Ville - Usage in Canada

Usage in Canada

Although a ville in the predominantly francophone Canadian province of Quebec may be informally referred to as a "city" or a "town" in English, no distinction exists under provincial law between those two types of settlements. The "city" of Montreal, with a population of 1,854,442 in the Canada 2006 Census, and the "town" of Barkmere, with a population of just 58, are both legally villes.

Quebec does have several other types of municipal status, including municipalities, townships and villages, but any distinction between cities and towns in English has no basis in law and no objective criteria to differentiate between the two. However, in villes with a large anglophone population, there may be an established—albeit informal—preference. For instance, Mount Royal is nearly always referred to as a town—as opposed to a city—by its anglophone populace.

Cité is a defunct title that currently is used only officially by Dorval, which is nevertheless legally a ville.

In all other Canadian provinces, although ville is still used as the French translation for both "city" and "town", cities and towns there do have distinct legal status from each other.

As in the United States, -ville may also be a suffix that is part of a city's or a town's actual name. This usage exists in both English and French; examples include Brockville and Belleville in Ontario, Blainville, Drummondville, Victoriaville and Louiseville in Quebec, Wolfville in Nova Scotia and Parksville in British Columbia. In Quebec, it may also be used as a prefix, as in Ville-Marie or Villeroy.

Ville, as a suffix or prefix within a geographic name, may also sometimes denote an unincorporated neighbourhood within a larger city, such as Ville-Émard, Davisville or Africville.

There are also places named after people, such as Villeray.

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