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2006 Census: Family portrait: Continuity and change in Canadian families and households in 2006: Subprovincial changes

Half of same-sex couples lived in three CMAs

In 2006, 37,200 same-sex couples—more than eight out of 10 (82.0%)—were counted in Canada's urban areas.

About 22,700 of the 45,300 same-sex couples (50.0%) enumerated on May 16, 2006, lived in the three largest urban areas of Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Same-sex couples in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver accounted respectively for 18.4%, 21.2%, and 10.3% of all same-sex couples across the nation.

In the CMAs of Montréal and Vancouver, same-sex couples represented 1.0% of all couples, and accounted for 0.8% of all couples in Toronto, higher than the national average (0.6%). The proportion of same-sex couples was also above average in Halifax, Moncton, Victoria, and Ottawa - Gatineau (0.9% in each CMA), 0.8% in both Québec and Kingston, and 0.7% in Guelph.

The provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia were the first three provinces to legalize same-sex marriage, beginning with Ontario and British Columbia in 2003, and followed by Quebec one year later. In the census metropolitan areas of Toronto (24.8%) and Vancouver (18.9%), the proportion of same-sex couples who were legally married was also higher than the national average (16.5%). In Montréal, only 10.5% of same-sex couples were married, likely reflecting the higher propensity to live in common-law unions for all couples in the province of Quebec.

Within census metropolitan areas, same-sex couples were generally found more in central municipalities (77.4%) than in peripheral municipalities (22.6%), compared to opposite-sex couples (56.3% and 43.7%, respectively).

It is important to distinguish between census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and municipalities (census subdivisions–CSDs). A CMA usually consists of many municipalities, one of which, called the central municipality, lends its name to the CMA. For example, the Montréal CMA includes nearly 100 municipalities, such as Laval, Longueuil, La Prairie and Mirabel. The municipality of Montréal, on the island of Montréal, is the central municipality, that is, the census subdivision for which the CMA is named.

Table 12 Number and proportion of same-sex couples, by census metropolitan areas, 2006

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