The fastest-growing cities in Canada

Statistics Canada recently released its 2016 population and dwelling figures, providing a clear view of which cities are growing – and fast.

Overall, Canada’s population is on the rise. This is nothing new – the population has grown 10 times since 1871, when the first census after Confederation recorded merely 3.5 million people residing in Canada. In 1967, 100 years later, that number grew to 20 million. Fast forward to 2016, Canada’s population has grown to 35,151,728.

The country’s population increased by 1.7 million – five per cent – from 2011 to 2016. While this is a lower rate than the 5.9-per-cent increase recorded in the previous census, on a global scale, Canada’s population rate was the eighth highest among G20 countries, behind Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and India.

Population tended to grow from east to west, with the Atlantic provinces experiencing slower growth due to interprovincial migration losses, lower immigration levels and lower natural increases. While central Canada – Ontario and Quebec – continue to make up for 61.5 per cent of the Canadian population, it was the Prairies that recorded the highest rates of provincial population growth from 2011 to 2016. Alberta was up 11.6 per cent, far exceeding the national average, Manitoba was up 5.8 per cent, and Saskatchewan increased 6.3 per cent. British Columbia didn’t experience the same kind of growth as its western counterparts, but the province’s population grew 5.6 per cent, higher than the national average.

As Canada’s population continues to increase, more cities have reached “CMA” status, an area with a population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the core. In 2011, there were 33 CMAs, however, Lethbridge, Alta. and Belleville, Ont. were added to the list in the recent census, increasing the CMA count to 35.

CMA’s aren’t the only areas growing; Census Agglomerations (CAs) – a core population of 10,000 people or more – were also on the incline, with eight new towns added to the list. Seven of the 10 CAs with the highest growth rate were in the Prairies: Four in Alberta (Sylvan Lake, Okotoks, Canmore and Grand Prairie), two in Manitoba (Steinbach and Winkler), and Lloydminster, which straddles both Saskatchewan and Alberta. Squamish, BC was among the CAs with the highest growth rate, along with Ontario’s Wasaga Beach and Collingwood.

Here are the top 10 fastest-growing cities in Canada



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