Sprawl

Oshawa's Slow Self-Destruction

By Ben Bull
Published April 21, 2009

I've never been to Oshawa. About ten years ago, when I was looking to move out of Toronto, I thought about heading east. "Just don't go to Oshawa," my real estate agent warned, squinting at me like a raggedy old man in a B-list horror movie, staring up the hill at the spooky, deserted mansion at the top. "Nobody ever comes out..."

I learned that Oshawa was 'hollowed out' - the first time I'd heard that phrase - and not a place you'd live by choice. In the end I moved to Hamilton. While Hamilton as we know has its challenges, it seems that Oshawa is struggling all the more.

Oshawa was in the news yesterday for a decision to sell part of a neighbourhood park to a developer. In today's Star, Christopher Hume laments this decision and the long slow decline of this once-promising town:

Over the decades, Oshawa has made every mistake in the book. It's now little more than a hollowed-out downtown surrounded by sprawl...

The fact is that like GM, Oshawa has lost its ability to adapt, innovate, change and grow. Locked into a mentality of self-destruction, it has allowed itself to ossify. Its collective imagination, like its self-respect, has dried up.

When in doubt, it simply sells off a bit more land, adds another subdivision, and hopes for the best.

Like I say, I've never been to Oshawa. The difference for me is that, unlike Hamilton, I can't think of one single reason to go.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 21, 2009 at 11:18:05

From the Star report:

Asked about the $15,000 price tag, development services commissioner Thomas Hodgins couldn't explain "how we got there" because the discussions occurred in camera. But the process was done with due diligence, he says.

Sure we followed due diligence - you'll just have to trust us!

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-07 19:35:43

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By gamwam (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 00:05:35

Oshawa is not self destructing. That ia a crock.
Oshawa is a great city and part of the Greater Toronto Area.
It has been given a bad wrap and it seemed to be singled out.
Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington are like one big supercity with 330,000 people. Why doesn't Whitby get the bad wrap??
Oshawa has its own downtown core with character. Oshawaw has been designated by the provincial government (along with Pickering as the 2 cities in Durham Region (and among 25 cities in Ontario) as a Urban Growth Centre.
Oshawa has culture with theatres, museums & music. Oshawa Centre is the largest mall in Durham Region and one of the largest and successful in Canada.
Oshawa has alot of green space, excellent hospitals, golf courses, GM place: New 6,500 capacity arena home of the Oshawa Generals in Downtown Oshawa, New Provincial Court House Downtown, Newest Ontario University (UOIT) and Durham College.
Oshawa also has a very Low Crime Rate and excellent highway access to 401 and future Highway 407 expansion.
Living is Oshawa, you have the best of both worlds. Smaller city with character & charm (home prices are very attaractive with big lots) and close to T.O.
I think it is the GTAs best kept secret!!

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By Mike (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 21:54:36

Wow, another douchebag ragging on Oshawa who's never been there. As gamwam points out, Oshawa has a lot more going for it than you guys bother finding out about. The whole thing is not unlike me going on about how shitty Moby Dick is, even though I've never read it. But some guy who had to read it once in OAC told me it's shit, so I guess I'll take my cues from there.

And Chris Hume has a hate-on for any city that isn't covered from top to bottom with maglev tracks for solar-powered eco-trains and bike lanes. I wouldn't take too much of what he says on the subject at face value. The fact is the developer gets a sliver of dumpy land nobody uses anyway (I emphasize it's a tiny sliver), for parking spaces that are needed in a pretty disadvantaged area of town. Aside from the ridiculously low price the City gets for it, it seems like a fairly good deal. Or, what... Hamilton has existed in its current for centuries, having sprung out of the ground like magic? Never had to pave over a tree or two?

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By Cal in Oshawa (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 22:14:34

Mike, I've lived my whole life in Oshawa, except for 4 years at U of T (now I'm back home and looking for a job.) I can state first hand that Christopher Hume is right on the money. Oshawa is a hollowed out city that's lost it's way and squandered it's advantages. Maybe it means I'm a douchebag, but Oshawa's a real shame.

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By figblue (anonymous) | Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:10:57 in reply to Comment 30433

Hmmm.... four years at U of T and you still can't spell.

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By VikingSnap (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2013 at 05:53:27 in reply to Comment 79573

I Facebook like this!

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By Mike (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 22:43:40

Hume has his moments, and at least on this issue he's right about the university. That being said, my counter-argument is that the place isn't as bad as he'd have you think (the article is really quite harsh, on par with the scorn he heaped on Dubai the other day!). The waterfront, for example, is certainly a tad... cut off from the rest of town, but it sure is the best in Durham.

What I am getting at is that a whole hell of a lot of people with extremely limited experience with the place sure seem to think they know all there is to know about Oshawa. Objectively, you can't really say those opinions hold much weight.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2009 at 23:19:08

I nominate Ajax for having the best waterfront in Durham. (I grew up in Ajax, but I'm not biased in its favour.)

Whitby gave its waterfront over to the marina and Pickering gave its waterfront over to the nuclear power plant, but Ajax resisted the constant calls to develop and left its waterfront as a long parkland leading down to the bluffs. It's open and accessible and runs almost the full width of the town, from Duffin's Creek on the west end clear over to Pickering Beach Rd.

Having said that, Ajax is pretty much a sprawl wasteland in many other respects.

At least the older suburban development (c. 1970) was designed with walkability in mind, with mature trees left in place and an extensive, more or less continuous network of paths running through the neighbourhood. My own childhood home would have passed the "Popsicle Test":

http://www.batesline.com/archives/2005/0...

Starting in the 1980s, however, the city shifted hard into industrial house construction, and these erstwhile nods to accessibility were thrown overboard.

As for Oshawa, I still remember when both Oshawa and Whitby had downtowns of sorts, but the vitality of the city centres was steadily decanted into the mega-sprawl of big box stores and obsessively segregated subdivisions that grew like mold spore north of Highway 2 and then north of Rossland Rd.

In Oshawa today I see that sprawl has stretched all the way past Taunton Rd., obliterating what used to be some of the best farmland in the world.

Just about all of the new development in Durham over the past several decades has been unsustainable, automobile dependent sprawl, made possible at all and only for a short time by the economics of proximity to a huge job market in Toronto (with a secondary employment centre in Oshawa based on ... the automobile industry).

Hwy 401 was both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to the municipalities of Durham Region. It allowed for the florid, senseless sprawl bloom of the postwar period; but the painful, crushingly expensive legacy of that very growth pattern will be Durham's downfall as the clock runs down on the postwar economy of easy motoring.

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By Lee Chisholm (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2009 at 23:20:15

I lived in Ajax, Oshawa, and Toronto. Ajax was a nice place to grow up. Oshawa was a terrible place to live in my early teens in the 80's- it seemed ass backwards. Then I moved to Toronto and have lived here for several years now, and appreciate the cultural diversity, things to do, and places to work. Oshawa is a one industry town that never seemed to have much diversity, or much to do for that matter, especially as a teen.

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By JIMMY (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2009 at 21:02:31

Most of you have no idea of what you are talking about. Oshawa is a great place to live I have lived here for 8 years and never yet meet a person who works for GM. As far a the down town being hallowed out. Its the same every where Big Box stores are killing down town cores, once allowed in. Sure there are bad pockets in Oshawa but show me a city with a population of 150000 that dose not have bad areas. I live in one of the new subdivisions and everyone that lives around us are Lawyers, Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters all traveling to different areas of the GTA. I was raise in York Regon talk about bad areas in the 80's and 90's Oak Ridges was a hole now its the pride of Richmond Hill. In the 70' and 80's the Beaches in TO was a high rental unattractive place to raise a family. As for the Hammer its a cancer ridden dump. Not everyone in Oshawa works for GM maby you should get off your ass and see it.

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By GTAER (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2009 at 09:27:51

Well, let's see here I've lived in West End Toronto, East York, Scarborough, Ajax and now Oshawa.

Oshawa by far is the best place out of any of those areas - Ajax is the worst town in Durham region by far with absolutely nothing to do and severe traffic problems.. Why is every business in Ajax on HWY 2? Try going shopping on Saturday and you'll start wondering why you left Toronto to get away from the aggravating traffic problems - in AJAX you may as well live in downtown toronto.

Oshawa traffic flow is extremely well thought out, and there is never a traffic jam.

Oshawa has many many things to do with great nightlife and a beautiful mix of urban and rural areas.

There is a reason Hamilton is called the armpit of Ontario - it stinks.

I love living in Oshawa and know things are looking great for the future - New highway expansion always provides a great increase in property value and helps attract business. The 407 extension and HWY 7 widening are two big projects to be completed in the next few years.

Oshawa is in the top 10 real estate investment areas in GTA.



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By Ian (registered) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 03:04:52 in reply to Comment 34866

100% agree. Just wait until Smoke's Poutinerie opens in May.

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By VikingSnap (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2013 at 05:52:54 in reply to Comment 34866

Well said!

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By Mart Dawg (anonymous) | Posted March 16, 2010 at 01:25:57

I LOVE OSHAWA AND LIVE AND BREATH OSHAWA, Try writing about a City that you actually experienced. Yah if we kicked all the immigration out of this country it would be a much better country.

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted March 16, 2010 at 11:40:54

^Ignorant racist lives and "breaths" [sic] Oshawa. File under Not Surprised.

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By FU2 (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 13:09:30 in reply to Comment 38809

Christopher Hume is a douchebag moron of the first order.

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By Oshawa Veteran (anonymous) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 14:42:13

I have lived in and around Oshawa for 44 years. You all forgot one very important thing. Oshawa is in fact the most highest taxed city in the nation. Twice that of Toronto. And for what reason? City officials who don't know the first thing about handling money and a bunch of suckers who vote them back in. Oshawa is losing it's wealth at a very high rate of speed. That's also why it's taxed too high. There is no income from tax sources. The Auto industry was the number 1 wealth creator for Canada. Now it's gone forever thanks to the American and Canadian governments who traded away all the wealth to the Asians for Nothing in exchange. I mean Nothing! A grave mistake! The University alone cannot support Oshawa simply because it is on the public payroll which requires tax money which there isn't any of it around anymore. And why. The good paying jobs are gone forever and no taxes will be paid to support the local politians expensive habits. Now the HST is coming. Oh Boy Look Out! There will be a major depression coming and the underground economy is already taking on a hefty boost. I want you to remember reading this comment. Nobody likes hearing the truth but if you keep driving forgein cars and shop at Walmart, you cannot expect to have a hefty economy. It all goes against the law of economics.

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By gladileft (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 15:37:14

I left and could not be happier. A cultural wasteland of mediocrity.

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By Oskee wee wee Osha wawa (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 23:23:52

I was born in Hamilton lived there for 30 years, moved to Oshawa 22 years ago. I still have relatives in Hamilton. Recently drove through downtown Hamilton, talk about hollowed out!! Most downtown stores seemed to be empty, boarded up or just an eye sore. I know Oshawa isn't much better but please don't compare it to Hamilton.

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By klee (anonymous) | Posted November 23, 2010 at 21:05:54

I lived in toronto all my life and about 2 years ago i moved to kingston ontario. Now that i'm out of toronto i go back to visit family still there and I am just so grateful to be out. The traffic is the worst, the people are unfriendly for the most part and i was chased by a strange guy at the bus stop and a community service car pulled over and wouldn't even let me in his car because he said it was againts the rules! finally a cab pulled over and i could make my way out of there! I went to the doctors and the doctors assistant asked me how my day was and i told her what happened and all she said was " what eye is worst the left or the right? No emotion at all! I dread going to toronto. Kingston is a nice place to live easy to get around and has a small town feel, although i would like a smaller place and be a little closer to toronto i was considering moving to oshawa. But i'm not sure, not too keen on the factories and drug problem. anyone have any ideas on where they think a good place to live is: taking in consideration, pollution, crime, and friendliness of the town.

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By ssswife (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2010 at 00:19:22

we are looking to move to oshawa as thats where we can afford our first home, any areas I should avoid? we want to have kids and id like for them to be able to sit in their own front yard.every town has its bad pockets i would just like to know them so i can avoid them.thanks

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By Paula (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2015 at 22:41:09 in reply to Comment 52981

I have been here almost 30 years, best to live in the north end of oshawa. Good schools, and friendly people.

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By same old (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 07:48:49

@ssswife, My husband and I did exactly what you're thinking of! We have a toddler and moved from East York to Oshawa a year and a half ago. BEST decision of our lives! 45 minute commute on the GO Train, many parks, rec centres, nice neighbourhoods, great people, safe, etc. The city is weird in terms of its bad pockets though. Generally, avoid living too close to the 401 and downtown; the north (especially above Rossland) is very nice. There are some '50s neighbourhoods with (affordable) big houses and huge yards and then there are lots of new developments up and around Taunton. The border of Courtice is nice too, even the south. Also some new developments there, if that's your thing. If you're looking in traditional North Oshawa, just avoid Taunton and Ritson. Apparently there's a concentrated bad area called Nonquon right there. Let me know if you have more questions!

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By darb (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 19:32:16

Yeah do not move to that nonqoun area... its like regent park wow.. id b scared walking around at night! i recently moved to oshawa , i dont not like it as i do not like ajax..i live by the oshawa centre. but it does depend on your area as there are good and bad in every town. I wanted whitby the most :(

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By ConcernedBlack (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2013 at 06:08:53 in reply to Comment 55139

Do not move to Ritson and Taunton if u are of colour. it is full of racists who are threatning.

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By darb (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 19:34:18

Even saying the above if you have a choice not to move to oshawa i woouldnt with children, oshawa has the highest drop out rate in durham.

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By ssswife (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 00:39:59

dont really have a choice, tired of renting in toronto and cant afford much else right now besides hamilton and id rather not move west. i was told to avoid glen , wenthworth, oxford, simcoe and olive.thank you for the info guys.we now have an agent and started looking at homes, :)

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By Oshwagan (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2011 at 22:47:08

The best neighborhood in Oshawa is the glens which is around Rossland and gibbons area. Its an older 60's neighborhood with nice treed lots and expensive housing. You can even find 1 acre ravine lots in that neighborhood!

I would just generally avoid simcoe wentworth area. There are nice places in the south end near the lake and newer areas north of Taunton.

Plenty of great areas in Oshawa to live

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By skeptix (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2011 at 17:20:18

LOL, like regent park, yes Nonqoun can be a bit sketch, but try living on Wentworth street by the GM plant, south of the 401.

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By jlbslb3 (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2011 at 11:11:05

This article is quite harsh! I grew up in Oshawa, south Oshawa to be more specific! To be even more specific On Wentworth St!!!! I grew up in a well known building on Wentworth. It was known for being dirty, and being full of drunken GM workers! I must say the hallways and corridors within the building may have been dirty, as for drunken GM workers I never witnessed it! As I was growing up, my parents taught me that it wasn't what was in the hallways that made our home.... it was what was behind our door that made our home! My home was full of love, I had a lot of friends, a lot of which lived in that building. I also went to school in south Oshawa, from Kindergarten to grade 12! I graduated grade 12 as an honour roll student all 4 years in high school!

I now have a good job that pays well! I own my own house (in south Oshawa) with a very large lot for my 2 year old son to play in! I also married my high school sweetheart whom I also met in that "terrible building" We have now been together for 15 years and are still just in love as we were when we met! Now as my son gets older and Oshawa gets an even worse wrap, I have absolutely no fear of sending my son to a school not far from my home (on Simcoe st) that happens to score amongst the highest schools in Ontario in Literacy testing.

I will agree with one comment made earlier about diversity within Oshawa. There is little within the borders of what I consider a fine place to live, however I believe that it is a result of people speaking out of turn without knowledge of what we not as people from the "shwa" have to offer but we as Canadians have to offer! If Ben Bull has not yet been to Oshawa I challenge him to do so! I was in Hamilton recently for the first time since I was a kid, and found it not so different from Oshawa! I will leave past readers, and readers to come with two things to think about that a lot have forgotten!! Ignorance is Bliss, and people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!

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By theTrust (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2011 at 15:46:14

The writer of this article is full of shit. PERIOD. He must be high from all the smoke from the Steel plant he's inhaling.

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By ssswife (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2011 at 00:52:09

well it is now september 2011 , i posted in january that my husband and i were going to buy in oshawa. we never found a house we liked or an area we felt comfortable in( we are an interracial couple and just neighbours and other people kept looking at us weirdly , we went to check out the mall and felt sooooooo uncomfortable. so put us off a bit, we are back to looking at Oshawa but will most likely end up going west.
I did see a lot of beautiful areas in oshawa in summer, but again my level of discomfort was a major put off for us

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By sswife (anonymous) | Posted September 30, 2011 at 22:02:53

so we ended up buying a home in the west end, couldnt find a home we liked in oshawa.

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By Joee Sixtypack (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2011 at 17:54:33

Osh-awa /ahh-sha-wah:
"A lacklustre subsistence upon an automaton-like pattern of trivial awareness"

This town is slowly eating itself as the consistent cycle takes place generation after generation. Weak-minded fools with a poor ability to constructivly express themselves in any way other than that of self-righteous indignation; who lash out with physical and verbal agression, then have children who in turn complete the cycle.
There are no outlets here for people to express themselves through and free themselves from their unfortunate habitation of this geographical region lovingly referred to as the "Dirty Shwa".
Concentraion seems to focus on how to get as much alomony out of their baby's momma or daddy while constantly upholding the "he said/ she said" mentality of talking about other people's problems without addressing their own dire situations.
The people are only the hosts for the true occupants of this place - Methamphetamine, crack-cocaine and alcohol.
If you like the lowest common denominator mentality that mainstream rap and a "ghetto gangstah" attitude bring, then bring your family! You'll have more fun here than any Gathering of the Juggalos that ICP could ever imagine possible!

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By southShwaGuy (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2011 at 19:12:15

Well folks, work took me to Oshawa while I happened to be in the housing market. I moved to south Oshawa after looking for months. I could have had a place for the same [200k] in genteel downtown Whitby where I was renting. But frankly, aside from Whitby's friday night yahoo clubbing, Oshawa had more to offer,including the harbour development now underway. I found a nice quiet safe street close to the lake, beach [even swam in it],creek and sports parks. My house is a solidly built 1950's bungalow.
I've lost count of the number of times I've left my car on the street unlocked, my home unlocked or stuff in the driveway and never had a problem. My neighbors are honest, friendly "working families" as the politicians like to say. It's tough looking in Oshawa but a clue should be well kept gardens. I just got out of the car and asked people. No one mugged me.

I grew up in Toronto and yep, the girls are prettier and the galleries more glamorous. If you're after culture don't move here. But if you have culture of your own you won't need it will you.
I can't say whether to raise your kids here. Like anywhere it'll depend more on what kind of parent you are. I loved Toronto culture when I was young but kids spend their time on the Internet now anyway. If you wanrt your kids to do well in school, take them to Markham with the chinese perhaps.
Basically, don't buy the hype on the 'Shwa, see for yourself.

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By sccw (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2011 at 13:10:17

I am planning on purchasing my first home in North Oshawa (Grandview/Taunton). That area seems very nice and developed with nice box stores, restaurants, lots of schools, parks. The only hesitation I have is the commute - It will take me 40 minutes to get to work rather than the 15 I am used to! I am dreading the communte home during rush hour - but like anything else, you get used to it right? When I tell people I am thinking of moving to Oshawa, right away their noses go up. However, I get a lot of great feedback from people who live there. If only North Oshawa was separated and given a different name then all would be good. I guess no matter where you go and who you ask you're going to get a different opinion every time!

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By BRNEYZ (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 15:26:33

Like other comments made you have bad pockets no matter where you live. My husband and myself grew up in Toronto or rather at the time a pocket called Weston. It was the Town of Weston. Small Victorian homes large Maple trees and lots. Stunning! Then it became part of Toronto and wham Bam thank you Mam started to go down hill with crime going up. Nigh after night you heard sirens. The DH says time to move were heading East. So we move to South Ajax. Beautiful new development, young families, clean and safe. As time went on the original families started to move out and new families moved in. Not so nice families, rude and very unfriendly. Now again the dynamics were changing and not for the better either. Every second night I would look out my window and there wouod be a police car at someone's house. Again the DH said time to move were going East! So we moved to North Oshawa, Wilson and Taunton area. New development, and we have been here 4 years and I love it. So far so good. Only 2 families have moved thus far and 2 moved in. My son's friends say that we live in Poshawa LOL, don't know about that but we LOVE it here so far.

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By Gino151 (anonymous) | Posted December 25, 2011 at 11:04:56

I bought my first home in April 2011 in Oshawa, King and Central Park area and I have zero complaints. Neighbours are awesome, I am close to the Dt scene (for what it is) and the real estate was cheaper than Whitby and west bound.
I honestly think Oshawa home owners are going to be laughing their asses off when property values shoot through the roof when the 407 makes its way to Oshawa and when the never ending sprawl of "Toronto commuters" keeps the housing markert strong. Not to being the downtown is being revitalized.

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By angered (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2012 at 18:18:01

I lived in oshawa for a year and I have to say its crap, if you don't live in the northend or by the lake.
The southend is seady and not well taken care of. The down town area, well simco st. in general is disgusting, hooker all over the place at night. I wouldn't raise a child here knowing they could be exposed to that kind of place.
I would have liked to live closer to toronto but couldn't get a leg up in oshawa. Moving there was the worst desision I ever made. Moving out, best

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By lookingfor (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2012 at 16:00:40

We are planning to move to Oshawa - retirement..

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By lookingfor (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2012 at 16:03:42

Do you know the area in between Burk St./Gibb and King St. Please let me know I'm looking around this area. Thx

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By marsha24 (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2012 at 20:04:09

I will be moving to Nonquon shortly, I will admit I did not want to live there at first. After much research and daily drives through the area, I decided, the area may just work for my family for a few years. I like many, judged this area because there are many buildings close together, and right away one thinks ghetto area. I know quite a few kids who were raised in this area, and have grown to be great, polite young adults, who have great jobs and tons of ambition. I guess the moral of the story is we can't judge a book by it's cover.

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By AVOIDGUNSHOTSINTO (anonymous) | Posted June 06, 2012 at 21:33:40

Oshawa is the best place to live right now, so many things to do and the old bad rap is so unjustified. But if you use it your advantage you will make a killing buying real estate here.

407 coming through, HWY 7 Expanded, new harbour front rebuild. Oshawa has so much going on but the word hasn't got out yet.

Get in before you're paying markham prices.

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By Ian (registered) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 03:15:33 in reply to Comment 78049

Not to mention the expansion of UOIT downtown. They just released there future plans.

http://uoit.ca/downloads/news/DOWNTOWN%2...

Smoke's Poutinerie from Toronto is coming at the end of May and new bars are said to open in 2014 for the expansion of UOIT.

Buy now before prices shoot up!

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By SouthOshawa12 (anonymous) | Posted June 09, 2012 at 10:21:23

Hello Everyone, I would like to buy a house in the area of simcoe and wellington street, south of Wenworth St E (on Tilbury Street). Is this a bad area? there is public school nearby.

I would also like to know how safe the area is, and what are the bad area around? I am looking for a safe place to raise my children but I cannot afford a house North Oshawa. If you also have any comments about the Bobby Orr Public School, please let me know. thanks

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By TheGlens (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2012 at 09:02:05

Hello All,

We've lived in The Glens subdivision in North Oshawa since 1999 and absolutely love it. It's the Rossland & Stevenson area, a block south of the airport. Oshawa real estate is poised for a MAJOR, sustained boom in the near future, which puts a big smile on my face :) AVOIDGUNSHOTSINTO is the most shrewd operator here. The 407 expansion to Harmony Road, the Waterfront development, the Oshawa Airport expansion to accommodate larger aircraft (not sure if it's going through or not, but it wouldn't bother me if it did...higher real estate prices if it does, and I welcome it), the massive University, the downtown area revitalization projects and the GM Center with AMAZING acoustics for concert performances. Oshawa is one of the GTA's biggest sleeper investments, if not the biggest.

Oshawa pre-90's sucked pretty bad, yes indeed. But it has really changed, and those people to see it before the masses do will benefit the most by getting in on the ground floor. Well, *WE* got in on the ground floor in 1999, but today you're still not far from it. The elevator has been going up for several years now, but the next 10-15 years will see it launch upwards like a rocket. Oh, yes, I also agree with the excellent traffic situation. Never do I get frustrated, not even a little bit. I avoid Toronto like the plague since it's full of incompetent drivers and the congestion is just insane. Not nearly as bad as New York, but bad enough to keep me away unless business forces me there. I'm 43, self-employed. Come to Oshawa, avoid the south end and you'll be very happy.

P.S. Hamilton is generally a swamp with no chance of improvement in my lifetime. Oshawa is the exact opposite in terms of investment opportunities and, well, odor :) Ben Bull seems to be ignorant and rude, but admittedly an entertaining and talented writer. Cheers!

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 03:18:00 in reply to Comment 78300

Could not agree more. Not to mention the expansion of UOIT downtown. They just released there future plans.Check it out.

http://uoit.ca/downloads/news/DOWNTOWN%20OSHAWA%20STUDY%20APRIL%2015.pdf

Smoke's Poutinerie from Toronto is coming at the end of May and new bars are said to open in 2014 for the expansion of UOIT.

Buy now before prices shoot up!

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By livepeaceful (registered) | Posted June 20, 2012 at 11:23:32

How is the Donovan area? Olive ave/Townline rd S neighbourhood?

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By Olivia and James (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2016 at 11:59:43 in reply to Comment 78726

Olive and townline south is an excellent area. Very green with walking trails and a large steam through through the forest. Brand new school "Forest View" set to open Sept. 2016. Close to grocery stores, banks, health clinics and shops. Very close to the upscale courtice neighbourhood "Whitecliff". Good mIx of people including professionals, business owners. Friendly people, lots of families out with their dogs, etc. Awesome freshly baked breads at the local Foodland. Close enough to the 401 without hearing the traffic noise. We have lived here for 21 years and love the area. Short drive to bowanville for fresh produce, orchards and the well-known "Christmas houses". Perfect location!

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By the realist (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2012 at 20:21:27

Every city has bad parts. When people talk about Toronto do they instantly think of regent park or Jane and finch?

For some reason when people talk about Oshawa every one focuses on the bad parts.Sure there are some. Simcoe and Wentworth is the bad part of town and South of hwy 2 around Celina as well. However this is a small minority just like there are ghetto regions in Toronto.

There are many opportunities all over the city to make a great deal of investment money as well as enjoy the great quality of life Oshawa offers.

I moved to Oshawa 5 years ago and have never been happier. Lake View park is a real gem to me. I'm able to relax on a beautiful beach with a 5 minute drive from my house.

Oshawa really has a lot to offer if you can take an honest look and not be influenced by the trash talk and sentiment portrayed by a few ignorant people.

If you're a numbers person and prefer stats look at this analysis that ranked Oshawa as number 22 of the best cities to live in Canada.

http://list.moneysense.ca/rankings/best-places-to-live/2012/Default.aspx?sp2=1&d1=a&sc1=0

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By Squeaky (registered) | Posted August 10, 2012 at 16:16:11

We moved from up North to Oshawa almost 9 years ago. When we hired a real estate person to help us look for a home, he avoided Oshawa like a plague but we thought it was because of it's reputation. We ended up purchasing a house in North Oshawa as the prices of houses were cheaper than Whitby, Ajax and Pickering. However, we found out that the taxes are ridiculously higher in Oshawa, for no reason, as we do not get any better service in Oshawa than we would in any of the other surrounding areas in Durham. We enjoy living in Oshawa, people are friendly, lots of parks, great schools, lots of shopping, beautiful lakefront for the public to enjoy and much more right at your finger tip. We have no regrets moving to Oshawa (except for high house taxes). The reputation that it has been given is totally uncalled for and beleive that the negativety comes from people who can't seem to find anywhere good no matter where they live. However, as mentioned in previous posts, like any other cities there are areas to avoid and in Oshawa, it is south Oshawa, but again it's not all of south Oshawa, just pockets here and there. We commute to Toronto everyday for work and taking the GO train which offers several express trains in the morning and evenings makes our commute that must more better. All in all if you want to live close to Toronto, Oshawa is not a bad little place to raise a family!

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By tammy (registered) | Posted March 04, 2013 at 16:38:06

I have lived in the South End 42 years. Yes it has never the best area by far not the worst. There are only two buildings that give it a bad rap. People think if there are two buildings then all the South End is bad not true.

There are a lot of nice people that live here and work hard and take pride in there homes.I have own a house in the South End for 6 years I bought my house for $191.000 and it is now worth $295.000 can you say that. I know people that own homes and rent apartments they are very nice.

If the South End is so bad how come our property values keep going up. My family have no worries to go anywhere we want at night. This area is a safe place to live. So when you need to make your area sound better then what it is don't use the South End as your escape coat.

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By Joey (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 03:24:21

Oshawa is a great place to live. Every year, more and more is being opened within the downtown core. UOIT is expanding quickly as you can see in this link: Could not agree more. Not to mention the expansion of UOIT downtown. They just released there future plans.Check it out.
http://uoit.ca/downloads/news/DOWNTOWN%20OSHAWA%20STUDY%20APRIL%2015.pdf and there are two hotels opening. One at King and Mary in a couple months, and one at Simcoe and Richmond (Holiday Inn Express worth $25 million with conference rooms, pool, spa and more). Not to mention a Costco just opened and a Smoke's Poutinerie is said to open at the end of May or June. More bars are also planning to open soon to accommodate the demand.

Word of advice, buy now in Oshawa before prices go sky high!

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By Zoey (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2013 at 19:22:54 in reply to Comment 87563

Could not agree more! Well put.

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By James Arnes (anonymous) | Posted June 20, 2013 at 19:06:34

Oshawa is a great place to live we are on a small street by the lake and we love it. Don't believe the BS on here about Oshawa, I bet the people complaining about Oshawa wouldn't be happy anywhere! The taxes are bad that's the one thing that needs to change.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 20, 2013 at 20:29:07

Ryan, you've got to get some metrics to find out how people keep finding this article.

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By just a metric (anonymous) | Posted June 24, 2013 at 14:10:12 in reply to Comment 89663

Got here by searching "Oshawa property taxes"

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By internets (anonymous) | Posted June 22, 2013 at 00:03:49 in reply to Comment 89663

Seems like oshawa needs a message board

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By Moving in 2014 (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2013 at 21:21:29

We just bought a really nice house near hwy7 and Simcoe. We were looking in Brooklin which is 4 minutes away but we couldn't find anything at our price that wasn't going to be right on top of the upcoming 407. The price we paid for a premium corner lot new home is something that I was surprised over. Great price! I was really worries about the stigma of the "Shwa" until I read this message board. The only thing I am worried about now is the taxes. They are ridiculous. I currently live in ajax and to be honest, this town sucks! Scarborough has completely taken over and I should know I was born and raised there until my early 20s and I lived in all the shady neighbourhoods (except malvern). Lots of crime and gangs especially near Rosalind for some reason and the high schools suck. I would not sends kids to any high school in ajax. Looking forward to seeing how Oshawa works for my family and if it doesn't then I will bite the bullet and go to Port Perry an live in the sticks!

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By Mike (registered) | Posted July 30, 2013 at 20:05:56 in reply to Comment 90309

Yea to be honest, you have to go East towards Oshawa, Courtice and Bomanville (fastest growing in the golden horse shoe). Ajax is alright but for some reason, is becoming a lot like Scarborough.

I myself live in Courtice/Bomanville border and love it! I did live in Oshawa and had NO problems while there!

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By Millstone (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2014 at 21:22:49 in reply to Comment 90565

Say it with me: "Clarington".

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By 'Shwaman (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2013 at 02:51:44

I've lived in Windsor, Hamilton and currently Oshawa. I've lived in other cities across Canada but these three were "blue collar" cities pretty much reliant on a single industry. Windsor sucks. It's not called the a**hole of Canada for nothin'. The weather sucks, the water is chewy and stinks, acid rain and Detroit only a mile across the river make it a truly crappy place to live. Not much going on there unless you like gambling or drinking.
Hamilton isn't too bad if you live on the mountain and never go downtown. Getting around in Hamilton is one of the biggest pains in the ass cities I've had the misfortune to live in. The air stinks and I didn't really find the population all that friendly.

Now I live in the "bad" part of Oshawa. I laugh when I hear that. It's certainly not the best neighbourhood I've lived in but I've been to a LOT worse in other cities. At least most of my neighbours here are friendly.
The city itself has a decent amount of green space although I will admit the sprawl is getting ugly.

It's not the best city I've lived in although it does have it's good points to be sure. But there's a list of cities below it that I wouldn't move to if you put a gun to my head.

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By Millstone (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2014 at 21:24:13 in reply to Comment 90528

Moron. You have trouble getting around your precious Hamilton Mountain? Is it because there aren't any 5-lane one way expressways cutting across it like the amazing, rejuvenated downtown?

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By cc (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 10:35:14

We are thinking of moving to Oshawa or Whitby. Both areas seem nice just from driving through there. Which would be the better place to raise kids....just from reading some of the comments seems like there are some issues in Oshawa do those issues ever spill into whitby

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By Steve (registered) | Posted September 16, 2013 at 15:24:29 in reply to Comment 91673

There is nothing wrong with Oshawa. The only place I would never move in Durham Region is Ajax.

I lived in Whitby for 10 years then moved to Oshawa. Oshawa is the fastest growing city in Durham Region because of UOIT and Durham College.

Can't go wrong in a University town.

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By Millstone (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2014 at 21:26:38 in reply to Comment 92219

Unfortunately Oshawa is proof that you can in fact go wrong in a university town.

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By LeeLee (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2013 at 22:47:43

I have lived in Toronto- the Danforth, downtown, and west end. I was raised in Ajax for about 9 years as a kid until the mid 80s. I've lived in Scarborough, and I've lived in Oshawa. And I have lived in the US too. EVERY place has it's share of problems that suck.

In the 80s-90s as a teen I lived in Oshawa. I thought it was okay but it sucked, and the crime amongst youth was particularly high. Things were just so boring and bleak. It seemed like so many kids just got involved in bad stuff there. I had a feeling people were very socially cut off, and the social scene there was just very small minded.

Scarborough had its positive and negatives. It was okay, in that there was more to do, more jobs, and better opportunities at school, but crime in and around the area where I lived made Oshawa not seem so bad. There was more high profile violence in Scarborough, like shootings, and lest we forget, the crimes of Paul Bernardo were happening in my 'hood as a teen.

Downtown Toronto, was fun but drugs, crime, and rampant homelessness was apparent. The homelessness, and the apathy of people in downtown Toronto was kind of unsettling to me. I think I found myself feeling rushed all the time. I did love that I literally could tumble out of my apartment and find about a million and one things to do, every day.

West end Toronto(parkdale) was a different beast altogether. The dirty shwa has nothing on King and Jameson. Poverty, and mental health issues are blatantly apparent there, but there are amazing things to do, and the area is becoming extremely trendy. There are some serious crime issues still in that area that has put parkdale in the news a few times. Property values are highly disproportionate to the earning power of neighbourhood. It is known as slumlord alley.

Then again wait 10 years, and places will change, either for better or worse. I think Oshawa has changed quite a bit. I think there is more culture, coming in with the improvement of the schools there.

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By binsel (registered) | Posted December 19, 2013 at 15:30:54

I plan to move to Oshawa, but I am not sure how comfortable we can be as a non-white family, especially kids at school. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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By mike (registered) | Posted September 24, 2015 at 12:59:03 in reply to Comment 96178

I'm also a non-white who moved to Oshawa in 2007 when house prices were just starting to rise and I'm so glad I got in the market early. My neighborhood was made up of all white people but they were so accepting. We regularly had gatherings out on our street or picnics in each others yards. I did not experience racism in my neighborhood but my children did experience a little bit of it in their first year of school. It was non-existent in high school, maybe because my kids friends were all white. Most of my social interactions were also with white people when I learned to play hockey, sailing, astronomy, french language, and motorcycle riding. Last year, I moved to an older neighborhood just 5 minutes away, and within 2 weeks, 5 of my neighbours had approached me to introduce themselves and to welcome me to the neighborhood. I did not experience any racism but I wouldn't say it does not exist.

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By Stan (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2014 at 02:05:59 in reply to Comment 96178

Binsel,

Oshawa is a great place for any family to live. Especially with what is up and coming in the city!

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By Shawanigan (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2014 at 13:52:24

Lived in Oshawa 49 years.Resided in the North end,south end,east and west ends.Even downtown for sometime.There are areas in this city that aren't the best,but isn't that like every city.Wouldn't want to live anywhere else! LOVE OSHAWA!!!GO GENS!!!

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By Mehshwa (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2015 at 14:09:55

I moved to central oshawa 11 yrs ago because of price from what small town Brooklin was. I obviously knew a lot about Oshawa since I grew up 5 mins away.
The comments on it being a sheltered society for youth is correct. There is defiantly an Oshawa breed of person. But, if you raise your kids right, and are a loving parent, things will be fine in Oshawa.

It's a sizeable city, and there is crime, but it's pretty tame. The amount of scum peo

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By mike (registered) | Posted September 24, 2015 at 13:17:27

A lot has changed in Oshawa since this article was written. It is not "hollowed out". I witnessed the transformation when I moved here in 2007. Downtown was revitalized by building the new Courthouse and several buildings were bought and redeveloped by the universities (UOIT, Trent, Durham College). The 407 is currently under construction. The Oshawa waterfront has been handed off to the city. The Gen's won the memorial cup. GM's economic influence has subsided to be replaced by more residents who work outside the city. It is the only city in the GTA with the lowest average home price. Even though it has the highest property tax rate in the GTA, the lower property value offsets this when compared to a same sized home in Toronto which often costs double. In the past 12 months, Oshawa had the highest rise in house value, mainly driven by new construction north of Taunton Road in anticipation of the 407 extension. There are still many good pockets in the city that offer a lot of value.

Comment edited by mike on 2015-09-24 13:19:06

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By Shwa (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2015 at 13:55:28

I have lived in many areas before moving to Oshawa. I do not miss the weekly drive-by shootings on Tuxedo court in Scarborough, nor the shootings and beatings in and around the schools and neighbourhoods in the "Kipling Corridor". To be honest, Oshawa is like the Vatican compared to those two areas in Toronto, and the labels being given to Oshawa are simply inappropriate - I recognize that the article was written 6 years ago, but a lot has changed. Best areas in Oshawa are in the North (read: north of Bond and west of Park, north of Bond and East of Ritson, and north of Rossland). Off course, there are exceptions, but in general this should be a good guide. I avoided the south (read south of the 401), however, it has come a long way with a lot of redevelopment since I moved here in 2006.

The taxes in Oshawa are high, but the rest of Durham is now going through bigger tax hikes than Oshawa(e.g. I think Oshawa is up only 1.5%, while Whitby is up 3.2%) and they will soon catch-up. Oshawa's taxes were high because of the environmental mess left behind by GM et. all, and that the City undertook to rehabilitate themselves.

Prognosis for real estate is probably the best in the GTA. Lower prices (for now), 407East, 401 Widening, new Hwy 412, new HWY 418, massive Oshawa Centre reno, new GO Stations to come (Thornton and Knob Hill farms), Downtown revitalization, UOIT. The area bound by HWYS 401, 407, 412, and 418 will likely become the next Mississauga, with Stevenson as one of the few full interchanges smack middle in this area is likely to be the best area in the future for investment - even though it's not technically part of the "Places to grow" geographic area.

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By Art from Toronto (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2015 at 11:19:02

I live in Whitby, but 500 meters away from Oshawa, I myself was kind of scared of Oshawa in the very beginning, I had never even been to certian part of oshawa but man Oshawa is a nice place and my prejudice is changing.

Certain part of Oshawa doesn't look great, with the old houses and old apartment buildings, but if you saw them in old Toronto, you will think it is okay. You will find an issue only when you saw it in OShawa.

People are poorer here, that is true, you can tell that the city or at least part of it been through tough times.

People are not that well educated, it was a blue collar city.

People are MUCH nice here, even Nicer than people from Whitby, and don't compare them with people from Toronto.

Most people living in Oshawa and also working there or in the area, which is not true for Whitby, which is becoming a bedroom community to Toronto.

Housing price in Oshawa is incredily cheap, especially in the south, anywhere south of Rossland the price is just low, I don't know why but that looks VERY good deal to me.

Oshawa 's school is not great, that is one thing you should be aware of, but if you don't mind, there's Seventh's Day Adventist Christian school, both elementory and high school, they offer MUCH better education than MOST public school in Ontario, and the tuition is VERY low. I can not believe it when I realize what great tuition they are giving out.

Again, even if you only want to go public school, there is still some VERY decent schools, just use Fraser 's website and reivew the school ranking, there are some good ones, not the top one in Ontario but definitely good enough for giving your kid the decent chance.

Driving on 401 is very bad though, so if you or your spouse is not commuting, Oshawa is a choice, just plan out your priorities and get a local realor who lives in Oshawa or Whtiby.

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By Sam9876 (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 03:11:20

I know that this article was written long time back but looking at Oshawa today, this article seems ridiculously far from reality. With the prices what they are, tell me what other municipalities in the GTA have following:

-2 universities (UOIT and Trent University Durham) - (any university in Oakville or Markham or Brampton?)

-1 college (Durham College) (Any college in Milton, East Gwillimby or Stouffville?)

-1 executive airport (ever tried landing a charter plane in Ajax?)

-1 Federal harbour with rail and easy Hwy 401 access (beat that Brampton or Mississauga) The Feds even cleaned up marina lands adjacent to the harbour and gifted it to the city for leisure purpose (likely a marina)

-lakefront with a nice park (Lakeview) - sure Milton and Stouffville can have this, right?

-natural habitat to watch (Second Marsh and Mclaughlin Reserve)

-massive amount of farmland just above it (Brock and Scugog townships), all protected under Provincial greenbelt laws (Toronto? Any farmland surrounding it nowadays?)

-Quicker access to Canada's 2nd biggest city (Montreal) and capital (Ottawa)

-Express trains and all day trains to downtown Toronto by GO AND Via Rail. 5 trains per day to Ottawa and 6 trains per day to Montreal. Cities like Newmarket and Richmond Hill can only dream of this ever happening.

-Adjacent municipalities demographic booms (check projected population growth % for Whitby and Clarington)

Of course it's a city that has the other issues like other cities with urban sprawl and big box stores up north but it also has more in common with Toronto than some other municipalities. Once the south is revitalized, which will enventually happen, as the harbour develops and lakefront location is put into value, people who bought in cities like Markham, Brampton and Vaughan will start wondering why they are losing money on their $900+k 3 bedroom to Oshawa CMA. Yes Ben, you made a great move...NOT

Comment edited by Sam9876 on 2015-12-22 03:39:32

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By ian030579 (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2016 at 20:50:51

hi there..my wife and i are planning to move in south part of oshawa (cedar-phillip murray)and we have a 4 year old daughter..can anyone tell us how is that area to live in?specially for asians?thanks

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By aprilflowers (anonymous) | Posted April 16, 2016 at 20:17:38 in reply to Comment 116165

The south end should be avoided, even banks dont like lending in that area, i would avoid property values also quite low compared to other parts of oshawa.

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By dave_oshawa (registered) | Posted May 17, 2016 at 14:35:33

I recently bought a house in Oshawa Samac community, north of Taunton Rd, between Ritson and Wilson. Call me crazy, I look at the house at noon time, bid for it in the evening on the same day with no conditions. That's how I got the house after losing 5 previous bidding wars in the same area. It has been a great neighbourhood so far for me. Anyone who is looking to move into this area should drive around in the community between Taunton Rd, Townline Rd, Conlin Rd, and Ritson Rd to see it with your own eyes instead of listening to non-sense comments from people who has not been there.

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By Lulu (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2016 at 18:47:55

I think south oshawa is the deal to be found, right now is still underrated, soon may erupt just like any other hot spots, i'll consider the area around the new costco plaze area, i see those area can have a significant increase over the next few years, plus there is a new GO station going to be there not too long planned in the future. I was thinking between Hamilton or Oshawa, and i think Hamilton air quality is not as good and the price there was already took off well ahead of South Oshawa.

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By Sam9876 (registered) | Posted June 17, 2016 at 08:11:54

If you really want to get a feel of the spectacular residential development in Oshawa, have a look at this bird eye view of the Harmony-Taunton area through this drone video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK52QuP2...

This is just part of the development. There is tremendous development happening near UOIT, Hwy 407, the airport and downtown Oshawa. Plus the Port of Oshawa will definitely be a major engine of the future development for south Oshawa.

Comment edited by Sam9876 on 2016-06-17 08:12:24

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By Spudder (registered) | Posted July 18, 2016 at 20:15:12

OMG...found this site trying to describe the sh**hole that is Oshawa. Total dump, if you ever find yourself driving through on the 401 don't stop

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By Lynn (registered) | Posted March 06, 2017 at 00:15:35

Sad to see so many negative comments, but good to see positive ones too. I'd like to share my experience growing up in Oshawa, particularly south Oshawa.Yes, there are many parts of south Oshawa that were and continue to be positive, safe places for families. My family, with a large family of children, lived up on different streets in the south part of Oshawa for decades. In the 1970's, my parents bought a new house (four bedrooms, large yard) for under $30,000 which our family still has. Several similar neighbouring houses sold in excess of $400,000 last year. People are discovering affordable housing with large yards, green areas, and walking distance to the beach and large Lakeview Park. There are plenty of sports areas, a high school, public school, and Catholic school. I know that many years of students from these schools have gone on to lead happy positive and professional lives. Among the students over the years have been Olympians, NHL players, authors, lawyers, judges, nurses, and students who have moved on to work in other countries including England, Asia, and Europe. The ones I mention above were my classmates or my siblings' classmates. My brothers and sisters and I went to school with many students, whether they were of European, Ukrainian, Italian, or African American heritage and I consider my life all the richer for these friendships and experiences. Take a drive through the streets and neighbourhoods and see family homes, streets lined with maple and cherry trees. You might still be able to get in on a great deal on one of these homes and make lasting friendships. You can take a quick trip to the park, go bike riding, go to a sports complex, or relax in your back yard under an apple tree or beside a large garden.

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