A Tale of Two Cities

I’ll tell you right off the bat, I am not picking on the New Brunswick city in question. I just happened across its population in 1901 and decided to take a closer look.

Here’s a pop quiz. It’s 1901. There are two cities both with around 10,000 population. One is a regional urban centre with a strong local economy built on fishing, forestry and mining. The other is an outpost in the Canadian prairies -at the foothills of the Rockies. Same size. Roughly the same level of economic activity.

What are the names of this cities?

Fast forward 100 years.

The first city, Bathurst, New Brunswick has roughly the same population – 12,000. The second, Calgary has 880,000. Hope you guessed right.

I think the message in this is self-evident but I’ll state it anyway. Bathurst grew its population by 2,000 in 100 years (its actually been declining in last few years). Calgary grew its population by 870,000 in that same period.

Are you convinced yet that we need to rethink things?