Talk:List of the 100 largest municipalities in Canada by population

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'Ottawa' Population[edit]

It is worth noting here and referencing elsewhere that the figures described for Ottawa are misleading because of the unique placement of Ottawa on the Ontario/Quebec border. Any understanding of the population base of 'Ottawa' in a geographic sense ought to include the Quebec area described as 'Gatineau' -- the two regions represent a common population as concerns workplace, media outlets and shopping, to name but a few. Though a broad-stroke description of Gatineau may describe it as French-speaking, in reality many Gatineau residents work in Ottawa, attend schools in Ottawa, describe themselves in loose terms as 'from Ottawa'. Similarly, many Ottawa residents work in Gatineau located Federal Government offices ... though they are unlikely to describe themselves as being from 'Gatineau' (or 'Hull', as the urban centre of Gatineau was named until recent times).

The more accurate description of greater Ottawa as Ottawa-Gatineau is not frequently used in an 'official' way, presumably because of the interprovincial nature of such a description, but it would explain to those who have visited both why it is that 'Ottawa' seems larger than 'Calgary' -- the former achieves a population of over a million in the 2006 census when bundled with Gatineau -- the latter falls somewhat short of the same. All three of the cities described use geographic boundaries that include suburban and 'bedroom' communities.

Though sometimes -- and even within Wiki -- the region is desribed as a 'municipal area' even this more reflective description is frequently missed. An itemization of the recognized municipal areas by Stats Can does not include this interprovincial abberation, and readers unaware of the specific geography may dismiss the 'municipal area' term expecting it to include 'outlying' areas -- in the case of Ottawa-Gatineau the provincial border divides them at the heart of their respective urban centres; Gatineau and the bulk of Gatineau's population lay closer to downtown Ottawa than most of Ottawa's recognized (and included) suburbs. In practice, there is no reason to exclude Gatineau from any discussion of Ottawa unless describing those handful of things that are by law excluded -- each has a separate mayor and municipal council, independent (though cooperating) public transit systems, distinct (and not cooperating) school boards, et cetera.

Currently, I'm of the opinion that Ottawa should be understood to have a larger population than Calgary in any meaningful sense -- Calgary's growth rate being as it is, I reserve the right to change my opinion some time soon! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

This list is for the populations of individual municipalities. There's a separate list for the populations of metropolitan areas. Bearcat (talk) 20:23, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

-similarly Vancouver isn't really understood as being smaller than Winnipeg - but this is for the municipalities not metropolitan areas- and largely reflects those that have chosen to amalgamate (ie Toronto, Montreal, Halifax) and those that have not. It is interesting to see the growth of suburbs(ie Surrey) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:58, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Montréal Population[edit]

I just changed it because it was incorrect. The city is much larger thant only 1 million people. Nobody living in Canada could believe this lie.

We've been through all this before. That was the population in 2001, so that's what's listed here. New census numbers with the 2006 municipal boundaries are released in March. Lots of cities have had changes to their borders over the last five years so we'll be seeing a lot of shifts. --Gary Will 23:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Populations need to be updated[edit]

The populations need to be updated. I know that Whitby, Ontario is at a population estimated at around 110 000, which is much more than the 87,413 stated on the list.

The data is from 2001. Please wait until the next census to make changes. --curling rock Earl Andrew - talk 02:52, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I do not see why this list cannot be updated when cities or provinces conduct their own censuses. This article is five years out of date, which makes it completely worthless in terms of encyclopedic value. Resolute 04:28, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
The numbers from the municipalities are estimates using various methods. Maybe a second column with more current estimates and the date and source of those estimates would be useful, but we wouldn't want to replace the census numbers with a hodgepodge of numbers from different times, using different estimating processes, and different definitions of what consitutes a resident. There's only one census. It comes every five years and there's nothing we can do about that. New data will be available soon, so this is as out of date as it gets. --Gary Will 04:53, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Cities and provinces don't conduct their own censuses; they calculate their own unofficial estimates. The only body that conducts an actual census in Canada is the federal government. We can note unofficial estimates on the cities' own articles, as long as they're denoted as unofficial estimates; we cannot take these estimates as definitive replacements for official census figures. Bearcat 04:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
While I am not sure why you felt the need to bring it up six weeks after the last activity on this topic, I will say that you are completely incorrect when you state that cities do not conduct their own censuses. The City of Calgary does, and it is not an estimate. It is a physical enumeration, exactly as the Federal census is done. I am reasonably certain that Airdrie does the same. Also, frankly, this list as stands is worthless, as I can guarantee you that 100% of the figures are currently incorrect. I am at a loss to understand why we are passing off worthless five year old data as current fact. As of right now, civic censuses and estimates are far more reliable than the 2001 federal census data is. This is why I suggested having one column for "current" population, and one for the population as of the last federal census. Resolute 18:04, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Although this conversation is now six years stale, WP:CANSTYLE#Official population updates was updated by Bearcat in 2010 to acknowledge that formal censuses are in fact conducted by municipalities in Alberta.
Be clear, this note is not intended to justify inclusion of subsequent municipal censuses in this article. It is only intended to confirm true what was previously believed to be untrue for the benefit of those reviewing the historical conversations on this talk page. Hwy43 (talk) 04:01, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Quebec demergers[edit]

As of January 1st, 2006 many Quebec municipalities were demerged and therefore should be re-included on this list. While the population of the city of Montreal ( after demergers ) is updated and correct everything else is not . I don't know if anyone has the right numbers ( or in other words is willing to spend some time recalculating the numbers ) as of the new demerged cities. Major cities such as Quebec City and especially Longueil have their population changed, in case of Longueuil it's a major change and the city wil be out of the top 20. Now, some of the demerged suburbs should be included; such as Dollard-des Ormeaux ( pop. 48,206 ) so cities such as Brossard ( pop. over 60 000 ) as of 2001.

If anyone has the correct numbers, please update the list.

It should be pointed out that this doesn't show the Greater populations of the cities (ie the suburbs) and thus isn't a proportionate representation of the biggest cities in Canada. If it were to include the surrounding areas, then it would go: 1)Toronto 2)Montreal 3)Vancouver 4)Calgary 5)Ottawa/Gatineau

I suppose we could have two lists. What does everyone think? Earl Andrew 22:30, 26 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Also, these populations are incorrect. Speaking from memory, my hometown, Port Coquitlam, does not have a population of 51k - it is around 89k as of the latest census, which is 2001. This cites using 2001 data - mistaken? I am fairly confident that there are some serious errors in the top of the list. Ottawa is not nearly that large, neither are Calgary or Edmonton. Even if suburbs were taken into account I don't believe Ottawa and it's surroundings would surpass the City of Vancouver (no suburbs included). User:Cat6 22:50, 4 Jan 2004 (PST)
The stats are taken straight from the Stats Canada website. There is no disputing that. The only dispute might be from the Quebec Cities, as I may have made some mistakes adding the populations due to 2002 amalgamations (that happened after the census). The reason why Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa are so high and Vancouver not is because the City of Vancouver has less people than do the City of Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. Ottawa's suburbs are all within the City government, and Vancouver's are not. I have resolved this issue by providing another page for CMA's and CA's. --Earl Andrew 07:29, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Source: [1] Earl Andrew 07:32, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It should be also pointed out that these populations are getting very old very fast. According to the mayor of Brampton, there are 412,000 people living in that city. Calgary is near a million. Mississauga population is near 636,00 people. Someone should update this soon. However a real known number will come out in 2011 with the new census.

The next census is in 2006. Silly yanks, not every country has a census every ten years! ;) -- Flag of Canada.svg Earl Andrew - talk 01:12, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

kelowna is 147,000 and kamloops is 86,000 I just checked the stats can website for 2001 check it out! *Kamloops

Those are Census Metropolitan Area/Census Agglomeration figures (the city plus nearby communities that are outside of the city limits), not city populations. Bearcat 04:53, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

What this article is and what it isn't[edit]

This article is a list of municipal populations. Here are a couple of synonyms:

  • "City Limits" population.
  • Census Subdivision population.

That is to say, the borders of an actual municipal unit (City, Town, County (excluding the county's towns & cities), Village, Indian Reserve, District Municipality, Ville, Municipal District, Regional District Electoral Area...). These are the numbers from 2001. They are based on the borders as of 2001. There is no other coherent, single location for providing apples-to-apples comparisons of this type of information. Yes, the numbers are now 5 years out of date. We can expect new numbers within the next couple of months.

Here are some things this article is not. Some of these things have articles of their own elsewhere, so don't criticize this article for lacking these items' information.

  • "Metro Area" population - By Statistics Canada's structures, metro areas are either Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) or Census Agglomerations (CAs), depending on sizes (CMAs are bigger). The person who claimed that Kamloops's numbers were wrong (directly above) gave a link to Kamloops's CA numbers, not it's "City of Kamloops" numbers. The correct link for this article is this: [2]. There is an article covering Metro areas, it is List of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in Canada, and the information about it is in the first paragraph of this very article!!!
  • "Urban Core" population - I know no one's really been on about this, but I like these numbers - they're based on continuous population density, not simply commuter municipalities. See List of the 100 largest urban areas in Canada by population. So, for instance, White Rock is a separate "Urban Area" from Vancouver.
  • 2006 data. We all know this data is out of date. However, almost all the information available otherwise is unreliable. Almost every "city census" undertaken by a city, independently, is shown to exaggerate the numbers when a "real" national census comes around. Clearly, it is in a city's interest to appear bigger, because then they appear "growing" and "dynamic". However, even if we ignore conflict-of-interest concerns, a city will often need to count people who are transient through their city, because those people need services, too. This could easily lead to someone being counted in both Edmonton and Calgary, for example (or Newfoundland and Fort McMurray). However, Statistics Canada will only count that person once. So there's a variety of data available, from a variety of methodologies, and as long as we're ranking these cities, we can't use anything but consistent data. It's a good idea to include these newer numbers in the city's own article, but not when they're being ranked against other cities. AshleyMorton 12:04, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I would be most interested to see you justify your claim that every city that runs its own census is lying. Regardless, there is no reason why we cant add two more columns to the chart showing most recent figure in one column, and the source in the second like exists in List of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in Canada. Leave the list sorted by the 2001 data, but offer some information of value. As I said above, figures that are five years out of date are completely worthless. Resolute 23:30, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
First, I believe that the second column (or more!) which gives additional information is a good idea. I believe that the ranking needs to remain based on the apples-to-apples (2001 Census) numbers, but clearly, the information is out of date, and people who come here for numbers about specific cities (rather than a comparative ranking) would get value out of your suggestion.
Second, please don't misrepresent me. I did not say that "every" city that runs it's own census "is lying". I said that the numbers in almost every city census end up coming out exaggerated. I then gave some reasons why this can happen without any malice, corruption or even inaccuracy (for what the city actually needs the numbers for, like municipal services). They (most of them) are not lying, and I even went to lengths to show that I was not accusing them of doing so.AshleyMorton 13:13, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Again: there is no such thing as a city conducting its own census. Cities calculate their own unofficial estimates; no city conducts its own legal, official census. Bearcat 04:36, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Although this conversation is now six years stale, WP:CANSTYLE#Official population updates was updated by Bearcat in 2010 to acknowledge that formal censuses are in fact conducted by municipalities in Alberta.
Be clear, this note is not intended to justify inclusion of subsequent municipal censuses in this article. It is only intended to confirm true what was previously believed to be untrue for the benefit of those reviewing the historical conversations on this talk page. Hwy43 (talk) 04:01, 20 June 2012 (UTC)


These figures contradict the things that are said in other articles about Canadian Cities. The figures here seems to be two times smaller than those in the articles. The hub 00:44, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Do you have some examples? --Kmsiever 02:10, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

North Vancouver is listed twice (#61 and #100). Might one of them be for West Vancouver? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Look two columns over in each entry. There are two municipalities in BC with the given name of "North Vancouver". One is a district municipality and one is a city. Hwy43 (talk) 19:21, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Deletion of this article[edit]

These are numbers that change every year. Encyclopedic knowledge is for concepts that have some degree of stability. People who want real updated information need to go to GOVERNMENT SITES. That's what they're there for... There is no way that this list has any hope of being updated on a regular basis. In addition, ambiguities such as municipal and metropolitain are no small subject. Montreal's public transportation system is not a municipal one but a metropolitain one. So one should never discuss cities and knowingly exclude either of the municipal or metropolitain concepts of these cities. They are inseparable. Montreal viewed as a "municipality" for these purposes makes no sense at all, and I'm pretty darned certain it also makes little sense for other metropolitain cities of the world. IF we must have a list of largest cities, it certainly shouldn't be 100, but more like over 1 million or something of that nature. Let's choose a notion who's concept and results won't change on a yearly basis. This list belongs on a fluff website, not on an encyclopedic one.--Tallard 21:10, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

If that is your stance, then you will have to delete a lot of articles. It's not a "fluff" article, it's a snapspot of 100 largest Canadian census division as of 2006 as told by Stats Canada. Yes, the population changes every year. Every day, in fact. But the Census numbers will not change until 2011. People look to Wikipedia for information - that's what this article is. Most people don't even know about Stats Canada's website.

Metropolitan populations are redundant to this article. Whether or not the Montreal Transit Corp. services suburbs or not is irrelevant. The City of Montreal does not collect taxes from people who do not live in Montreal. Plain and simple, no? DB99.249.224.218 (talk) 23:33, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


I have updated the population of Calgary since I noticed it was incorrect for it's time compared to the actual city article. I would like to do updates for all of this article but the current format is still beyond my skill with Wikipedia as of yet. Calgary also needs it's percentage change, math is not my strong point so i'd be glad if someone would be willing to help. Bretonnia (talk) 19:33, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I've reverted your change; the figures are from the 2006 census, and should match the official count provided by Statistics Canada. This is done to maintain consistency among the numbers, since municipal and provincial governments may employ different techniques, and conduct their research at different times, to provide any meaningful comparison. The population estimates (from reliable sources) are OK for the articles about the respective municipalities, though. Mindmatrix 19:51, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Alrighty then. But is it mentioned which type of census this particular article uses? I being the average reader saw it as a Municipal census and not as a Provincial census. If this is the case a note about this should be included in the intro of this article, if not done so already. Bretonnia (talk) 22:09, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually, it's from the federal census conducted in May 2006. There are no other census bodies in Canada; provincial, regional and municipal bodies provide population estimates, usually based on the latest census, growth rates etc. I hope this helps. Mindmatrix 23:01, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

So then does that mean the Calgary article's population is wrong, since it contradicts this one and you say this one is the only government census that is reliable. For consistency reasons I believe that if this is the case then the Calgary article's population needs to be edited. Bretonnia (talk) 16:07, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

The Calgary article is not wrong. To rephrase what I said above: for the purposes of this article, a consistent measure is needed, and that's provided by Statistics Canada during the official census conducted every five years. For articles about municipalities, several population numbers may be indicated - the official census count from StatsCan, the population estimates from a provincial body, and the population estimate from the municipal government. (These aren't necessarily official census bodies.) Since they do not coordinate their activities (eg - who should be counted, when the "census" is conducted etc.), they cannot be effectively compared here - it's meaningless to compare the population estimate of Calgary on July 2007 to that of Montreal for September 2006, for example. On the municipality article pages, however, the information is more relevant, but one should ensure to use reliable sources (a mayor's speech including population numbers is not reliable; a municipal planning department document is reliable). Also ensure that the appropriate number is used; many people become confused at the difference between municipal, CMA and economic region figures, to say nothing of provincial designations that are similar to, but not the same as, the federal boundaries (for example Toronto CMA versus the GTA).
In short: this article only uses StatsCan census figures; municipal articles can use estimates with reliable citations. Mindmatrix 16:46, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Ok, thanks for the clarification, I just like to know how things work before I just walk away =] Bretonnia (talk) 16:54, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Brampton's Population[edit]

As one of fastest growing cities in Canada the population of Brampton Ontario is now about 500,000 not 432,000 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gailgrove (talkcontribs) 23:06, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Likely so but that is an estimate and all figures in this article are from the 2006 census. Updated populations for Brampton and all other municipalities will occur on this page in early 2012 when the forthcoming 2011 census results are released. Hwy43 (talk) 23:37, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

2011 Census[edit]

Do we really need to keep the data from 2001 on this table? Just seems like this table will keep getting wider and wider with each new census. If we do this we might also have to add old census data as well. May as well just use the most recent two census data and the rest can be added on individual city's demographics category. Krazytea(talk) 19:02, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

What about an "archive" list article at List of the 100 largest municipalities in Canada by population in 2006 where the 2006 populations are compared with the 2001 census, and then this would just show 2011 compared back to 2006? Hwy43 (talk) 20:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Might be cool if someone added a column for population density. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:00, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I was just thinking the same thing. Though I don't know if I'd want to go and do all that by hand... (And yeah, I'm a n00b, so if there's a way to automate that column creation, teach me!) Zelbinian (talk) 05:43, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Undiscussed removal of census content[edit]

I reverted the recent trimming of the table from the four most recent censuses (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011) to two of the three most recent censuses (2001 and 2011). Listing only these two, and calculating a % change between the two, is original research. I'm not aware of a reliable source that publishes ten-year population change. The problem with doing so here is that a municipality's boundary in 2001 may have been smaller than it was in 2011. As a result, increases in population due to intervening boundaries adjustments (amalgamations and annexations) result in inflating % change. In reverting back to the four sets of census results, the same concern can be expressed about the "Change 1996-2011" column. A municipality could have experienced boundary adjustments between each intervening census period. This column should be removed from the table as it is original research and results in incorrect information. Hwy43 (talk) 03:32, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Growth / Decline of small population centres[edit]

It is no coincidence that the municipalities that have the greatest increases and decreases in population are among those with the very smallest population. The reason this is often no mere coincidence is the very nature of the calculation of growth. That is, growth calculations depend on not only the change in the number of persons but also on the size of the population centre in the first place. Both of those numbers enter into the ratio that is growth: Change-in-population / Total-population. Clearly, a smaller "Total-population" results in a higher growth.

I propose therefore that the section be removed.

If the section must be kept, then it would make (more) sense to break it down into several sections, perhaps by percentile of total population. That is, there could be the following sections: growth among cities in the 90th percentile, growth among cities in the 80th percentile, growth among cities in the 70th percentile. That seems a bit ridiculous, but to use larger percentiles, eg, "growth in cities in the 50th percentile" would suffer from the same problem as the existing lists: The charts would be dominated by the smallest cities in many cases (but, admittedly not ALL cases) simply because of the nature of the growth calculation -- it naturally emphasizes cities with smaller populations as noted above.

By the way, this problem with the growth calculation is a problem for ALL growth calculations -- not only for Population growth. For example, (almost) every time you hear somebody claim, "This is the fastest growth in the entire group"... you should ask yourself ... "Is this also the smallest in the whole group?" ... often "fastest growth" is practically synonymous with "smallest" ... again often because of the arithmetic behind the growth calculation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

See PDF pages 22-23 of 26 in the source for both tables. These come directly from Statistics Canada and is widely reported by others as a result. Why do you think StatCan cuts off the minimum threshold at 5,000 people? For exactly the reason you expressed above. It would be WP:OR in my opinion to do what you suggest for percentiles or any other arbitrary minimum thresholds. We are constrained to thresholds that are published by reliable sources. Hwy43 (talk) 19:50, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Regional Municipalities and Counties[edit]

I would suggest a further clarification in the introduction. This list as compiled is of single-tier and lower-tier municipalities. It excludes upper-tier municipalities such as regional municipalities and counties in Ontario. I don't think that's a bad thing, but the article is factually incorrect as it stadns as many of the regional municipalities in Ontario would place in the top 10 or 20 on the list. For instance, the Regional Municipality of Peel as of last census has a population of 1,296,814, making it the third most populous municipality in Canada. (talk) 17:17, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

The intro states that for inclusion, a municipality is a census subdivision (CSDs). Regarding your example, sure Peel, York and others would rank high on the list, but we would likewise have to remove from the list all their constituent municipalities (eg - Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon for Peel). Of course, the regional municipalites are not CSDs, so this change isn't suitable for this article. I've shifted the link for census subdivision to its first mention in the intro, which should hopefully clarify. Mindmatrix 20:38, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you Mindmatrix for the clarification. I gather the regions are categorized as census divisions, not subdivisions. Also, sorry for posting at the top. (talk) 15:04, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I think what you're looking for is List of census divisions of Canada by population, and yes, regional municipalities are classified as census divisions. Mindmatrix 15:59, 12 September 2014 (UTC)