The idea behind a series of connected Centres and Corridors in York Region is not new. For over 200 years Yonge Street has been a main transportation corridor. During the late 1800s, the Toronto and York Radial Railway used the Yonge Street right-of-way north to Aurora, and was later expanded to over the years to the community of Sutton on the shores of Lake Simcoe. Yonge Street also connected the first generation villages of Thornhill, Oak Ridges, Richmond Hill and Aurora.

The first Official Plan for York Region, which was adopted in 1994, recognized the network of Centres and Corridors in planning policy. The Official Plan is a long range planning policy document which guides and shapes growth and manages development over a 20 year timeframe. The 1994 Official Plan included the four Regional Centres in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Newmarket, with the two Regional Corridors of Highway 7 and Yonge Street.

The Region's 2002 Centres and Corridors Strategy called "Making it Happen" and the 2005 launch of viva bus rapid transit started to make the network of Centres and Corridors a reality. The ongoing delivery of new rapid transit facilities in York Region by vivaNext through Metrolinx will help ensure that the Region?s Centres and Corridors are connected by fast, frequent and reliable transit services now and into the future.

In 2004, York Region amended the Official Plan to strengthen the policies for growth in the Regional Centres and Corridors. Davis Drive and Green Lane East were later identified as Regional Corridors in the most recent Regional Official Plan, adopted in 2010.

Best Practices for Planning Centres and Corridors is the next step in making it happen through:

  • Innovative Practices
  • Making it the preferred place to grow
  • Monitoring and measuring success
  • Building partnerships

What is a Regional Centre

The four Regional Centres (Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Richmond Hill/Langstaff Gateway, Markham Centre and Newmarket Centre) are vibrant, high and medium density, pedestrian-friendly communities that have a mix of retail, residential and business development. They are the Region's downtowns and will be serviced by efficient, convenient rapid transit.. Uses within the Centres will include office buildings, taller residential buildings, important public spaces as well as a wide variety of restaurants, shops, cultural, institutional and human services. Centres will be attractive places for York Region residents to live and work in the same community, while also enjoying nearby commercial, retail and cultural facilities all within walking distance.

What is a Regional Corridor

York Region has four Regional Corridors (Yonge Street, Highway 7, Davis Drive, and Green Lane East) that connect the Regional Centres. Regional Corridors are planned to be diverse places that support a range and mix of activities that enrich the character and meet the needs of the communities they serve. The Regional Corridors are pedestrian-friendly places that are supported by rapid transit services that provide connections to the Regional Centres as well as other centres throughout the GTA.

 Schematic of 4 regional centres and corridors



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