Monday, June 6, 2011

The Atlantic Provinces in Toronto

The reality we have in Canada is that our population is really not at all evenly distributed. To say nothing of the fact that the whole northern half of the country is sparsely distributed, we have an excessive amount of our population hold up in just a few cities, really.

Most of the rest of the country has a perception that Torontonians see their city as the 'centre of the world'. Surely that's not true, but there is good reason why Toronto seems to show up in discussions or in news as often as it does: by Canadian standards, it really is huge. How huge? Well, when you consider the monoliths of Ontario and Québec to be 'central Canada', there are then four provinces to the west of them and four to the east. Four to the east, but you can fit the entire populations of the four Atlantic provinces into the city of Toronto. Not the GTA, mind you, but the city of Toronto itself. And still have room to spare.

What does it look like? Well, here's a map:

New Brunswick, which is in reality 71,450 km2, fits in the 416 into an area 231 km2 in size: this relatively roomy size is due to the lower population concentration of Etobicoke, which is entirely encompassed by this transplanted New Brunswick population.

Comparing the numbers on the City of Toronto's own map with the population estimates for provinces on Wikipedia, I get that my 'new New Brunswick', which extends as far east as Bathurst in the north of the city but then follows the 401 all the way back west to the CNR line running near Keele and then follows train lines all the way down to the Gardiner, has a population of 749,525 - close to New Brunswick's actual population of 751,273. There's still plenty of room in Rexdale for the remaining 2000 people.

Nova Scotia, the most populous Atlantic province, squeezes into a mere 199 km2, since much of 'the old city' of Toronto lies within the area I've transplanted it to. Still, since the actual province is smaller than New Brunswick at 53,338 km2, they might not notice the difference.

The 'new' Nova Scotia starts at Morningside, extending as far north as the 401. When it hits Victoria Park, though, the border suddenly swerves way south, going below even Eglinton. At Yonge, though, the border goes all the way back to the 401, until it meets New Brunswick at the CNR line. It then moves a little back east at Eglinton, though, following Dufferin and Winona, then Christie and Bathurst down to the Lakeshore. The very 'heart' of the City, the downtown core, is in this New Nova Scotia - let's call it 'New Halifax'? This area has a population of 956,965 - quite a bit more than the 940,482 who actually call Nouvelle-Écosse home.

The northern parts of the city belong to Newnewfoundland. Whereas the actual Newfoundland and Labrador is a mammoth 373,872 km2, I've shrunk the province to a mere 128 km2 - which is, what? One three-thousandth the size?

My new Newfoundland, which I would not require to set its clocks half an hour apart from the rest of the city, would only go as far west as Markham Road. Its northern boundary would be Steeles and Steeles alone, all the way to Bathurst, and the rest of its borders are explained above with Nova Scotia, really - that dip south to roundabouts-Eglinton between Yonge and Victoria Park, etc.

Most remarkably, though, if you happened to be in Toronto and woke up early one morning, you could take a quick stroll from Lakeshore to Bloor up Bathurst, before zigzagging your way northwest to Eglinton and Caledonia, before following the train tracks (which is perhaps illegal) all the way down to Dovercourt. Google Maps suggest you could get it down in about three and a half hours - call it four to factor in an ice cream break at one point. But amazingly, you'd have bounded the entire area sufficient, in Toronto, to hold a population the same size as Prince Edward Island. PEI is a baby at 5,660 km2, but my New PEI is a mere 19 km2 - that's right, the population of an entire province of Canada fits into a mere 19 km2 in Toronto.

Less, in fact. The area I've bounded is home to 146,295 people, whereas the Land of Green Gables houses 141,551 people. But they got that cool Confederation Bridge, whereas all I can offer is some five subway stops.

There's another 65 km2, and another 132,310 people, in Toronto that I didn't need: Toronto has a larger population than those four provinces. That`s the eastern third of Scarborough, where the Toronto Zoo (among other things) can be found. Let's... er, let's stick Vermont in there or something.

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