Pros and Cons of Living in Ajax, Ontario

Once considered a suburb of Toronto, Ajax, Ontario, has fast developed a prominent reputation of its own. Now one of the fastest-growing areas in Ontario, the city is set on becoming one of the most liveable and eco-focused areas in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Other than a booming economy and affordable living, you will also find that the town has a safe community vibe. According to areavibes.com, Ajax is safer than 85% of all cities in Canada. Despite encapsulating a progressive thinking ideology, there are many things to consider before moving to Ajax. To help potential relocators make a calculated decision, we have put together a list of pros and cons of living in Ajax, Ontario.

PROS

1. Enjoy the Races

Did you know that Ajax, Ontario is home to one of the first Quarter Horse racetracks in Canada? It was established in 1969 by Alex Picov, who also introduced quarter horse racing in Ontario. The Picov family settled in Ajax after moving from Ukraine in 1921 and still operate the track to this day. Therefore, making Ajax Downs is one of the forefathers of quarter horse racing in the country. 

Some of Canada’s best Jockeys are known for starting their careers on the original “J-track.” You will also find that the track hosts Canada’s richest Quarter Horse race annually, known as the Alex Picov Memorial. Other than that, it is also home to many high stake races, including the AQHA Bank of America Racing Challenge program. In all, a town is an attractive place for relocating equestrians, novice or seasoned jockeys, and generally, anyone that loves Quarter horse racing.

2. Safe and Secure Living

Whether you are relocating with family or moving on your own, Ajax offers its residents a safe and secure place to grow. According to areavibes.com, the town has a 34% lower crime rate compared to the national average. This means that residents have a one in 33 chance of becoming a victim of any crime. Despite the growing population of the town, these statistics have relatively remained constant in the last five years.

You will also find that the law enforcement agency covering Ajax is one of the largest in the Greater Toronto Area. As one of only two police forces in the area with air support, the Durham Regional Police service has a high response time of fewer than 6 minutes for Priority One calls.

3. Large Bedroom Community

One of the best features about living in Ajax, Ontario, is that you are only 45 minutes East of downtown Toronto. This means that there is a large bedroom community consisting of commuters working in Toronto or nearby industrial hubs. Despite this, Ajax is ranked under 50 as Canada’s best community in 2021 by Maclean’s. One of the primary reasons for a large commuting population is the increasing real estate prices in Toronto. Since the commute is relatively short and can be covered via the Go Train and Go Buses as well, many people are moving to suburbs like Ajax. You will also find that many residents heavily rely on Kingston and Taunton Roads for traveling intracity.

4. Affordable Living

With inflation at its peak, many Ontarians are worried about rental prices and buying costs. As Ajax retains its suburban reputation, many people are flocking out to afford basic costs of living. According to areavibes.com, the cost of living in Ajax is 11% lower than anywhere else in Ontario. Similarly, you will find that the real estate prices are almost 38% lower as well. This means that despite the 23% increase in real estate prices since 2020, buying or renting is still much affordable compared to Toronto.

You will also find that the people with Ajax residents also have significantly lower car insurance rates compared to people owning cars in Toronto. Additionally, the gas prices in Ajax also tend to be at least $1 less than in Toronto. This means that it is cheaper to own and travel via your car in Ajax than it is through public transit.

CONS

1. High Property Taxes

At 1.068, residents of Ajax, Ontario, pay one of the highest property taxes in the Greater Toronto Area. This means that although the real estate prices are lesser than Toronto and other economic hubs, the cost of ownership combines to reach the same amount. For instance, in 2016 the average value of a property was $770,000 in Toronto with a 0.636 tax rate, and $511,000 in Ajax with a 1.150 tax rate. According to these figures, property tax in Toronto calculated up to $4,897 and $5,877 in Ajax. Despite this, Toronto also has a Land Transfer Tax, among other fees that increase the overall cost. Therefore, we recommend speaking to real estate agents about property taxes and others before relocating.

2. Traffic Blockades

Despite being under an hour away from Toronto, many commuters face high traffic congestion, especially during rush hours. Highway 401 is the only route that connects the eastern towns and cities to the western ones. This means that on any given weekday, there are many commuters from Pickering, Oshawa, and other communities, going and coming from Toronto. Other than the intense traffic on the main freeway, there is often congestion at intersections within the town. For instance, many locals comment on missing their GO train during rush hours because of the excessive rush on Westney south of Kingston.

3. Rudimentary Public Transit

If you plan to move to Ajax, Ontario, you will also find that the public transit system is rather rudimentary. For instance, getting back after a late night in Toronto can be tricky, especially if you don’t have your car. This is also true for people wanting to travel to nearby cities as there is no proper transit system that runs regular or frequent routes. For instance, if you want to use the GO Transit system, all GO Trains are routed to the Union Station in Downtown Toronto where you will have to change lines for another city.  

Conclusion

I’ve been asked a lot about what it is like to live in Ajax. I wanted to take some time and talk through that, so you can get an idea of the pros and cons of living here. Some people say they want more public transit routes or better biking paths, while others praise our lower housing prices and convenient location near Toronto! It really depends on your own needs–either way I would love for you to come find out yourself!

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Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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