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The Regional Municipality of Durham
Motto: "A Great Place to Grow"
Map showing Durham Region's location in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°52′47″N 78°56′30″W / 43.87972°N 78.94167°W / 43.87972; -78.94167
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Established January 1, 1974
 - Chair
Governing Body
Roger Anderson
Durham Region Council
 - Total 2,523.15 km2 (974.2 sq mi)
Elevation 91.3 m (299 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 - Total 561,258
 - Density 222.4/km2 (576/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)

The Regional Municipality of Durham, informally referred to as Durham Region, is a regional municipality located in Southern Ontario east of Toronto, Ontario. It has an area of approximately 2,500 square kilometres. Durham Region is considered part of the Greater Toronto Area, with the communities of Oshawa, Whitby, and Clarington making up the Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area. The regional government is headquartered in Whitby.

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. Durham Region encompasses areas that were previously part of Ontario County and the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham. It was the culmination of a series of studies into municipal governance in the "Oshawa-Centred Region" that had begun in the late 1960s. The ultimate boundaries of the region were somewhat different than had been anticipated; for example, it was widely expected that Pickering would be annexed to Metropolitan Toronto, and that the region would extend further east to include Hope Township and the town of Port Hope.

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. Durham Region contains one Indian reserve, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island.

Durham Region consists of the following local municipalities:


Local government

Durham Region is governed by Durham Region Council, which consists of the Mayors of the local municipalities as well as Regional Councillors directly elected in each municipality. The list below indicates the number of Regional Councillors elected in each local municipality.

The Council is led by a Chair, who is selected by the Council itself rather than direct election by the public. The current Chair is Roger Anderson. In 2006, Pickering, Ajax, and Oshawa placed non-binding referendums on their local election ballots to ask voters whether the Chair should be directly elected. Over 80% voted in the affirmative, and so this issue is likely to be a major one during the current term of Council.

The current council was elected in November 2006. In the past, Council has sat for a three year term, but the Ontario Legislature recently passed legislation increasing the length of municipal council terms in Ontario to four years. Therefore, the next municipal election is scheduled for November 2010.


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


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

Automobile industries

Durham Region is a major centre of the Canadian automobile industry. Oshawa is the Canadian headquarters of General Motors and home of GM's largest plant in North America. In addition, the Canadian headquarters of both BMW and Volkswagen are located in the Region. 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. GM's ongoing financial woes and the 2009 bankruptcy of the parent U.S. firm continue to cast a shadow over the local economy.


Durham Region is traversed by Highway 401 as well several other provincial highways, although there is far less highway capacity in Durham Region than in the other regions in the Greater Toronto Area.

On August 22, 2006, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was considering providing federal funding for the extension of Highway 407.[2]


400-series freeways

Other highways

Public transportation

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.

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


The Durham District School Board operates all 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 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.

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 the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Durham College, and Trent University. The UOIT and Durham college campuses are located in Oshawa, with a Trent satellite campus. Trent University's main campus is in Peterborough. Durham College also has a satellite campus in Whitby. UOIT is currently Ontario's fastest growing university and expected to grow at enormous rates over the next few years.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 43°31′N 78°34′W / 43.52°N 78.56°W / 43.52; -78.56


  1. ^ [1])
  2. ^ Federal funds for subway extension uncertain,Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved August 23, 2006


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