Bolton, Ontario as a “PLACE TO LIVE”
According to Toronto Life Magazine’s ‘The Next Hot Neighbourhoods,’ Bolton is among the top 20 places to buy now. Its downtown is located in a picturesque valley, the Humber River runs through its heart and it’s surrounded by pastoral farmland.
When asked about the enviable ranking, Mayor Allan Thompson is quick to respond: “It’s about time,” he jokes. “We’re so proud that we’re starting to get recognized for the hard work that’s happening in this community…Caledon is known as a ‘community of communities’ and Bolton is our biggest centre. It’s our biggest employment centre and our biggest commercial centre.”
Caledon has a population of about 75,000. About 28,000 of those residents call Bolton home, ensuring it retains its small-town feeling. Popular community events like a truck and tractor pull each June and a fall fair each September reflect its proud agricultural roots. Residents flock to a farmers’ market held Saturday mornings from June to October.
“Residents have moved to Bolton to experience the quality of life – great schools, great shopping – and all within a beautiful natural setting,” says Ben Roberts, manager of business development, tourism and culture. “It offers a rural community existence but at the same time, it’s only 20 minutes north of Pearson Airport so they’re able to experience all the Greater Toronto Area and Toronto have to offer.”
Oak Ridges Moraine protected lands dominate the region. The Humber Valley Heritage Trail is nearly 20 kilometres in length and features a river. Albion Hills, a conservation area located just a few kilometres north of town, is a favourite destination for tobogganing, cross-country skiing, fishing, swimming, biking and hiking.
Almost two centuries have passed since James and George Bolton built their flour mill on the banks of the Humber River, establishing the village eventually named in their honour. Caledon’s first heritage conservation district, the Village of Bolton Heritage Conservation District, is now designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Though not all members of the community were in favour of the designation, Thompson believes it sets the foundation for much-needed downtown renewal comparable to that taking place in Orangeville, Port Credit and Penetanguishene. “We want to make it a happening place where people can come and meet – a centre of bringing people together,” he says.
Elsewhere, things are booming. “If you look around Bolton, there are cranes and buildings going up everywhere,” he says. Construction is primarily industrial with some commercial and clusters of residential, including two seniors’ complexes.
The Bolton Residential Expansion Area – which is currently before the Ontario Municipal Board – will usher in another 10,000 people and additional employment lands. Caledon’s close proximity to major arterial routes provides excellent opportunities for businesses to locate there. Major employers include Husky and Canadian Tire.
Meanwhile, Bolton Rotary Place, which offers programs for a growing community of seniors, is set to expand. Improvements are being made to the Caledon Centre for Recreation Wellness and Albion Bolton Union Community Centre and the Bolton Camp Challenger Baseball Diamond will open this summer. “Caledon is known for its volunteerism. We have huge community engagement,” says Thompson. “People love their community.”