It’s only a short drive from Oak Ridges to Toronto’s city centre. Even closer are Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Markham, and North York. However, this proximity to more developed communities doesn’t mean that Oak Ridges lacks access to the great outdoors.
Oak Ridges also boasts a rich local history. Its history has given way to an exciting and dynamic community which still maintains roots to its past. Read on to learn what makes Oak Ridges the perfect community for families to call home.
Get in touch with us if you have any questions about real estate in Richmond Hill or the Oak Ridges community. With 30 years of experience buying and selling real estate in Richmond Hill, our team will be happy to assist you in realizing your real estate goals.
FIRST SETTLEMENT AT LAKE WILCOX
Archaeological records show that Lake Wilcox was the site of an Iroquoian village. First Nations people established the village in ancient times.
The presence of this ancient village indicates that Lake Wilcox has always been an attractive feature for settlement.
Sometime around 1340, the people of the village abandoned. The lack of other archaeological evidence indicates that the site was subsequently only occasionally occupied until the arrival of Europeans.
FIRST EUROPEANS IN AURORA
Yonge Street facilitated early European settlement in the area. Many United Empire Loyalists and Quakers travelled on foot up Yonge Street. The street was only a dirt track, but people travelled it to claim their lots of land as they were being awarded for settlers.
One of the area’s most notable geographic features that any resident will be familiar with is Bond Lake. The lake’s name comes from William Bond, one of the earliest Europeans to own land in the Oak Ridges area.
Residents still make use of Bond Lake today, although these days it’s mostly for recreation. A number of trails surround the lake and it’s adjacent greenspace.
Aristocratic French royalists composed the bulk of the settlement’s population. These royalists were fleeing the revolution in France. They arrived in the Oak Ridges area in 1798, founding a settlement they called Windham.
However, the French aristocrats were not suited to living in the remote wilderness. The settlement was abandoned in 1806.
SCHOMBURG AND AURORA RAILWAY
Between 1902 and 1927 Oak Ridges was connected to Toronto via the Schomburg and Aurora Railway. This rail line carried passengers using electric trains.
This added convenience made Oak Ridges a popular destination for tourists who enjoyed themselves on the shores of Bond Lake and Lake Wilcox.
Oak Ridges remained a small rural hamlet until after the Second World War. Following the war, a need for new housing sparked the boom in development of the modern suburban community that Oak Ridges has grown into.
Oak Ridges is bordered by Aurora to the north, the Township of King to the west, Whitchurch-Stouffville to the east, and Richmond Hill to the south. Oak Ridges makes up Richmond Hill’s 1st ward and is located entirely on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
This geographic feature gives the landscape a more rugged, dramatic character than the rest of Richmond Hill, living up to its name. It’s also littered with ponds and kettle lakes, creating a nice variety of landscape.
Picturesque Lake Wilcox is located in the centre of the city. This feature creates a relatively large amount of lakefront property despite the town not being adjacent to a major lake like Lake Simcoe or Lake Ontario.
Oak Ridge’s population is 38,145 and it’s as multi-cultural as you’d expect from a north GTA suburb. The predominant population groups include Italians, Russians, Persians, and Chinese people.
The housing market in Oak Ridges is fast-paced and quickly expanding along with the increase of population in the GTA. The majority of homes in Oak Ridges are modern and built on spacious lots.
70% of all the homes in Oak Ridges are single detached houses. Compared to 58% in the rest of Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges provides residents a bit more space to stretch out.
Houses with three or more bedrooms are the most popular in Richmond Hill. More than 25,000 houses have been built in the city since the year 2000. There are also row-houses and duplexes in the neighbourhood.
Houses on the market are roomy and new, making them perfect for families.
Oak Ridges has a smaller population, but its residents don’t have to leave town to access quality shops.
There are several shopping centres located in the town, mostly concentrated on Yonge Street, between Old Colony Road and Bloomington Road.
On the other hand, the surrounding region also features excellent shopping within a short drive of Oak Ridges. There are major shopping centres within a 20-minute drive of the neighbourhood. These include, Hillcrest Mall, Vaughan Mills, CF Markville, and SmartCentres Aurora.
There is no shortage of ways to spend time in the Oak Ridges area, both inside and outdoors. Numerous parks and recreation centres ensure residents have activities to fill their spare time year round.
Richmond Hill has 190 parks, 150 kilometres of trails, and 544 hectares of green space in the city. Some of the most striking outdoor areas are in Oak Ridges. Cyclists, hikers, and lovers of the outdoors will find no shortage of things to do here.
Lake Wilcox is in the centre of the community. On the east shore of the lake, there is a gorgeous park called Lake Wilcox Park. This park features many amenities, including a waterfront promenade and boardwalk, a splash pad, a playground, a skate park, beach volleyball courts, and multi-sports courts. The lake also features fishing areas.
The Oak Ridges Corridor Conservation Reserve, offers the chance to experience the unique ecosystem of the Oak Ridges Moraine. This reserve is more than 175 hectares and encompasses mature forests, wetlands, meadows, and kettle lakes. Hikers will enjoy the extensive network of recreational trails.
Similarly, the Lake St. George Field Centre is a nature reserve centred on the eponymous kettle lake. It is a 120 hectare area, which features many ecologically significant biomes such as, mixed woodlands, open meadows, and wetlands.
The reserve has abundant fish and wildlife as well as facilities that offer a wide variety of public programming.
Its amenities include a 25-metre leisure pool with a water slide, a fitness centre, and a 7,000 square foot gymnasium.
Students in Oak Ridges have no shortage of options when it comes to schools. There are many schools in the ward and residents also have access to schools throughout Richmond Hill.
There are four school boards that operate schools in Richmond Hill. Two of these school boards are secular and two are Catholic. The English secular board is called York Region District School Board. The French secular board is known as Conseil Scolaire Viamonde.
Getting around Oak Ridges is not difficult or complicated. Residents have numerous public and private transportation options at their disposal.
TRAVELLING BY CAR
Travelling by car in and around Oak Ridges is a popular choice. The town has the well-developed, modern road infrastructure that’s typical of modern suburbs.
The most important road in Oak Ridges is Yonge Street, also known as York Regional Road 1. Yonge Street passes through the centre of town providing the main connection between Oak Ridges and Richmond Hill to the south, and Aurora to the north.
Two other important roads that travel north to south are Bayview Road (York Region 34) and Bathurst Street (York Region 38).
Travelling east to west, the major roads are Stouffville Road (York Region 14), King Road (York Region 11), and Bloomington Road (York Region 40). Stouffville Road connects to Highway 404, while King Road connects to Highway 400. These two 400 series highways are the most efficient routes to get to Toronto or Highway 401.
Residents of Oak Ridges have access to excellent public transit provided by York Regional Transit. This means that travelling throughout Oak Ridges and the rest of York Region is easy and inexpensive.
YRT buses can be caught throughout the neighbourhood. The YRT also has rapid transit service buses that facilitates quick travel during rush hours, a convenient choice for commuters.
TRAVELLING BY RAIL
At Union Station commuters can also connect to VIA Rail trains.
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