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Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake, Alberta, incorporated as a village in 1913 and as a town in 1946, population 14,816 (2016 census), 12,362 (2011 census). The town of Sylvan Lake is located on the south shore of the lake of the same name in central Alberta, approximately 20 km west of Red Deer. The origin of the name is descriptive. The area was once heavily forested and the name is based on the Latin word sylva, which means wood or forest. The lake was known variously as Snake (by the Cree and Stoney-Nakoda), and Methy or Swan (by 19th century explorers). In 1909, a local resident, Mrs. Green, circulated a petition to change the lake’s name to Sylvan Lake.

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Canadian Place Names That Reference Geography

Canada has about 350,000 official place names. While many of these names honour people, a great many others reference physical or human geography. This list showcases the latter, highlighting names that point to the natural features of a place — take Montreal, for example — or how people interact with the land, be it through travel or settlement (as in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba). And, as with “Canada” itself, many of these names stem from an Indigenous word, or are themselves in an Indigenous language, such as Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories (see also Largest Cities in Canada With an Indigenous Name).

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Largest Cities in Canada by Population

Since the Second World War, Canadians have become increasingly urban, living primarily in cities. In an attempt to keep housing affordable, local governments have needed to balance burgeoning borders with urban density. Canada’s ten largest cities offer a glimpse at the many approaches and issues.

All populations are from the 2021 Canadian census and reflect the cities proper, as opposed to the larger census metropolitan area.

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Oakville

Oakville, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1857, population 213,759 (2021 census), 193,832 (2016 census). Located in Halton Region, Oakville is west of Mississauga, south of Halton Hills and east of Burlington. The Township of Trafalgar, the Village of Bronte and the Town of Oakville merged in 1962, creating present-day Oakville. Throughout history, the Oakville area has been home to different Indigenous groups, namely the Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabeg, including the Mississauga. The land is covered by Treaty 14, also known as the Head of the Lake Purchase (see also Upper Canada Land Surrenders).

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Cambridge

Cambridge, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1973, population 138,479 (2021 census), 129,920 (2016 census). Cambridge is located within Waterloo Region and along the Grand River. It was created through the amalgamation of the City of Galt, the Towns of Preston and Hespeler, and parts of North Dumfries and Waterloo townships.

Throughout history, the Cambridge area has been home to different Indigenous groups, namely the Neutral, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. The land is covered by the Haldimand Proclamation.

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Moosomin

Moosomin, Saskatchewan, incorporated as a town in 1887, population 2,743 (2016 census), 2,485 (2011 census). The town of Moosomin is located in southeastern Saskatchewan 15 km west of the Manitoba border.

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Wallaceburg

Wallaceburg, Ontario, population centre, population 10,098 (2016 census), 10,127 (2011 census). Wallaceburg is a community located on the Sydenham River. Formerly a town (incorporated 1896), in 1998 Wallaceburg became a part of the new municipality of Chatham-Kent.

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Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, incorporated as a city 1960, population 48,899 (2016 census), 49,637 (2011 census). Dollard-des-Ormeaux is located on the northwest side of the Île de Montréal, near the Rivière des Prairies. It is bordered by the municipalities of Pierrefonds, Roxboro, St-Laurent, Kirkland, Pointe Claire and Dorval.

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St. Stephen

St. Stephen, New Brunswick, incorporated as a town in 1973, population 4,415 (2016 census), 4,817 (2011 census). The town of St. Stephen is located on the St. Croix River in southwestern New Brunswick. First incorporated as a town in 1871, in 1973 St. Stephen was amalgamated with nearby Milltown (incorporated 1878) to form St. Stephen-Milltown. The incorporated name of St. Stephen has been used since 1975.

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Russell (Ont)

Russell, Ontario, incorporated as a township in 1854, population 16,520 (2016 census), 15,247 (2011 census). The Township of Russell is located 33 km southeast of Ottawa. It was named after Peter Russell, an official in the government of  Upper Canada.

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Camrose

Camrose, Alberta, incorporated as a city in 1955, population 18,742 (2016 census), 17,286 (2011 census). The city of Camrose, located 97 km southeast of Edmonton, is a distributing, medical, government and manufacturing centre for a rich, mixed-farming area.

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Pickering

Pickering, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 2000, population 91,771 (2016 census), 88,721 (2011 census). The city of Pickering is located 43 km east of Toronto on  Lake Ontario. It was named after the town of Pickering in Yorkshire, England. Pickering is also part of the Regional Municipality of Durham.

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Ajax

Ajax, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1955, population 119,677 (2016 census), 109,600 (2011 census). The town of Ajax is located 13 km from the eastern boundary of Toronto on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Ajax became part of the Regional Municipality of Durham in October 1973. In January 1974, Ajax expanded to include the village of Pickering (incorporated 1953) and part of Pickering Township.

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Cold Lake

Cold Lake, Alberta, incorporated as a city in 2000, population 14,961 (2016 census), 13,839 (2011 census). The city of Cold Lake is located on a lake of the same name, 290 km northeast of Edmonton. The  Cree called the lake “Kinosoo” or “big fish” after a Cree legend. European settlers named the lake for its deep, cold water.

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Gimli

Gimli, Manitoba, rural municipality, population 6,181 (2016 census), 5,845 (2011 census). Gimli was incorporated as a town from 1947 to 2003 after which it was reunited into the Rural Municipality of Gimli. (The original rural municipality was incorporated in 1887 and the village of Gimli separated from it in 1908.) The community is located on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, 76 km north of Winnipeg.

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Red Deer

Red Deer, Alberta, incorporated as a city in 1913, population 100,418 (2016 census), 90,564 (2011 census). The city of Red Deer is located on the Red Deer River, 150 km south of Edmonton. The Cree applied the name “Elk” to the river, but Scottish fur traders appear to have confused elk with the red deer of their homeland.