It’s the jewel of southern Ontario, the place everyone should want to live. A luxury condo in downtown Toronto? Not quite. An apartment overlooking majestic Niagara Falls? Not that either.
It turns out the best place to live is within the boundaries of the GTA. It’s Oshawa. The city has won the gold award at the 2007 International Awards for Most Liveable Communities and placed third overall in its population category of 75,001-200,000. And the outcome is even more impressive when you consider it was up against other Canadian cities, as well as communities in England, Hungary, Japan, Spain and the United States.
It was beaten only by Ipswich, Australia and fellow Canuck, Richmond, B.C.
What some locals call the “Schwa” was chosen on the basis of its quality of life and the environment, maybe the last two things most of us would think about when contemplating the motor city. But maybe you should, suggests Mayor John Gray.
“I am so very proud of our city,” he relates. “To compete on a global stage and win a gold award at these highly esteemed international awards is a testament to the dedication, ongoing commitment and achievements of the City of Oshawa and our community.”
So what does this honour mean for the city that’s home to General Motors and the Oshawa Generals? Gray gets to make a 40-minute presentation in England about how great his town is.
The news couldn’t come at a better time for one couple who just arrived from Nova Scotia. “We moved here mainly to be closer to our children, and that’s just kind of a bonus,” said Karen Miller.
Despite the fact that it was chosen for its quality of life and the push to go green, some say the good parts of Oshawa are often ignored.
“Some people think it’s bad, some people think it’s good. But to me it’s all been good so far,” said another resident.
The Millers hope this new honour will add pride to their new community. “It’s very similar to the Maritimes. I like it here.”
Here’s a look at the criteria for picking the winners.
Enhancement of the Landscape
Ensuring the marriage between nature and people is a happy one.
Ensuring your historic sites are maintained and included in any planning so that the “legacy of the past is protected.”
Requires a community to show how it’s adopted innovative environmentally sensitive practices and pursues initiatives that result in sustainable management of the environment.
They’re looking for evidence that the city is active in the planning, development and management of the local community, and how it’s helped get those who live there involved.
Simply put, are the people who live there healthy and geared to staying that way? They’re looking for evidence of wellbeing, community cohesion, active participation in play, recreation, sport and cultural activity (like festivals and carnivals etc.)
Planning for the Future
Figuring out what’s ahead and planning for the future is a key component of this rule.