On the Map
Commuting in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver
A look at commuting patterns in Canada’s largest metro areas
By Nick Walker
Top 20 Municipalities Commuting to Toronto (Map: Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic)
Commuting between work and home — whether driving or being driven, catching public transit,
biking or walking — is a twice-a-day truth for 15.4 million Canadians.
For many, the locations of available jobs and affordable living don’t go hand in hand, but it’s
reasonable to assume that most of those commuting into the cores of Canada’s three most-populated
metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) are coming from nearby municipalities.
Toronto proper alone swells by more than 450,000 workers each day (not to mention the 837,000
locals who travel between bed and business within the metro centre). Montreal, similarly, gains
almost 390,000 people per day (equal to the entire population of Halifax); Vancouver, about 150,000.
What these maps show are the top 20 municipalities feeding into the big three cities. Each
municipality’s pie chart is sized relatively, by total commuters, and ranked one to 20 according to
how many of those travellers are exiting their hometowns for the main hub. That explains why places
such as Montréal-Est, the unmarked city-suburb at the northeast end of Montreal Island, have been
left blank: despite the fact that nearly 30 per cent of the 3,700 people who live there go to work in
Montreal every day, it ranks just 54th in total to-Montreal commuters.
It’s easy to dwell on long travel times, and granted, sitting on choked highways and missing buses
are nightmares we’ve all faced before. If you’re part of this great daily migration, though, bear in
mind that you’re sharing the experience with more than 40 per cent of your fellow Canadians.