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  • Writer's pictureTania Petrak

Oak Ridges Real Estate

Life is Beautiful in a Beautiful Community

Oak Ridges is an unincorporated community in Ontario, Canada, and has been part of Richmond Hill's administrative area since its annexation in 1971. Although physically separate and distinct from Richmond Hill, it forms the northern portion of the municipality's boundary. Located about 16.5 km north of Toronto, it has a population of approximately 24,900 people (est. 2010). The town developed around Lake Wilcox, the largest lake in the area and a community within Oak Ridges, and has continued to expand slowly since its annexation by the Town of Richmond Hill. In the 1990s, Oak Ridges experienced moderate growth, which spurred environmental action by numerous organizations.

It is located in Richmond Hill, east of King City, immediately south of Aurora, and west of Whitchurch-Stouffville

Oak Ridges was established along Yonge Street in 1799 by Joseph Geneviève and a group of French Royalists, who were granted land to settle by the British government. They were also provided with rations and agricultural implements. It was originally named Windham in honour of Geneviève's friend William Windham, Secretary at War for Britain at the time. Geneviève soon departed to search for another site to settle, and by 1840 the settlement and the area from the King-Vaughan town line to the 15th sideroad became known as Oak Ridges. This included lots 61 to 70, the western half of which were in King, and the eastern half in the township of Whitchurch .

Oak Ridges was annexed from King and Whitchurch by the Town of Richmond Hill in 1971. However, in recent years, the Town of Richmond Hill has tried to lure business into Oak Ridges, to try to stimulate growth into the community.

Past developments

Housing developments began to boom around Lake Wilcox in the 1950s and the west-central part. The suburban housing developments did not continue until the mid to late 1980s in the northwestern part. In the 1990s, it reached the northwestern part. In the late-1990s housing reached the southwestern and the northwestern parts.

The developments affected the forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine which supplies water to the GTA which it was believed would cause environmental damage to Toronto and local communities. It continued for about two years. There were protests against the clear-cutting of forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine. In about 2001, Bayview began to expand to connect with the rest of Bayview. In 2002, the housing developments stopped. Urban developments are presently developing southwest of Oak Ridges.

Ongoing developments

It got a plan of subdivision approved about 10 years ago in an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. Construction was set to begin in 2010-2011, however on this property only 25% of the lots are able to be built. The site has seen fierce opposition and has been surrounded at entry points by road barriers spray painted with phrases such as, "No Subdivision". The Town of Richmond Hill has declared these barriers, "Holdings Symbols", and their removal order is pending. The barriers interfere with preparations regarding the shortage of sewer allocation from the York Region and the developers have been waiting to build. The application to remove the "Holdings Symbols" is due to the fact that the sewer allocation has become partially available. Once more sewer allocation is available they will be able to proceed fully. The land in question is still in its natural state, with the exception of some removal of trees. The now abandoned sales office off Yonge St. often has York Regional Police vehicles stationed there for unknown reasons. There have been no reports of eco-terrorism in Oak Ridges. In the 2003 Ontario provincial election the Liberal party promised to halt development on the Oak Ridges Moraine, specifically in Richmond Hill.

Previously protected land around Bond Lake along Old Colony Road, directly to the east of Yonge St. has had its protected land status removed by the Richmond Hill Town Council in 2008 and development there by Lebovic Homes is fully underway. Ultimately the elimination of almost all current forests around Bond Lake and expand its subdivision into what is currently natural habitat will occur by 2011. Opposition has been minimal after Richmond Hill Town Council voted to open up almost all protected land to development. Only approximately a third of the land in question is still in its natural state. This site has not seen any protests since 2008. Some government agency's claim to have declared this property a park and that it will never see development, however the construction is ongoing.

Oak Ridges Real Estate

Even though founded in 1840 the greatest growth in Oak Ridges has happen over the past 10 years. The majority of the properties are new single family detached homes. Most home fronts are 30 and 40 ft wide and depth depends on the neighborhood the home was developed. You are still able to find townhouses amongst the Oak Ridges neighborhoods. 

The Oak Ridges real estate market has tended to attract younger families and first time buyers due to the prices compared to the same in the south. Oak Ridges is a very green community where the developers have concentrated on beautiful green space throughout the moraine.  

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