List of the 100 largest population centres in Canada

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A population centre, in the context of a Canadian census, is a populated place, or a cluster of interrelated populated places, which meets the demographic characteristics of an urban area, having a population of at least 1,000 people and a population density of no fewer than 400 people per square km2.[1]

The term was first introduced in the Canada 2011 Census; prior to that, Statistics Canada used the term urban area.[1]

Statistics Canada listed 942 population centres in its 2011 census data; 513 of them, 54 per cent of all population centres in Canada, were located in Ontario or Quebec, the two most populous provinces.

History[edit]

The term "population centre" was chosen in order to better reflect the fact that urban vs. rural is not a strict division, but rather a continuum within which several distinct settlement patterns, and several competing interpretations of the distinction, may exist.[1] For example, a community may fit a strictly statistical definition of an urban area, but may not be commonly thought of as "urban" because it has a smaller population, or because it functions socially and economically as a suburb of another urban area rather than as a self-contained urban entity, or because it is geographically remote from other urban communities.

Accordingly, the new definition set out three distinct types of population centres: small (population 1,000 to 29,999), medium (population 30,000 to 99,999) and large (population 100,000 or greater).[1] Despite the change in terminology, however, the demographic definition of a population centre remains unchanged from that of an urban area: a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is no fewer than 400 persons per square km2.

Characteristics[edit]

A population centre does not necessarily correspond to the boundaries of a municipality or of a census division. For example, a less densely populated area within a city's municipal boundaries may not be included as part of its population centre, while neighbouring municipalities that directly continue a city's urban core population will be included.

For example, the population centre of Toronto extends into neighbouring Peel Region, Halton Region, Durham Region and York Region, encompassing places such as Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Pickering and Ajax. Despite this, numerous other communities which are considered part of the Greater Toronto Area for political purposes are not part of the population centre of Toronto; because a belt of more rural areas separates them geographically from the primary bulk of urban settlement, communities such as Milton, Georgetown, Caledon, Bolton, Nobleton, Bradford and Stouffville instead form their own separate small or medium population centres.[2] However, the Statistics Canada definition of a population centre is that it does not cross the boundaries of a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA); even though the band of continuous urban development emanating outward from downtown Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario extends even further into Hamilton and Oshawa, these two cities are both considered separate CMAs by Statistics Canada rather than being part of Toronto's, and accordingly each is also considered a distinct population centre.

Conversely, a single municipality may also contain more than one distinct population centre, if less densely populated or undeveloped regions separate more urbanized areas from one another. For example, Ottawa currently has seven distinct population centres (Ottawa-Gatineau, Constance Bay, Kanata, Richmond, Osgoode, Manotick and Metcalfe),[3] the neighbouring city of Gatineau has a secondary population centre at Buckingham in addition to its primary urban core forming part of Ottawa-Gatineau, and Greater Sudbury currently has eight distinct population centres (Sudbury, Azilda, Capreol, Chelmsford, Coniston, Dowling, Lively and Valley East).[4]

For actual "city limits" populations, see List of the 100 largest municipalities in Canada by population, and for metropolitan area populations, see List of metropolitan areas in Canada.

Lists[edit]

Map of Canada
Ottawa, Capital of Canada

By population rank[5][edit]

Rank Population centre Population in 2016 Population in 2011 Class
1 Toronto, Ontario 5,429,524 5,144,412 Large urban
2 Montreal, Quebec 3,519,595 3,387,653 Large urban
3 Vancouver, British Columbia 2,264,823 2,124,443 Large urban
4 Calgary, Alberta 1,237,656 1,094,379 Large urban
5 Edmonton, Alberta 1,062,643 935,361 Large urban
6 OttawaGatineau, Ontario/Quebec 989,657 945,592 Large urban
7 Winnipeg, Manitoba 711,925 670,025 Large urban
8 Quebec City, Quebec 705,103 681,804 Large urban
9 Hamilton, Ontario 693,645 671,008 Large urban
10 Kitchener, Ontario 470,015 446,295 Large urban
11 London, Ontario 383,437 365,715 Large urban
12 Victoria, British Columbia 367,770 344 615 Large urban
13 Halifax, Nova Scotia 316,701 304,979 Large urban
14 Oshawa, Ontario 308,875 290,704 Large urban
15 Windsor, Ontario 287,069 277,970 Large urban
16 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 245,181 220,546 Large urban
17 St. CatharinesNiagara, Ontario 229,246 220,616 Large urban
18 Regina, Saskatchewan 214,631 192,079 Large urban
19 St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador 178,427 172,312 Large urban
20 Kelowna, British Columbia 151,957 140,131 Large urban
21 Barrie, Ontario 145,614 140,383 Large urban
22 Sherbrooke, Quebec 139,565 133,673 Large urban
23 Guelph, Ontario 132,397 122,457 Large urban
24 Abbotsford, British Columbia 121,279 115,011 Large urban
25 Kingston, Ontario 159 561 123 363 Large urban
26 Kanata, Ontario 117,304 104,559 Large urban
27 Trois-Rivières, Quebec 114,203 112,626 Large urban
28 Moncton, New Brunswick 108,620 103,926 Large urban
29 Chicoutimi-Jonquière, Quebec 104,222 104,589 Large urban
30 Milton, Ontario 101,715 75,880 Large urban
31 Red Deer, Alberta 99,718 89,715 Medium
32 Brantford, Ontario 98,179 94,269 Medium
33 Thunder Bay, Ontario 93,952 95,251 Medium
34 White Rock, British Columbia 93,729 85,062 Medium
35 Nanaimo, British Columbia 92,004 85,357 Medium
36 Sudbury, Ontario 88,054 87,950 Medium
37 Lethbridge, Alberta 87,572 79,364 Medium
38 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec 84,685 81,802 Medium
39 Peterborough, Ontario 82,094 79,863 Medium
40 Kamloops, British Columbia 78,026 72,755 Medium
41 Saint-Jérôme, Quebec 77,146 69,598 Medium
42 Chilliwack, British Columbia 73,161 67,374 Medium
43 Sarnia, Ontario 72,125 73,044 Medium
44 Châteauguay, Quebec 71,164 66,445 Medium
45 Drummondville, Quebec 68,604 65,341 Medium
46 Belleville, Ontario 67,666 66,331 Medium
47 Fort McMurray, Alberta 66,573 60,555 Medium
48 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 66,313 68,143 Medium
49 Prince George, British Columbia 65,510 62,623 Medium
50 Medicine Hat, Alberta 62,935 59,624 Medium
51 Welland-Pelham, Ontario 62,388 60,540 Medium
52 Grande Prairie, Alberta 62,320 55,236 Medium
53 Airdrie, Alberta 61,082 42,844 Medium
54 Granby, Quebec 59,691 57,351 Medium
55 Fredericton, New Brunswick 59,405 56,663 Medium
56 Saint John, New Brunswick 58,341 60,459 Medium
57 Beloeil, Quebec 50,845 48,688 Medium
58 North Bay, Ontario 50,396 52,405 Medium
59 Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec 50,032 47,289 Medium
60 Brandon, Manitoba 48,324 45,624 Medium
61 Vernon, British Columbia 48,073 46,125 Medium
62 Cornwall, Ontario 45,723 45,508 Medium
63 Joliette, Quebec 45,508 42,850 Medium
64 Courtenay, British Columbia 45,018 43,346 Medium
65 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 44,379 41,613 Medium
66 Victoriaville, Quebec 44,735 41,925 Medium
67 Chatham, Ontario 43,550 44,676 Medium
68 Georgetown, Ontario 42,123 40,185 Medium
69 St. Thomas, Ontario 41,813 40,973 Medium
70 Woodstock, Ontario 40,404 37,443 Medium
71 Bowmanville-Newcastle, Ontario 39,371 35,168 Medium
72 Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec 39,048 38,323 Medium
73 Shawinigan, Quebec 38,211 39,427 Medium
74 Rimouski, Quebec 36,942 35,437 Medium
75 Spruce Grove, Alberta 36,135 27,970 Medium
76 Sorel-Tracy, Quebec 36,088 35,770 Medium
77 Campbell River, British Columbia 35,138 33,448 Medium
78 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 35,102 34,057 Medium
79 Penticton, British Columbia 33,617 32,823 Medium
80 Mission, British Columbia 33,261 31,109 Medium
81 Leamington, Ontario 32,991 32,520 Medium
82 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan 32,724 32,546 Medium
83 Stouffville, Ontario 32,634 24,654 Medium
84 Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan 31,400 27,769 Medium
85 Orillia, Ontario 31,128 30,546 Medium
86 Stratford, Ontario 31,053 30,516 Medium
87 Orangeville, Ontario 30,734 29,007 Medium
88 Cape Breton-Sydney, Nova Scotia 29,904 30,175 Small
89 Bradford, Ontario 29,862 23,024 Small
90 Leduc, Alberta 29,556 23,827 Small
91 Timmins, Ontario 29,331 30,485 Small
92 Okotoks, Alberta 28,833 24,470 Small
93 Saint-Georges, Quebec 26,921 24,940 Small
94 Keswick-Elmhurst Beach, Ontario 26,757 26,002 Small
95 Bolton, Ontario 26,378 27,108 Small
96 Val-d'Or, Quebec 25,541 25,023 Small
97 Cochrane, Alberta 25,289 17,433 Small
98 Quispamsis-Rothesay, New Brunswick 24,445 23,862 Small
99 Midland, Ontario 24,353 23,791 Small
100 Innisfil, Ontario 23,992 20,365 Small

The following population centres were ranked among the 100 largest urban areas in the Canada 2011 Census, but dropped below the 100th rank in the 2016 census.

Rank in 2016 Rank in 2011 Urban area Population in 2016 Population in 2011
103 98 Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec 23,504 23,137
106 99 Sept-Îles, Quebec 22,218 23,028

By province or territory[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "From urban areas to population centres". Statistics Canada. Archived from the original on 13 December 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Map: Toronto (Population Centre), Ontario". Statistics Canada, February 1, 2012.
  3. ^ Map: Ottawa - Gatineau (Population Centre), Ontario. Statistics Canada, February 1, 2012.
  4. ^ Map: Sudbury (Population Centre), Ontario. Statistics Canada, February 1, 2012.
  5. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2016 Census". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2017-06-02.