Pickering lies along the shore of Lake Ontario near the communities of Ajax, Markham, Toronto, and Whitchurch-Stouffville. The city has a population of over 88,000 people and covers over 231 square kilometres in the province’s southeastern section. Pickering’s proximity to Toronto provides residents with additional options for employment and amenities. The city’s location along Lake Ontario, as well as its many parks, offers many outdoor recreational opportunities.
Pickering has a price point for everyone, with average house costs ranging from $360,000 to $850,000. Pickering’s northern section is made up of mostly newer-built single-family homes, as well as some commercial space. The central section of the city has a mix of older and newer single-family homes, commercial space, and condo options. Newer homes tend to spread outward from the city centre, with older homes being more common near the downtown area. Older single-family homes, vacant land, and commercial space can all be found in the southern section of Pickering near Lake Ontario.
Pickering has a very tight rental market, with vacancy rates normally sitting at around 1%. Two-bedroom apartments have the highest vacancy rate, while bachelor apartments have the lowest rate. Most of Pickering’s apartment buildings are older, having been built before 1990, and vacancy rates in these older buildings tend to be higher than those in newer buildings. Average rent costs in the city are $810 for a bachelor apartment, $950 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment, and $1,300 for a three-bedroom (or more) apartment. Overall, the average rent cost is around $1,200 a month. Rent costs have increased slightly over the past few years, with bachelor apartments seeing the largest rent increase in that period. Rent costs tend to be lowest for units in buildings built before 1960.
Major industries in Pickering include advanced manufacturing; agri-foods; energy, environment, and engineering; and information communication technology.Over the past several years, Pickering’s commercial/industrial space has grown significantly, allowing businesses to open or expand their operations in the city. Some of the larger companies in the manufacturing sector include Ennis Traffic Safety Solutions, Purdue Pharma, and Siemens. Farming operations in Pickering produce cash crops, flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables, as well as livestock. Over 8,600 hectares of land in Pickering is used for agricultural purposes. The largest employer in the city is Ontario Power Generation, which operates the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Pickering’s unemployment rate tends to sit between 6% and 7%, which is on par with the national rate.
Durham Region Transit operates public bus services in the city under the Westney division. Buses service around a dozen routes throughout the city, including bus rapid transit routes (DRT Pulse). The two main transit hubs, Pickering GO Station and Pickering Parkway Terminal, provide access to the various bus routes, as well as GO Transit buses and trains. These routes connect residents with neighbouring communities and allow for easy commuting for those working in Toronto or other nearby urban centres. Residents can also access VIA Rail trains in the city.
Four boards operate schools in the city: the Durham District School Board, the Durham Catholic District School Board, the Conseil scolaire Viamonde, and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud. Schools in Pickering include Grandview Public School, Altona Forest Public School, Westcreek Public School, Pine Ridge Secondary School, Dunbarton High School, St. Monica Catholic School, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, and École Ronald-Marion. Private school options are also available. Post-secondary options in Pickering include Durham College, which offers courses in healthcare, human resources, and justice; and Herzing College – Pickering, with programs in design, technology, and professional development.
Petticoat Creek Conservation Area is home to a variety of plants, including 69 types of trees, as well as many animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, white-tailed deer, foxes, and red-tailed hawks. Popular activities in the park include birdwatching, hiking, cycling, geocaching, picnicking, and swimming. The Pickering Museum Village offers a glimpse into the city’s past with exhibits, tours, events, and educational programs.Artifacts include art, photographs, documents, furniture, tools and equipment, and clothing. Various events are held throughout the year, and the museum is available to book for private functions. Visitors can purchase souvenirs at the onsite gift shop.