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14. Ottawa, Canada

Population: 812,129

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and one of six capital cities to make the list. Home to Canada’s federal agencies and foreign embassies, the city has the most highly educated workforce per capita in the country. Ottawa is also home to technology giants such as Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Alcatel Lucent, and Dell, with more than 90 percent of Canada’s telecommunications research and development conducted there.

A high quality of life is often associated with a high cost of living in most cities on our list, but Ottawa defies that trend, being crowned the least expensive Canadian city to live in this year. Ottawa is ranked 55 places lower than Toronto — Canada’s costliest city — in Mercer's cost of living survey based on factors such as housing, transport, food, and clothing. It is also considered one of the cleanest in the world, coming in third in last year’s eco-city ranking, which measured factors such as water drinkability, sewage systems, air pollution, and waste removal.

Correction Note: In an earlier verison of this story, the cost of living in Ottawa was
incorrectly described.

Photo: Allan Baxter | Getty Images