This story explores the costs of urban sprawl to Ontario and Ontarians - from obesity to isolation to health risks, many are not living the dream of being in a rural community.
The Home Stretch
Linda White works at a non-profit organization in Toronto helping others build healthy, inclusive communities in Ontario.
At the end of her workday, the 46-year-old mother of two teens endures an egregiously slow 35-km drive eastward on Highway 401. And then while preparing dinner at her house in Whitby, she watches the steady stream of traffic pass by, as commuters make their way home to the numerous suburbs that envelop Durham Region.
Her husband teaches at a local school, which allows him to enjoy the best aspects of living in a small town, without paying the penalty of a long commute.
For many, though, “it’s not about the dream of being in a rural community and bumping into your neighbours at the grocery store,” White says. “It’s not like that at all. People are working till really late. Then they are chauffeuring their kids around on the weekends.”
White is among a growing number of Ontarians who are realizing that the population explosion of recent years –the Golden Horseshoe area is the fastest-growing region in Canada– is contributing to an urban sprawl that negatively impacts on the quality of our lives.
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This article appeared originally as an advertorial in the Toronto Star GTA Section on Nov. 30, 2010