We evaluated the prevalence and control of hypertension in two Canadian cities without university medical centre facilities. A stratified multistage probability sample was selected, and we interviewed 6258 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 inclusive. Blood pressure measurements were obtained during home interviews. Up to two further visits were made to people with untreated blood pressure elevation. By a diagnostic criterion of 90 mmHg, the hypertension prevalence was 114/1000. Six per cent of the hypertensives were undetected, 6% detected but untreated, 17% treated but uncontrolled and 70% were being treated and controlled. Control was better in females and older subjects. These findings show no disadvantages to hypertensives living away from university medical centres. We found a hypertension prevalence of 143/1000 among people who reported being diagnosed as hypertensive but who had normal blood pressure while not on medication. These results suggest a problem with over-labelling of hypertensives.