Pickering (2011 population 88,721) is a city located in Southern Ontario, Canada, immediately east of Toronto in Durham Region. It was settled by primarily ethnic British colonists, starting in the 1770s. Most of its growth has come since the end of World War II, and it has received immigrants from around the globe.
Pickering has experienced rapid growth in the post-war period in the second half of the twentieth century. Toronto's continuing growth led to more people moving into Pickering. Between 1996 and 2001, the municipality experienced a growth rate of 10.3 percent (78,989 people to 87,139). Population growth has slowed considerably in recent years, growing only slightly between the 2001 and 2011 census.
The low population growth is mainly due to the city's development restrictions on land in the northern portion of its area, as they tried to contain sprawl. Negotiations are ongoing to permit development in this area. Consequently, the city has estimated that by 2031, Pickering will be home to 190,000 residents. The province of Ontario has designated Pickering as one of two municipalities in Durham Region that are urban growth centres, planned to receive more development and population.
According to the 2011 Census, English is the mother tongue of 78.6% of the population, followed by Urdu (1.5%), Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (1.5%) and Italian (1.4%), reflecting 20th century and later immigration.
The southern part of the city is mainly suburban, with industrial areas restricted to the area around Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. 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 Beach, Liverpool Market, and Rouge Hill. Squires Beach, located by the lakeshore in the southeast part of the city, is now a ghost town.
The northern part of the municipality is mainly rural, primarily used for agricultural purposes. However, a number of residential developments are found in this area, and the locally controversial Seaton area also falls within this part of the city. The primary rural communities in Pickering are Claremont, Brougham, and Whitevale; a number of smaller communities exist throughout northern Pickering. The abandoned ghost town of Altona is located there.
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