Statistics Canada defines “rural” in various ways: an area with 150 persons per square kilometre; an area with less than 1,000 population; or all territory outside urban areas.
Canadians, inhabitants of the world’s second largest country, are moving by the thousands from rural areas into urban settings. In 2001, 79.4 percent — four out of five Canadians — lived in communities of 10,000 people or more. Some 64 percent resided in 27 regions called “census metropolitan areas” — or CMAs — where core populations are 100,000 or more. Two-thirds of Canadians live in urban agglomerates, sometimes referred to as "city-regions. Eight such urban entities exist: Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, centred around Toronto; Vancouver-Victoria; the Calgary-Edmonton corridor; Montréal and adjacent regions; Halifax-Dartmouth; Ottawa-Gatineau; Québec; and Winnipeg. The first four hold 51 percent of the Canadian population. All city-regions contain sizable proportions of provincial populations: almost 60 percent of Ontarians live around the Greater Toronto area and 72 percent of Albertans in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. More than 70 percent of immigrants make their homes in Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver. With immigration becoming the driving force behind Canada’s population increase, the growth of these three areas seems certain.
A natural balance
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