Greater Toronto Area is the townships and neighbourhoods that do not fall into the four main cities of the Toronto regions. They are farther than the west-end, east-end, north-end and downtown districts. This was not always the case as the City of Toronto was much smaller.


The Greater Toronto Area stretches across 2,751 square miles. Because of the areas being mainly suburbs and farmlands in the past, huge sections of the Greater Toronto Area are comprised of forests and farmlands.


There are also nature conservation and parks in abundance, Rouge Park being the largest as it reaches out across 12,356 acres through the Greater Toronto Area.  The areas that are defined today by the Greater Toronto Area are; East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York. These areas were suburbs and smaller townships.

As such, in 1940 the City of Toronto wanted the areas listed above to be part of the City of Toronto. Unfortunately, this was met with resistance from the smaller communities and a compromise was reached. It was called the Metropolitan Toronto by the 1960s and comprised of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York.  

After much deliberation over the next few years from these townships and surrounding regions like the City of Mississauga and the Town of Markham, the main five regions of the Metropolitan Toronto became what is now know as the Greater Toronto Area or GTA. 

East York was first made a township in 1924 and ran along the east side of Old Toronto. It officially became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. East York has a population of 112,000 people and many of the inhabitants are of middle and working class. It is also where famous comedian and actor John Candy was born. 

The neighbourhoods found within East York are:

  • Bermondsey
  • Crescent Town
  • Leaside
  • Governor’s Bridge
  • O’Connor-Parkview
  • Old East York
  • Pape Village and 
  • Thorncliffe Park

Etobicoke runs along the western side of Toronto and was originally a township in 1850. Etobicoke transformed to a Borough, then to part of Metropolitan Toronto and finally became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. The region has a population of 338,000 people who are mainly from the middle class. There are a few neighbourhoods within Etobicoke that have become overlooked in general care, such as Rexdale. 

The neighbourhoods found within Etobicoke are:

  • Alderwood
  • Claireville
  • Centennial Park
  • Eatonville
  • The Elms
  • Eringate
  • Humber Heights-Westmount
  • Humber Valley Village
  • Humberwood
  • Islington-Six Points
  • Kingsview Village
  • The Kingsway
  • Long Branch
  • Markland Wood
  • Mimco
  • New Toronto
  • Princess Gardens
  • Rexdale
  • Richview
  • Smithfield
  • Stonegate-Queensway
  • Sunnylea
  • Thistletown
  • Thorncrest Village
  • West Humber-Clairville
  • West Deane Park
  • Willowridge. 

North York was its own township in 1922 and became part of the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. The population of North York is around 635,000 and can be characterized as having the most multicultural Toronto neighbourhoods. North York also is known for having some of both the wealthier and poorest neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area. Celine Dion was a resident of the North York Region. 

The neighbourhoods found in North York are;

  • Amesbury
  • Armour Heights
  • Bathurst Manor
  • Bayview Village
  • Bayview Woods-Steeles
  • Bermondsey
  • Black Creek
  • The Bridle Path
  • Clanton Park
  • Don Mills
  • Don Valley Village
  • Downsview
  • Emery
  • Flemingdon Park
  • Glen Park
  • Henry Farm
  • Hillcrest Village
  • Hogg’s Hollow
  • Humbre Summit
  • Humbermede
  • Jane and Finch
  • Lansing
  • Lawrence Heights
  • Ledbury Park
  • Lawrence Manor
  • Maple Leaf
  • Newtonbrook
  • NorthYork Centre
  • Parkway Forest
  • Parkwoods
  • The Peanut
  • Pelmo Park-Humberlea
  • Pleasant View
  • Uptown Toronto
  • Victoria Park Village
  • Westminster-Branson
  • Willowdale
  • York Mills
  • York University Heights.

Scarborough was a township in 1850 and morphed from borough to part of the Greater Toronto Area by 1998. Scarborough has a population of over 600,000 and much like North York, has a huge diversity. Many neighbourhoods have homes for immigrants to Canada and many places of worship throughout the area. Scarborough is dominated by the Rouge River Valley and is considered the greenest of all Toronto. 

The neighbourhoods found in Scarborough are:

  • Agincourt
  • Armadale
  • Bendale
  • Birch Cliff
  • Bridlewood
  • Brown’s Corners
  • Clairlea
  • Cliffside
  • Cliffcrest
  • Dorset Park
  • Eglinton East
  • Golden Mile
  • Guildwood
  • Highland Creek
  • Hillside
  • Ionview
  • L’Amoreaux
  • Malvern
  • Maryvale
  • Miliken
  • Morningside Heights
  • Morningside
  • Oakridge
  • Orton Park
  • Port Union
  • Rouge
  • Scarborough City Centre
  • Scarborough Junction
  • Scarborough Village
  • Steeles
  • Tam O’Shanter-Sullivan
  • West Hill
  • West Rouge
  • Wexford
  • Wishing Well Acres
  • Woburn.

York was a township in 1793 until it became a borough and then a city by 1983. York was integrated into the Greater Toronto Area in 1998. York has a population of approximately 150,000 and approximately half of that number being immigrants.  Unfortunately, York was recently labelled the murder capital of Toronto although the region has undergone a massive clean-up since 2009. 

The neighbourhoods found in York are:

  • Baby Point
  • Eglinton West
  • Fairbank
  • Humewood-Cedarvale
  • Lambton
  • Mount Dennis
  • Oakwood-Vaughan
  • Old Mill
  • Rockcliffe-Smythe
  • Silverthorn
  • Weston.

The Greater Toronto Area is where one goes to live within Toronto but away from the hustle of Downtown Toronto. What started as a divided province of Ontario has now become a unified city, with forests, lakes, city lights, of cultural and economic diversity.