Pros and Cons of living in Clarington, Ontario

Clarington, Ontario is a municipality of the Durham region in the south of the province. It is located 76 km east of Toronto, along the shores of Lake Ontario. Clarington has a population of approximately 105,000, and is a safe, family-friendly community. Like any municipality, there are both pros and cons to living here, so we have compiled a list to help you learn more. 

Some of the pros of living in Clarington include a family-friendly, safe community, with access to outdoor recreation and many city-wide festivals and events. Some of the cons are the distance to Toronto, the traffic, and poor access to cell service and internet connectivity in some rural areas. 

If you are considering moving to Clarington, it’s important to review some of these things and carefully consider your options. Let’s dive in a bit deeper and look at these pros and cons further in-depth. 

Pros of Living in Clarington

1. Festivals and Events

If you enjoy events and festivals, Clarington is the city to go to! They were actually named Municipality of the Year by Festivals and Events Ontario back in 2019. Some of the annual festivals and events include BrimFest in the winter (skiing, snowboarding, live music, and food!) and MapleFest in the Spring (all things maple syrup!).

Summer events include The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix and Food Truck Friday. In the Fall, AppleFest occurs and you can try candy apples, apple pies, and so much more. There are fun festivals and events all year round in Clarington.

2. Outdoor Recreation 

Clarington is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and also has forests, trails, and crown land—the perfect place for outdoor recreation! Some popular activities are swimming and boating on Lake Ontario. 

Or, if you like to hike, there are many popular trails in the area, including the Orono Crown Lands, which has 13km of nature trails, or the Long Sault Conservation Area.

3. Small-town charm

Clarington is a great spot to enjoy some small-town charm. A lot of people choose to live here because of the quieter, slower pace of life compared to a big city like Toronto. There are a few towns in the Clarington municipal area that have quaint shopping and dining areas. Bowmanville and Orono both have ample small-town charm, with shops, restaurants, and boutiques lining the streets. 

4. Safe communities 

Clarington is a safe community to live in, a big reason why residents love their city. According to, Clarington has 31% less crime than the national average. It has an A+ rating because of the generally low levels of both violent and property crime. Living in a safe community is a priority for families, which is why Clarington is such a family-friendly city.

5. Family-friendly

Besides the safe, crime-free environment in Clarington, there are a few other reasons why it is a family-friendly place to live. In 2018, Clarington ranked 20th best place to raise a family in Canada. Some factors that led to this high score were the number of families, the low costs of childcare, arts and culture, economics, household income, and other factors. 

6. Cost of Living

Clarington is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) which is notoriously expensive. However, Clarington offers a cheaper option to other municipalities in the area. According to statistics from 2019, Clarington’s cost of living was 4% below the national average overall and 35% lower than the national average for housing. Goods and services, however, were 8% higher. 

Overall, Clarington is an affordable place to live, especially in comparison to the rest of the GTA.

Cons of Living in Clarington

1. Distance from Toronto

Clarington is located about 80km east of Toronto, which is approximately one hour to drive. However, traffic can make that drive significantly longer. This distance is close enough that residents of Clarington can go to Toronto for both work and recreation, but it is still a considerable distance to travel. 

There are public transportation options, but they require transfers between bus and train. If you plan to live in Clarington and commute to Toronto, it is necessary to consider the time required to make that commute. 

2. Limited service and connectivity in rural areas 

Some people who live in Clarington are in smaller, rural areas with poor cell phone service and internet connectivity. This article highlights how this has been a significant problem, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools switched to online learning. Poor service and internet connectivity can be frustrating, at best, but very challenging and prohibitive at worst, especially if you require it for work or school.

The good news is that Clarington is getting better access with the expansion of Bell services in rural areas. There are plans to continue to expand and improve service.  

3. Traffic

Because Clarington is a relatively small area, with many people living in rural communities, it is likely that residents will need to travel into Toronto for appointments, to shop at specialty stores, or for main entertainment and recreation options. The best way to get there is to drive, but traffic along Highway 401 can make the trip long and frustrating. Residents of Clarington would have to consider the best time to make their trip and avoid traffic.

4. Possible lack of services

Like any small town or rural area, Clarington does not have all of the services as a large city. So, some residents of Clarington might find that they need to travel to Toronto for specialty stores or specialist appointments. 


Clarington, Ontario is a great place to live if you are looking for a safe and family-friendly community that has a lot of small-town charm, outdoor recreation, and fun festivals and events. The cost of living is also fairly affordable, especially in comparison to other parts of GTA. 

However, Clarington is not a big city, so to access some of the services and attractions of a large city, commuting to Toronto is necessary at times. The distance to the city and traffic can be a major con for residents of Clarington. Overall, though, Clarington is an excellent choice if you are trying to find somewhere to live in southern Ontario.

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