Greater Toronto Area


Greater Toronto Area

The Greater Toronto Area (locally abbreviated as the GTA) is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. The GTA is a provincial planning area with a population of 5,555,912 at the 2006 Canadian Census. Total population and land area of the City of Toronto and the surrounding regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York which form the Greater Toronto Area, however some towns within those regions are excluded. Population and land area figures for Toronto and the regional municipalities come from the 2006 Canadian census: [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=702&PR=35&SR=1&S=3&O=D] .] The Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) defined by Statistics Canada is 17% smaller in land area than the GTA planning area and had a population of 5,113,149 in the same 2006 census, this difference is primarily due to the inclusion of the Oshawa-Whitby CMA and the city of Burlington into the GTA, but which are not included with the Toronto CMA.cite web| url=http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=201&S=3&O=D&RPP=150| title=Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data| date=2007-03-13| work=Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population| accessdate=2007-03-13]

The Greater Toronto Area is the 8th largest metropolitan area in North America. In addition to the City of Toronto, it includes the Regional Municipalities of York, Halton, Peel and Durham. The term GTA only came into usage in the mid-1990s after it was used in a widely discussed report on municipal governance restructuring in the region.

General information

The Greater Toronto Area is one of North America's fastest-growing urban areas. As an economic area, the GTA consists of the City of Toronto and four regional municipalities in a total area of 7,125 km². This covers an area roughly equivalent to the surface area Lake Simcoe, on its northern reaches. Total population and land area of the City of Toronto and the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York which form the Greater Toronto Area ( [http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/economy/demographics/projections/2006/index.html] ). Population and land area figures for Toronto and the regional municipalities come from the 2006 Canadian census: [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=702&PR=35&SR=1&S=3&O=D] .] Vast parts of the GTA remain farmland and forests, including protected sections of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge Park and the Niagara Escarpment. All of these areas are protected by the Greenbelt. Nevertheless, low-density suburban developments continue to be built, some on or near ecologically sensitive and protected areas. The government of Ontario has recently attempted to address this issue through the "Places to Grow" proposal which emphasizes higher-density growth in existing urban centres over the next 25 years.

The work force is made up of approximately 2.9 million people, more than 100,000 companies, and a CA$360 billion gross domestic product.Fact|date=February 2007. If it were a country, the GTA's GDP would rank approximately 20th in the world. The GTA is Canada's business and manufacturing capital by a large margin. The GTA is home to a number of post-secondary educational institutions, including 4 universities and 7 colleges.

The following regional municipalities are included in describing the Greater Toronto Area: [cite web
url = http://www.toronto.ca/toronto_international/location.htm
title = Greater Toronto Area Regions map
publisher = City of Toronto
accessdate = 2007-05-23
]

*Regional Municipality of Durham
*Regional Municipality of Halton
*Regional Municipality of Peel
*Regional Municipality of York

The population of this area is 5,555,912 as of 2006. The City of Toronto is now a single-tier municipality, but before 1998 it had a similar "regional" structure under the name Metropolitan Toronto, and comprised of Toronto (old), York, North York, East York, Etobicoke and Scarborough. Originally, Toronto was called the City of Toronto, and the others were boroughs. Eventually, York and North York were called "cities", though still part of the Toronto Municipal Government. Eventually, the idea of boroughs and cities was discarded and there is now one City of Toronto, with its northern border Steeles Avenue, and its southern border Lake Ontario.

The City of Hamilton, Regional Municipality of Niagara and City of Guelph all have significant ties to Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Nonetheless, they are geographically distant enough not to be considered part of the GTA, officially or otherwise. In some cases the provincial government already includes Hamilton and Niagara as part of the GTA for record keeping purposes as well as for transportation planning.

In 2001, Statistics Canada identified four major urban regions exhibiting a cluster pattern of concentrated population growth. Among these regions, the Extended Golden Horseshoe Census Region includes all of the Greater Toronto Area (which includes Oshawa), Niagara, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie. Combined, the Extended Golden Horseshoe has a population of 8,116,000 in 2006. [http://geodepot.statcan.ca/Diss/Highlights/Page9/Page9a_e.cfm] , containing approximately 25% of Canada's population.

The GTA is projected to have 7.7 million residents by 2025. [cite web
url = http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/economy/ltr/2005/05_ltr.html
title = Toward 2025: Assessing Ontario's Long-Term Outlook
publisher = Ministry of Finance (Ontario)
date = 2005
accessdate = 2007-05-23
]

Toronto CMA

Some municipalities that are considered part of the GTA are not within Toronto's Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) whose land area (5,904 km² in 2006)cite web| url=http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=201&S=3&O=D&RPP=150| title=Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data| date=2007-03-13| work=Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population| accessdate=2007-03-13] and population (5,113,149 as of the 2006 census)cite web| url=http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=201&S=3&O=D&RPP=150| title=Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data| date=2007-03-13| work=Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population| accessdate=2007-03-13] is thus smaller than the land area and population of the GTA planning area. For example, Oshawa, which is the centre of its own CMA, or Burlington, which is included in the Hamilton CMA are both deemed part of the Greater Toronto Area. Other municipalities, such as New Tecumseth in southern Simcoe County and Mono Township in Dufferin County are included in the Toronto CMA but not in the GTA. These different border configurations result in the GTA's population being higher than the Toronto CMA by nearly one-half million people, often leading to confusion amongst people when trying to sort out the urban population of Toronto.

Other nearby urban areas, such as Hamilton, Barrie or St. Catharines-Niagara and Kitchener-Waterloo are not part of the GTA or the Toronto CMA, but form their own CMAs that are in fairly close proximity to the GTA (all within one hour's drive to downtown Toronto). Ultimately, all the aforementioned places are part of the Golden Horseshoe metropolitan region, an urban agglomeration, which is the sixth most populous in North America. When the Hamilton, Oshawa and Toronto CMAs are agglomerated with Brock and Scugog, they have a population of 6,170,072.Cite web
url=http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=205&SR=1&S=3&O=D&RPP=33
title=Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data
work=Canada 2006 Census
publisher=Statistics Canada
accessdate=2008-07-25
The constituent CMAs are Toronto (5,113,149), Hamilton (692,911), Oshawa (330,594), Brock(11,979) and Scugog(21,439) for a total agglomerated population of 6,170,072.]

Area codes

The Greater Toronto Area is served by seven distinct area codes. Before 1993, the GTA used the 416 area code. In a 1993 zone split, the City of Toronto retained the 416 code, while the rest of the Greater Toronto Area was assigned the new area code 905. This division by area code has become part of the local culture to the point where local media refer to something inside Toronto as "the 416" and outside of Toronto as "the 905". Though for the most part this was correct, it is not entirely true as some portions of Durham and York Regions use the 705 area code, and some portions of Halton and Peel Regions use the 519 area code. Furthermore, there are areas, such as the Regional Municipality of Niagara, Ontario and Port Hope, Ontario that use the 905 area code, but are not part of the GTA.

To meet the increased demand for phone numbers, two overlay area codes were introduced in 2001. Area code 647 (supplementing the 416 area code) was introduced in March 2001 and area code 289 (supplementing the 905 area code) was introduced in July 2001. In 2006, area code 226 was created as an overlay, supplementing the 519 area code. As well, individuals within the 905 area code region may have to dial long distance to reach each other; although residents of Mississauga and Hamilton share the same area code (905), an individual from Toronto, for example, would have to dial "1" (long distance code before 905) to reach Hamilton, but not to reach Mississauga. Ten-digit telephone dialling, including the area code for local calls, is required throughout the GTA region.

Transportation

Most of the GTA is served by GO Transit, a regional transportation authority that connects Toronto's suburban areas to its downtown. In addition, a number of local agencies provide public transportation services within their jurisdictions. These agencies are largely independent, although provision is being made to integrate them under the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA), also known as Metrolinx. They will utilize the new 'Presto card' which allows for seamless connection between these and other transit operators.

A list of public transit operators in the GTA:

* Toronto Transit Commission - Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Mississauga
* York Region Transit - Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora, Newmarket
* Durham Region Transit - Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, Brock, Scugog, Uxbridge
* Mississauga Transit - Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, Oakville
* Brampton Transit - Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto, Vaughan
* Oakville Transit - Oakville, Mississauga
* Burlington Transit - Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton

The GTA also has the largest and busiest freeway network in Canada, consisting mainly of 400-Series Highways and supplemented by municipal expressways. A list of major roadways in the GTA:

* Highway 400 - York Region, Toronto
* Highway 401 - Durham Region, Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region
* Highway 403 - Peel Region, Halton Region
* Highway 404 - York Region, Toronto
* 407 ETR - Durham Region, Peel Region, York Region
* Highway 409 - Toronto, Peel Region
* Highway 410 - Peel Region
* Highway 427 - York Region, Toronto
* Queen Elizabeth Way - Peel Region, Halton Region, Toronto
* Gardiner Expressway - Toronto
* Don Valley Parkway - Toronto
* Allen Road - Toronto

Politics

There has been a growing tension between Toronto and the surrounding GTA area since the mid 1990s, with Toronto complaining that it has been economically exploited by its neighbours. The election of the Harris government was attributed to his support base in the suburban "905" region. During his time in office, many provincial services were downloaded to the municipal level, which caused great financial strain on an already indebted city. Although the succeeding McGuinty government has attempted to address this imbalance, Torontonians feel that his attempts are half-hearted because McGuinty also had significant "905" support during his 2003 election victory.

Most of the "905" municipalities have few cultural institutions, despite their significant populations. For instance, Mississauga is one of the largest cities in Canada by population (at nearly 750,000) but has no daily newspaper, television stations, or commercial radio stations (though the city does have CFBN (AM), a business and airport/traffic station, CJMR-AM, a multicultural independent, and CFRE-FM, the local campus radio station). Despite having attracted significant investment over the last few decades (particularly from high-tech computing firms, such as Microsoft Canada), the surrounding cities are still considered bedroom suburbs of Toronto rather than independent municipalities, and as a result many are virtually unknown outside of Ontario. Prior to the municipal amalgamations that took place with the introduction of regional government, Oshawa was the only nearby city with a significant population and recognition.

Demographics

ee also

* Metropolitan Toronto
* Canadian National Exhibition
* Golden Horseshoe
* GO Transit
* Metrolinx
* Greater Toronto Services Board
* Greater Toronto Bioregion and Oak Ridges Moraine
* Greater Toronto Hockey League
* Greater Toronto Airports Authority

* Greater Montreal Area
* Greater Vancouver

References

External links

* [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/profiles/community/Details/Page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CMA&Code1=535__&Geo2=PR&Code2=35&Data=Count&SearchText=toronto&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom= Statistics Canada 2006 Community Profiles]


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