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Changes in population at the local community level

Fastest-growing municipalities, and those with the largest declines

Click to view a tableGrain Elevator, ManitobaFor municipalities with a population of 5,000 or more, five of the 10 fastest-growing during the past five years are located in Alberta, underscoring the growth in the province since the 1996 Census.

At the top of the list were three Alberta municipalities: Cochrane, whose population surged 58.9% to just under 11,800; Sylvan Lake, where it rose 44.5% to almost 7,500; and Strathmore, whose population increased 43.4% to just over 7,600.

Between 1991 and 1996, growth rates for many municipalities in British Columbia were in double digits. According to the 2001 Census, these double-digit rates rates shifted to municipalities in Alberta.

Whistler, British ColumbiaFor example, the ski resort of Whistler, B.C., which led all municipalities in the 1996 Census with a growth rate of almost 61%, was 17th in the 2001 Census, with a growth rate of 24%. The other two fastest-growing municipalities in Alberta in 2001 were Okotoks, where the population increased 36.8% to almost 11,700, and Rocky View No. 44, where it rose 31.6% to about 30,700.

A second development shown by the 2001 Census is the appearance of three large Ontario municipalities on the list of the top 10 fastest-growing municipalities. These municipalities were all located within the extended Golden Horseshoe urban region of southern Ontario: Vaughan, Barrie and Richmond Hill.

Of the municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more, Vaughan led the way with a gain of 37.3% to just over 182,000.

Click to view a tableLeading the list of municipalities with the largest declines was Greenstone in northern Ontario, where the population declined 13.3% to just under 5,700. It was followed by Mackenzie in northern British Columbia, which fell 13.2% to about 5,200.

Several of the municipalities where population declined were in resource-based areas of northern Ontario, northern Quebec and northern British Columbia.