BY ADAM MC LEAN | Jan 17, 2010 - 9:00 AM | 0
For many Canadians and those new to Canada, it has long been thought Richmond Hill is among the country's elite destinations to live and work. A national study released Wednesday now provides the facts to backup the claims of the town that prides itself as a "character community" which is "a little north, a little nicer".
Boasting top marks for innovation opportunities and having a highly educated population, Richmond Hill has been ranked as one of the top six Canadian urban centres for attracting new residents and skilled workers, according to a Conference Board of Canada study.
Richmond Hill scored high marks in seven study categories: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation, and housing, to produce a winning formula and an overall "A" grade.
Other towns at the head of the class according to the study are Calgary, Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver and St. John's, Newfoundland.
Other York Region municipalities were mentioned in the study. Vaughan and Markham both received "B" grades along with Toronto and Oakville, while Mississauga and Barrie were among those cities receiving a "C" grade. Oshawa was among the nine Canadian centres to receive the lowest grade of "D".
"We have always known that Richmond Hill is a great place to live, play and work," said Mayor Dave Barrow.
"But it's always nice when it's statistically proven and people outside the community recognize this as well," he added.
Business leaders say the Conference Board plaudits are well founded.
"I think they are right on," said Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce CEO Leslie Walker, of the study.
Attracting new residents and new businesses is key for the town, with a 25-year official plan expected to be released by council this fall, last year's formation of the downtown Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area and the establishment by many companies of national headquarters north of Hwy. 7.
"We try to work closely with the town and council and they are receptive to what businesses in town need and what barriers there might be. It makes Richmond Hill a great place to do business. We are not ones to trumpet, but we have a lot of pride in the town we live in and there is much to offer," Ms Walker added.
According to Statistics Canada, the population of Richmond Hill grew by 23 per cent between 2001 and 2006 and more than half of the town's population are immigrants to Canada.
For more information on the Conference Board of Canada Study titled City Magnets II visit www.conferenceboard.ca