List of cities in Alberta

List of cities in Alberta

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 with a cumulative population of 2,394,041 (not including the population in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster) and an average population of 140,826.[2] Alberta's largest and smallest cities are Calgary and Lacombe with populations of 1,071,515 and 11,733 respectively.[2]

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

143 elected city officials (17 mayors and 126 councillors) ensure 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).



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. In order to be elected as a councillor of a ward, the candidate must be a resident of that ward. 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 18, 2010. 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).

List of cities

City Incorporation
Date (city)
Region Area (km²,
Population[2] Census
Airdrie January 1, 1985 7 Calgary Region 34 39,822 2010
Brooks September 1, 2005 7 Southern Alberta 38 13,581 2007
Calgary January 1, 1894 15 Calgary Region [N 1] 848 1,071,515 2010
Camrose January 1, 1955 9 Central Alberta 32 16,543 2008
Cold Lake October 1, 2000 7 Central Alberta 60 13,924 2009
Edmonton October 8, 1904 13 Edmonton Capital Region [N 1] 700 782,439 2009
Fort Saskatchewan July 1, 1985 7 Edmonton Capital Region 48 18,653 2010
Grande Prairie January 1, 1958 9 Northern Alberta 73 50,227 2007
Lacombe September 5, 2010 7 Central Alberta 18 11,733 2009
Leduc September 1, 1983 7 Edmonton Capital Region 38 23,293 2010
Lethbridge May 9, 1906 9 Southern Alberta 124 86,659 2010
Lloydminster January 1, 1958 7 Central Alberta 42 26,502 [N 2] 2009
Medicine Hat May 9, 1906 9 Southern Alberta 120 61,097 2009
Red Deer March 25, 1913 9 Central Alberta 76 90,084 2010
Spruce Grove March 1, 1986 7 Edmonton Capital Region 32 24,646 2010
St. Albert January 1, 1977 7 Edmonton Capital Region 50 60,138 2010
Wetaskiwin May 9, 1906 7 Central Alberta 17 12,285 2009


  1. ^ a b Census metropolitan areas are formed around Calgary and Edmonton; census agglomerations are formed around Brooks,[7] Camrose,[8] Cold Lake,[9] Grande Prairie,[10] Lethbridge,[11] Lloydminster,[12] Medicine Hat,[13] Red Deer,[14] and Wetaskiwin.[15]
  2. ^ Includes 9,100 in the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster.

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.[16] 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.[17]

Community Date of 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 nine towns – Beaumont, Canmore, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks, Stony Plain, Strathmore, and Sylvan Lake – that are eligible for city status having populations in excess of 10,000.

Strathmore surveyed its residents on becoming a city in its 2010 municipal census.[18] Of a total of 4,912 dwelling units surveyed, 1,784 (36%) expressed support for changing to city status during the town's centennial, while 1,434 (29%) expressed opposition.[19] Its town council approved initiation of extensive public consultation on changing to city status in July 2011.[20]

The Town of Hinton has recently expressed interest in incorporating as a city once it surpasses 10,000 people.[21]

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.[16] Meanwhile, Sherwood Park has remained a hamlet since its first residents arrived in 1955[22] 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.[23] 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.[2][24]

See also

  • List of communities in Alberta
  • List of towns in Alberta
  • List of villages in Alberta
  • List of summer villages in Alberta
  • List of hamlets in Alberta
  • List of census divisions of Alberta
  • List of urban areas in Alberta
  • List of municipal districts in Alberta
  • List of mayors in Alberta


  1. ^ a b c d "Municipal Government Act". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "2010 Official Population List". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  3. ^ "Order in Council (O.C.) 223/2010". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  4. ^ a b c "Municipal Profiles (Cities)". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  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. ^ Brooks CA[dead link]
  8. ^ Camrose CA[dead link]
  9. ^ Cold Lake CA[dead link]
  10. ^ Grande Prairie CA[dead link]
  11. ^ Lethbridge CA[dead link]
  12. ^ Lloydminster CA[dead link]
  13. ^ Medicine Hat CA[dead link]
  14. ^ Red Deer CA[dead link]
  15. ^ Wetaskiwin CA[dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Location and History Profile – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  17. ^ "Location and History Profile – Town of Drumheller". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  18. ^ "The benefits of being a city". Strathmore Standard. 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  19. ^ "2010 Census Responses". Town of Strathmore. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  20. ^ Mundy, Kirsten (2011-07-28). "City status question set for public consultation". Strathmore Standard. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  21. ^ "Town of Hinton Regular Meeting of Council Agenda (see page 113 of 157)". Town of Hinton. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  22. ^ "Sherwood Park's history". Strathcona County. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  23. ^ "Sherwood Park history – Local government". Strathcona County. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  24. ^ "Alberta Population Summary – Alberta’s Cities by Size, 2009". Alberta Population. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 

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