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The term township generally means the district or area associated with a town. However in some systems no town needs to be involved. The specific use of the term to describe political subdivisions has varied by country, usually to describe a local rural or semi-rural government within the county itself.

In eastern Canadamarker a township is one form of the subdivision of a county. In Canadian French, it is called a canton.

Atlantic Canada

The historic colony of Nova Scotiamarker (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswickmarker, and Prince Edward Islandmarker) used the term township as a subdivision of counties. In Prince Edward Island's case, the colonial survey of 1764 established 67 townships, known as lots, and 3 royalties, which were grouped into parishes, and hence into counties; the townships were geographically and politically the same. In New Brunswick, parishes have taken over as the present-day subdivision of counties, whereas present-day Nova Scotia uses districts where appropriate.

Ontario

In Ontariomarker, there are both geographic and political townships. Most of Ontario, except for the sparsely populated far north, is subdivided into geographic townships. These are used primarily for geographic purposes, such as land surveying, natural resource exploration and tracking of phenomena such as forest fires or tornados.

A political township is an incorporated municipality consisting of one or more geographic townships united as a single entity with a single municipal administration, usually consisting of one or more communities that are not incorporated for various reasons. Often rural counties are subdivided into townships. In some places, usually if the township is in a county rather than in a regional municipality, the head of a political township is called a reeve, not a mayor. However, this distinction is changing as many rural townships are replacing the title reeve with mayor to reduce confusion. A few townships keep both titles and designate mayor as the head of the municipal council and use the title reeve to denote the representative to the upper tier (usually county) council.

The term "geographic township" is also used in reference to former political townships which were abolished or superseded as part of municipal government restructuring.

Quebec

In Quebecmarker, the canton is primarily a surveying unit introduced after the British conquest. They were designated and cover most of the unattributed territory in Eastern Quebec and what is now known as the Eastern Townships, and later used in surveying the Outaouaismarker and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions. Townships often served as territorial basis for new municipalities, but township municipalities are no different from other types such as parish or village municipalities.

Western Canada

In the Prairie provinces and parts of British Columbiamarker, a township is a division of the Dominion Land Survey. Townships are (mostly) 6 mile (9.7 km) by 6 mile squares - about 36 square miles (95 km2) in area. These townships are not political units (although political boundaries often follow township boundaries), but exist only to define parcels of land in a relatively simple way. Townships are divided into 36 equal 1 mile (1.6 km) by 1 mile square parcels known as sections. Refer to the article about the Dominion Land Survey for further details about section numbering and the further subdivision of land parcels. Currently a political unit called a rural municipality in general is 3 townships by 3 townships in size, or 18-mile squares - about 324 square miles (839.16 km2)

Three municipalities in British Columbiamarker, Langleymarker, Esquimaltmarker and Spallumcheenmarker, have "Township" in their official names, but legally hold the status of district municipalities.

See also




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