If you live in Southern Ontario, chances are you often hear the term GTA, or Greater Toronto Area. But what cities and towns are included in the GTA? If you're curious or just want to learn more, below you will find an outline of the cities and towns in the GTA as well as a few highlights of what you can see and do in each area.
Besides all of the neighbourhoods in the amalgamated City of Toronto, when people refer to the Greater Toronto Area they are usually talking about an area which includes the regions of Halton, Peel, York and Durham.
These regions often make great day trips from the city for their many attractions, which include everything from beaches and conservation areas, to art galleries, craft breweries and museums.
The regional municipality of Halton is the westernmost part of the GTA. According to the official Halton Region website, the approximate population of Halton Region in 2016 was 548,435. Halton Region includes:
Hikers take note: Halton is home to the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath. The region is also intersected by the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World’s Biosphere Reserve. Halton is located 30 minutes from Toronto and 45 minutes from Niagara and easy to get to thanks to being accessible via three airports, a well maintained road and highway system, public transit and Go Transit.
Peel is west of Toronto, and stretches much further north.
Although Peel Region has the fewest individual municipalities of the four regions, they are densely populated (1.4 million as of 2016) and still growing:
In terms of attractions and things to do in the region, Mississauga has more than 480 parks and woodlands and like Halton Region, Peel's picturesque Caledon is situated along the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Sitting North of Toronto, the region of York stretches all the way to Lake Simcoe and includes nine municipalities:
- City of Vaughan
- Town of Richmond Hill
- Town of Markham
- Town of Aurora
- Town of Newmarket
- Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
- Town of East Gwillimbury
- Town of Georgina
- Township of King
York region is home to over 70 golf courses, the beaches of Lake Simcoe, several conservation areas and the 50-kilometre Lake Simcoe Trail for walking, biking and running. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will also want to explore the Oak Ridges Moraine trail, kettle lakes, wetlands and area forests. And in the summertime, York Region comes alive with a multitude of fun festivals - over 30 to be exact over 50 days in the summer.
The eastern side of the GTA, parts of Durham Region are also within the area of Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. The Region of Durham includes:
- City of Pickering
- City of Oshawa
- Town of Ajax
- Town of Whitby
- Municipality of Clarington
- Township of Uxbridge
- Township of Scugog
- Township of Brock
Durham Region is home to more than 350 kilometres of recreational trails and conservation areas, which include the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and Oak Ridges Moraine. You'll also find many farmers' markets, pick-your-own farms and agricultural fairs in the region, as well as many art galleries and museums.
In addition, Durham Region also boasts several craft breweries and award-winning wineries.
Living and Working in the GTA
It is not uncommon for GTA residents to live in one municipality and work in another, including people who commute both into and out of Toronto daily. In these cases, it's helpful to stay updated on Toronto traffic. But there are also ways to use public transit between the regions, such as GO Transit, and options to connect between the public transportation systems in the GTA.
Updated by Jessica Padykula