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List of cities in Alberta


List of cities in Alberta

Distribution of Alberta's 17 cities, 2 urban service areas and 10 towns that are eligible for city status

A city is the highest form of all incorporated urban municipality statuses used in the Canadian Province of Alberta. Alberta cities are created when communities with populations of at least 10,000 people, where a majority of their buildings are on parcels of land smaller than 1,850 m², apply to Alberta Municipal Affairs for city status under the authority of the Municipal Government Act.[1] Applications for city status are approved via orders in council made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under recommendation from the Minister of Municipal Affairs.[1]

Alberta has 17 cities that had a cumulative population of 2,458,748 (not including the population in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster) and an average population of 144,632 in the 2011 Census.[2] Alberta's largest and smallest cities are Calgary and Lacombe with populations of 1,096,833 and 11,707 respectively.[2]

Alberta welcomed Lacombe as its 17th city on September 5, 2010.[3]

143 elected city officials (17 mayors and 126 councillors) provide city governance throughout the province.[4]

The highest density of cities in Alberta is found in the Edmonton Capital Region (Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and St. Albert) with another two just outside the region to the southeast (Camrose and Wetaskiwin). The Calgary Region has two cities (Airdrie and Calgary).


  • Administration 1
  • List 2
  • Former cities 3
  • City status eligibility 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Pursuant to Part 5, Division 1 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), each municipality created under the authority of the MGA is governed by a council. As a requirement of the MGA, a city council consists of an odd number of councillors, one of which is the city's chief elected official (CEO) or mayor. A city council consists of seven councillors by default, but it can consist of a higher or lower odd number if council passes a bylaw altering its size (so long as it does not consist of fewer than three councillors).[1]

City councils are governed by a mayor that is elected at large and an even number of councillors, resulting in a total odd number of councillors to avoid tie votes on council matters. For the councillors, a city council may establish ward systems with the same amount of councillors per ward. Voters then vote for a councillor candidate running in the ward in which they live. If no ward system is in place, councillors are elected at large like the mayor.[1][5]

All city councillors are elected by popular vote under the provisions of the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA).[6] Mayoral or councillor candidates are required to be residents of their municipality for a minimum of six consecutive months prior to nomination day. The last municipal election for all cities, with the exception of the border city of Lloydminster, was held October 21, 2013. Lloydminster's elections are aligned with Saskatchewan's municipal election schedule.

Alberta Municipal Affairs, a ministry of the Cabinet of Alberta, is charged with coordination of all levels of local government.

Administrative duties of cities include public safety, local transit, roads, water service, drainage and waste collection, as well as coordination of infrastructure with provincial and regional authorities (including road construction, education, and health).


Name Region Incorporation
date (city)[7]
Council size[7] Municipal
(per km²)[2]
Airdrie Calgary Region January 1, 1985 7 49,560
42,564 28,927 47.1 33.10 1,286.0
Brooks[AB 1] Southern Alberta September 1, 2005 7 13,676 12,508 9.3 18.19 751.9
Calgary[AB 2] Calgary Region January 1, 1894 15 1,149,552
1,096,833 988,812 10.9 825.29 1,329.0
Camrose Central Alberta January 1, 1955 9 17,286 15,630 10.6 42.50 406.7
Cold Lake Central Alberta October 1, 2000 7 14,400
13,839 11,991 15.4 59.30 233.4
Edmonton[AB 3] Edmonton Capital Region October 8, 1904 13 817,498
812,201 730,372 11.2 684.37 1,186.8
Fort Saskatchewan Edmonton Capital Region July 1, 1985 7 21,795
19,051 14,957 27.4 48.12 395.9
Grande Prairie Northern Alberta January 1, 1958 9 55,032 47,107 16.8 72.80 755.9
Lacombe[AB 4] Central Alberta September 5, 2010 7 11,707 10,752 8.9 20.89 560.3
Leduc Edmonton Capital Region September 1, 1983 7 27,241 24,279 16,967 43.1 36.97 656.7
Lethbridge Southern Alberta May 9, 1906 9 90,417
83,517 74,685 11.8 122.36 682.6
Lloydminster (part)[AB 5] Central Alberta January 1, 1958 7 20,011[AB 6]
18,032[AB 7] 15,910 13.3 24.19[AB 8] 745.6
Medicine Hat Southern Alberta May 9, 1906 9 61,180
60,005 56,997 5.3 112.01 535.7
Red Deer Central Alberta March 25, 1913 9 97,109
90,564 83,154 8.9 104.29 868.4
Spruce Grove Edmonton Capital Region March 1, 1986 7 27,875
26,171 19,541 33.9 32.37 808.6
St. Albert Edmonton Capital Region January 1, 1977 7 61,466 57,764 6.4 48.27 1,273.4
Wetaskiwin Central Alberta May 9, 1906 7 12,525 11,689 7.2 18.20 688.2
Total cities 143 2,458,748 2,197,763 11.9 2,303.22 1,067.5


  1. ^ Brooks is Alberta's smallest city by area.
  2. ^ Calgary is Canada's third-largest city, Alberta's largest city by both population and area, and was Alberta's first city, incorporated on January 1, 1894. The Calgary census metropolitan area (CMA) includes the cities of Airdrie and Calgary.
  3. ^ Edmonton is Canada's fifth-largest city and Alberta's capital. The Edmonton CMA includes the cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and St. Albert.
  4. ^ Lacombe is Alberta's smallest city by population and is its newest city, incorporated September 5, 2010.
  5. ^ The balance of Lloydminster is located within Saskatchewan.
  6. ^ This population does not include 11,472 in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster. The city's total population in 2013 was 31,483.
  7. ^ This population does not include 9,772 in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster. The city's total population in 2011 was 27,804.
  8. ^ This area does not include 17.34 km2 (6.70 sq mi) in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster. The city's total area in 2011 was 41.53 km2 (16.03 sq mi).

Former cities

Alberta has recognized three other cities in its history. The Town of Strathcona incorporated as a city on March 15, 1907, and subsequently amalgamated with Edmonton on February 1, 1912. Fort McMurray was incorporated as a city on September 1, 1980, but reverted to its current urban service area form as a result of its amalgamation with Improvement District (I.D.) No. 143 on April 1, 1995.[9] The Town of Drumheller was incorporated as a city on April 3, 1930 (well before the current requirement to have a population in excess of 10,000 people), and reverted to town status on January 1, 1998, when it amalgamated with the surrounding Municipal District of Badlands No. 7.[10]

Former city Incorporation
date (city)
Date of
status change
Drumheller April 3, 1930 Town January 1, 1998 Town
Fort McMurray September 1, 1980 New town April 1, 1995 Urban service area
Strathcona March 15, 1907 Town February 1, 1912 City amalgamation

City status eligibility

There are currently ten towns – Beaumont, Canmore, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks, Stony Plain, Strathmore, Sylvan Lake and Whitecourt – that are eligible for city status having populations in excess of 10,000.[8] Of these, Chestermere has requested a change to city status effective January 1, 2015,[11] while Okotoks is undertaking a community visioning exercise in which city status is expected to be addressed.[12] In 2009, the Town of Hinton expressed interest in incorporating as a city once it surpasses 10,000 people.[13] Its population in 2011 was 9,640.[2]

Alberta's two urban service areasFort McMurray and Sherwood Park – are also eligible for city status. As noted above, Fort McMurray was previously incorporated as a city until it amalgamated with I.D. No. 143 on April 1, 1995.[9] Meanwhile, Sherwood Park has remained a hamlet since its first residents arrived in 1955[14] and, in 1987, 89% of Strathcona County residents voted in favour of maintaining a single municipal government for Sherwood Park and the rural portion of the county.[15] If they were to incorporate as cities, Fort McMurray and Sherwood Park would rank fifth and sixth respectively among Alberta's largest cities by population.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Municipal Government Act". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)".  
  3. ^ "Order in Council (O.C.) 223/2010". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  4. ^ "Municipal Profiles (Cities)". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  5. ^ "Types of Municipalities". Alberta Municipal Affairs. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Local Authorities Election Act". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  7. ^ a b "Municipal Profiles: Summary Reports (Cities)". Alberta Municipal Affairs. May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "2013 Municipal Affairs Population List" (PDF).  
  9. ^ a b "Location and History Profile – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Location and History Profile – Town of Drumheller". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  11. ^ "City of Chestermere: Town set to become Alberta's 18th city (Community just east of Calgary hopes to become a city in January 2015)". September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ Roxanne Blackwell (July 23, 2014). "City status up to residents". Okotoks Western Wheel (Great West Newspapers LP). Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Town of Hinton Regular Meeting of Council Agenda (see page 113 of 157)". Town of Hinton. April 21, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Sherwood Park's history". Strathcona County. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Sherwood Park history – Local government". Strathcona County. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 

External links

  • Alberta Municipal Affairs
  • Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
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