Canada consists of provinces and territories, with cities of various sizes contributing to its large population. The country has three territories and ten provinces, divided to govern specific regions.
City classifications differ by province in Canada. In Alberta, a city must have over 10,000 residents and meet other criteria such as land parcel size. In British Columbia, a city can have as few as 5,000 residents. Quebec doesn’t have city designations but instead has “villes,” which are cities or towns without population-based distinctions.
Over 30 cities and their urban areas account for about two-thirds of Canada’s population. As of the 2011 census, Canada had 33 Census Metropolitan Areas and 114 census agglomerations. The census data showed a total of 1,137 municipalities classified as cities, towns, or villes.
Some of the most populous cities in Canada include Toronto (nearly 3 million residents), Montreal (almost 2 million), Calgary (over 1 million), Ottawa (more than 900,000), Edmonton (over 900,000), and Mississauga (more than 700,000).
In 2023, Canada has three cities with over a million residents, 52 cities with populations between 100,000 and 1 million, and 393 cities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. Toronto is the largest city, with 2.6 million people.
|Sault Ste. Marie||66,313|
|Waterfront Communities-The Island||65,913|
|Islington-City Centre West||43,965|
|Mount Pleasant West||29,658|
|York University Heights||27,593|
|Don Valley Village||27,051|
|Bay Street Corridor||25,797|
|Agincourt South-Malvern West||23,757|
|High Park North||22,162|
|Kingsview Village-The Westway||22,000|
|Fort St. John||20,155|
|North St.James Town||18,615|
|Danforth East York||17,180|
|Conception Bay South||17,087|
|Mount Pleasant East||16,775|
|Lawrence Park South||15,179|
|Lawrence Park North||14,607|
|Portage la Prairie||13,304|
|Forest Hill North||12,806|
|Etobicoke West Mall||11,848|
What is Canada’s population in 2023?
On January 1, 2023, Canada’s population was estimated to be 39,566,248, following an unprecedented increase of 1,050,110 people between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023. This was the first time in the country’s history that its population grew by over a million people in a single year, resulting in a record-breaking annual growth rate of 2.7%, the highest since 1957’s 3.3% growth rate. The 1957 surge was attributed to the post-war baby boom and a large influx of refugees after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
However, in 2022, international migration was the primary driver of Canada’s remarkable population growth, accounting for 95.9% of the increase. Among the G7 nations, Canada has consistently led in population growth for several years, including in 2022.
Which Canadian city is growing the fastest?
Moncton, in New Brunswick, is experiencing rapid growth, becoming Canada’s fastest-growing city with a 5.3% increase in the metropolitan area from July 2021 to 2022. This growth brings benefits such as increased diversity, new businesses, and support for existing businesses. Newcomers from countries like Peru are attracted by Moncton’s distinct seasons, career opportunities, and education facilities at NBCC.
The city also offers a welcoming environment for newcomers through organizations like Moncton Cares. However, this rapid growth poses challenges, particularly in the areas of affordable housing, healthcare, and education. John Wishart, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the need for collaboration between stakeholders, government, and the private sector to address these issues, especially housing.
The workforce also requires attention to ensure new residents can effectively showcase their skills.
Where do most Canadians live?
Most Canadians live in urban areas, with a significant proportion residing in the major cities of the country. The largest cities in Canada, by population, are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The majority of the population is concentrated in the southern parts of the country, near the Canada-US border, due to the more favorable climate and economic opportunities.
In particular, a significant number of Canadians live in the region known as the “Golden Horseshoe,” which surrounds the western end of Lake Ontario and includes the Greater Toronto Area.
Where do most Canadian immigrants go?
Most Canadian immigrants tend to settle in the largest cities and urban areas, which offer better economic opportunities, cultural diversity, and established immigrant communities. The top destinations for immigrants in Canada are:
- Toronto, Ontario: As the largest city in Canada, Toronto attracts a significant number of immigrants. It is known for its cultural diversity and strong economy, making it an attractive destination for newcomers.
- Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancouver is another popular destination for immigrants due to its mild climate, economic opportunities, and existing immigrant communities.
- Montreal, Quebec: Montreal is the largest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec. It attracts immigrants due to its vibrant culture, job opportunities, and unique blend of French and English-speaking communities.
- Calgary, Alberta: Calgary is a major city in Alberta, with a strong economy driven by the energy sector. It has become an increasingly popular destination for immigrants in recent years.
- Edmonton, Alberta: Edmonton is another city in Alberta with a growing economy and increasing job opportunities, making it an attractive option for immigrants.
- Winnipeg, Manitoba: Winnipeg is the largest city in the province of Manitoba and has seen growth in its immigrant population due to its diverse economy and job opportunities.
- Ottawa, Ontario: As the capital of Canada, Ottawa has a stable job market, particularly in the public sector, and offers various cultural and recreational opportunities, making it an attractive destination for immigrants.
Largest city in Canada by area
The largest city in Canada by area is La Tuque, Quebec. Located in the Mauricie region, it covers an area of approximately 28,099 square kilometers (10,850 square miles). La Tuque is a sparsely populated city, with much of its vast territory comprising forests, rivers, and lakes.
Smallest city in Canada
The smallest city in Canada by population is Saint-Pierre-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, Quebec, which, according to the 2021 Canadian Census, had a population of just 251 residents. The city is located on Île d’Orléans, an island in the Saint Lawrence River near Quebec City. It’s important to note that the smallest municipalities may vary depending on the criteria used to define “smallest,” such as population or land area.