We’re Number 1(8)!

Mercer Human Resource Consulting recently evaluated 215 world cities in their annual Quality of Living survey, and Ottawa placed 18th overall (3rd among North American cities). Actually, we tied for 18th with Luxembourg. I’ve always said it’s uncanny how much Ottawa reminds me of Luxembourg.

For the second consecutive year, Zurich and Geneva finished first and second. I guess those cities are O.K. if you like spectacular scenery, great chocolate, discrete banks, and unwavering neutrality.

It’s hard to argue with Vancouver placing first among North American cities – everyone who lives there really is richer, smarter, cooler, and better looking than the rest of us.

But Toronto as number 2? You gotta be kidding me. This is a city that took its greatest natural asset (Lake Ontario) and made it virtually impossible for its residents to enjoy by erecting miles of condos along the shore. A city that combines insane real estate prices with rampant gridlock. A city that took Maple Leaf Gardens and turned it into a grocery store. Of course, it does trump Ottawa in strip joints and gang shootings, so I guess it depends on how you define “quality of life”.

So, while cities like Zurich, Dusseldorf and Copenhagen duke it out for world supremacy, I think the really interesting battles are going on at the bottom of the list. Baghdad finished last for the second year in a row, narrowly edging out Brazzaville, Banghui and Kartoum. Nice work George W., keep it up.

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