May/june 2017, Canadian Geographic tackles the urban environment
“Canada goes urban.” That was the headline of a Statistics Canada release last fall. The verb should have been “went.” Today, more than 80 per cent of Canadians live in urban centres. The 1861 Census, conducted a few years before Confederation, reported that 84 per cent of people living in what would become Canada resided in rural areas. Sometime in the 1920s, the rural population fell below 50 per cent and city living has been on the rise ever since. So, as we continue to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial this year in each of our issues, we’ve dedicated the May/june edition to exploring the urban environments where most of us live. Perhaps no story illustrates the concentration of Canadians in urban centres better than the third and final instalment in our series mapping Canada’s major cities. This time we’ve mapped the conurbations of Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. As you might imagine, the maps of these urban footprints that extend well beyond the traditional definition of a city drive the point home at a glance — and there’s much more to glean, too. Other feature stories: a profile of the business and cultural accomplishments of New Brunswick’s St. Mary’s First Nation (considered by many one of the nation’s most successful urban reserves), a glimpse into the world of city wildlife, an investigation into the ecology and economics of Canada’s vast waste industry and our popular annual geography quiz (appropriately themed, of course). Combined, it’s a timely look at Canada gone urban.
A trumpeter swan in Vancouver ( top). Chief Candice Paul ( above) overlooks the Saint John River from the St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton, New Brunswick.