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Ottawa's population blooms to one million people

Wednesday, June 12th 2019, 2:45 pm - Friday chosen as 'symbolic' milestone

Ottawa is about to reach a major population milestone: the city will officially join the one million club on Friday, Mayor Jim Watson announced Tuesday.

Watson said Friday's the day when the city's population ticker will jump from six digits to seven.

"It's symbolic in some respects, but it also brings us into the league of cities like Toronto and Calgary that are over a million people, and I think it's a feather in our cap," Watson said.

ottawa population bloom CBC Ottawa's population has blossomed, and is expected to hit the one-million mark on Friday, Mayor Jim Watson announced Tuesday. (Ian Black/CBC)

He said the city chose Friday based on information from city records.

"It's not the exact date, but we've chosen that date because it's the closest we believe to us hitting a million."

It's estimated the city's population will grow by 28 that day alone, so it's not known who, exactly, will become the city's one millionth resident.


According to Statistics Canada's population estimates by census metropolitan area from 2017, only five other Canadian cities have populations over one million: Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

Asked whether reaching one million people would mean any change to city services, Watson pointed to transit.

'"The general rule of thumb is when a city reaches a million it has to change the way people get around because it just becomes too congested," he said.

Ottawa mayor jim watson CBC Mayor Jim Watson says LRT will be a 'game changer' for Ottawa when it finally arrives. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

He pointed to the subway systems in Montreal and Toronto's as examples.

"We're in that same league now, and we hope to have obviously LRT up and running by this summer," Watson said. "That's going to be one of the ... game changers for the city because when you become a million people in a geography the size of Ottawa, you have to start doing things a little differently, and transit is one of them."

It's still unclear when Ottawa's LRT will be up and running after builder Rideau Transit Group announced it would miss its fourth deadline to hand over the Confederation Line.

This story originally appeared on


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