Urban Growth and Decline in Canada, 1971-2001: Explanations and Implications

Research Paper 201, February 2004, x, 43 pp.  This paper further explores some of the issues raised in an earlier research paper by the same authors (“The Canadian Urban System, 1971-2001: Responses to a Changing World,” 2003) concerning urban growth. The research draws on the findings of the 2001 Census of Canada and comparable data for 1971 to investigate trends over the past three decades. After describing the location and amount of urban growth, the paper examines the correlations between growth and other urban characteristics and between growth and changes in those characteristics. In particular, the authors consider the question of whether cities are becoming more alike or more specialized in some ways. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of continued variability in the rates of urban growth and decline.


The Canadian Urban System, 1971 – 2001: Responses to a Changing World

Research Paper 200, July 2003, viii, 71 pp.  Canada is now overwhelmingly an urban nation. More than 80% of Canadians now live in urban areas and over 60% in the larger metropolitan regions. As those cities change, so too does the nation. In recent decades, Canadian cities and the entire urban system have undergone a transformation. As the factors driving change have evolved, so must our ideas evolve about how the urban system is organized. Drawing on research on urban Canada over the last thirty years, this paper provides an overview of change in the Canadian urban system for the period from 1971 to 2001. Particular attention is paid to the importance of changes in the national environment – in the economy, the demography, and the public sector – and to shifts in the global environment that have in combination reshaped the urban system. In future, growth is likely to become more uneven, with further concentration in a few large metropolitan regions and with much of the rest of the country in relative decline. The direction of evolution of the urban system is likely to become more dependent on forces emanating from outside the country.


Diversity and Concentration in Canadian Immigration: Trends in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, 1971 – 2006

Research Bulletin 42, March 2008, 12 pages. Immigrants to Canada are increasingly concentrated in Canada’s three biggest metropolitan areas. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver accommodate 70% of those who arrived between 2001 and 2006. The three biggest gateway cities, however, exhibit important differences in the ethnic groups they attract, and the patterns of settlement. Toronto and Vancouver have some similarities (more Asians, more immigrants settling in the suburbs), while Montreal has a larger proportion of European and African immigrants, who still tend to cluster in the central city. The suburbanization of immigration in Toronto and Vancouver poses challenges for service provision and planning and raises questions about the pros and cons of suburban ethnic enclaves in enhancing immigrant integration.

Neighbourhood Gentrification and Upgrading in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver

Research Bulletin 43, September 2008. In this study of neighbourhood change, the researchers traced the attributes of a consistent sample of 1,130 census tracts in the central cities of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver between 1961 and 2001. For each tract in each decade, the authors looked at conversion from rental to owner-occupation; changes in social status; changes in relative land values and housing affordability; changes in income; and changes in the average monthly rent. They found that gentrification has affected more than 36 percent of prewar inner-city neighbourhoods, where affordable housing has traditionally been located. Gentrification appeared more prevalent in Vancouver, followed by Toronto, and then Montreal. The results suggest the continuing displacement of low-income households from the inner cities.


The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto’s Neighbourhoods, 1970-2005

Research Report, Cites Centre, December 2010, 32 pages.

The City of Toronto is becoming increasingly divided by income and socio-economic status. No longer a city of neighbourhoods, modern-day Toronto is a city of disparities. In fact, Toronto is now so polarized it could be described as three geographically distinct cities. This study analyzed income and other data from the 1971 to the 2006 censuses, and grouped the city’s neighbourhoods based on whether average income in each one had increased, decreased, or stayed the same over that 35-year period. It found that the city’s neighbourhoods have become polarized by income and ethno-cultural characteristics and that wealth and poverty are increasingly concentrated.