Durham Region is part of the Greater Toronto Area or GTA. This area also known as the Golden Horseshoe because of its shape and because it is the economic heart of Ontario.
Durham Region is directly east of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario and is the largest geographical jurisdiction in the GTA. It has an area of almost 2,600 square kilometres (1,000 square miles) that contains some of the best agricultural land in the GTA. The northern part of the Region offers many recreational trails, small lakes and streams, small towns and the Oak Ridges Moraine which is a protected watershed and green belt. The population of Durham Region is just under 600,000 (2010) and is planned to increase to over 900,000 by 2015. This growth is expected to come primarily from immigration.
Durham Region has a modern and accessible network of public streets and roads and public transportation such as buses and trains.
Two major highways, Highway 401 and Highway 407, link Durham Region to Toronto and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Highway 401 runs along the north shore of Lake Ontario and is a six to 10-lane highway that brings the cities and town in Durham within a half hour to full hour commute of central Toronto depending on time of day and traffic conditions. Traffic Cameras provide a web-view of this highway.
The stretch of Highway 401 from Trenton in the east to Toronto has been designated as the Highway of Heroes to honour Canada's fallen soldiers (notably those who died on duty in Afghanistan).
Highway 407 is a privately operated toll road that runs west from north Pickering, across the top of Toronto to Pearson International Airport and on to the Mississauga and Hamilton areas.
Durham Region is also served by GO Transit, a public transportation system made up of commuter buses and trains. The main rail line parallels Highway 401 and the lakeshore into Toronto on a frequent daily basis.
Buses link the rail line that ends in Oshawa to Newcastle in the east and Port Perry, Uxbridge and Brock in the north.
VIA Rail, operated by Canadian National Railways (CN), also operates along the lakeshore with passenger service connections to most of North America. Commuters also use it from Cobourg and Port Hope to the east of Durham to travel into the GTA.
Further links within and between communities in Durham are provided by the public bus system operated by Durham Region Transit.