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The waterfront town of Oakville in the greater Toronto area is filled with youth and art, rather literally; it boasts a higher-than average population of people under the age of 19, and its arts scene is bustling.

Once a shipping town and now an artistically-oriented waterfront community composed of a dozen distinct distinct communities, Oakville is a quirky and beautiful neighbour among Toronto’s many suburban communities. Filled with Western European descendants, the town nearly doubled in population during the 1980s and has grown steadily by about 20,000 residents every five years since. The median household income is just under $102,000 and homes for sale in Oakville average around $700,000.

2011 Census data shows its demographics as being about 29 percent English, 21 percent Scottish, 19 percent Irish, nine percent each German and French, and eight percent French; many more nationalities making up smaller pockets of the population. Roughly 70 percent of Richmond Hill’s residents speak English as a first language, followed by two percent for whom French is their native tongue.

Oakville’s education landscape is an interesting one, in that it has one of the highest ratios of private schools to student population in all of Canada. The city has four school boards: one overseeing secular English-speaking public schools, one for English-speaking Catholic schools, one for secular French-speaking schools, and one for Catholic schools where French is spoken. Its sole institution for higher learning is Sheridan College, an acclaimed school for animation and business studies. Cultural touchpoints include the renowned CommUnity Arts Space and the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts.

The city’s top employers by sector are Ford Motor Company of Canada in advanced manufacturing; Siemens Canada in technical services, Wellspring Pharmaceuticals Canada in life sciences, Pelmorex Media Inc in digital media and animation, and Tim Hortons. UTC Aerospace Systems, AMEC, Dufferin Construction and GE Water and Process Technologies also employ a great deal of Oakville residents.

Oakville’s twin sister cities are Dorval, Quebec and Neyagawa, Japan. It shares many of Toronto’s media outlets but also has two community papers of its own, as well as two specialty AM radio stations, an arts magazine, and several national cable stations headquartered there, including The Weather Network, which has been broadcasting from Oakville since 2005.

Public transit in Oakville takes place by bus and rail. VIA Rail operates from Oakville station with stops along the Windsor and Quebec corridor, while GO commuter rail and bus service is available at Bronte and Oakville stations.

Three main arteries offer quick transport around town: Queen Elizabeth Way, Ontario Highway 403, and the 407 ETR. Ride share options are available through free memberships on Carpool World’s website and through Kijiji.

For cycling enthusiasts, Oakville boasts more than 105 kilometres of on- and off-road cycling paths. The Cycle, Walk Oakville webpage offers an interactive bicycle and pedestrian path map to help plan safe routes.

For distant getaways, Toronto Pearson International Airport is the preferred means of air travel for locals, thanks to the major airport’s proximity to town.

Oakville is neatly divided into twelve small communities as determined by the town’s planning department. They include Old Oakville, Kerr Village, Bronte, Eastlake, Clearview, College Park, Iroquois Ridge North and South, Glen Abbey, Palermo, River Oaks, Uptown Core and West Oak Trails. Here, a glimpse into some of the more popular neighbourhoods:

Old Oakville is filled with beautiful historic homes of great architectural significance, including stunning Victorian brownstones and Cape Cod-style homes, as well as trendy new multi-use spaces and modern highrise condos.

The waterfront properties of Bronte make the neighbourhood popular among tourists; with some of the most expensive Oakville homes on the market, from $250,000 to $2 million, it includes quaint shops, waterfront condos and detached homes.

Glen Abbey’s MLS listings typically range anywhere from 350,000 to $1.3 million, including everything from townhomes to luxury detached homes. Likewise, River Oaks, true to its name, boasts an abundance of large old oak trees, many of them blanketing oversized residential lots.

West Oak Trails is bustling with young families, which explains the proliferation of splash parks, play centers, new schools and recreation centers there. It’s also a fairly walkable area, great for families embracing the return to a lower reliance on cars to get them around their communities.

And lastly, College Park contains a mixture of mature homes, some older Oakville townhouses, apartments and condos, as well as a sixteen-mile creek, a golf club and mall, as well as – of course – Sheridan College, hence the high concentration of college students in the area.

Oakville’s arts community is strong and ever-evolving; thanks to the efforts of the Oakville Arts Council, creative expression thrives in this waterfront town and is supported through Oakville Galleries, the Oakville Center for the Performing Arts, and CommUnity Arts Space, a shared space for multiple cultural arts groups. Its community centre in a former high school in the Bronte neighbourhood boasts 13,000 metres of recreational, cultural and artistic programmes for Oakville residents of all ages.

Community festivals are abundant, including no fewer than five annually celebrated events: Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival, Waterfront Festival, For the Love of the Arts Festival, Midnight Madness and Oakville Family Ribfest.

Locals frequent popular bakeries and restaurants serving sandwiches, Japanese cuisine and Spanish tapas. Favorites include Stoney's Break Company on Kerr Street, Monastery Bakery & Delicatessen on Monastery Drive, Plank Restobar (tapas) on Bronte Road, and Mye Japanese Restaurant on Church Street.

For additional distractions, locals enjoy everything from Blue Devils soccer games, boating, waterfront strolls and other outdoor diversions to more laid-back outings including exotic car tours, spa treatments, yoga and piano bars with live entertainment.