10 places in Canada considered to be as remote as Charlottetown

Charlottetown is hours away from any community with more than 100,000 people. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
Charlottetown is hours away from any community with more than 100,000 people. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

Charlottetown is a capital city, a small town by many measures, but still the largest community within a two-hour drive.

So how remote does that make it?

Statistics Canada has developed a formula to measure that. Measuring remoteness is important, the agency says, because proximity to large population centres and the services they provide is an important determinant of socio-economic opportunities and health.

Using 2021 census data, the agency created a list of more than 5,000 communities in Canada, giving them a ranking from zero to one. The higher the rank, the more remote the community.

Toronto rates a zero. Resolute, Nunavut, at the other end of the spectrum, earns a 0.9838991336.

Charlottetown is about a third of the way along this spectrum, at 0.313214282. That measure reflects its own size, about 39,000 people, and proximity to other centres such as Moncton (RI: 0.2618748922), an hour and 55 minutes away, and Halifax (RI: 0.1993827948), three-and-a-half hours away.

Here are the 10 cities closest to Charlottetown on the remoteness index. Coincidentally, they are all slightly more remote.

Pictou, N.S. (Remoteness index: 0.3132585902)

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Google Maps

Islanders are familiar with Pictou, the community closest to Charlottetown on the remoteness index. On Nova Scotia's north shore, it is closer to P.E.I. than any other town.

With a population of a little more than 3,000, it is a population centre in its own right in Pictou County. Its position an hour and 45 minutes from Halifax also lowers its remoteness index.

How its nearness to the P.E.I. ferry terminal affects the index is less clear.

Saint-Bruno, Que. (Remoteness index: 0.3133741876)

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Google Maps

Saint-Bruno is just a little smaller than Pictou, in the north of Quebec about 50 kilometres west of Saguenay (RI: 0.2739349755). It is a two-hour-twenty-minute drive to Quebec City (RI: 0.1425386912).

In a country with an aging population, Saint-Bruno stands out. While Canada has more seniors than children under 15, Saint-Bruno has 24 per cent more children than seniors.

The community is home to Fromagerie Maurice St-Laurent, which has been in operation there since 1930.

Lost River No. 313, Sask. (Remoteness index: 0.3134512097)

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Google Maps

Lost River is a rural municipality an hour's drive southeast of Saskatoon (RI: 0.2158213875).

The municipality is a large, sparsely populated area, with more square kilometres, 550, than people, 252.

The community contains a plateau known as the Allan Hills. In 2015, Ducks Unlimited signed a deal with local cattle farmers to protect more than 5,000 hectares of land, the largest deal in its history.

Fishers Grant, N.S. (Remoteness index: 0.3134513132)

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Google Maps

Fishers Grant is a Mi'kmaw reserve not far from Pictou, on the other side of the harbour.

There are 450 in the community, in a 1.5-square-kilometre area. The reserve was established by the Pictou Landing First Nation in 1866, the year before Confederation.

Last year, Pictou Landing First Nation was granted approval by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to operate a moderate livelihood lobster fishery, with about 25 community members registering to fish.

Zelma, Sask. (Remoteness index: 0.313542805)

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Google Maps

The village of Zelma is the smallest of communities close to Charlottetown in remoteness, with a population count of 28 in the 2021 census.

The community had its own one-room schoolhouse from 1925 to 1969. Before 1925 local residents, many of them bachelors, had been reluctant to spend money on building a school.

It is just to the north of Lost River No. 313, and like that community about an hour's drive from Saskatoon.

Raymond, Alberta (Remoteness index: 0.3136211812)

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Google Maps

The town of Raymond is in southern Alberta, not far from the U.S. border.

It has a population of 4,000. The closest large centre is Lethbridge (RI: 0.2728725567), a half-hour drive to the north.

The town lays the claim that the Raymond Stampede, first held in 1902, is Canada's oldest rodeo.

It is also home to a significant number of residents of Japanese descent, who first started settling in the area in the early 20th century.

Saint-Ambroise, Que. (Remoteness index: 0.3136227458)

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Google Maps

Another small community close to Saguenay, but more to the north than Saint-Bruno, and also a little closer: just 28 kilometres away.

With a population of close to 4,000 it is a little larger than its slightly less remote neighbour. According to the 2021 census it has no apartment buildings more than four storeys high.

The brewery named for the same saint is in Montreal.

Sarnia No. 221, Sask. (Remoteness index: 0.3136376293)

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Google Maps

While the rural municipality of Sarnia No.221 is small (population 322) it lies between Saskatoon and Regina (RI: 0.2282870344). It is closer to Regina, a little more than an hour's drive away.

It also contains other municipalities within its 864 square kilometres. There are three villages, ranging in size from 100 to 250 people, and three resort villages, all with populations under 100.

Neyaashiinigmiing, Ont. (Remoteness index: 0.3136824924)

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Google Maps

Neyaashiinigmiing is a reserve of the Chippewas of Nawash.

It has a population of 580 and is located on Lake Huron, a three-and-a-half hour drive north of Toronto.

The community has had a boil water order in place since 2019, but last year work began on a new water treatment plant, and the boil order has since been lifted.

Neyaashiinigmiing means "by the point-of-land portage" in Ojibwe.

Osoyoos, B.C. (Remoteness index: 0.3136916273)

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Google Maps

Osoyoos is the southernmost town in the Okanagan Valley, with its southern edge almost touching the U.S. border.

Almost half of the town's 5,550 residents are seniors.

It is an hour-and-three-quarters drive to Kelowna (RI:0.2333077341).