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Local Focus – Pickering

Local Focus - Pickering

Living History

The Wyandot (called the Huron by Europeans) were the indigenous people living in the area. Archeological remains of a large village are known as the Draper Site, located on existing farmland. The site is accessible by foot from the end of North Road. At its height, over 2,000 people lived in 35 longhouses on the site. In the early 16th century, the entire community moved northwest to what is known as the Mantle Site, in present-day Stouffville. The Wyandot later moved to Georgian Bay.

The first recorded history of the area was in 1669, when a French Jesuit missionary recorded reaching an Onondaga village on the shores of Frenchman’s Bay.

British settlers started moving into the area in the mid 1770s and the township was surveyed about 1776. The town was named after Pickering in North Yorkshire.

In the 1813 census, Pickering had 180 residents. A large influx of Quaker immigrants from the United States arrived, more than doubling the population.

In 1941, the southeastern portion of the township became the Town of Ajax and in 1974 some of the town lines were modified. As a result, Pickering Village, one of the original townships, became part of Ajax.

Beach near Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

Beach near Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

The southern part of Pickering is mainly suburban, with industrial areas restricted to the area around the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Most of these suburban areas were built after the Second World War, starting in the area around Frenchman’s Bay. Prior to the war, the residential areas in the township were the communities of Dunbarton, Fairport Beach, Liverpool Market and Rouge Hill.

The northern part of Pickering is mainly rural and used for agricultural purposes. However, a number of developments are springing up in the area, including Seaton. The primary rural communities are Claremont, Brougham and Whitevale.

Housing Options

The southern part of the city of mainly suburban with single-family homes in subdivisions. The northern part of Pickering is mostly rural, but a number of new residential developments can be found in the area. And, in keeping with the times, you’ll also find a number of new condo buildings.

You can find a list of lowrise homes for sale in Pickering here.

You can find a list of condominium and highrise homes for sale in Pickering here.

The Workplace

Pickering Pioneer Family sculpture by Andreas Drenters at City Hall

Pickering Pioneer Family sculpture by Andreas Drenters at City Hall

Pickering has many successful industries and a growing economy centered on its “EN3″ cluster – Energy, Environment and Engineering. The city is home to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, an eight-reactor facility operated by the Ontario Power Generation, and is the city’s largest employer. Several manufacturers also call Pickering home, including Purdue Pharma, Yorkville Sound, PBS Speakers-Lenbrook, Hubbell Canada and Eco-Tec Inc. Pickering has the largest industrial base in Durham and the city is now working to strengthen the emerging information and communications sector. With the implementation of Seaton and downtown intensification, the town could see the creation of 40,000 new jobs over the next two decades.

School Days

Schools in Pickering are operated by the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. There are also a number of private schools and academies in the area. Pickering does not have a college or university, but nearby is the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, and located in Oshawa is Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Leisure Pursuits

Nautical Village

Nautical Village

The Nautical Village, located on Pickering’s waterfront, is a fabulous day away from the hectic grind of modern life. There are many quaint shops, cafés, bakeries and restaurants, as well as a splash pad and park for the kids and beach volleyball courts.

Pickering Golf Club

Pickering Golf Club

Pickering is home to a number of golf courses, including Glen Cedars, Hawthorne Valley, Seaton Golf, Pickering Golf Club and Watsons’ Glen.

Windmills at Frenchman’s Bay

Windmills at Frenchman’s Bay

A lovely waterfront trail runs along the Frenchman’s Bay and during the summer there are concerts at Millennium Square.

Pickering Museum Village is a unique experience brought to life by “live” pioneers in 18 heritage buildings, including a blacksmith’s shop, general store, school house, temperance hotel and chapel.

The Pickering Recreation Complex offers a host of activities, including fitness classes, racquetball, squash, swimming and tennis, plus loads of children’s programs.

Parks & Rec

Frenchman’s Bay Marina

Frenchman’s Bay Marina

Pickering is home to over 550 acres of open space including over 85 parks, sports fields and trails, as well as three conservation areas. One of the city’s gems is its Lake Ontario waterfront, with about five kilometres of it publicly accessible, three of them beach areas. There are also public areas around Frenchman’s Bay and the Hydro Marsh. Canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing and sailing make Pickering a perfect place for water sports enthusiasts.

Conservation areasm including Petticoat Creek, Claremont Conservation Area and Greenwood Conservation Area, are operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Essential Services

The Rouge Valley Health System consists of several health sites, including two hospital campuses (Rouge Valley Centenary in Scarborough, and Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering). Rouge Valley continues to grow to meet the demands of the growing communities of Pickering, Ajax and Whitby.

Policing in Pickering in provided by the Durham Regional Police Service and Pickering has its own fire department.

Retail Therapy

Pickering has a number of shopping opportunities, including the shops, restaurants and cafés located in its quaint downtown. The Pickering Town Centre has over 200 shops and services and big box stores can be found at the Brock Power Centre and the Shops at Pickering Ridge. Because of the large rural tract in Pickering, lots of outdoor stalls and farmers’ markets are available.

Easy Access

Public transit is provided by Durham Region Transit, which connects Pickering to all the municipalities in Durham, as well as Toronto. GO Transit also operates train and bus service to and from Pickering. Highway 401 is the main thoroughfare through Pickering.

Pickering City Hall

Pickering City Hall