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Cities are vital to the economic prosperity of a nation. Major metropolitan areas are key for trade, banking, finance and innovation. In Canada, much of the focus is placed on Toronto, Vancouver and even Montreal, but new data shows that both Edmonton and Calgary are starting to have a greater economic impact.
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ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team February 1, 2017
Edmonton and Calgary have more of an impact nationally
Cities are vital to the economic prosperity of a nation. Major metropolitan areas are key for trade, banking, finance and innovation. In Canada, much of the focus is placed on Toronto, Vancouver and even Montreal, but new data shows that both Edmonton and Calgary are starting to have a greater economic impact.
 
In 2013, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Canada's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) totalled $1.7 trillion. From 2009 to 2013, more than half of Canada's GDP was produced in six census CMAs with a population of one million or more. Among these CMAs, Edmonton and Calgary were the only cities who saw their share of gross domestic product increase during this period. Toronto, Montréal and Ottawa–Gatineau’s share fell while Vancouver's share was essentially unchanged.
 
Calgary's share of economic growth rose from 5.2 per cent in 2009 to 5.7 per cent in 2013. Edmonton saw a more significant increase from 4.8 per cent to 5.5 per cent over the same time period. Not surprisingly, the higher shares of GDP were linked to increases in commodity prices. Sources of growth came from oil and gas and engineering construction in both cities and were also the result of mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction in Calgary and petroleum refining in Edmonton.
 
Unfortunately, the latest data from Statistics Canada is only from 2013. That said, it’s certain that the data for 2015 and 2016 will show reductions of GDP for Edmonton, Calgary and Canada and underscore the importance of the energy industry to our nation’s economic prosperity.
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