In addition to its 33 census metropolitan areas, urban Canada has 111 mid-size urban centres (census agglomerations – see box).
A mid-size urban centre, or census agglomeration (CA), is an urban area that has an urban core with a population of at least 10,000, but is not a census metropolitan area (CMA). Canada now has 111 CAs, down from 113 in 2001. Six CAs have become CMAs since 2001: Barrie, Guelph, Brantford and Peterborough (Ontario), Moncton (New Brunswick) and Kelowna (British Columbia). Seven new CAs were established: Bay Roberts (Newfoundland and Labrador), Canmore (Alberta), Centre Wellington and Ingersoll (Ontario), Miramichi (New Brunswick), Okotoks (Alberta) and Salmon Arm (British Columbia). Two 2001 CAs were no longer CAs in 2006: Gander and Labrador City (Newfoundland and Labrador). Also, Magog (Quebec) is now part of the Sherbrooke CMA.
According to initial results from the 2006 Census, mid-size urban centres experienced a 4.0% population growth between 2001 and 2006 (see Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006: Subprovincial population dynamics: Portrait of mid-size urban centres), slightly lower than the growth rate for Canada as a whole (+5.4%) and just over half the rate for all CMAs combined (+6.9%).
Mid-size urban centres also have a different age structure from CMAs. In addition to growing more slowly, they were, on average, older than CMAs in 2006, as their proportion of people aged 65 and over was 15.5%, compared with 12.9% for CMAs.
Roughly one person in three is 65 years and older in the mid-size urban centres of Parksville, British Columbia, and Elliot Lake, Ontario. The two urban centres were by far the oldest in Canada in 2006. They are known as resort centres that attract many elderly people because of their climate and because they meet the needs and interests of seniors.
Parksville is the mid-size urban centre with the highest proportion of very elderly people (aged 80 and over) in Canada, at 10.2%. Put another way, nearly one person in 10 was 80 or older in Parksville in 2006, the highest proportion in Canada. The national proportion is about one person in 27.
Table 7 Mid-size urban centres with the highest proportion of persons aged 65 years and over in 2006
Other urban centres, including Penticton (British Columbia), Cobourg (Ontario) and Thetford Mines (Quebec), had between 20% and 25% seniors in their populations. Most of them were in British Columbia and Ontario.
Four of the six youngest mid-size urban centres in 2006 were in Alberta: Okotoks, Cold Lake, Brooks and Grande Prairie. Lloydminster and Wood Buffalo are also on the list of the 25 mid-size urban centres with the highest proportions of children under the age of 15 in Canada. A number of those urban centres are located in areas of rapid population growth, where oil sands development is a major industry, attracting many young workers who form families there.
Table 8 Mid-size urban centres with the highest proportion of persons aged less than 15 years in 2006
Nevertheless, the youngest mid-size urban centre in Canada was Thompson, Manitoba, with more than one person in four under the age of 15. The small northern Manitoba town, which has a population of just over 13,500, includes a large Aboriginal community. Aboriginal peoples generally have a higher fertility rate.
Figure 26 Age pyramid of the mid-size urban centres population of Parksville (B.C.) and Thompson (Man.) in 2006
Age and sex population comparisons, Canada, provinces and territories, CMAs and CAs with provincial parts (Note)