Of the top three fastest growing communities in Canada, two of them are in the GTA. Canada’s 2011 census documented community growth, and in the GTA, Milton and Whitcurch-Stouffville came in first and third, respectively.
Toronto, commonly shortened to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is considered the seventh largest metropolitan area in North America. When you’re competing with the United States, it’s quite an impressive feat. Being seventh in the list, it’s not hard to see why the GTA has some of the most growth Canada has seen in a long time.
If you live in or around the GTA, you’ve probably heard of Milton, but maybe you’ve never been there. If you don’t know much about it, the population at the 2011 census was 84,362, but don’t let the modest numbers fool you -this growth is certainly nothing new. From 2001-2006, Milton experienced a growth of 71.4%. Although that number has slowed, the newest growth numbers are 56.5%. It’s growing so fast, in fact, some institutions like schools and hospitals are having a hard time keeping up. Milton’s director of planning, Bill Mann, has stated that the biggest draws are the more affordable housing and the increased amount of green space compared to a place like Toronto.
The second biggest boom to sound across Canada is happening in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Unlike Milton’s history of growth, Whitchurch-Stouffville has only recently begun to experience this exponential community expansion. The area has expanded by 54.3%, but the growth is limited, because much of the area is surrounded by greenbelt – one of the biggest draws for the community.
So, what’s bringing such a huge amount of growth to these communities? It’s excruciatingly apparent that Toronto faces a huge space crisis. Most of the new buildings being constructed are condominiums around the waterfront and downtown. For those who commute, the area is the perfect compromise between the bustle of the big city and the slow pace of the country – and ideal to raise a family.
The growth isn’t met with cheers and acceptance by all Milton/Stouffville-Whitchurch residents. Some are concerned that this growth will spread out of control and may go unchecked, turning the tight-knit community into a brother or sister of Toronto – just what the residents try to get away from.
Being the province where most commerce happens, Ontario would be hard pressed to curb the rate of growth that has happened recently and is bound to increase in the future. At a rate of 5.9% between 2006 and 2011, Canada itself is the smallest G8 nation, but it is experiencing the fastest growth. The result will inevitably ripple like a wave to the smaller communities around the country.