With a population of over 166,000, the City of Oshawa is the largest municipality in the Durham Region. The earliest settlement started in the 1400s when the Lake Ontario Iroquois settled near the Harmony Creek. The only means of transportation for the early settlers was along the lake but with the development of roads to Toronto, more commerce and residence began moving inland. The name “Oshawa” translates from native dialect to mean “that point at the crossing of the stream where the canoe was exchanged for the trail”. On March 8, 1924, with a population of 15,545, Oshawa received “City” status.
Automobile production began in Oshawa in 1907 when 198 McLaughlin automobiles were built. In 1915, the McLaughlin’s acquired the rights to build Chevrolets, creating the Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada. Three years later, the McLaughlin Motor Car Company and Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada were merged to create General Motors of Canada Limited, a unit of the General Motors Corporation. The automotive manufacturing sector was the mainstay of the Oshawa economy for many years but has seen a decline since the 1990s.
According to a 2017 report by the Conference Board of Canada( Metropolitan Outlook 2: Economic Insights into 15 Canadian Metropolitan Economies—Summer 2017), Oshawa is expected to lead the way this year with economic growth of 2.5 per cent, thanks to strong contributions from several services-producing industries and construction.
While there are many significant positive developments across industry, real estate and culture in Oshawa, the downtown area has experienced relative declines in key economic and social indices. In a review of key indicators compared to the Durham Region profile, there are a few challenges that are evident.