A few days ago I tweeted this chart out (from Statistics Canada):
It is a list of the densest downtowns in Canada (people per square kilometer). But to be more precise, it is a list of the densest primary downtowns for each census metropolitan area.
In the case of Toronto, for instance, it considers downtown Toronto, but it does not consider downtown Mississauga, downtown Brampton, or any other “downtowns” across the CMA. And in the case of Vancouver, it ignores important centers such as Burnaby.
Many were quick to point this out on Twitter and it is a fair comment. Our cities are often more polycentric than a chart like this might make it seem.
The other thing to consider is that these density numbers are dependent on what you assume as the boundary for each downtown. For downtown Vancouver it’s a fair bit easier because it is a peninsula surrounded by water.
But for downtown Toronto, it’s more nebulous. Where do you draw the line? In this case, Statistics Canada is using the same downtown boundary as what’s in our Official Plan, but that happens to include the lower-density University of Toronto lands. So are we comparing apples to apples?
I don’t know. But go Hamilton!