March 18, 2013 11:51 am
Updated: October 16, 2013 8:48 pm

Where are Canada’s Catholics?

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images
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With so many famous Catholics in the news recently, we decided to figure out where Canada’s Catholics are.

In 2001, the latest year for which Statistics Canada has released information on religious affiliation, there were roughly 12.8 million Catholics in Canada, or about 43 per cent of the total population. They are the largest religious group in Canada, significantly outnumbering Protestants (about 29 per cent).

This wasn’t always the case. According to Statistics Canada, Protestants once significantly outnumbered Catholics. But waves of Catholic immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s eventually pushed the Catholic proportion higher, outnumbering Protestants for the first time in 1971. This was the peak of Canadian Catholicism, when 46 per cent of the population was Roman Catholic.

The maps below show the percentage of Catholics by census tract. While they are currently centered on Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, the maps cover most major cities in Canada. Simply type in a city name on any map to zoom to that area.

Toronto
In Toronto, Catholics seem most concentrated on the west side of the city, from the Junction northward toward the 401. The downtown has a relatively low proportion of Catholics.
Vancouver

In Vancouver, on the other hand, there seem to be fewer Catholics, or they are more spread out.

Ottawa
Unsurprisingly, there are high concentrations of Catholics in Quebec. In the Ottawa area, the division between Gatineau and Ottawa is clear, with much higher concentrations of Catholics on the Quebec side of the river, but also in the east end of Ottawa.
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