🇨🇦 Oshawa is a city in Ontario, Canada, on the Lake Ontario shoreline. It lies in Southern Ontario, approximately 60 km (37 mi) east of Downtown Toronto. It is commonly viewed as the eastern anchor of the Greater Toronto Area and of the Golden Horseshoe. It is the largest municipality in the Regional Municipality of Durham. The name Oshawa originates from the Ojibwa term aazhawe, meaning "the crossing place" or just "a cross".
Founded in 1876 as the McLaughlin Carriage Company by Robert McLaughlin, and then McLaughlin Motors Ltd by his son, Sam, General Motors of Canada's headquarters are located in the city. The automotive industry was the inspiration for Oshawa's previous mottos: "The City that Motovates Canada", and "The City in Motion". The lavish home of the automotive company's founder, Parkwood Estate, is a National Historic Site of Canada and a backdrop favoured by numerous film crews, featured in many films including It, Billy Madison, Chicago, and X-Men.
Once recognised as the sole "Automotive Capital of Canada", Oshawa today is an education and health sciences hub, although General Motors still plays significant role in city's economy. After having been closed for about 2 years, the Oshawa car assembly plant reopened on November 10, 2021, when the first Canadian-made Chevy Silverado was completed. GM invested C$1.3bn into plant retooling. Prior to reopening, GM said that the site would continue to be used for autonomous vehicle testing and production of vehicle stampings and other sub-assemblies.
The city is home to three post-secondary institutions Durham College, Trent University Durham and Ontario Tech University formerly the University of Ontario Institute of Technology as well as the Lakeridge Health Education and Research Network (LHEARN), in association with Lakeridge Health Oshawa, formerly the Oshawa General Hospital. Key labour force sectors include advanced manufacturing, health technology, logistics, energy and IT. In 2016, Oshawa was the sixth best place in Canada to find full-time employment based on data from StatsCan.
Downtown Oshawa is identified as an Urban Growth Centre in the Government of Ontario's Places to Grow initiative. More than 5,000 people work and more than 2,400 university students study in the downtown core. The downtown is a prominent centre for entertainment and sporting events (Regent Theatre and Tribute Communities Centre), food (50+ restaurants and cafes) and culture (The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and Canadian Automotive Museum). Oshawa is home to a Regional Innovation Centre and offers start-up facilities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Co-working offices are also located in the downtown.
Economy Oshawa is headquarters to General Motors Canada, which has large-scale manufacturing and administrative operations in the city and employs many thousands both directly and indirectly. Since Windsor, Ontario houses Chrysler Canada headquarters, the two cities have something of a friendly rivalry for the title of "Automotive Capital of Canada", which is now held by Oshawa. While the company's once essential role in the local economy has diminished, it remains the largest local employer. In November 2018, General Motors announced the closing of the plant, with the layoff of both salaried and hourly workers. On December 20th, 2018 the last car was assembled at the Oshawa plant. On November 4, 2020, GM announced “Subject to ratification of the 2020 agreement with Unifor, General Motors plans to bring pickup production back to the Oshawa Assembly Plant. Construction will begin immediately at Oshawa Assembly and will include a new body shop and flexible assembly module, to support a fast response to strong customer demand for GM’s new family of pickup trucks. Oshawa pickup production started on November 10, 2021 when the first Canadian-made Silverado was completed.
The revenue collection divisions of the Ontario Ministry of Finance occupy one of the main office buildings in the city's downtown. Oshawa City Hall, Tribute Communities Centre, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery are also in the downtown core. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology occupies five buildings in downtown. More than 1,900 UOIT. students and staff attend class and work in downtown Oshawa. The city's older southern neighbourhoods tend to be considerably less affluent than its more suburban northern sections, which are rapidly expanding as Toronto commuters move in. The southern half of the city consists of industrial zones and compact housing designed for early 20th century industrial workers, while the northern half has a suburban feel more typical of later decades. High wages paid to unionized GM employees have meant that these workers could enjoy a relatively high standard of living, although such jobs are much scarcer today than they once were. During its heyday after World War II, General Motors offered some of the best manufacturing jobs available in Canada and attracted thousands of workers from economically depressed areas of the country, particularly the Maritimes, Newfoundland, rural Quebec and northern Ontario. The city was also a magnet for European immigrants in the skilled trades, and boasts substantial Polish, Ukrainian, HungarianCroatian, German, Slovak and Russian ethnic communities.
Oshawa has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, although statements to this effect are often in reference to the Census Metropolitan Area, which includes neighbouring Whitby and Clarington. Oshawa achieved a record-setting year of growth in 2015 with over a half a billion dollars in construction value (breaking its previous record in 2014). Many commuters have been enticed to Oshawa by comparatively low housing prices and the regular rail service into downtown Toronto provided by GO Transit and Via Rail.
The growth of subdivisions to house Toronto commuters will likely accelerate with the Highway 407 East extension. Highway 407 East (407E) opened to Harmony Road in Oshawa on 20 June 2016, including a tolled north–south link to Highway 401 known as Highway 412. A further extension will push the highway east to Highway 35/Highway 115 in Clarington by 2020, with a second link to Highway 401 known as Highway 418.
In spring 2016, Oshawa was ranked No. 1 city for jobs in Canada when compared to 33 cities across the country. The trend suggests major social and demographic changes for Oshawa, which has long had a vigorous labour union presence, a mostly white demographic, and a largely blue collar identity. The city has been attracting film and television producers who have made parts of a number of movies and TV series in Oshawa, most recently It (2017 film) (based on the Stephen King book), but also X-Men, Chicago, Queer as Folk, Billy Madison and Hannibal. The most popular location in the city for film makers is Parkwood Estate.
Oshawa was ranked #192 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Oshawa has a population of over 159,458 people. Oshawa also forms one of the centres of the Greater Toronto metropolitan area which has a population of over 6,417,516 people. Oshawa is the #227 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.2581 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores.
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