ontario population

These resort towns are seeing a big population boom in Ontario

As Ontario's population grows, the last two years of working from home due to lockdowns has had an impact on where people are choosing to live.

Early on in lockdowns, Toronto saw how the work from home trend sent people to live in rural locations with more affordable housing — that movement even sent real estate prices soaring in some places.

But Statistics Canada just released a census report based on data gathered from 2021, and it shows that people are choosing two particular communities in Ontario.

Perhaps drawn to a more relaxing, slower pace, people seem to be moving to resort and smaller urban centres. Known as census agglomerations, these are communities that range in size from about 10,000 to 100,000 people.

And Ontario has four of the fastest-growing census agglomerations in Canada.

Wasaga Beach, which has seen a population increase of 20.3 per cent to 24,862, Tillsonburg, up 17.3 per cent to 18,615, Collingwood, increased by 13.8 per cent to 24,811, and Woodstock, up 13.6 per cent to 46,705.

Collingwood and Wasaga Beach in particular represent a trend to more resort towns, Statistics Canada notes.

"These destinations are all characterized by their proximity to nature and the existence of outdoor facilities nearby, such as ski stations, large parks, beaches or navigable bodies of water," the report notes.

"While being close to nature, these small urban centres are not among the most remote and are generally less than a one-hour drive from a large urban centre, meaning they are also close to the amenities of larger urban centres."

People may be moving to these places after ditching life in Toronto.

"Their outdoor facilities and their optimal location may have attracted people from larger metropolitan areas, such as young retirees or those able to work from home in search of greater proximity to nature," the report notes.

Overall, Canada's population continues to grow. In fact, it remains the fastest-growing country in the G7, even during COVID-19.

"Most of that growth is attributable to more people arriving here from around the world to start a new life," the report states.

Canada's population has increased by approximately 1.8 million since 2016 in 2021 to nearly 37 million people. Four in five of these people immigrated to Canada.

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