York Region has a population of over 870,000 people and covers an area of over 1,750 square kilometres. Sitting between Peel Region in the West and Durham region in the east, York Region consists of the Cities of Markham and Vaughan, with the townships of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, King, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The two main population centers are the Cities of Markham and Vaughan. Both Cities have average populations with Markham being the largest in the Region with over 220,000. Markham is renowned for being the Hi Tech capital of Canada with several high profile corporate head offices making the city their home. The city is modern with excellent healthcare and schooling. Vaughan has one particular claim to fame in being directly north of Toronto, making them “above” the main city. This too is a rapidly expanding city with great facilities and plenty of new communities springing up.
The York Region is host to over 25,000 businesses which provide 400,000 jobs – a number that is growing by approximately 20,000 per year at current rates. With close proximity to the Pearson International airport and a young, well educated workforce, York Region is one of the fastest growing regions of the GTA and is very popular with Immigrants. The York Region Transit system connects most communities within the Region to each other and the Toronto GO Transit system to give a very effective public transport network.
The Region administers the Healthcare and Education following the Provincial guidelines. The York Region District School Board and the York Region Catholic District School Board are responsible for the day to day operations of the Region’s schools – all of which can be contacted via these sites.
The Town Of Aurora – With a population of over 43,000, the Town of Aurora is another rapidly expanding town. The population is young and has a high average income (compared to most Canadian towns) of around $110,000 per household. The housing is fairly expensive though with an average price of a single family detached home being over $370,000 two years ago!
There is a large variety of employers in the town and it is also commutable to the Toronto downtown core. This gives a low unemployment level of 4% in 2001 with the majority of employment in management/business, finance and sciences/technology. Manufacturing and retail are the other big areas of employment. To research all the businesses currently operating in the town go to the chamber of commerce site via the towns Economic Development Division page on the Town website.
The town itself is a historical place with plenty of old buildings with lots of character. With close proximity to both the big city of Toronto and the rural areas, Aurora provides excellent recreational opportunities to its residents. This ranges from parks, playgrounds and pedestrian trails to championship golf courses, fine dining and theatre. A full recreational program is offered in the Town which will soon be augmented by a new state of the art Recreation Centre.
The Town Of East Gwillimbury is a semi rural area located only half an hours drive from Toronto. Another historic area with settlement dating back to the 1700’s, the population is now over 20,000 and growing.
Again, East Gwillimbury has an excellent array of recreational facilities including arena’s, trails, play parks and over 135 acres of parkland. There are ice rinks, outdoor sports pitches, the usual golf courses and for the less active a 16 screen movie theatre.
There are a wide variety of employers in the town providing ample employment and the new GO Transit station gives good access to the city. The population also enjoys an above average household income.
The Town Of Georgina is the most northerly area of the York Region and is made up of several smaller communities. Situated on the South eastern shores of Lake Simcoe, the communities of Georgina have plenty of beaches and open space – especially with the area being known as “Getaway Country”.
The lake offers up year round recreation including swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing and ice fishing to name a few. On top of this the great outdoors is all around and the communities have good facilities. Some of the more prominent communities are Keswick, Sutton, Udora, Jacksons Point and Port Bolster.
Most employment seems to be in the local services and tourism sector though full research can be carried out through the chamber of commerce website.
The Township Of King is home to around 20,000 people and is a fairly rural area. Famous for the Holland Marsh – a fertile area that produces most of the Provinces fresh vegetables – most industry is based upon the support of agriculture. There are a lot of Horse breeders in the area along with livestock and dairy farms. There is some light industry and the Seneca College campus is located on the former Easton estate.
As with most Canadian towns, King has good sporting and leisure facilities including golf courses, trails, parks and 3 arena’s. Most facilities are pay as you use – more details can be found on the township website. The Township has a rich history dating back to the aboriginal peoples and then the western settlers in the late 1600’s. A museum is now dedicated to the area’s history and will be well worth a visit.
There are excellent transport links to Toronto and it’s only around 40 minutes to drive to Pearson International airport (south). A prosperous town, the average income back in 1996 was over 97,000 with an unemployment rate of 5%. In the 8 years since I can only see that the average income would rise to over $100,000 per household.
The Town Of Newmarket is another large town with a population of over 73,000 that is growing fairly quickly. Over 70% of the population are under 45 years old. With all the amenities you would expect for a big town, Newmarket is home to the York Region Administrative Headquarters, the Provincial Court and the District 1 Police HQ.
The Southlake regional health centre is a fully equipped modern hospital with plans for expansion. These combine to make local government the highest employer in the area. On top of this, the local business community is growing at over 3.5% each year with retail stores and manufacturing companies having a large presence. Use the links on the town site to go to the Chamber of Commerce site for the full listing of businesses.
For recreation purposes there is a full program of sports and activities with the new Ray Twinney Rec. centre having two arena’s and an indoor pool. There are several other arena’s, pools and rinks in the town as well as a youth centre with a fully equipped skatepark. All the usual outdoor activities are available in the area including hiking, cross country skiing and golf. For the less energetic, the Upper Canada Mall is an impressive 1 million square feet of shops which should pacify even the most hardy shopper!
House prices are reasonable for Ontario with the average in 2001 being $242,000 for a single family detached home. Being located close to Toronto brings obvious benefits with great transport links including the GTA GO Transit system. The York Region Transit system also operates in the town. Highway 404 will direct you to the downtown area of Toronto in around 30 minutes and Pearson International airport is only an hour away. Buttonville airport in nearby Markham is useful for lighter regional aircraft.
The Town Of Richmond Hill is one of the fastest growing large municipalities in Canada and has a population of over 158,000. Situated directly North of Toronto, (between Markham and Vaughan), Richmond Hill is ideally located for commuting and access to the city for recreation or onward travel. As with the other municipalities, Richmond Hill has the York Transit, Toronto Transit Commission and the GTA GO Transit networks providing great options for transport.
Richmond Hill is renowned for its world class high tech manufacturing and research companies with the lowest R&D taxes in the G7 group of countries. Major international IT companies like Lexmark and Compaq are headquartered here along with MGI software and Shaw Communications. The young population provide a well educated workforce and with the average cost of housing lower than most other areas of the GTA is a popular place to settle.
Recreational opportunities are plentiful with Lake Wilcox providing aqautic fun along with the Lois Hancy Wave Pool and over a hundred parks for jogging, cycling and hiking. Golfers are well catered for and there are movie theatres, the enormous central Library and the David Dunlop Observatory for the less active.
The Town Of Whitchurch-Stouffville is a collection of smaller communities and rural areas and was established in 1792. Located some 24 Km North of Toronto it is on the Eastern/Central side of York Region. There is a population of around 24,000 who enjoy pleasant countryside with farms and equestrian facilities along with the small urban centres.
The area has good transportation links with the York Region Transit and the GTA GO Transit networks. Only 30 minutes from Pearson and 15 to Buttonville airports means you can soon be on your travels.
The major employers are in the Business and personal services sector with the area experiencing a healthy 8.5% growth rate. Only 3% of the population remains unemployed.
A modern Hospital opened in 1990 and with good schools, a library and Museum there are plenty of facilities. The York-Durham heritage railway runs through the area with several stops and there are plenty of golf courses and recreational programs.