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Pickering is a city located in Southern Ontariomarker, Canadamarker immediately east of Torontomarker in Durham Regionmarker. It is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).


Pickering has experienced rapid growth in the post-war period. Between the 1996 and 2001 censuses, the municipality experienced a growth rate of 12 percent (78,989 people to 100,273). Population growth has slowed considerably in recent years, growing only slightly between the 2001 and 2006 census. This is due mainly to development restrictions on land in the northern portion of the city. Negotiations are ongoing to permit development in this area. Consequently, the city has estimated that by 2023, Pickering will be home to nearly 170,000 residents. The province of Ontario has also designated Pickering as one of two municipalities in Durham Region as an urban growth centre. Pickering has the highest black population in Durham region with 15% black population.


The southern part of the city is mainly suburban, with industrial areas mainly restricted to the area around Pickering Nuclear Generating Stationmarker. Most of the suburban areas were built as subdivisions after World War II, starting in the area around Frenchman's Bay. Prior to the war, the few suburban areas in the township were the communities of Dunbarton, Fairport, Liverpool Market, and Rouge Hill.

The northern part of the municipality is mainly rural, primarily used for agricultural purposes. However, a number of communities exist in this area, and the locally controversial Seaton area also falls within this part of the city. The primary rural communities in Pickering are Claremontmarker, Brougham, and Whitevalemarker; however, a number of smaller communities exist throughout northern Pickering including the ghost town of Altonamarker. Crime has been on the rise in many communities like Pickering Parkway, Glengrove, Major Oaks, and Dunbarton.


Pickering is home to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Stationmarker, an eight-reactor facility with a capacity of 4,120 megawatts. The first station, Pickering A, opened with four reactors in 1971. Ontario Power Generation, the plants' operator, is the largest single employer in the city. In 2001, the wind-powered OPG 7 Commemorative Turbinemarker was opened on the generating station site.

A number of manufacturers are also located in the city. Major employers include Yorkville Sound (audio equipment), the Canadian headquarters of Purdue Pharma (pharmaceuticals and health & beauty products), Hubbell Canada (electrical equipment), PSB Speakers - Lenbrook (stereo equipment) and Eco-Tec Inc. (industrial water purification and chemical recovery systems).

Pickering is also the home of the head office of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. MPAC is responsible for value assessment for property tax purposes for all municipalities in Ontario.

Pickering is a founding member of the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance or DSEA. The nucleus of the DSEA is primarily Pickering businesses such as Ontario Power Generation, Veridian, Wardrop Engineering, AECL, Intellimeter, Areva and Eco-Tec.

In 2006, Profit magazine recognized Pickering as one of the top 10 cities in Canada to grow a business.



The city council consists of a mayor, three regional councillors and three city councillors. The mayor and regional councillors sit on the council and also represent the city at Durham Regional Council. The city councillors sit on city council only. Pickering is divided into three wards, with one city councillor and one regional councillor representing each ward.

The current mayor is Dave Ryan

Emergency services

Police services in Pickering are provided by the Durham Regional Police from a division office located in the eastern section of the city. Officers from this location also patrol Ajax. Pickering Fire Services operates from four stations with a force of full and part-time firefighters. Three stations in the urban portion of the city are staffed with full-time firefighters. Claremont Fire Hall is now fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ambulance/emergency medical services are provided by Durham Region.


Pickering is served by the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. As of early 2007, the public board operates 17 elementary schools and two secondary schools, Dunbarton High School and Pine Ridge Secondary School (Pickering High School was previously located in Pickering, but was transferred to Ajax when the city boundaries were changed). The Catholic board runs seven elementary schools and one secondary school, Saint Mary Catholic Secondary School. Blaisdale Montessori School, a private school chain, has several locations throughout Pickering serving children from preschool age to grade 8. There is also a private elementary and junior high school there called Montessorie Learning Centre. Also serving the Durham Region is Durham Secondary Academy & Middle School, an inspected private high school and middle school for grades 5 to 12.

Famous people and groups

In film

  • The 1957 CBC/Hollywood production of the classic television show Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans was filmed in Pickering. A farm at the corner of Valley Farm Rd. and 3rd Concession, owned by Arthur Gottlieb, was the setting for the 25-episode series. A fort and pond were built specifically for the show. The site is now a residential area.

  • The 1994 comedy "The Ref" with Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey was filmed in part at Port Pickering Marina, on Frenchman's Bay.

  • The 1995 family/adventure film Salt Water Moose starring Timothy Dalton and Lolita Davidovitch was filmed in and around Frenchman's Bay.

  • The 1998 comedy/action film The Big Hit with Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Avery Brooks, Christina Applegate and Elliot Gould, was filmed in part in Pickering near Petticoat Creek.

  • The 2008-09 comedy/family soap "Jimmy" was filmed in Pickering near Dunbarton High School.


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