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Regional Municipality of Durham

The Regional Municipality of Durham, informally referred to as Durham Region, is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada. Located east of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York, Durham forms the east-end of the Greater Toronto Area and the core part of the Golden Horseshoe region. It has an area of approximately 2,500 square kilometres. The regional government is headquartered in Whitby.

Durham Region
Regional Municipality of Durham
Official seal of Durham Region
"A Great Place to Grow"
Map showing Durham Region's location in Ontario
Map showing Durham Region's location in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°55′N 78°56′W / 43.917°N 78.933°W / 43.917; -78.933Coordinates: 43°55′N 78°56′W / 43.917°N 78.933°W / 43.917; -78.933
Established1792 (County)
1974 (Regional Municipality)
 • Chair
Governing Body
John Henry
Durham Regional Council
 • Land2,523.80 km2 (974.44 sq mi)
91.3 m (299.5 ft)
 • Total645,862
 • Density255.9/km2 (663/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))

The southern portion of the region, on Lake Ontario is primarily suburban in nature, forming the eastern end of the 905 belt of suburbs around Toronto. The northern area comprises rural areas and small towns. The city of Pickering, town of Ajax and the township of Uxbridge are part of the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, while the communities of Oshawa, Whitby, and Clarington comprise the Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area.

Administrative divisionsEdit

Durham Region consists of the following municipalities (in order of population):

Municipality 2016 Population[2]
City of Oshawa 159,458
Town of Whitby 128,377
Town of Ajax 119,677
Municipality of Clarington 92,013
City of Pickering 91,771
Township of Scugog 21,617
Township of Uxbridge 21,176
Township of Brock 11,642

It also contains one First Nations reserve: Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Local governmentEdit


Map of RM Durham

The Region of Durham was established in 1974 as one of several new regional governments in the Province of Ontario, primarily in fast-growing urban and suburban areas. It encompasses areas that had been part of Ontario County and the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham, and was the culmination of a series of studies into municipal governance in the "Oshawa-Centred Region" that had begun in the late 1960s.

The boundaries of the region were different from what had been anticipated and announced in late 1972. For example, it was widely expected that Pickering would be annexed to Metropolitan Toronto, which residents had supported in a ballot question. In addition, the region was proposed to extend further east to include Hope Township and the town of Port Hope, and did not include the northern townships of Scott, Brock and Thorah.


Under the Köppen climate classification, the Durham Region has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb).


2016[5], 2011[6], 2006[7], earlier[8][8][9]

The Regional Municipality of Durham is predominately white representing 70.1% of the population. There is also a large population of South Asians totaling 8.6% of the population and Black Canadians totaling 8.0% of the population. Smaller ethnic groups include Filipino with 2.3% of the population, Aboriginal with 2.0%, Chinese with 1.9%, Mixed visible minority with 1.3%, Latin American with 1.0% and West Asian (Middle Eastern) with 1.0%.


The regional government, within its geographic area, has sole responsibility for the following:

  • Durham Regional Police Service provides local policing for all municipalities.
  • Durham Region Transit provides public transit service
  • Main roads, traffic lights and controls
  • Strategic land use planning
  • Subdivision and condominium approval
  • Water supply and distribution
  • Sewage collection and treatment
  • Collection of recyclable materials
  • Waste collection, except in Whitby and Oshawa
  • Waste disposal
  • Public health and social services

The region also provides services in:

  • Economic development
  • Tourism

Local municipalities have responsibility for:

  • Local planning
  • Local streets and sidewalks
  • Fire protection
  • Parks and recreation
  • Tax collection
  • Building inspection and permits
  • Public libraries
  • Licensing
  • Waste collection in Whitby and Oshawa


Youth unemployment is a major issue in the region: at 23% by the Durham Workforce Authority in 2013, it is 17% higher than the provincial average.

Major employers include General Motors of Canada, Ontario Power Generation, Lakeridge Health, Durham District School Board, Durham College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and many smaller component and transportation firms supplying the automotive industry.

Automobile and other industriesEdit

Durham Region is a major centre of the Canadian automobile industry. Oshawa is the Canadian headquarters of General Motors and home of what was once GM's largest plant in North America. In addition, the Canadian headquarters of Volkswagen is located in the region, BMW was located in the region until moving to Richmond Hill in 2010. The worldwide recession and spike in oil prices resulted in large-scale layoffs at GM beginning in 2008, along with the closure of the Oshawa Truck plant in 2009. This dramatically reduced employment levels at GM, and also resulted in significant employment losses and closures in the auto parts industry. On November 26, 2018, General Motors announced that no future product would be allotted to Oshawa beyond 2019 and that manufacturing operations would cease in December 2019.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is the largest employer in the region. OPG is Canada's largest owner of nuclear power plants with responsibility for operating the Pickering A, Pickering B, and Darlington nuclear generating stations, all of which are located in Durham Region.


Major shopping centres located in Durham Region include:


400-series freewaysEdit

  •   Highway 401 traverses the region from west to east, entering in the Rouge Valley and exiting east of Newtonville.
  •   Highway 407, a privately owned toll freeway, enters the region south of Highway 7 and travels east to Durham Regional Road 1 (Brock Road) before transitioning to a provincially owned highway, Highway 407E. This route travels generally parallel to Highway 7, with a temporary terminus at Durham Regional Road 4 (Taunton Road) west of Hampton at the future location of   Highway 418.
  •   Highway 412, part of the Highway 407E project, connects south to Highway 401 parallel and east of Durham Regional Road 23 (Lakeridge Road).
  •   Highway 418, a future freeway, will travel between Durham Regional Road 34 (Courtice Road) and Road 57 (Waverley Road) from Highway 401, southwest of Bowmanville, north to near Hampton (north of Durham Regional Road 4 (Taunton Road)), connecting with the future extension of Highway 407.
  • By 2020 Highway 407 will run all the way to Highway 35/115 in the east.

Other highwaysEdit

Note: This is the only region of the Greater Toronto Area where the Trans Canada Highway passes through. The TC's Central Ontario Route enters from the northeast at Manilla along Highway 7, makes an abrupt turn near Sunderland onto Highway 12 heading north towards Beaverton and the northern regional boundary.

Public transportationEdit

Public transit in the Region is operated by Durham Region Transit, which was formed in January 2006 when the five preexisting municipal public transit systems in the region were merged under the Region's administration.

A DRT bus awaits passengers at the Ajax GO station

In addition, GO Transit provides the following services within the Region:

Air TravelEdit

Although small airports such as the Oshawa Executive Airport exist in Durham Region, the main airport serving the region is Toronto Pearson International Airport. There is a long-standing proposal for a major new airport in Pickering.


The Durham District School Board operates all English-language secular public schools within Durham Region, except for those schools within Clarington, which are part of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. This is a holdover from the pre-1974 structure in which the area now forming Clarington was part of Durham County, while the other municipalities were part of Ontario County.

The Durham Catholic District School Board operates the separate English-language public Catholic school system within Durham Region, again with the exception of schools in Clarington, which are part of the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board.

Neither school board is an operating division of the regional government. Instead, as is true of all school boards in Ontario, they are separate entities with distinct but overlapped service areas. Elected public trustees responsible for their operation.

French-language school boards serving the municipality include the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.

Durham Secondary Academy and Middle School offers private elementary and secondary education for students in the Region of Durham.

The region also is home to Ontario Tech University, Ontario's fastest growing university[citation needed], Durham College, and Trent University Durham (Trent University's main campus is in Peterborough). The Ontario Tech and Durham College main campuses are located in North Oshawa. Durham College also has a satellite campus in Whitby, and Ontario Tech has one in Downtown Oshawa.

Travel regionEdit

Durham Region lies within the Central Counties of Ontario, a tourism-related association.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Census Profile, 2016 Census Durham, Regional municipality [Census division], Ontario". Statistics Canada. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Statistics Canada, Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ontario: Census subdivisions (municipalities)
  3. ^ "Bowmanville Mostert". Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data. Environment Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  4. ^ "Oshawa WPCP". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  5. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017.
  6. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  9. ^ "(Code 3518) Census Profile". 2011 census. Statistics Canada. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  10. ^ "Central Counties Tourism". Retrieved October 29, 2019.

External linksEdit