Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario – Simcoe County

January 31, 2024
Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario - Simcoe County

Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario

A Vibrant Community Cultivating Growth and Community Engagement

 

With a clear resident focus, Bradford West Gwillimbury is an ideal place to call home

Fondly known as the ‘Soup and Salad Bowl of Canada,’ Bradford West Gwillimbury, in Simcoe County Ontario, stands as a flourishing agricultural haven, proudly nurturing over 65% of the nation’s carrots and onions. Today, the community is growing more than vegetables, with notable housing development and a thriving commercial and industrial sector.

Mayor James Leduc, reflecting on the town’s evolution, highlights, “We are 180 plus years as the town of Bradford, and then in 1991 we amalgamated with the community next to us and that’s how we became Bradford West Gwillimbury. We’re home to the Holland Marsh, which was an interesting piece of land that was discovered by the early settlers as being fertile land. So, they developed canal systems in the 1930’s, dredged the area and created one of the most productive farming regions in Canada.”

Economic Diversification

While agriculture remains a cornerstone, the community has successfully diversified its economy over the past few decades.

CAO, Geoff McKnight describes, “Part of our municipality was the town of Bradford, which is where the urban center sits now. Over the past two to three decades, we’ve had a lot of employment growth centralized in that area. We focus on automotive products, plastics, and food production. Those are the areas that we’ve been able to have some success with on an attraction basis. And that growth is continuing.” The construction of a major business park along a key highway signifies the town’s commitment to becoming a logistical hub and creating more employment opportunities for its residents.

He adds, “We’re now seeing transportation and distribution companies moving in with large warehouse facilities and things of that nature. This has been augmenting our agricultural sector and providing far more employment opportunities for our growing population, right here in the municipality, versus our residents having to commute elsewhere for the jobs.”

 

Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario - Simcoe County

 

Residential Growth

Ideally located just 40 minutes from Toronto, Bradford West Gwillimbury is experiencing significant population growth, driven by its proximity to major employment and affordable housing. Positioned as the southern gateway to Simcoe County and bordering the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the town of 44,000 initially had an ambitious plan to reach more than 50,000 residents by 2031.

“Now the province has asked us to quickly deliver 6,500 new homes,” details Mayor Leduc, “That’s another 18,000 people coming to our community. We’re going to grow exponentially to 65,000 by 2031, so we’ve been investing deeply in our community.”

Infrastructure Planning and Investment

With exponential growth in mind, the town has proactively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure projects. “A lot of the infrastructure upgrades that we’re putting in place right now are to increase our capacities for servicing the new properties and new lots that are coming on,” reports Peter Loukes, Director of Development and Engineering Services.

“To that end, we are currently doing some expansions and upgrades to our sewage treatment plant that we have in town. As well we’re doing some improvements to our water supply system.” Bradford West Gwillimbury currently sources water from Lake Simcoe and is collaborating with neighboring municipalities to enhance capacity in alignment with increased housing over the next 10 to 15 years.

Terry Foran, Director of Community Services, underscores Bradford West Gwillimbury’s strategic approach to growth. He says the town is investing significantly in a 10-year forecast for municipal asset replacement. “While we’re planning for the growth, we’re renewing our underground infrastructure and our surface infrastructure to maximize the lifespan of those assets,” he asserts.

“We’re also looking out to 50 years for the bigger hits, forecasting what those new infrastructure needs are going to be with the associated growth, trying to ensure that these projects are tied together economically.”

Additionally, a downtown revitalization committee is actively working to enhance the town’s core, creating a pleasant environment for residents and visitors alike. “We’ve got a lot of projects on the books that are going to enhance the opportunity for people to have a live, work, and play kind of atmosphere here in Bradford,” emphasizes the mayor. “We have lots of infrastructure that is moving forward, and we are looking to invest more shortly.”

Community Spirit and Events

Situated in what Mayor Leduc calls the “four-season playground of Ontario,” the region offers a wide range of exhilarating outdoor adventures. He boasts, “Simcoe County has wonderful recreational opportunities, from ski hills to freshwater fishing to hiking. We have some of the largest forests, with 33,000 acres of forested lands owned by the county. When you come to Bradford West Gwillimbury you have all these opportunities to enjoy life.”

The town hosts a vibrant array of events, fostering community engagement and drawing visitors from surrounding areas. One example is Carrot Fest, recognized as a top 100 festival, and symbolizing the town’s agricultural success. Foran and his team have significantly expanded the events portfolio in recent years, doubling the offerings with Music in the Park, Pumpkin Fest, a Santa Claus parade, and Canada Day celebrations. “The list goes on, but we really turn it out with an event portfolio of around 24 events annually, and then supporting third party events of about 10 or so,” Foran portrays. “It’s very robust, and we have a very busy team delivering these things for our residents and those visitors coming in from outside of town.”

 

Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario - Simcoe County

 

Future Challenges and Opportunities

Looking to the future, Mayor Leduc once again points to the impending growth in Bradford West Gwillimbury, stressing the need to expand the town’s water treatment and water sources efficiently to meet growing demands. He suggests that although dealing with governmental checks and balances adds complexity, the goal is to streamline processes and minimize delays that could impact taxpayers.

“Delays cost everybody money, and we’re hoping to be able to reduce some of those and create opportunities to make the growth work for everyone. At the same time, we need to respect the taxpayer’s dollars. That’s the key here, is to deliver on all of this without impacting the taxpayer, where they can’t afford the growth.”

With this in mind, Foran discusses the challenge of managing service levels amidst rapid growth while also striving to offer top-notch services. Loukes envisions growth opportunities along Hwy 400, highlighting the potential to transform Bradford West Gwillimbury into an exemplary hometown, reducing reliance on commuting to Toronto and neighboring areas. McKnight broadens the perspective, highlighting the town’s aspiration to be a complete community where residents can live, work, and enjoy life without the necessity to commute elsewhere.

McKnight says the goal is to create a model community that provides leadership in designing, attracting, and managing sustainable and self-sufficient neighborhoods. “That’s what we’re building towards,” he shares.

“We have big plans to maintain the benefits of being a small town. We do have a lot of planned growth in front of us that we will need to accommodate, but we aspire to do that in a manner that maintains strong neighborhood bonds, provides our growing community with the amenities and the facilities they need, parks, libraries, police service, new schools, all those important pieces of a complete community.”

AT A GLANCE

Bradford West Gwillimbur, Ontario

What: A rapidly expanding community 40 minutes north of Toronto, ON

Where: Simcoe County, Ontario

Website: www.townofbwg.com

PREFERRED VENDORS

Choice Properties – choicereit.ca

Choice Properties is a leading Real Estate Investment Trust that creates enduring value through the ownership, operation and development of high-quality commercial and residential properties.

We aspire to develop healthy, resilient communities through our dedication to social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

An Oasis of Innovation and Community Growth

Our 500 Holland development is 14-acre property that has unfolded in multiple phases. Anchored by national tenants such as Loblaw, to culinary delights at Freshii, and a childcare nursery, the retail centre provides significant value by providing a comprehensive range of amenities and services, aligning seamlessly with community convenience.

The last phase of our intensification project is a collaboration with Nautical Lands Group. This is a four-story Wellings community. Anticipated to open in Q4 2025, it will include an in-house restaurant and bar, a vibrant games room, and a scenic patio. Wellings are progressive aged 55+ communities; a first of its kind in Canada. This isn’t just another senior living residence; it’s a glimpse into what it will resemble in the future. We aspire to foster a sense of community by hosting a rotary club and engaging social events.

Our commitment extends beyond the physical structure; we are weaving the fabric of a vibrant, interconnected township. This development provides employment opportunities and has resulted in a surge of revenue growth for this region, opening possibilities of re-investment driving further growth.

We are grateful for the partnership with Mayor Leduc and the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury for their unwavering support.

Bayview Wellington Homes – bwhomes.ca

Bayview-Wellington Homes has been an active part of Bradford West Gwillimbury for the last decade. Now in the fourth phase of the Green Valley East community, Bayview-Wellington has been integral to the growth and development of Bradford. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes near the Holland River, Green Valley East is a collection of townhomes, semis, and singles featuring modern living spaces with incredible detail. Since the initial phase of Green Valley East in 2015, Bayview-Wellington has helped transition the once up-and-coming town of Bradford West Gwillimbury into a thriving and ever-growing metropolis.

In the last few years, Bradford West Gwillimbury has become synonymous with being an ideal town to raise a family. The increasing number of schools and daycares combined with the convenience of close proximity to Southlake Regional Health Centre, dentists, and other healthcare providers make the Green Valley East community ideal for growing families. Alongside this, the growing number of stores and restaurants ensures residents of Green Valley East have everything they need at their fingertips. The cherry on top of the perfect town is that Bradford West Gwillimbury is home to numerous beautiful parks and trails, including the nearby Scanlon Creek Conservation Area.

DIG DIGITAL?

January 2024 cover of Business View Civil and Municipal

January 2024

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