If you’ve enjoyed walking through Stanley Park or strolling through Granville Island Public Market, this may come as no surprise: Vancouver, B.C., has just been ranked as Canada’s most walkable city.
It’s also the most walkable city around this cloudy corner of the universe that takes in Seattle and Portland, according to Seattle-based Walk Score, which rates cities on walkability.
Walk Score judges a neighborhood’s walkability and then ranks whole cities based on the aggregate of their neighborhood scores.
Scores are on a scale of 0 to 100, with locations receiving 90 to 100 deemed a “Walkers’ Paradise.” Vancouver scored 78. Seattle’s score, even with all our hills, is 74 (sixth best in the United States; New York City tops out at 85). Portland trails at No. 12, with a score of 66 (a surprise, considering its smaller downtown blocks).
In announcing Vancouver’s rating, Walk Score cited a recent Toronto Public Health study that found that consumers prefer neighborhoods with a range of shops and services within walking distance, a short commute to work or school, and easy access to public transit. The same study also found that people living in walkable neighborhoods have lower body weights and that such neighborhoods contribute to better air quality and traffic reduction.
While useful for picking where to live, the scores are also a new tool in the box for travelers who like to leave the car behind.