List of the 100 largest population centres in Canada

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Population centre, in Canadian census data, 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 persons 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

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

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 settlement or undeveloped wilderness separates them geographically from the primary band 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, a population centre does not cross the boundaries of a Census Metropolitan Area; 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 six distinct population centres (Sudbury, Capreol, Dowling, Lively, Onaping-Levack 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

Map of Canada
Ottawa, Capital of Canada

By rank

Rank Population centre 5 Population in 2011 6 Population in 2006  Class
1 Toronto, Ontario 5,132,794 4,732,361 Large urban
2 Montreal, Quebec 3,407,963 3,260,508 Large urban
3 Vancouver, British Columbia 2,135,201 1,955,278 Large urban
4 Calgary, Alberta 1,095,404 988,079 Large urban
5 Edmonton, Alberta 960,015 862,544 Large urban
6 OttawaGatineau, Ontario/Quebec 933,596 867,593 Large urban
7 Quebec City, Quebec 696,946 661,011 Large urban
8 Winnipeg, Manitoba 671,551 641,556 Large urban
9 Hamilton, Ontario 670,580 647,682 Large urban
10 Kitchener, Ontario 444,681 422,514 Large urban
11 London, Ontario 366,191 353,874 Large urban
12 Victoria, British Columbia 316,327 303,977 Large urban
13 St. CatharinesNiagara, Ontario 309,319 308,820 Large urban
14 Halifax, Nova Scotia 297,943 285,480 Large urban
15 Oshawa, Ontario 290,937 270,059 Large urban
16 Windsor, Ontario 276,165 278,869 Large urban
17 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 222,035 202,425 Large urban
18 Regina, Saskatchewan 192,756 179,246 Large urban
19 Barrie, Ontario 166,634 157,501 Large urban
20 St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador 165,346 152,729 Large urban
21 Abbotsford, British Columbia 149,855 140,275 Large urban
22 Kelowna, British Columbia 141,767 128,127 Large urban
23 Sherbrooke, Quebec 140,628 134,882 Large urban
24 Trois-Rivières, Quebec 126,460 121,671 Large urban
25 Guelph, Ontario 122,362 115,635 Large urban
26 Kingston, Ontario 117,787 112,580 Large urban
27 Moncton, New Brunswick 107,086 96,987 Large urban
28 Sudbury, Ontario 106,840 106,612 Large urban
29 Chicoutimi-Jonquière, Quebec 106,666 106,184 Large urban
30 Thunder Bay, Ontario 102,222 103,247 Large urban
31 Kanata, Ontario 101,760 86,632 Large urban
32 Saint John, New Brunswick 95,902 91,352 Medium
33 Brantford, Ontario 93,650 90,192 Medium
34 Red Deer, Alberta 90,207 82,732 Medium
35 Nanaimo, British Columbia 88,799 84,100 Medium
36 Lethbridge, Alberta 83,679 74,870 Medium
37 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec 83,053 78,519 Medium
38 White Rock, British Columbia 82,368 74,023 Medium
39 Peterborough, Ontario 80,660 77,348 Medium
40 Sarnia, Ontario 79,526 78,827 Medium
41 Milton, Ontario 75,573 45,486 Medium
42 Kamloops, British Columbia 73,472 70,549 Medium
43 Châteauguay, Quebec 70,812 66,204 Medium
44 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 67,646 67,734 Medium
45 Chilliwack, British Columbia 66,382 58,593 Medium
46 Drummondville, Quebec 66,314 62,199 Medium
47 Saint-Jérôme, Quebec 65,825 62,368 Medium
48 Medicine Hat, Alberta 65,671 62,203 Medium
49 Prince George, British Columbia 65,503 65,066 Medium
50 Belleville, Ontario 63,985 64,310 Medium
51 Fredericton, New Brunswick 61,522 57,255 Medium
52 Fort McMurray, Alberta 61,374 47,705 Medium
53 Granby, Quebec 60,281 56,777 Medium
54 Grande Prairie, Alberta 54,913 47,066 Medium
55 North Bay, Ontario 53,515 53,100 Medium
56 Beloeil, Quebec 50,796 46,574 Medium
57 Cornwall, Ontario 49,243 48,792 Medium
58 Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec 48,576 47,306 Medium
59 Shawinigan, Quebec 47,735 49,236 Medium
60 Brandon, Manitoba 46,061 41,511 Medium
61 Vernon, British Columbia 44,600 42,731 Medium
62 Chatham, Ontario 44,074 45,783 Medium
63 Bowmanville/Newcastle, Ontario 43,555 38,265 Medium
64 Joliette, Quebec 42,883 39,219 Medium
65 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 42,602 38,801 Medium
66 Airdrie, Alberta 42,564 28,927 Medium
67 Victoriaville, Quebec 41,701 38,435 Medium
68 St. Thomas, Ontario 41,688 39,573 Medium
69 Courtenay, British Columbia 40,809 37,435 Medium
70 Georgetown, Ontario 40,150 36,755 Medium
71 Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec 39,391 38,936 Medium
72 Rimouski, Quebec 37,664 35,948 Medium
73 Woodstock, Ontario 37,362 35,424 Medium
74 Sorel-Tracy, Quebec 36,969 36,594 Medium
75 Penticton, British Columbia 36,902 35,846 Medium
76 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 35,552 34,547 Medium
77 Campbell River, British Columbia 34,514 33,121 Medium
78 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan 33,617 32,526 Medium
79 Cape Breton-Sydney, Nova Scotia 31,597 32,496 Medium
80 Midland, Ontario 31,428 31,312 Medium
81 Leamington, Ontario 31,254 31,113 Medium
82 Stratford, Ontario 30,886 30,516 Medium
83 Orangeville, Ontario 30,729 29,110 Medium
84 Timmins, Ontario 30,614 30,253 Medium
85 Orillia, Ontario 30,586 30,259 Medium
86 Walnut Grove, British Columbia 27,969 25,683 Small
87 Spruce Grove, Alberta 27,947 21,092 Small
88 Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan 27,804 24,028 Small
89 Alma, Quebec 26,016 25,394 Small
90 Bolton, Ontario 25,954 26,232 Small
91 Saint-Georges, Quebec 25,703 24,135 Small
92 Keswick-Elmhurst Beach, Ontario 25,527 24,501 Small
93 Stouffville, Ontario 24,886 12,411 Small
94 Okotoks, Alberta 24,511 17,150 Small
95 Duncan, British Columbia 24,479 23,157 Small
96 Parksville, British Columbia 24,326 23,740 Small
97 Leduc, Alberta 24,279 16,967 Small
98 Val-d'Or, Quebec 23,827 23,640 Small
99 Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec 23,740 23,433 Small
100 Buckingham, Quebec 23,589 21,652 Small

The following population centres were ranked among the 100 largest urban areas in the Canada 2006 Census, but dropped below the 100th rank in the 2011 census.

Rank in 2011 Rank in 2006 Urban area 5 Population in 2011 6 Population in 2006 
101 93 Brockville, Ontario 23,354 23,620
102 96 Sept-Îles, Quebec 23,326 22,837
103 98 Truro, Nova Scotia 23,261 22,376
105 97 Owen Sound, Ontario 22,134 22,208
107 100 Thetford Mines, Quebec 20,756 20,984

By province or territory

See also

References








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