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Oshawa hailed best place to find work in Canada

Last Updated May 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm EDT

It may not have been your first choice in Ontario to live, but according to a new report, you should give The ‘Shwa a second look.

Oshawa – or The Motor City as some call it – ranked 109 out of 209 places to live in Canada in 2015 by MoneySense but is now being hailed as the best place to find work, according to BMO’s Regional Labour Market Report Card.

“This is a story about an amazing city that has flown under the radar for a very long period of time,” said Oshawa Mayor John Henry, who first heard the news by a staff member on Tuesday morning.

Oshawa jumped 27 spots from last year to make it the top city overall to get a job.

“It’s about a community that is working together through our chamber of commerce, through our business community, through our automotive community, through our education community – all working together doing great things,” he said.

The city is home to over 163,000 residents, up 1.7 percent from last year, and is also known for being the headquarters of General Motors Canada.

But Henry was quick to point out that the city shouldn’t be known just for General Motors.

“For the longest time, when people talk about Oshawa they think of us as a car town – You know we are a great car town, but cars are only part of Oshawa,” he said.

Photograph capturing dusk at the lake by Linda Bazowsky. Photo via www.Oshawa.ca
Photograph capturing dusk at the lake in Oshawa by Linda Bazowsky. Photo via www.Oshawa.ca

The change to the city didn’t happen overnight, Henry points out. The gradual change really started when The University of Ontario Institute of Technology built a campus in downtown Oshawa.

The city now boasts four post-secondary schools including Durham College, Trent University Durham campus, and connecting campuses in Oshawa with the University of Windsor and Queen’s University.

“We have 20,000 young people going to school full-time in the Oshawa-Whitby area,” Henry said.

Annual employment has grown 6.9 per cent and the unemployment rate is at 6 per cent, down 1.6 per cent from last year.

“We have great residential growth but we are building in ever segment in the market place,” he said.

The Oshawa Generals, who won the 2015 Memorial Cup and the General Motors Centre offer up entertainment to the city, not to mention the waterfront that 70 per cent of the residents own.

If you’ve never been to Oshawa, the Mayor suggests starting at the art gallery, located behind the City Hall, followed with having lunch downtown and then a walk to the famous Parkwood Estate.

“You’ll be hard pressed to find another city in all of Canada that has four universities, community college, an airport, a deep water port, and both major railroads with great highway access to this country from coast-to-coast,” Henry said.

“There is no other city like that in all of Canada.”

Second place on the report was Guelph, which dropped from the top spot last year.

The lowest jobless rate in Canada is in British Columbia.