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Saskatoon the fastest-growing city in Canada

Source: National Post Written By: Shannon Proudfoot

The Prairies are rising and Saskatchewan is leading the way as home to two of the three fastest-growing cities in Canada, new demographic analysis from Statistics Canada shows.

Saskatoon is the fastest-growing city in Canada, with a population growth rate of 27.7 per 1,000 people between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010. That translates into 7,200 more residents, for a total population of 265,300, the agency said Wednesday.

Saskatoon is followed by Vancouver, growing at a rate of 22.3 per 1,000, and Regina, which swelled by 22.3 per 1,000 over that same one-year period.

International migration was the driving force behind the Saskatchewan boom, Statistics Canada says, with nearly half the population growth fuelled by that factor. Saskatoon alone gained 3,300 people through net international migration in that year, outstripping the international draw of larger cities such as Hamilton and Quebec City.

Toronto was Canada’s fourth fastest-growing city, followed by Calgary, Moncton, N.B., Edmonton, Ottawa-Gatineau and Winnipeg.

Edmonton and Calgary’s growth rates have slowed from their furious pace between 2005 and 2009, when the two Alberta cities never dropped out of the top four in terms of growth, but they remained above the Canadian average.

In contrast, cities including Halifax, Montreal, Kelowna, B.C., Victoria and St. John’s had growth rates below the national average. Only two cities — Windsor, Ont. and Sudbury, Ont. — registered negative population growth, driven in both cases by losing residents to other Canadian cities.

As of Canada Day 2010, 23.6 million people or 69.1% of the population lived in one of Canada’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), large urban centres of at least 100,000 people and their surrounding regions, Statistics Canada said.

And these cities are growing faster than the rest of the country: Population growth for CMAs was 14.7 per 1,000 people over that one-year period, compared to 11.5 per 1,000 as a national average and 4.3 per 1,000 in small towns and rural areas.

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