth in Canada in 2021.

The annual U-Haul Growth Index, which tracks the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks arriving in a city in a calendar year — versus departing — placed Sarnia as number 16 on its list.

Western Ontario President David Anstett said more affordable housing, compared to big city pricing, appears to be a main driver for this migration.

“A lot of people from Toronto, Hamilton, even from Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo, have been moving to our area because it’s a little more reasonable,” said Anstett. “That was the trend that’s been happening for the last few years, but in the last year and a half I’ve noticed that people who want to move from Toronto, and the high stress areas, can work remotely from home.”

Anstett said customers he’s spoken with aren’t worried about being employed locally.

“They’re not coming here for jobs. They’re bringing their jobs with them and it’s great because they’re bringing money into our communities.”

Anstett said Sarnia has a lot to offer someone who can work remotely.

“They love the quality of life there. You have beautiful beaches. As soon as the border fully re-opens it will be better. You’ve got all the facilities of a big city and it still has a small town feel.”

Anstett said before the pandemic a lot of Sarnia’s growth was attributed to retirees moving into the region.

Two other southwestern Ontario communities also made the list, Chatham came in at number 13 and St. Thomas was number 14.

North Bay ranked number one on the list and Belleville came in second.

The full list can be found here.