Tag Archives: Local Focus

Local Focus: Vaughan

Vaughan is on the move – in more ways than one

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Vaughan is on the move – in more ways than one

Vaughan is a city on the move – quite literally, and in more ways than one. Located north of Toronto in York Region, Vaughan has long been one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada, with a population now exceeding 306,000.

Comprising the Woodbridge, Maple, Thornhill, Concord and Kleinburg communities, each with their own characteristics and enjoying their own growth, Vaughan is a hub of development and activity. Once known as the city above Toronto, it’s now “the place to be.” And with good reason.

Hub of activity

With Hwys. 400 and 407 right there, and Hwy. 7 also running through town, transportation and transit have long been important parts of Vaughan. Now they’re central to its future, with the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre rapid transit station, the north terminus of the western section of the Toronto subway’s Line 1. It is also a major transit hub for York Region Transit and the Viva and Zum bus rapid transit services.

Economic growth is occurring in lockstep. Vaughan is now the third largest employment centre in the GTA after Toronto and Mississauga, and the largest contributor to York Region’s economy.

Manufacturing is the star economic performer here, accounting for 22 per cent of total employment, followed by construction, retail and wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing. United Parcel Service, in fact, operates a signature shipping warehouse near Jane and Steeles.

In the near future, you can add healthcare to the mix of economic and lifestyle benefits, as the City has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Mackenzie Health, York University and ventureLAB.

The City is leading the collaboration to transform an 82-acre parcel of land at Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive into the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct. Vaughan, York University, Mackenzie Health and ventureLAB are to study to the best use of lands surrounding the site of the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital.

The goal of the collaboration is for the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct to leverage resources to bring healthcare, innovation and jobs to this growing community.

“This feasibility study is an illustration of how partnerships can be truly effective when values, principles and beliefs are perfectly aligned,” says Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. “The new state-of-the-art Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be a catalyst for other uses, like medical offices, labs and research space, healthcare incubators, and education and conference rooms related to healthcare. This is where thought leaders, subject matter experts and innovators will come together to advance a shared vision of healthcare innovation. This transformational collaboration will benefit the healthcare of residents of Vaughan and beyond.”

Lowrise living

Though Vaughan is noteworthy for a lot of condominium development centring around new transit infrastructure, there’s also noteworthy new lowrise communities in the area. This is where buyers come for expansive single-detached homes and large lots.

And once you’ve bought a home in Vaughan, Improve Canada will help you furnish and operate it. Located in Concord and more commonly known as the Vaughan Home Improvement Centre, the complex is a unique offering of about 400 home improvement stores.

Location, location, location

Located in the Regional Municipality of York; bounded by Brampton to the west, King to the north, Markham and Richmond Hill to the east and Toronto to the south; more than 273 sq. kms; population 306,233; includes the communities of Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge.

Key landmarks

  • Canada’s Wonderland
  • Kortright Centre for Conservation
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • Reptilia Zoo
  • Vaughan Home Improvement Centre
  • Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
  • Vaughan Mills

Select housing developments

Adesso Modern Towns by Capital North Communities

Copperwood by Sorbara Group

CountryWide Homes in Woodbridge by CountryWide Homes

New Kleinburg by Paradise Developments

New Kleinburg by Arista Homes

New Kleinburg by Fieldgate Homes

Port Royal Collection at Kleinburg Crown by Caliber Homes


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Local Focus: Oshawa & Whitby

Is Oshawa & Whitby the next hot new destination?

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Is Oshawa & Whitby the next hot new destination?

As prospective homebuyers have looked outside the Toronto core in search of more affordable lowrise homes in recent years, most of them have headed to Hamilton, Burlington, Milton and other points west.

This migration may soon change.

“The west end of the GTA has a greater diversity of communities that are attracting a diverse range of buyers,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, told HOMES Magazine earlier this year. “In the past 10 years, there has been significant focus on the growth and development of these regions, whereas historically, Durham has not traditionally been viewed in this same regard. With the boom in areas towards the east, like Prince Edward County, and the affordability leveling out, we will likely see the tide begin to turn.”

So, there you go, homebuyers – keep an eye on Whitby, Oshawa and other parts of Durham Region.

Economic diversity

And don’t let any potential uncertainly over General Motors Canada’s announcement late last year that it would close its Oshawa assembly plant. Oshawa, and other points in Durham, are about a lot more than one company.

“(The) employment sector in Oshawa has been shifting for some time, and Oshawa has healthily diversified to add technology, educational institutions, healthcare, administration and many professionals to its offerings of great jobs and companies in the market,” says Christian Huggett, vice-president, development, at Podium Developments. The company has a number of townhome developments in the city.

“(The GM news) not altered our plans,” he says. “We continue to believe that the outlook is bright for home sales in North Oshawa, buoyed by its proximity and relationship to schools, the 407 network, the significant growth occurring and planned for North Oshawa.”

Location just east of Toronto along Hwy. 401 is among the reasons Whitby and Oshawa draw attention. With Whitby just 59 kms from Toronto and Oshawa 62, commuting is a real option – particularly with recent GO Transit improvements and the expansion of Hwy. 407.

Durham Region Transit connects with the other cities in the region, including Pickering, Ajax, Clarington, Brock and Uxbridge. The 401 runs through the south of region, Hwy. 7 runs across its northern edge and the Hwy. 407 extension to Hwys. 35 and 115 across the top of Durham Region.

Translation? Getting to, from and around Durham is getting increasingly easy, which makes living here and working elsewhere a real possibility.

Expanding attractions

As with any growing municipality, Whitby and Oshawa also offer expanding amenity and retail options. The Oshawa Centre, for example, is the largest shopping complex in Durham and is home to more than 230 outlets. And in downtown Oshawa, of course, there’s a variety of unique shops and restaurants.

In Whitby, Pearson Lane is a historical development that houses boutiques, cafes and services.

Nature is also front and centre, as Oshawa is home to wildlife preserves such as the Pumphouse Marsh, Second Marsh and McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve. Oshawa Botanical Gardens boasts North America’s largest contemporary peony collection.

In Whitby, more than 100 parks more than 60 kilometres of trails, including the Bio-Diversity Trail, the Cullen Central Park Trails, Otter Creek Trail and the Whitby Shores Waterfront Trail, await residents. The 670-acre Lynde Shores Conservation area is known for its wildlife and provides habitat for nesting birds.

Location, location, location

  • Located east of Toronto in York Region, Durham forms the east end of the GTA. Whitby 59 km from Toronto, Oshawa 62 km. Durham population 645,862; Oshawa 159,458; Whitby 128,377.

Key landmarks

  • Lynde Shores Conservation Area
  • Oshawa Botanical Gardens
  • Oshawa Centre
  • Tribute Communities Centre

Select housing developments

OSHAWA

Eastmore Village by Delpark Homes

Ironwood by Podium Developments

O North Urban Towns by Greycrest Homes

Symphony Towns by Marlin Spring

Winchester Estates by Menkes Developments

WHITBY

Park Vista by Paradise Developments

Park Vista by Fieldgate Homes

Station No. 3 by Brookfield Residential

The Hamptons at Country Lane by Heathwood Homes


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Local Focus: Mississauga

Standing out from the crowd in Mississauga

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Standing out from the crowd in Mississauga

Mississauga has always been a city of noteworthy accomplishments, from its inception as a city in 1974 combining the former townships of Lakeview, Cooksville, Lorne Park, Clarkson, Erindale, Sheridan, Dixie, Meadowvale Village, Malton, Port Credit and Streetsville; to being home to Canada’s longest-serving mayor, Hazel McCallion, from 1978 to 2014.

You might expect such a track record of ambition from one of the most populous – and fastest-growing – municipalities in Canada.

Covering a huge swath of land – 288 square kms, 13 km of which front Lake Ontario – Mississauga comprises many distinct neighbourhoods and communities. The former town of Port Credit, for example, once a sleepy little industrial locale, home to the iconic – and smelly – St. Lawrence Starch Co. plant from 1890 to 1990, today is a much sought-after residential area, thanks to its prized waterfront location.

Local histories

Many of these areas host annual festivals that pay respect to local histories. Streetsville, for example, holds its annual Bread and Honey Festival, paying homage to the area’s roots as a mill town. And Port Credit’s Mississauga Waterfront Festival and the Southside Shuffle blues and jazz festival display everything that the community has to offer.

With McCallion running the show over 12 consecutive terms, until she stepped aside and Bonnie Crombie won the election in 2014, Mississauga was known as a city of growth. McCallion consistently boasted she oversaw among the lowest taxes in Canada and made it easy for companies to do business there. Today, the area is home to more than 60 Fortune 500 companies, including Laura Secord Chocolates, Honeywell Aerospace, Walmart Canada and Kellogg’s Canada.

Getting around Mississauga is, well, you are travelling over a vast area, and traffic these days… But Hwys. 401, 403, 410 and the QEW all run for stretches through the city, and there’s no shortage of GO Transit and Mississauga MiWay Transit options.

Waterfront recreation

For sports and recreation, again Mississauga is blessed with numerous recreational winter and summer sports leagues with decades of local history. Using the Streetsville example again, the Vic Johnston Community Centre dates back to 1961, and sits adjacent to Memorial Park and the Credit River.

And, following the Credit River down to Port Credit, Memorial Arena is another beautiful old barn, sitting adjacent to Memorial Park and facing Lake Ontario. The park itself serves as host location for some of the area’s largest festivals.

Then there’s the Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre), where the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga Steelheads play, and which also is home to a number of community rinks.

Location, location, location

• More than 288.42 square kms, 13 kms fronting Lake Ontario; bounded by Oakville, Milton, Brampton, Toronto and Lake Ontario

Key landmarks

• Living Arts Centre

• Mississauga Celebration Square

• Paramount Fine Foods Centre

• Sheridan College Business School

• Square One Shopping Centre

• University of Toronto Mississauga

Select housing developments

20/Twenty Towns by Consulate Development Group

Eleven 11 Clarkson by Saxon Developments

Jewels of the Meadows by Ideal Developments

Lakeview Village by Lakeview Community Partners

Parc Towns by The Daniels Corporation

The Clarkson Urban Towns by Haven Developments

Tuxedo Park by Maple Valley Development Corp.


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Barrie, Ontario

Barrie – Gateway to cottage country open for business

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Barrie – Gateway to cottage country open for business

Barrie may be best known as the “gateway to cottage country,” but, borrowing from a recent initiative of a certain provincial politician, the city might just as well hang a sign out front saying “open for business.”

Indeed, the days of this city of 141,434 being little more than a popular tourist and getaway destination are long over.

Barrie is a thriving city in its own right. It has long moved on from a bedroom community for Toronto, about 100 kms south, to developing its own increasingly diversified economy, with a focus on education, healthcare, information technology and other sectors.

For example, Barrie recently hosted industry experts, executives, investors and entrepreneurs from across Ontario at the third annual Manufacturing Innovation Summit. Presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada, the event strives to help manufacturers maintain competitiveness and maximize productivity.

Creative economy

Further illustrating a focus on economic development, the City has partnered with Sandbox Centre to make regional resources for innovation and entrepreneurship more accessible to local businesses. Opened in April, Sandbox Centre is the first private sector-led innovation hub in Ontario.

“The rapid pace of change in business and in technologies means that companies are best positioned to succeed when they can learn and share from each other,” says Karen Dubeau, director of creative economy with the City. “Sandbox Centre provides a centralized hub for established businesses, aspiring innovators, and independent entrepreneurs to share expertise, energy and opportunities.”

Director of creative economy? Such a title and position speak volumes about Barrie’s forward-thinking leadership.

It is exactly these types of initiatives that make Barrie so appealing for real estate. Economic development means employment, jobs attract residents, and residents translate to housing demand.

The city’s ability to attract younger residents is influenced by its growing reputation as a place for families and young, active professionals. Recent GO Transit expansion has made it easier for professionals to live in Barrie, where it’s more affordable, and work in Toronto or somewhere along the way.

However, as a smaller centre, Barrie is sometimes subject to swings in the real estate market. Median home prices for the first quarter of 2019, at $505,795, were flat compared to the same period last year. Detached bungalows, however, grew 1.8 per cent, year-over-year.

While at first glance this might not seem like great news, but the slower price growth provides buying opportunities for Barrie’s resident profile – many of them young, first-time homebuyers.

Live, work and play

It’s not strictly business in Barrie, however. Tourism still plays an important role in the local economy, with the historic downtown and waterfront major attractions. The downtown area hosts numerous annual festivals and events such as The Barrie Waterfront Festival, Barrielicious, Winterfest, Jazz & Blues Festival, Promenade Days, and Ribfest and Craft Beer Show.

Barrie is also home to Kempenfest, one of the largest outdoor arts and crafts celebrations in Ontario.

During the winter months, people still flock to the area’s nearby hills – Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, and a little further afoot, Blue Mountain.

Then, of course, there’s the hometown Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, who play out of the Barrie Molson Centre downtown.

Location, location, location

Located in Simcoe County in the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, about 100 kms north of Toronto, 36 km to Orillia; population 141,434.

Key landmarks

  • Barrie Molson Centre
  • Centennial Park & Beach
  • Georgian Theatre
  • Heritage Park
  • MacLaren Art Centre
  • Waterfront Heritage Trailb

Select housing developments

Ashton Meadows by Briarwood Development Group

Birchwood Estates of Essa by Alair Homes

Bear Creek Ridge by Bradley Homes

Birchwood Estates of Essa by Lilac Homes

• East Village Urban Towns by Cygnus Developments cygnusdevelopments.com

Forest Heights Estates by Democrat Homes

Professor’s Walk by Democrat Homes

Thornton Estates by First View Homes


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Markham

Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

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Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

As the fourth most populous community in the GTA – after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton – Markham has been a hotbed for economic growth and development for years.

It’s long been known as centre for growing sectors such as technology and life sciences – and therefore employment growth – one of the key drivers of housing demand.

Today, Markham is home to more than 1,000 such companies, with IBM, Huawei, Honeywell, Advanced Micro Devices, Motorola and Oracle all having their Canadian headquarters located in the city.

Residence has its price

Buying a home in Markham will cost you, however, as it has also become one the GTA’s most expensive housing markets, with median home prices now exceeding $1 million.

According to the Royal LePage Home Price Index for the first quarter of 2019, prices for a two-storey home grew 0.8 per cent year-over-year to $1.08 million; bungalows are down 11.4 per cent to $1.06 million; condos are down 2.1 per cent to $452,951. Overall, aggregate home prices were flat year-over-year, but still sit at $1.01 million.

In the GTA, only Richmond Hill, Oakville and Vaughan are more expensive.

Still, new-home development is a priority for Markham City Hall and Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who was first elected in 2006 and is known as developer- and builder-friendly. The city has a number of new-home developments underway, including some high-profile condo projects.

The revitalization of Downtown Markham has been spearheaded by The Remington Group’s multi-use development along Main Street, which includes expansive retail shops, a Marriott Hotel, a Cineplex, as well as a variety of condo buildings and townhomes.

Cultural diversity

Culture is also an important attraction in Markham, with The Flato Markham Theatre offering more than 300 live performances each year, showcasing the diversity of the city. In addition, Varley Art Gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay House, which was the home of the Group of Seven’s Frederick Horsman Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Measuring 15,000 sq. ft., the gallery is the second most popular tourist attraction in York Region.

Markham also has dozens of parks with baseball diamonds, soccer pitches and children’s play areas and splash pads. The city also boasts more than 22 kms of scenic pathways with 12 bridges that provide recreational activity for joggers and cyclists.

The largest park in the city is the Milne Dam Conservation Park. Measuring 305 acres, it is bordered by thick forest on the south and east and the Rouge River runs through the middle.

Toogood Pond is an 82-acre park that features a partially naturalized pond and marsh, and it recently underwent revitalization to remove sediment, restore the shoreline and plant native foliage.

Getting around Markham is facilitated by easy access to Hwys. 404 and 407 and the DVP, and for public transit, York Region Transit/Viva connects with all nine York Region municipalities, and GO Transit provides regular train and bus service.

Location, location, location

• Population of 328,940, located in the Regional Municipality of York in the GTA

• Distance from downtown Toronto, 30 km

Key landmarks

• Flato Markham Theatre

• Varley Art Gallery

• Milne Dam Conservation Park

• Angus Glen Golf Club

Select new-home developments

Blue Sky by Fieldgate Homes, single-detached homes.

Cornell Rouge by Madison Group, towns, semis and detached homes

Opus Homes in Stouffville by Opus Homes, detached homes and townhomes

Station Town by National Homes, townhomes

Trendi Towns by Treasure Hill Homes, urban townhomes

UNION Margo by Aspen Ridge Homes, condos and townhomes


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The future is now in Brampton

The future is now in Brampton

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The future is now in Brampton

It’s one thing for a neighbourhood to be in transition, quite another for an entire city. But that’s precisely what’s happening in Brampton, where a concerted effort to bring the municipality into the future now, is yielding visible results.

In a city of about 600,000 – the third largest in the GTA and the ninth largest in Canada – Brampton has been booming for years. Consider, for example that current population is almost double what it was not even 20 years ago.

What’s attracting newcomers to Brampton in such numbers? In short – economic growth. Indeed, with major companies such as Loblaw Companies Ltd., Canadian Tire Corp., Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Ltd. and Rogers Communications Inc. having headquarters in the city, employment opportunities have been plentiful. Brampton’s economy in recent years has diversified to include sectors such as communications technologies, life sciences and business services.

Cybersecure catalyst

And even more recently, education. Just last month, for example, the City confirmed a collaboration with Ryerson University, outlining the required funding and resources needed for establishing the Ryerson University-led Innovation Hub and Cybersecure Catalyst in downtown Brampton. This includes the Chang School of Continuing Education expanding its cybersecurity courses; launching the Brampton Incubation/Innovation Hub; and the Cybersecure Catalyst, a new national centre for innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity.

“This is a very exciting move forward for Brampton, moving important projects with Ryerson University closer to reality,” says Mayor Patrick Brown. “These projects will help spur economic growth, create jobs and position Brampton as a hub for cybersecurity.”

Managing such growth requires planning, including the City’s Vision 2040, a long-term vision to reinvent Brampton. The plan includes such key transformations as including model new neighbourhoods; an improved transit network, new core loop, walking and cycling networks; better designed communities, handsome buildings; and sustainability built into everything.

Budgeting growth

Brampton’s 2019-21 budget proposal includes initiatives to that end, including increasing Brampton Transit’s fleet by 16 per cent over three years, adding 46 conventional buses and 25 Zum buses; creating a new Marketing and Foreign Direct Investment Program; and a Community Improvement Program to incentivize the economic sectors identified in Brampton’s Economic Development Master Plan.

It’s not all about business in Brampton, however. Proximity to nature also helps deliver quality of life in the city. Gage Park, Brampton’s oldest municipal park, opened in 1903; Heart Lake Conservation Area, occupying 169 hectares in the Etobicoke Creek watershed; and Chinguacousy Park, a 40-hectare park in the Bramalea section of town.

Location, location, location

• Population 593,638

• 42 kms from Toronto, 20 kms to Mississauga

Key landmarks

• Gage Park

• Heart Lake Conservation Area

• Chinguacousy Park

• Bramalea City Centre

• Shoppers World

Select upcoming housing developments

Beechwood by Paradise Developments; detached, semis and townhomes.

FirstHome Sunny Meadow by The Daniels Corporation; townhomes.

Mayfield Village by Regal Crest Homes; singles, semis and townhomes.

Mount Pleasant North by Mattamy Homes; townhomes.

Union Mount Pleasant by Mattamy Homes; boutique midrise condominiums.

Upper Valleylands by Fieldgate Homes; townhomes and semis.

Vales of the Humber Estates by Regal Crest Homes, single-detached homes.

Westfield by Royalpark Homes; detached and semis.


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Burlington

Burlington – engaged in development

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Burlington – engaged in development

Long gone are the days when Burlington, a city of about 185,000 off the northwestern shores of Lake Ontario, was a sleepy suburb on the outskirts of the GTA. Expansion in highway and transit infrastructure, economic and employment growth and new housing development are all contributing to what today is a booming, and self-sustaining, destination.

It’s all coming together nicely for Burlington. For some, perhaps, maybe a little too fast.

But more on that later.

Blessed location

Blessed with an outstanding natural location close to the lake, the QEW, Dundas Street West and Hwys. 403 and 401, getting to and around Burlington has never been a challenge. But recent improvements to transit service and highways have afforded even easier movement for businesses and residents.

Such growth has contributed to an increasingly diverse economy, strong in automotive and manufacturing, but not overly reliant on any one sector. Some of the city’s largest employers include Cogeco Cable, ARGO Land Development and the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Besides being close to Lake Ontario to the south, and the Niagara Escarpment to the north, Burlington is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It boasts more than 2,700 acres of gardens and nature sanctuaries, the world’s largest lilac collection and three on-site restaurants.

Down by the lake, the recently renovated Spencer Smith Park hosts an array of annual free festivals, including Canada’s largest Ribfest, the Sound of Music Festival, Children’s Festival and Lakeside Festival of Lights.

Engaged in development

With so much in Burlington’s favour, it’s no surprise that more people are moving here – particularly those looking for more affordable homes than in Toronto. Indeed, it’s a nice compromise: Oakville to the east, is now one of the GTA’s priciest housing markets; Hamilton to the west, is more affordable but still considered an area in transition.

Nor should it come as a surprise that Burlington residents are engaged in their community development, and took the opportunity in the October 2018 municipal elections to vote for change. Journalist and city councillor Marianne Meed Ward became the city’s first female mayor since 1978, replacing two-term incumbent Rick Goldring.

“Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our city,” she said after officially taking over in December 2018. “During the election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the new Official Plan.”

To that end, Meed Ward says she plans to take a close look at development, specifically in downtown, and has launched a Red Tape Red Carpet task force to address permitting and approvals. She also campaigned on tackling traffic congestion, tax reform, building trust with the community and protecting greenspace.

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Location, location, location

• Population 185,000, located in Halton Region at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario

• Distance from Toronto, 60 km; 21 km from Oakville; 15 km to Hamilton

Key landmarks

• Royal Botanical Gardens

• Spencer Smith Park

Select upcoming housing developments

Provenance by Beachview Homes – Townhomes

Valera 2 by Adi Development Group – Condominiums

Burlington Condos/Towns by National Homes – Condos and townhomes

Odyssey Condos & Towns by Rosehaven Homes – Condos and townhomes


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Local Focus: Aurora & Newmarket

Aurora & Newmarket: Close to Toronto, but far from the hustle of city life

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Aurora & Newmarket: Close to Toronto, but far from the hustle of city life

With some homebuyers priced out of the downtown Toronto core, not to mention limited availability, many are heading to the suburbs in search of more affordable homes.

Those looking north – to Aurora and Newmarket – may indeed find savings. They may also get more bang for their buck, in the way of larger properties and lots for those prices.

But it isn’t all about paying less in Aurora and Newmarket, where proximity to nature, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, and expanding highway and transit infrastructure, make living here and working in Toronto an appealing option.

Aurora

Located in York Region, Aurora is an increasingly popular and affluent town. According to the 2016 Census, the population here grew 4.2 per cent from 2011 to 55,445 – but is forecast to grow to more than 69,000 by 2020.

With an average household income of more than $155,000, Aurora is one of the wealthiest towns, not just in the province, but in all of Canada.

What’s causing such growth? An increasingly diverse economy and business expansion, which drive housing demand and rising prices.

Through it all, Aurora has been able to maintain a small-town feel. In 2016, it was ranked as one of the Top 25 places to live in Canada.

Still, the October 2018 municipal election brought change to Aurora. Tom Mrakas unseated incumbent Geoff Dawe, running on a platform centred around housing and growth. He had said he wants to ensure better land use planning decisions are made through the Local Appeals Body and by implementing a Design Review Panel. He also intends to uphold the Official Plan and continue to oppose golf course redevelopment and improve municipal infrastructure.

Newmarket

Located just seven kms north of Aurora, with a population of more than 85,000, Newmarket, too, gets lots of love.

In a recent survey conducted by the Town, 95 per cent of residents said they are satisfied with Newmarket as a place to live, and 80 per cent are satisfied with overall service levels.

“The feedback received from the Community Survey results support Newmarket’s reputation as one of the Best Places to Live in Canada, according to MoneySense Magazine,” says Mayor John Taylor.

Like neighbouring Aurora, Newmarket was ranked in the top 25 communities in Canada in 2016 and 14th among best small cities. In 2017, Amazon Canada rated it as number 20 of the top 100 most romantic cities in Canada.

Also, as was the case with Aurora, the elections last year brought change to Newmarket, when then-Mayor Tony Van Bynen decided not to seek re-election. John Taylor took over, making the economy, business growth, community building and expanding new housing developments his top priorities.

Location, location, location

Aurora, population 55,445, 49 kms north of Toronto

Newmarket, population 84,224, 7 kms north of Aurora

Select upcoming housing developments, Aurora

Queen’s Grove by North Star Homes, luxury homes, Yonge Street and Bloomington Sideroad

Shining Hill by Townwood Homes, detached, semis and townhomes

Aurora Townhomes by Andrin Homes, townhomes

Select upcoming housing developments, Newmarket

Glenway on the Green by Lakeview Homes, bungalows

Estate Homes at Copper Hills by Redwood Living, estate homes

Redwood on Yonge by Redwood Properties, adult lifestyle condominiums


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Local Focus: Bradford West Gwillimbury & New Tecumseth

Bradford West Gwillimbury and New Tecumseth ripe for growth

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Bradford West Gwillimbury and New Tecumseth ripe for growth

If you’ve ever driven north on Hwy. 400 heading towards cottage country, perhaps you stopped off, the outlet mall at Cookstown. On summer weekends, anyway, the area might not boast the lightest traffic, but head off the beaten trail and into surrounding communities such as Bradford and New Tecumseth, and you’ll find a lot more than a few bargains to keep you coming back.

Maybe even permanently.

Bradford West Gwillimbury

Indeed, Bradford, which in 1991 amalgamated with the former Townships of West Gwillimbury and Tecumseth to form the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, is beloved for its fertile lands and rich soil. Resplendent with lush farmland, including the Holland Marsh – “the carrot capital of Canada” – forests and rivers, this area is an agricultural hotbed in Ontario.

The Marsh, itself, comprises about 21,000 acres. Development in this area centres around sensitivity to such natural wonders.

With financial and social responsibility in mind, Bradford West Gwillimbury says its administration encourages public participation in the decision-making process for development, to make the area a desirable place to live, work and play.

And, it appears to be happening.

This area, believe it or not, is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Ontario of at least 5,000 residents. According to the 2016 Census, the population of Bradford West Gwillimbury grew 25.8 per cent to 35,325 from 28,077 in 2011 – good enough for 11th in the province.

New Tecumseth

Located in Simcoe County, New Tecumseth comprises the communities of Alliston, Tottenham and Beeton.

These three vibrant urban centres enjoy prosperous activity in agriculture, honey production, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing. Proximity to the 400 series highways and Hwy. 50 affords easy access to the GTA to the south and Kitchener-Waterloo to the west, among other areas, which is all conducive to business growth.

Given such prosperity, people are moving here to live and to do business. According to the town’s economic development office, 35 per cent of residents have moved here within the last five years. Housing development naturally follows, and several builders have projects underway here.

Location, location, location

Bradford West Gwillimbury
Population 35,325
78 kms north of Toronto

New Tecumseth
Population 34,242
87 kms north of Toronto

Select upcoming housing developments, Bradford West Gwillimbury

Dreamfields by CountryWide Homes, detached homes

Dreamfields by Aspen Ridge Homes, detached homes

The Forest by National Homes, detached homes

Select upcoming housing developments, New Tecumseth

Willow Glen by Brookfield Residential, townhomes

Greenridge by Flato Group, detached homes and townhomes

Beeton Creek at West Country by FarSight Homes, detached homes

 

 


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LOCAL FOCUS: Pickering & Ajax

Pickering and Ajax one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario

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Pickering and Ajax one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario

Part of the Durham Region, Pickering and Ajax comprise one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario.

HOUSING OPTIONS

Often considered suburbs of Toronto, most of the housing here is single-family homes. However, the condo craze has arrived and there is a great selection of home types, from historic homes to modern townhouses and condos. But single-family homes are still the norm.

Click here to see a list of homes for sale in Ajax.

Click here to see a list of homes for sale in Pickering.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The Nautical Village, located on Pickering’s waterfront, is a fabulous day away from the hectic grind of modern life. There are many quaint shops, cafés, bakeries and restaurants, as well as a splash pad and park for the kids and beach volleyball courts. A lovely waterfront trail runs along the Frenchman’s Bay and during the summer there are concerts at Millennium Square.

Pickering Museum Village is a unique experience brought to life by “live” pioneers in 18 heritage buildings, including a blacksmith’s shop, general store, schoolhouse, temperance hotel and chapel.

The Pickering Recreation Complex offers a host of activities, including fitness classes, racquetball, squash, swimming and tennis, plus loads of children’s programs.

Pickering and Ajax are home to a number of golf courses, including Glen Cedars, Hawthorne Valley, Seaton Golf, Pickering Golf Club and Watsons’ Glen.

Ajax is home to Ontario’s only quarter horse racetrack, Ajax Downs. The central library, the Ajax Community Centre and the McLean Community Centre offer lots of programs, including swimming, ice skating and arts and crafts workshop.

PARKS & REC

Pickering is home to over 550 acres of open space including over 85 parks, sports fields and trails, as well as three conservation areas. One of the city’s gems is its Lake Ontario waterfront, with about five kilometres of it publicly accessible, three of them beach areas. There are also public areas around Frenchman’s Bay and the Hydro Marsh. Canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing and sailing make Pickering a perfect place for water sports enthusiasts.

Conservation areas including Petticoat Creek, Claremont Conservation Area and Greenwood Conservation Area, are operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Ajax also has an expansive system of cycling and walking trails totally 74 kilometres. Veterans’ Point Garden commemorates the town’s history and is dedicated to the HMS Ajax, the DIL Plant and the employees who lived in Ajax during the World War II.

RETAIL THERAPY

Pickering has a number of shopping opportunities, including the shops, restaurants and cafés located in its quaint downtown. The Pickering Town Centre has over 200 shops and services and big box stores can be found at the Brock Power Centre and the Shops at Pickering Ridge. The Durham Centre, located on Highway 2 in Ajax, offers close to 1 million square feet of shopping in a large-scale power centre format.

Pickering Village — an old Quaker Village — is filled with numerous shops, specialty boutiques and gourmet restaurants.

EASY ACCESS

Transit is supplied by Durham Region Transit and GO Transit train and bus service. Highway 401 is the main arterial hub taking drivers west to the DVP or east to Highway 115.

BY THE NUMBERS

Pickering population: 91,770

Ajax population: 119,670

Pickering walk score: 50

Ajax walk score: 47

Pickering.ca

Ajax.ca


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