Red Deer has done what no Alberta city has done for 70 years — surpass the 100,000 population mark.
Mayor Tara Veer announced that the City of Red Deer has grown to 100,807 on Thursday during a highly-anticipated announcement on the steps of City Hall.
That means 2,222 new residents now call Red Deer home, a 2.2 per cent increase over 2014, according to figures from the recently completed city census.
“Over the last few years, Red Deer has marked so many milestones,” said Veer. “We had our centennial. We won the Canada Winter Games. There’s energy and momentum in this great city that we call home. Surpassing the 100,000 population threshold marks a new day.”
The full census results are expected to be released in the coming days.
Veer said reaching the milestone elevates the city’s leadership, profile and positioning in the province and in country.
Red Deer is the first mid-sized city in Alberta to reach the milestone. Lethbridge is kicking at Red Deer’s heels with a population of 93,004, according to its 2014 census. This year’s Lethbridge census will be released by the end of June.
Veer said that Red Deer continues to be a desirable place for new people to put down roots.
Only 20 years ago, Red Deer was a young city with 59,834 residents. The city’s population has grown on average by three per cent over several years. In 2005, the population reached 79,082, and jumped to 90,084 in 2010.
City manager Craig Curtis said he anticipates the city’s population will double by 2035.
“Calgary was 100,000 post-war era,” said Curtis. “Since then, of course, it has grown to the metropolitan area it is today. We are looking at growing in the next 18 to 20 years to doubling to 200,000.”
Both Calgary and Edmonton passed the 100,000 population milestone in the 1940s.
Curtis said this is a defining moment and game changer for Red Deer. He said it is easy to say it’s just a number but it opens up many doors for the city.
It means the city will have access to new funding envelopes and research opportunities that are based on population.
A plaque marking the 100,807 population milestone will be put up in the historic City Hall gardens to commemorate the occasion.
Next week, the city will announce a contest to find Red Deer’s 100,000th citizen to celebrate.
2015 census highlights:
l Strongest growth neighbourhoods were in Timberlands (529 new residents) and Vanier Woods (425 new residents).
l The city is also getting older as it grows, with the average age now 37, compared to 31 in 2014.
l The gender divide is drawing closer: 48.1 per cent female and 48.2 per cent men.
l Top 10 languages spoken in the city other than English, in order: Tagalog, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Ukrainian, Cantonese, Russian and Vietnamese.
l The total number of households is 42,034.
l In 1898, there were 125 residents living in Red Deer compared to the 100,807 today.