Sault Ste. Marie is Algoma’s largest city , but it’s getting smaller.
Statistics Canada released the latest data yesterday showing the population of Sault Ste. Marie has fallen to 73,368 down from 75,141 in 2011 or a 2.4 percent decline.
For the district, the population has dropped to 114,094 in 2016, down from 115,870 in 2011.
Sault Ste. Marie joins a growing trend in Northern Ontario where the largest centres have also seen declines in population. North Bay, Timmins and Thunder Bay saw their population fall while Sudbury saw an increase of just over 1,200 people move to that city.
In the mid 1990’s Sault Ste. Marie boasted a population of 80,054 according to the census but saw a steady decline ever since with the exception of a small rebound in 2011. The city’s growth rate was below the national growth rate of 5.0 per cent, while the population of Ontario increased by 4.6 per cent.
Smaller towns in the district saw slight increases such as Bruce Mines . Hilton Beach and Garden River.
In 1965, Sault Ste. Marie experienced it’s largest growth ever from 44,000 to 70,000 people when the Ontario Municipal Board ordered the union of the Sault with Tarentorus and Korah townships.
Before the release of the data from the 2017 census, it was projected that the city would have over 77,000 people and in 2013 city officials projected a slow and steady growth for the city until 2026 of 0.5 percent per year according the City’s official plan.