Located only 60kms away from Toronto, Oshawa’s strategic location within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) makes it one of the most attractive cities for commuters. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has grown substantially from a sleepy bedroom community. As working from home becomes more common, many people are migrating to the suburbs, thereby affecting property buying behaviors.
Despite this, Oshawa has been ranked as the ninth most affordable city to live in Canada by the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report. If you are planning on relocating anytime soon, we recommend going over the following list highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of living in Oshawa.
1. Easy Commute
Did you know that Oshawa is only approximately 60Kms from Downtown Toronto? With a sturdy transit system, affordable housing, and brilliant education system, the city is notoriously known as a bedroom community among everyday commuters.
Whether you are living in Oshawa and commuting to Toronto or vice versa, it will only take you approximately 30 minutes by car to get from one place to another. You can also take the Go Train into town and reach Toronto in 55 minutes. Many people also travel via Rail, which takes almost 30 minutes.
2. Affordable Real Estate
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate industry has seen a rapid shift in the GTA resident’s buying behaviors. Although a prominent bedroom community for years, Oshawa is now rapidly evolving into an industrial center. As remote working becomes the predominant work ethic, many home buyers are exploring the eastern geographical regions beyond Toronto to call home.
According to areavibes.com the housing prices in Oshawa are almost 55% lesser than the Ontario average. This means that with an almost 16% decrease in the cost of living compared to Ontario in general, and more spacious layouts compared to Toronto houses, many people prefer moving to Oshawa.
Even before the pandemic, Oshawa was a hot topic in the real estate world because of its proximity to Toronto. With almost 34% lower rental prices compared to Ontario’s average, Oshawa has always had a large commuter population.
3. Nature Lover’s Paradise
Oshawa is the perfect blend of metropolitan living and natural habitat. You will find that there are many wildlife reserves and sandy beaches in the area that make this city a nature lover’s paradise. With over 400 different varieties of flora and fauna, the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa is one of the best-preserved sanctuaries for trekkers, bird watchers, fishing enthusiasts, and generally all nature lovers. If you are a beach lover, we suggest exploring the Lakeview Park beach, which also has a bike trail for an extra adventurous day.
During the summer season, did you know that the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden houses over 300 different kinds of peonies? Annually, the city hosts the Peony Festival renowned for showcasing some of the most exquisite peonies in all of North America. These flowers are divided across multiple gardens and parks that run along the infamous Oshawa Creek. The best time to plan your visit is around early June so you can catch them in full bloom.
4. Smart City Status
Mclean dubbed Oshawa as the 15th Smartest City in Canada. This means that you don’t have to worry about the schooling system or the educational industry in the city. This metropolitan hub has one of the most attractive educational portfolios in the region. For instance, the city has four post-secondary schools, including the renowned University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.
5. Retiring? No Problem!
Did you know that Oshawa is considered the 24th best place to retire in Ontario? According to Mclean’s, Oshawa consistently holds the 46th rank under the best place to retire in all of Canada! The city easily checks off most of the essential criteria that determine an area’s retirement credibility. With an almost 35% population that is over 55 years of age, many inhabitants are veteran residents living in the area for over 30 years.
You will also find that there are a plethora of services specifically for senior citizens. For instance, the Oshawa Senior Citizens Center not only has a low-cost membership fee of only $10 but also has many high-quality programs specifically designed to cater to the elderly population. There are also many low-cost or free services and activities for seniors at four other locations.
1. Terrible Rush Hour Traffic
As a prominent commuter city, Oshawa is always bustling with traffic coming from the western cities in the Greater Toronto Area. On a typical workday, road congestion can last almost two hours during rush hours. With only one main Highway 401 connecting the East to the West, many commuters experience growing agitation and road rage.
Even though there is a public transit system connecting different neighboring cities to Oshawa, many locals prefer to drive. This is perhaps because the Go Transit system only has a predetermined route directly going to Downtown Toronto. This means increased travel times, especially if you are working anywhere other than Toronto.
2. Rising Real Estate Prices
According to Strata.ca, real estate prices in Oshawa have increased almost 48%. This is mostly because of the evolving migrational trends which have led many people to relocate to areas outside of urban centers like Toronto. As property prices rise in Toronto, many commuters have moved to once suburban areas like Oshawa.
However, this has immensely skewed the local buying power as previous residents are unable to purchase houses at the increased prices. As a result, Statistics Canada found Oshawa to be one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. However, Oshawa is not prepared to accommodate an increasing population on many fronts, including healthcare and general services.
3. Rising Crime Rate
Like any city, Oshawa is also made up of certain neighborhoods which are not as upscale or developed. However, according to areavibes.com, the city’s overall violent crime rate has increased almost by 5% in recent years because of several reasons. For instance, General Motors has cut back operations, thereby reducing job opportunities and increasing poverty.