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Greater Toronto Area

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The Greater Toronto Area (called the GTA by local residents) is the largest metropolitan area in Canada and fifth largest in North America, after Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The GTA is centred around Toronto, with a population of about 5,800,000 (2005). In addition to the City of Toronto, it includes four distinct Regional Municipalities (plus some other municipalities in two other counties)

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is one of North America's fastest-growing regions. As an economic area, the GTA consists of 25 municipalities and four regions in a total area of over 7,000 square kilometers with a population of 5 million. With a work force of approximately 2.9 million people, more than 100,000 companies and a US $109 billion gross domestic product, the GTA is Canada's undisputed business and manufacturing capital.

From its thriving business climate to its lucrative markets, from its modern transportation and telecommunications to its talented human resources, the GTA rivals the greatest economic regions of the world. A recent report by KPMG, Competitive Alternatives 2002, found that the GTA has overall business costs that were lower than most of the international cities reviewed in the study.

The GTA is home to an impressive number of postsecondary educational institutions, including 4 universities and 7 colleges. Its safety, cleanliness and ethnic diversity, combined with racial harmony, set it apart from other large urban centers. The GTA is consistently ranked as one of the urban areas with the best quality of life in the world.

Some municipalities are not within the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), but are within the Greater Toronto Area Association of Municipalities (GTAAM). Likewise, some municipalities are not part of the GTAAM but part of the Toronto CMA. Some municipalities, such as Barrie, are in neither the GTAAM nor CMA but still considered part of the GTA by local residents. The official list of GTA is much smaller and less spread out. Ultimately, all the the mentioned municipalities will be a part of the Greater Golden Horsehoe.

The following regional governments are often included in the Greater Toronto Area, under either the GTAAM, the Toronto CMA or unofficially but with close ties to Toronto:

The list below comprises 8 cities, 18 towns, 5 townships, and 1 municipality, for a total of 32.

Municipality Population Region Association
Adjala-Tosorontio, Township of11,000SimcoeUnofficial
Ajax, Town of80,000DurhamGTAAM, CMA
Aurora, Town of48,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Barrie, City of130,000SimcoeUnofficial
Bradford West Gwillimbury, Town of24,000SimcoeCMA
Brampton, City of405,000PeelGTAAM, CMA
Brock, Township of12,000DurhamGTAAM
Burlington, City of162,000HaltonGTAAM
Caledon, Town of 55,000PeelGTAAM, CMA
Clarington, Municipality of81,000DurhamGTAAM
East Gwillimbury, Town of22,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Georgina, Town of45,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Halton Hills, Town of54,000HaltonGTAAM, CMA
Innisfil, Town of32,000SimcoeUnofficial
King, Township of20,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Markham, Town of255,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Milton, Town of51,000HaltonGTAAM, CMA
Mississauga, City of692,000PeelGTAAM, CMA
Mono, Town of7,000DufferinCMA
Newmarket, Town of74,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
New Tecumseth, Town of28,000SimcoeCMA
Oakville, Town of175,000HaltonGTAAM, CMA
Orangeville, Town of29,000DufferinCMA
Oshawa, City of152,000DurhamGTAAM
Pickering, City of98,000DurhamGTAAM, CMA
Richmond Hill, Town of162,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Scugog, Township of21,000DurhamGTAAM
Toronto, City of2,500,000TorontoGTAAM, CMA
Uxbridge, Township of17,000DurhamGTAAM, CMA
Vaughan, City of235,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Whitby, Town of105,000DurhamGTAAM
Whitchurch-Stouffville, Town of25,000YorkGTAAM, CMA
Total Population:5,805,000


The City of Hamilton, Regional Municipality of Niagara and City of Guelph all have significant ties to Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Nonetheless, these ties aren't strong enough for them be considered part of the GTA, officially or otherwise. It is expected that with current rate of regional growth these areas will one day in the future become part of the Greater Toronto Area. In some cases the provincial government already includes Hamilton in Niagara as part of the GTA for record keeping purposes as well as for transportation planning. In 2001, Statistics Canada included a new level of census management called Census Regions, roughly equivalent to an American Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA). The Extended Golden Horseshoe Census Region includes all of the Greater Toronto Area listed above, as well as Niagara, Hamilton, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo. Combined, the Extended Golden Horseshoe has a population of more than 6.7 million people [1] (http://geodepot.statcan.ca/Diss/Highlights/Page9/Page9a_e.cfm) and contains roughly one quarter of Canada's population.

Toronto and the GTA are served by six distinct area codes. It is often thought that Toronto itself is area code 416, while the Greater Toronto Area is area code 905. This division by area code has become part of the local culture to the point where local media would refer to something inside Toronto as "The 416s" and outside of Toronto as "The 905s." Though for the most part this was correct, it isn't entirely true as some portions of Durham Region are area code 705, and some portions of Peel Region are area code 519. Things became even more complicated by the addition of two overlay area codes in the area with 647 being overlaid on 416 in March, 2001 and 289 on 905 in July, 2001. 10-digit telephone dialing, including the area code for local calls, is required throughout all of the GTA as well as Hamilton and Niagara.

Most of the GTA is served by GO Transit, a regional transportation authority that connects Toronto's suburban areas to its downtown.

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