It's my home town, and my family has lived in the area since the 1850s.
It has three and a half wonderful months of the year (the summer). It's a great place for boating, though that part of Georgian Bay is getting pretty crowded. House prices are low. But it rains constantly in the spring and fall and has an incredible snowfall in the winter. No jobs. No higher education. A great place for retired snowbirds and not much else. The temptation to go back hits every few months, but Moneysense is right to rank it 140 out of 145 Canadian communities.
But you have to take all these surveys with a grain of salt. I loved living in Midland. Yea, the weather tends to be dreary but I like the history of the region and its natural beauty (which, I'm afraid, is quickly getting built over and fenced off). I just don't want my kids to have to leave home at 18 to go to university. The nearest one is 90 miles away, in Toronto. And it's York, for God's sake.
But I have friends who moved to the Midland area and probably will never leave. They are self-employed, well-connected to the community, and somewhat out-doorsy. They aren't victims of Midland-Penetang's dying manufacturing sector, and they take advantage of the natural assets of the region. As the Hurons said about Huronia, it really is a land apart.
A good friend of mine lives in Terrace BC, pegged by Moneysense as the worst town in Canada. He loves it. He works on fossils, fishes salmon in the Skeena River, and never has a bad thing to say about the place.
I like Ottawa. It has everything I need. It's not cheap and it's not warm and friendly. The civil service mentality and the sense of entitlement of middle-class Ottawans is hard to take. So is the ignorance of the inbred local population. There's lots of Francophone attitude, especially on the Hill, where speaking English is discouraged. The cabbies are scary, and, if you're a good looking female university student wanting a ride home from a bar, they're dangerous. The winters are far colder than Midland's. I'd take the snow in Midland over the subzero temperatures of Ottawa any day. But with the incredible beauty of the Gatineau Hills twenty minutes away, two universities, Parliament, great career opportunities for my wife and me, and the National Archives just up the street, this place works for me.
As for Victoria, which placed No. 1: I would be bored out of my skull there, although, yes, I would enjoy the cooler summers and the milder winters.