The Globe and Mail published an interesting article this weekend talking about how Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, is the only major city in Canada to have lost people in the last census. Here are the population changes for the top 10 largest municipalities in the country:
There is a simple explanation for this and it is one we have talked about a number of times before on the blog. Many/most of our low-rise single-family neighborhoods are actually losing people. Empty nesters are becoming over-housed and young people aren’t backfilling in quite the same way.
Mississauga has a lot of these neighborhoods and is heavily geared towards this kind of built form. But they are certainly not alone. The same phenomenon is happening in places like Toronto; there is just enough other growth to offset these negatives so that the headline number still remains positive.
However, this is slowly changing. Toronto is working to “expand housing options” in its low-rise neighborhoods; it is considering how to better intensify its major streets; and it is re-introducing small–scale retail uses so that people living in a house can easily walk to a corner store for milk.
It is a shift in mindset. But I believe that this trend will only continue, and eventually it will make its way to the suburbs.
Images: The Globe and Mail