Wedding in Oshawa
Oshawa (population 141,590, CMA, 330 594) is a city in Ontario Canada, on the Lake Ontario shoreline, approximately 60 km east of downtown Toronto. It is commonly viewed as the eastern anchor of both the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe. It is not, however, part of the Toronto CMA but has its own metropolitan area, the fourteenth largest in Canada. It is the largest community in the Regional Municipality of Durham. The name Oshawa originates from the Ojibwa term aazhaway, meaning "crossing to the other side of a river or lake" or just "(a)cross".
Oshawa is headquarters to General Motors Canada, which has large-scale manufacturing and administrative operations in the city and employs many thousands both directly and indirectly. Since Windsor, Ontario houses the Daimler-Chrysler Headquarters (DCX) for Canada, the two cities have something of a friendly rivalry for the title of "Automotive Capital of Canada".
The revenue collection divisions of the Ontario Ministry of Finance occupy one of the few major office buildings in the city's downtown, which continues to struggle despite business improvement efforts. The city's southern neighbourhoods tend to be considerably less affluent than its northern sections, which are rapidly expanding as Toronto commuters move in. The southern half of the city consists of industrial zones and compact housing designed for mid-20th century industrial workers, while the northern half has a suburban feel more typical of later decades.
High wages paid to unionized GM employees have meant that these workers could enjoy a relatively high standard of living, although such jobs are much scarcer today than they once were. During its post-World War II heyday, General Motors offered some of the best manufacturing jobs available in Canada and attracted thousands of workers from economically depressed areas of the country, particularly the Maritimes, Newfoundland, rural Quebec and northern Ontario. The city was also a magnet for European immigrants in the skilled trades, and boasts substantial Polish, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Croatian, German and Russian ethnic communities.
In late 2004, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority announced a plan under which the Oshawa Airport would be closed and its traffic diverted to a major new Toronto reliever airport to be constructed in Pickering. The Oshawa airport handles occasional traffic related to General Motors (emergency spare parts and executives); GM has indicated that a move of its air traffic to Pickering would not affect its operations. The airport also handles significant general aviation, two flight training facilities, and numerous other aviation and non-aviation related companies, all of which would need to be diverted or relocated. The city has considered ambitious proposals to repurpose the airport lands, but as of January 2006, significant upgrade work is being performed on the main terminal building by the city itself, signalling that the city has no immediate plans to close the busy facility, understanding its importance to the community and local economy. Additional aviation related construction is also taking place on the airport lands.
Public education in Oshawa is provided via the Durham District School Board. As of late 2006, there were 32 elementary schools and six secondary schools. The Durham Catholic District School Board, which has its headquarters in Oshawa, oversees public Catholic education in Durham Region. There are 14 Catholic elementary schools and two secondary schools. The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest operates one French Public elementary school, while the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud runs one publicly-funded French-language Catholic elementary school. Private schools include Durham Elementary School and Immanuel Christian School.
As noted above, GO Transit trains connect the city with downtown Toronto. The Oshawa Station also serves VIA Rail in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, as well as GO Buses, and Durham Region Transit. DRT is a regional transit system, started on January 1, 2006, that replaced Oshawa Transit, and has roots in a street railway in the town dating from 1895.
Intercity buses include Greyhound (limited service between Toronto, Port Hope, Cobourg and Belleville, as well as to Peterborough and Ottawa, and Can-Ar coaches daily to/from Lindsay and Toronto, along with GO use a downtown terminal at Bond and Centre Streets (Greyhound will also drop off passengers at the Oshawa GO Station upon request).