Western Canada’s cities lead growth this year

Vancouver at dusk. .
Vancouver at dusk. . Douglas Williams/Canadian Press

Cities in Western Canada are expected to see their economies grow faster than metropolitan areas further east this year, a report by the Conference Board of Canada says.

Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver make up the top five in the board’s latest outlook for cities.

“Despite some setbacks, Saskatchewan’s economy is expected to perform well in the near term, with real GDP forecast to expand 3.5 per cent this year — more than twice the national average,” the report said.

Growth in Saskatoon is forecast to reach 5.2 per cent in 2013, up from 4.1 per cent last year. Regina is expected to grow by five per cent, the same clip the city registered a year earlier.

“Saskatoon and Regina continue to sizzle,” Mario Lefebvre, director of municipal studies, said.

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In Calgary, the economy will expand by 3.3 per cent, while in Edmonton it will grow by 4.2 per cent, the report said.

“Calgary’s economy will moderate considerably in 2013, mostly as a result of the floods that hit the region this past summer. Even so, healthy gains in the goods sector will make up for an anticipated slowdown in the services sector,” the Conference Board said.

Meanwhile, Vancouver will post growth of 2.2 per cent as the manufacturing and construction sectors cool down.

That’s still better than back east, where the outlook isn’t as bright — growth among bigger cities like Toronto and Montreal is expected to come in at under two per cent, more in line with national GDP growth.

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In Toronto, where it is expected to be hampered by weaker manufacturing and a weak services sector, growth will be limited to 1.6 per cent in 2013.

Halifax is forecast to post growth of 1.7 per cent, while Winnipeg is expected to grow by 1.4 per cent.

Montreal, Quebec City and Hamilton are all expected to grow about 1.3 per cent this year.

Ottawa-Gatineau is expected to expand by 0.8 per cent in 2013 due to spending cuts by the federal government.

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Victoria is expected to grow by 0.1 per cent.