Town of Whitby
Brock Street in Whitby
Brock Street in Whitby
Durham's Business Centre
Whitby is located in Regional Municipality of Durham
Whitby is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 43°53′N 78°56.5′W / 43.883°N 78.9417°W / 43.883; -78.9417Coordinates: 43°53′N 78°56.5′W / 43.883°N 78.9417°W / 43.883; -78.9417
 • MayorDon Mitchell[1]
 • Regional Councillor
 • MPRyan Turnbull (LPC)
 • MPPLorne Coe (PC)
 • Land146.53 km2 (56.58 sq mi)
91 m (299 ft)
 • Total138,501 (Ranked 40th)
 • Density944.2/km2 (2,445/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern (EDT))

Whitby is a town in Durham Region. Whitby is located in Southern Ontario east of Ajax and west of Oshawa, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and is home to the headquarters of Durham Region. It had a population of 138,501 at the 2021 census. It is approximately 20 km (12 mi) east of Scarborough, and it is known as a commuter suburb in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area. While the southern portion of Whitby is predominantly urban and an economic hub, the northern part of the municipality is more rural and includes the communities of Ashburn, Brooklin, Myrtle, Myrtle Station, and Macedonian Village.


Whitby Township (now the Town of Whitby) was named after the seaport town of Whitby, Yorkshire, England.

When the township was originally surveyed in 1792, the surveyor, from the northern part of England, named the townships east of Toronto after towns in northeastern England: York, Scarborough, Pickering, Whitby and Darlington.[3] The original name of "Whitby" is Danish, dating from about 867 AD when the Danes invaded Britain. It is a contraction of "Whitteby", meaning "White Village". The allusion may be to the white lighthouse on the pier at Whitby, Yorkshire, and also at Whitby, Ontario.' Although settlement dates back to 1800, it was not until 1836 that a downtown business centre was established by Whitby's founder Peter Perry.

Whitby's chief asset was its fine natural harbour on Lake Ontario, from which grain from the farmland to the north was first shipped in 1833. In the 1840s, a road was built from Whitby Harbour to Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, to bring trade and settlement through the harbour to and from the rich hinterland to the north. The Town of Whitby was chosen as the seat of government for the newly formed County of Ontario in 1852, and incorporated in 1855. The remainder of Whitby Township remained a separate municipality, although the eastern half surrounding Oshawa was incorporated as the new Township of East Whitby in 1857. In the 1870s, a railway, the "Port Whitby and Port Perry Railway", was constructed from Whitby harbour to Port Perry, and later extended to Lindsay as the "Whitby, Port Perry and Lindsay Railway".

Whitby is also the site of Trafalgar Castle School, a private girls' school founded in 1874. The building, constructed as an Elizabethan-style castle in 1859–62 as a private residence for the Sheriff of Ontario County, is a significant architectural landmark and Whitby's only provincial historic site marked with a plaque. The school celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1999.

During the Second World War, Whitby was the location of Camp X, a secret spy training facility established by Sir William Stephenson, the "Man Called Intrepid". Although the buildings have since been demolished, a monument was unveiled on the site of Camp X in 1984 by Ontario's Lieutenant Governor John Black Aird. Following the War, Soviet dissenter Igor Gouzenko was taken to the facility with his wife to live in secretive protective custody after fleeing Ottawa, Ontario.[4]


In 1968, the Town of Whitby and Township of Whitby amalgamated to form the current municipality. Planning for the construction of a town hall intended to centralize municipal staff working in satellite offices began in 1970 under mayor Des Newman. Construction began on the Raymond Moriyama designed building in 1975; it was opened by Mayor Jim Gartshore on January 8, 1977.[5]

Municipal boundaries were not changed during the 1974 formation of Durham Region and remain to this day. Today, Whitby is the seat of government in Durham Region. It is commonly considered part of the Greater Toronto Area, although statistically it belongs to the greater Oshawa Metropolitan Area. They are both in the eastern part of the Golden Horseshoe region.


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Whitby borders Ajax to the west, Pickering to the northwest, the Township of Scugog to the north, and Oshawa to the east. Since at least the mid-1990s, the development of subdivisions to accommodate population growth has proceeded in a mostly northward direction.


Historical populations

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Whitby had a population of 138,501 living in 46,460 of its 47,389 total private dwellings, a change of 7.9% from its 2016 population of 128,377. With a land area of 146.69 km2 (56.64 sq mi), it had a population density of 944.2/km2 (2,445.4/sq mi) in 2021.[6]

Visible minorities and Aboriginal population
Canada 2016 Census[7] Population % of Total Population
Visible minority group
South Asian 8,345 6.6
Chinese 3,180 2.5
Black 10,085 8.0
Filipino 2,550 2.0
Latin American 1,340 1.1
Southeast Asian 525 0.4
Arab 960 0.8
West Asian 1,260 1.0
Korean 350 0.3
Japanese 455 0.4
Mixed visible minority 1,860 1.5
Other visible minority 1,170 0.9
Total visible minority population 32,090 25.5
Aboriginal group
First Nations 1,115 0.9
Métis 730 0.6
Inuit 35 0.1
Total Aboriginal population 1,995 1.6
Caucasian 91,697 72.9
Total population 125,785 100.0

According to the 2006 Census, approximately 17.0% of Whitby's population is classified as visible minority, with Black (6.1%), South Asian (3.3%) and Chinese (1.9%) populations forming the largest individual groups. 2011 Census data[10] show that English is the mother tongue of 83.7% of the residents of Whitby, while native speakers of French make up 1.7% of the population. Of immigrant languages, only Italian is the mother tongue of more than 1% of the population (1.4%).

The median household income in 2015 for Whitby was $103,809.[7]

Local government

The Town's Council includes the Mayor, four Regional Councillors and four Town Councillors elected on the basis of one per ward. They sit on both the Town and Durham Regional Councils, as does the mayor. The members elected as of the 2018 municipal election[11] are:

Mayor: Don Mitchell

Regional Councillors:

Town Councillors:

Regional Chair: John Henry [12]

Whitby is also home to the headquarters buildings of Durham Region and the Durham District School Board.

Emergency services

Whitby is policed by the Durham Regional Police's Central West Division. There is also a detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police located in Town, mainly to patrol area provincial highways within Durham Region. Whitby Fire & Emergency Services provides firefighting services from five fire stations and ambulance/emergency medical services are provided by Durham Region EMS at the Whitby Paramedic Station (also as EMS Headquarters).


Many residents commute to work in other Greater Toronto Area communities. Whitby itself is home to a steel mill operated by Gerdau Ameristeel, a retail support centre operated by Sobeys, and a major Liquor Control Board of Ontario warehouse. Other companies present in Whitby include pharmaceutical manufacturer Patheon, Lear Corporation, Automodular Assemblies, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, and several others.


Public education in Whitby is provided via the Durham District School Board, which also has its headquarters in Whitby. There are twenty-four elementary schools and five secondary schools: Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute, Brooklin High School, Donald A Wilson Secondary School, Henry Street High School and Sinclair Secondary School.

The Durham Catholic District School Board oversees public Catholic education in Durham Region. There are twelve Catholic elementary schools and two secondary schools; Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School and All Saints Catholic Secondary School.

Full French language education is provided by the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. There is one elementary school in Whitby, École élémentaire catholique Jean-Paul II (JK-grade 6), as well as a high-school, École secondaire catholique St-Charles Garnier (grades 7-12) which services all of Durham region.

As noted above, Whitby is home to Trafalgar Castle School,[13] an independent school for women that offers grades 5 through 12 in a university preparatory programme. Built in 1859 by the flamboyant Sheriff of Ontario County, Nelson Gilbert "Iron" Reynolds, Trafalgar Castle remains a unique Canadian treasure. The school had opened its doors in 1874 and was called "Ontario Ladies' College" until the late 70s, after which it changed its name to "Trafalgar Castle".

There are also a number of Montessori schools offering programmes for early elementary grades.

Whitby is also the site of the Skills Training Centre of Durham College. The main campus of the college is located in Oshawa, as is Ontario Tech University. Canada Christian College is located in Whitby as well.

Health care

Although Whitby is one of the 100 largest cities/towns in Canada, it lacks a full-service hospital. The town was served by the Whitby General Hospital until 1998, when Durham hospitals were amalgamated by the Lakeridge Health Corporation, Under the amalgamated system, the hospital became Lakeridge Health Whitby and is a specialized health centre, with the closest full-service hospitals being Lakeridge Health Oshawa, Markham Stouffville Hospital in Markham and the Rouge Valley Health System, Ajax and Pickering campus in Ajax.

The Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is located on the lakefront. It was originally called the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, then Whitby Mental Health Centre.


Ontario Highway 401 runs through the south end of Whitby, with interchanges at Brock Street and Thickson Road. Ontario Highway 407 was opened in Whitby in 2016. The toll highway passes between Brooklin and the urban portion of the town. Ontario Highway 412, connecting the 401 with the 407, also opened to traffic in the same year. The highway is a north–south route located just east of the Whitby-Ajax boundary and became toll-free on April 22, 2022.[14]

The southern terminus of Highway 12 is also located in Whitby. It originally extended from Highway 401 northward as part of Brock Street, but this portion was downloaded to Durham Region in 1997. The southern terminus is now located just south of Brooklin at Highway 407. Finally, Highway 7 runs east–west between Brooklin and the City of Pickering. At Brooklin, the road changes to a north–south alignment and is multiplexed with Highway 12 to the northern boundary of the Town.

Four railways pass through Whitby. The Toronto-Montreal corridor main lines of the Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway both pass east–west through the south end of town. A second CP line running from Toronto to Havelock also passes through the northern part of Whitby. Via Rail trains travel through Whitby, but the nearest station is in Oshawa. Finally, GO Transit provides frequent service via its Lakeshore East line, which (in Whitby) runs parallel to the CN tracks. A GO Station is located in Town.

Local transit services are provided by the region-wide Durham Region Transit. Prior to the Regional service, the Town provided its own service. GO Transit buses also connect Whitby with Durham Region (including Port Perry and Beaverton to the north) and areas further afield.

Whitby Harbour, an important factor in the development of the Town, is now home to a 420-berth recreational marina.[15]

The closest international airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport, located 65 kilometres to the west in Mississauga.


Whitby is served by the Whitby This Week newspaper, part of the Metroland Media Group. Several other papers have been published in the town over the years, including the Whitby Free Press, which ran from 1971 to 1996. Other GTA media outlets also serve the area.

Cultural assets


Whitby Harbour
Whitby Harbour

Whitby's most famous sporting team is the Whitby Dunlops, a celebrated ice hockey squad that captured the world championship in 1958 at Oslo, Norway. This team featured long-time president of the Boston Bruins, Harry Sinden and former mayor of Whitby, Bob Attersley. The Dunlops were revived in 2004 as part of the Eastern Ontario Senior Hockey League.

The Whitby Yacht Club, which offers racing, cruising, social, and sail training programs on Whitby Harbour overlooking the Lake Ontario, was founded in 1966.[16]

Lacrosse is also a prominent sport in Whitby. The Brooklin Redmen Senior A lacrosse club is one of the most successful in Canadian sporting history, while the Junior A Whitby Warriors have been awarded the Minto Cup four times since 1984.

Whitby is also home to the Iroquois Park Sports Centre, one of the largest minor sports centres in North America. The facility includes six icepads, a swimming pool named for local Olympian Anne Ottenbrite, six tennis courts, five ball diamonds, three batting cages, a skatepark, a soccer pitch, The Sports Garden Cafe restaurant and the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame. Whitby also developed the McKinney Sports complex which boasts three ice pads, two tennis courts and a skatepark, and Luther Vipond Arena in Brooklin, with one ice pad. These 3 sport complexes hold many sporting events.

In 2008, the OJHL relocated a team to Whitby to play out of the Iroquois Complex, known as the Whitby Fury.

Notable people

Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ "Certified Results of Election" (PDF). Whitby.ca. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  2. ^ "Série " Perspective géographique ", Recensement de 2011 – Subdivision de recensement, Whitby, T - Ontario" (in French). Statistique Canada. 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  3. ^ Winter, Brian (1999); Chronicles of a County Town: Whitby Past and Present. ISBN 0-9685745-0-5, p. 8
  4. ^ "Igor Gouzenko". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  5. ^ Ferencz, Sarah (27 January 2017). "Whitby town hall celebrates 40 years". www.durhamregion.com. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  6. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (2022-02-09). "Profile table, Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population - Whitby, Town (T) [Census subdivision], Ontario". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  7. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (2017-02-08). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Whitby, Town [Census subdivision], Ontario and Ontario [Province]". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  8. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2016 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 12.statcan.gc.ca.
  9. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 12.statcan.ca.
  10. ^ "Census Profile for Census Subdivision of Whitby (Town), Ontario". 12.statcan.ca.
  11. ^ "Certified Results of Election" (PDF). whitby.ca. October 22, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Certificate of Election Results - Regional Chair" (PDF). whitby.ca. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Home". Trafalgar Castle School. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Ontario Government Removing Tolls on Highways 412 and 418". Government of Ontario. February 18, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  15. ^ "Marina". Town of Whitby. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  16. ^ "Home". Whitby Yacht Club. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Composite Portrait Souvenir of George W. Dryden, J.E. Farewell, John F. Paxton, Donald McKay, L.T. Barclay, His Honor Judge McCrimmon, G.Y. Smith, His Honor Judge McIntyre". Our Ontario. Whitby Public Library Archives. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  18. ^ Mackintosh, C. H. (1877). The Canadian Parliamentary Companion and Annual Register. Ottawa, Ontario: Citizen Printing and Publishing Company. p. 267 – via Canadiana.org.