Exploring Durham Region

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Durham Region

Durham Region is located just east of Toronto in Southern Ontario. With a population of just over 690,000 people, it is part of the Greater Toronto Area and is one of the fastest growing regions in the province.

The region consists of eight municipalities: Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, and Whitby. The area has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century when settlers first arrived. By the 1850s, several villages had been established including Oshawa and Bowmanville. The arrival of the railway accelerated development in the late 1800s.

Today, Durham Region is known for its diversity, natural beauty, and mix of urban and rural communities. It offers residents a high quality of life with access to major urban centres like Toronto, while maintaining its own unique character and identity rooted in its pioneering past. Whether you’re looking for arts, culture, recreation, or business opportunities – there are plenty of things to do in Durham!

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Location of Durham Region

Durham Region is bordered by York Region and Simcoe County to the north, Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County to the east, Lake Ontario to the south, and the City of Toronto and Peel Region to the west. It is part of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and the inner ring of the Golden Horseshoe region.

The region provides easy access to Toronto via major highways like Highway 401, as well as GO Transit rail service.  It provides proximity to major urban centers while offering affordable single family homes. The region contains Lake Scugog, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and waterfront access along Lake Ontario.

Why You'll LOVE it:

Why You WON'T:

Amazing Parks & Trails

Durham has over 8,000 acres of parkland and over 90 km of trails to explore. The trails allow you to enjoy nature and get outside with your family.


As Durham Region continues growing, traffic congestion has become a major issue, especially during rush hours. Key problem areas include Highway 401, Highway 2, and arterial roads in Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax. 

Outdoor Activities Galore

In Durham, you can go camping, hiking, cycling, and more. The area has options for all ages and adventure levels. Spend your weekends kayaking at Lakeview Park.

Limited Access to Specialized Healthcare

While Durham Region offers adequate general healthcare services, access to specialized medical care can be limited compared to larger urban centers.

Perfect for Young Families

With top-rated schools, kid-friendly attractions and family events happening all year, Durham Region is an ideal place to raise a family. Your kids will love growing up there.

Environmental Concerns

Durham Region has faced criticism over environmental issues, including waste management and pollution. The region’s reliance on landfills and industrial pollution, especially in areas close to manufacturing plants, can be a concern for those passionate about green living.

Amazing Community Festivals

Durham has fantastic festivals and events like the Courtice Flea Market, Oshawa Ribfest, Whitby Ribfest, and more. These celebrations bring the community together.

Limited Public Transportation Options

Durham Region’s public transportation network, while improving, is not as extensive or as convenient as those found in larger metropolitan areas. Depending on where you live and work, you might find it challenging to rely solely on public transportation.

Friendly Small Town Vibe

Although part of the Greater Toronto Area, Durham Region has a friendly small-town vibe while still being close to big city amenities. It’s the best of both worlds.

Limited Cultural and Nightlife Opportunities

Compared to larger cities, Durham Region offers fewer options for cultural activities and nightlife. While there are events, festivals, and restaurants, the variety and frequency may not match what’s available in more urban centers.

Home Styles In Durham Region

Durham Region offers a variety of home styles to suit different tastes and lifestyles. Here are three of the most popular housing types you’ll find in the area:


Detached homes

Detached homes, also known as single-family dwellings, are standalone structures that don’t share any walls with neighbouring properties. They offer the ultimate in privacy and flexibility when it comes to renovations or additions. Many detached houses in Durham Region are two or three stories with 3-5 bedrooms. These homes are great for growing families.


Semi-Detached Homes

Semi-detached homes share a common wall with the house next door. They come in pairs, with a similar or mirrored floorplan. Semi-detached houses are usually more affordable than detached homes. Many offer nice front and backyards along with driveways and garages. These types of homes work well for first-time buyers.


Town Homes

Townhomes are attached row houses that share common walls with homes on either side. They offer an affordable low-maintenance lifestyle perfect for professionals, downsizers, and young couples. Most townhomes in Durham have 2-3 bedrooms, modern finishes, and small yards. Many are part of larger communities with shared amenities. Townhomes are great for easy, carefree living.

Top Schools in Durham Region

Durham Region is home to many excellent schools at both the elementary and secondary levels. Here are 5 of the top-ranked schools in the area:

Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute

Anderson CVI is a public secondary school located in Whitby. It has consistently ranked as one of the top academic schools in Ontario. Anderson places a strong emphasis on math, science, and technology. Extracurricular activities are also robust with multiple sports teams, clubs, and an award-winning music program.

Donald A. Wilson Secondary School

Located in Whitby, Donald A. Wilson SS is another highly-acclaimed public secondary school. It has a speciality in the arts including music, drama, and visual arts. The school promotes creativity, community involvement, and diversity. Graduates regularly earn prestigious scholarships.

Sinclair Secondary School

Sinclair SS in Whitby offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate program. Known for its inclusive and welcoming environment, Sinclair has many academic enrichment opportunities. Its extracurricular activities, athletics, and clubs allow students to pursue their passions.

Roland Michener Public School

Roland Michener PS is an English public elementary school in Ajax acclaimed for its positive school culture. It provides a well-rounded education with strong literacy, numeracy, arts, and physical education programs. Students are encouraged to be leaders and role models.

Altona Forest Elementary School

Located in Pickering, Altona Forest ES is an English public elementary school that focuses on creativity and innovation. It provides a nurturing environment where students can reach their potential. The school has an excellent music program and offers a variety of clubs.

Places of Interest in Durham Region

Durham region is full of interesting and exciting places that are worth visiting. Whether you enjoy scenic nature walks or discovering historic sites, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

Beachfront Park

Beachfront Park, located in Pickering, offers visitors a scenic view of Lake Ontario and a wide range of recreational activities, including swimming, picnicking, and fishing.

Durham Conservation Area

Durham Conservation Area is situated in Durham Region's heart. This stunning natural park boasts diverse activities like hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking.

Downtown Uxbridge

In the heart of Downtown Uxbridge, you will find quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants. Uxbridge has a blend of old-world allure with modern comforts, making downtown an ideal spot for leisurely strolls and socializing.

Pickering Town Centre

Pickering Town Centre is a popular shopping destination. With over 200 stores and services, it offers a wide range of shopping options, so you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for.

Darlington Provincial Park

Darlington Provincial Park  is a beautiful conservation area located on the shores of Lake Ontario. It features a wide range of recreational activities for visitors, including swimming, hiking, and camping.

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