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Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Immigrants in metropolitan areas

Three largest centres attracted 7 out of every 10 newcomers

Among all the major census metropolitan areas, Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver again attracted most of the new immigrants who came between 2001 and 2006.

Of the 1,110,000 newcomers who arrived in Canada during the past five years, 68.9% (765,000) chose to settle in one of these three census metropolitan areas. About 28.3% spread across the remaining urban areas, while only about 2.8% chose to live in a rural area.

The largest number of newcomers (447,900), went to Toronto, while 165,300 chose Montréal and 151,700 settled in Vancouver.

Toronto's share of the total recent immigrants was about 40.4%, a slight decline from 43.1% in the 2001 Census.

Vancouver's share between 2001 and 2006 dropped from 17.6% to 13.7%. As a result, Vancouver fell from second to third place among the most popular urban areas for new immigrants.

Montréal, which rose from third place to second, was home to 14.9% of recent immigrants in 2006, compared with 11.9% in 2001.

The reasons behind newcomers choosing to settle in Canada's three largest census metropolitan areas varied, according to the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada.

The most cited reason for settling in Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver was to join the social support networks of family and friends. Among newcomers in Toronto, the second-most cited reason was the job prospects that Toronto could offer. Among newcomers in Montréal, it was language, and among those in Vancouver, it was climate.1


  1. Statistics Canada, 2003, Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: Process, Progress and Prospects, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 89-611.

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