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Top 5 Fastest Growing Cities in Canada

Here is a short insider article that will surprise you with the facts!

Over a five year period (from 2016 to 2021), most of Canada’s fastest growing municipalities with the highest population growth rates are located within large urban centres or close to them.

Fastest Growing cities in Canada

The fastest growing communities in the past five years include towns like Bradford West Gwillimbury and Wasaga Beach in Ontario, Moncton in New Brunswick, Fort Saskatchewan and Spruce Grove in Alberta and Ottawa Gatineau in Quebec, the French province.

As more people adapt to life after the pandemic, the fastest growing regions in the country reflect the urban sprawl trend. For example, East Gwillimbury, a municipality on the outskirts of the Toronto CMA, tops the list of the fastest growing cities in Canada, with the highest population growth rate at +44.4 per cent.

Population Growth in Major Cities

As per Statistics Canada data, Toronto saw a 2.3% growth rate over the past five years.

Within the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, Brampton had the highest rate of growth (+10.6 per cent), underlining the trend of the population in peripheral municipalities increasing faster than in central municipalities. 

British Columbia - home to some of the fastest growing cities in Canada

Toronto is close to 2.8 million residents, followed by Montreal at 1.8 million. Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa crossed the 1 million mark, bringing the combined population of these major cities to just over 44 per cent of Canada’s total population.

Top 5 Fastest Growing Cities in Canada

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, there were a few surprising results. Canada has seen a faster pace of growth in its peripheral communities than in its large urban centres. As per the Census data, these cities make up the top 5 placings.

Kelowna, BC

Kelowna topped the list of Canada’s fastest growing cities, gaining 14 per cent in its population over the last five years. It is also known as the “Hawaii of Canada.”

Kelowna is in the middle of Okanagan Valley, which produces some of Canada’s best wines. Located south of the Lake Country region, Kelowna has some of the best nature trails, biking trails, parks, and beaches for outdoors lovers. It also offers more affordable housing compared to nearby Vancouver.

Kelowna - one of the fastest growing cities in Canada

Post pandemic, it has seen more cross-provincial migration to the city than any other. Kelowna has the third fastest growing central core out of all Census Metropolitan Areas in the country, according to Statistics Canada.

Chilliwack, BC

The city of Chilliwack, located outside Vancouver in the British Columbia province, is the runner-up with 12.1 per cent growth. 

Chilliwack is a town in the rural areas with a population of 113,767 per the census metropolitan area level in the 2021 census conducted by Statistics Canada.

Kamloops, BC

The city of Kamloops is also known as the “Tournament Capital of Canada.” Located in the interiors of British Columbia, it boasts of the famous Peaks Resort’s hiking trails, bike parks, and various ski runs and is rightfully one of Canada’s resort cities.

Kamloops stars on the list of the fastest growing cities in Canada

Kamloops’ economy includes healthcare, tourism, education, transportation, and natural resource extraction industries. The population in Kamloops had a growth rate of 10per cent in 5 years.

London, Ontario

London and its local river, the Thames, were named for the British capital of London by John Graves Simcoe. London’s economy is dominated by medical research, healthcare and education, either conducted or supported by the University of Western Ontario.

With a population per cent growth of 10per cent from 2016 to 2021, London is growing at a faster pace than other urban regions.

Nanaimo BC

Nanaimo is a fast-growing port city with thriving fishing and lumbering industries and is called the “Harbour City.” Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Nanaimo has an abundance of outdoor adventures, including scuba diving, boating, sailing, trails and golf courses.

Nanaimo - fastest growing cities in Canada.

Like London and Kamloops, Nanaimo saw a strong population growth of 10 per cent from 2016 to 2021. The city was also known as the Hub City due to its original layout design, where the streets radiated from the shoreline like the spokes of a wagon wheel.

Embracing the Trend of Urban Sprawling

The rapid growth of urban areas can be attributed to increased population and migration to urban areas. Statistics Canada’s new report on Population and dwelling counts in Canadian provinces and territories states that many Canadians living in big cities are migrating to smaller towns and municipalities.

Smaller towns and resort cities in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia offer a slower pace of life, more space, and lower housing prices.

Working from home is a reality that is here to stay, and more people are making the change towards affordable housing and living costs in smaller communities. If you are one of the  lucky ones that do not need to commute to downtown Toronto or Calgary,  give us a call, and we shall help you find a perfect-for-you home in the suburbs.

For the latest stats, check out our blog on the fastest growing cities in Canada in 2024.

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