Canadian Geographic
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Where we live

A natural balance

A survey of 205 cities worldwide ranks Vancouver third for the overall quality of life (Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal also appear in the top 25). Unfortunately, this quality of life is not available to all Canadian city dwellers. Our cities’ rapid growth is partly to blame. Affordable rental housing for low-income families is at an all-time low.
Poor neighbourhoods are growing faster than cities overall, and the income gap between the affluent and the poor is widening. On a broader scale, the explosion in city populations has strained aging roads, bridges, and water and waste disposal systems. Compounding the gravity of the situation is the significant decline in federal and provincial funding for cities. Revitalizing Canada’s neglected cities has become the hot topic of the decade. Unlike in other countries, our cities are largely dependent on property taxes. Some municipal councils say they need user fees and additional tax tools to survive. Canada’s big city mayors met in 2004 and sent a message to the federal government: funding at the national level is essential — even with provincial contribution (constitutionally, cities are a provincial responsibility). In early 2004, the federal Liberal Party set up a committee to explore urban issues. Under discussion was the possibility of giving municipalities a permanent share of gas and diesel-fuel taxes.


Metro Canada This self-running animation shows images of the skylines of four major Canadian cities:
• Calgary
• Montreal
• Toronto
• Vancouver

Clicking on any one opens a box with an larger image.

A menu on the right side has four choices:
• Metro populations 2003
• Metro areas
• Population growth 1996-2001
• Population density

Clicking on those opens a table with statistical data.


On the next page:

Measuring innovation

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Quiz :

Which are the top three cities in terms of air quality?

Regina, Halifax, Victoria
Quebec, St. John's, Winnipeg
Saint John, Kingston, Saskatoon