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Central Canada, defined politically.

Central Canada (sometimes the Central provinces) is a region consisting of Canadamarker's two largest and most populous provinces: Ontariomarker and Quebecmarker. Due to their high populations, Ontario and Quebec have traditionally held a significant amount of political power in Canada, leading to some amount of resentment from other regions of the country. Before Confederation, the term 'Canada' specifically referred to Central Canada. Today, the term "Central Canada" is less often used than the names of the individual provinces.


Despite its name, Central Canada is located entirely in the eastern half of the country, with Quebec extending further east than every province, except for Newfoundland and Labradormarker. Longitudinally, the middle of Canada is a meridian passing just east of Winnipegmarker, Manitobamarker; the geographic centre of Canada is located near Arviat, Nunavutmarker. They are called central Canada because the provinces on either side of it are often grouped together as distinct regions historically and politically.

Before Confederation, the term 'Canada' specifically referred to Central Canada. Southern Ontario was once called Upper Canada and later Canada West, and southern Quebec Lower Canada and later Canada East. Both were made part of the United Province of Canada in 1841.


Combined, the two provinces have approximately 20 million inhabitants which represents 62% of Canada's population. They are represented in the Canadian House of Commons by 181 Members of Parliament (Ontario: 106, Quebec: 75) out of a total of 308. The southern portions of the two provinces — particularly the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor — are the most urbanized and industrialized areas of Canada, containing the country's two largest cities, Torontomarker and Montrealmarker, and the national capital, Ottawamarker.

Census Metropolitan Areas, 2007 population estimates

  1. Torontomarker: 5,406,300
  2. Montrealmarker: 3,666,300
  3. Ottawamarker: 1,158,300
  4. Quebec Citymarker: 723,300
  5. Hamiltonmarker: 716,200
  6. Londonmarker: 465,700
  7. Kitchenermarker: 463,600
  8. St. Catharines–Niagaramarker: 396,800
  9. Oshawamarker: 344,400
  10. Windsormarker: 332,100
  11. Sherbrookemarker: 218,700
  12. Sudburymarker: 162,000
  13. Kingstonmarker: 155,000
  14. Saguenaymarker: 152,100
  15. Trois-Rivièresmarker: 142,600
  16. Thunder Baymarker: 125,400


  1. Constitutional Act of 1791, Act of Union 1840, British North America Acts (1867)
  2. Statistics Canada - Population of census metropolitan areas (2001 Census boundaries)

See also

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