As the home of some of the best private schools in all of the GTA, including Father Leo J. Austin, All Saints and Trafalgar Castle, Whitby is a sought-after community for families with kids who are in, or near, high school. The town is the seat of government for the region of Durham, but although the population is growing at a rapid pace, it's still only home to about 125,000 people. The northern part of the town, where Myrtle Station, Myrtle, Brooklin and Ashburn are located, is rural, whereas the southern portion is urban and represents the town's economic focal point. Whites represent the majority of the population in town, although with most of the growth coming on the part of immigration, visible minorities are starting to make a stronger showing, especially the black, South Asian and Chinese populations. Most Whitby residents commute to other GTA cities, particularly Oshawa, for work, although the town is itself home to a steel mill, a Sobeys retail support centre and a major liquor warehouse as some of the biggest employers, as well as Patheon pharmaceuticals manufacturing, Johnson Controls and Automodular Assemblies.
Families with kids make up the vast majority of Whitby residents and the number of families in town continues to grow. Drawn by well-designed new homes that go at an affordable price, highly regarded schools and a lovely waterfront, as well as amazing shopping centres and recreational amenities, Whitby is known as a great place to settle down.
Families wanting to enjoy affordable housing and great recreational facilities.
Seniors, dissuaded by the lack of hospitals in Whitby, as well as those looking for a relaxed rural environment, as the town is quickly becoming entirely urban.
Recreational enjoyment is at its prime in Whitby, which offers superb swimming pools and arenas, excellent parks and an exclusive marina in Whitby harbour. The town has awesome dining spots with great food, which is often British or fusion-inspired, although there are also tons of great ethnic food in town, like Baldwin Street Burger, the Lake Grill, Pete's Big Bite, Los Cabos, Chatterpauls and Big Boy's Burgers. Altogether, Whitby suits people who love their leisure time. Yachting, lacrosse and hockey are the most popular sports. For commuters, having a car isn't really necessary in Whitby, depending where you live. Four rail lines run through town, connecting residents to other GTA locales. For those adamant about driving, though, there are a several highways that run through town, enabling easy access to Durham region and Toronto. Whitby is home to several festivals such as the Brooklin Harvest Festival, Heritage Day, the County Town Carnival at Canada Day, and the Ontaio Lacrosse Festival, plus the newly added food truck festival for Whitby foodies.
Development in Whitby is concentrated to its north, now that the south is almost completely urbanized. The northern communities of Whitby offer a little more space for the construction of bigger houses and most new construction is luckily done under the guidance of town planners, who make sure new neighbourhoods get done right. In Brooklin, for example, new construction is mandated to fit with an early-years-of-Ontario theme, recreating Victorian-style homes characterized by inviting front porches and gabled roofs. Weight is being given to attractive streetscapes and planners are demanding sophisticated landscaping, old-fashioned streetlamps and public spaces down the road. Despite this attention to detail, rents in Whitby's newer and older areas are still pretty low, although renters can expect to see monthly rates rise as land gets eaten up and the population continues to boom.
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto-area towns and regions
Whitby is 15% lower than GTA average
Character two-storeys that are old and new, in Victorian or nautical styles
Trafalgar Castle School is an independent women's school that offers a university prep program for girls in grades 5 to 12. It was built in 1859 by Nelson Gilbert "Iron" Reynolds, the flamboyant Sheriff of Ontario County. Today, Trafalgar Castle is classified as a Canadian treasure.
Port Whitby Village is arguably the charming town's most charming area, with homes painted in vibrant colours and sporting second-storey balconies that look out over the lake through big windows. Nearby are excellent restaurants and cute boutique shops. The crossing of Brock and Dundas is Whitby's downtown area, with tons of businesses and services, plus Pearson Lanes shopping area for women. There's a weekly Saturday farmer's market during the summer at Colborne and Green, which draws pretty decent crowds. The Iroquois Park Sports Centre has lots of skating arenas, a pool, a soccer field and the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame.
Ashburn is the location of one of Canada's biggest mushroom farms and is, for the moment, mainly agricultural. But as Brooklin nears its capacity for residential development, it appears Ashburn is next, with the local population rising significantly in the past decade, mainly due to immigration. Ashburn Park hosts annual Canada Day festivities.
Brooklin is under heavy construction, but all building slated for this neighbourhood is under the watchful eye of Whitby town officials, who have the mandate of giving the community an old-world feel, and making new homes look like heritage homes.
Whitevale is a hamlet in Pickering that is family-friendly and still somewhat rural. It has nice detached homes on big lots and locally owned shops, like an ice cream store and a golf course.