By: Brian Roulston
Ontario, Herbert H. Rogge, President of Canadian Westinghouse Company Limited. The Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Green Belt
In a speech on January 12th, 1954 to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce outlining the future of industrial development in Southwestern Ontario, Herbert H. Rogge, President of Canadian Westinghouse Company Limited was credited with the first use of the phrase ‘The Golden Horseshoe’. It is an area we call today ‘The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)’ which comprises of Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Niagara Regions and of course The City of Hamilton. Originally the Golden Horseshoe was 150 miles long and 50 miles wide taking in numerous cities and towns.
The word ‘Golden’ was used to represent the regions wealth & prosperity while ‘Horseshoe’ was derived from the area’s shape with Hamilton positioned in the center. The Greater Golden Horseshoe is a vital link between the U. S, Canada and overseas by water through The Port of Hamilton, the largest Canadian port on the Great Lakes which handles almost 30% of all cargo that passes through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. By land from the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor to Quebec City it is one of the most heavily traveled corridors used by the trucking industry in North America. The border cities of Fort Erie and Niagara Falls are too, heavily traveled by both shipping and tourist alike. The Greater Golden Horseshoe area is also home to Canada’s busiest air cargo/freight hub located at Hamilton International Airport (YYH) with UPS, FEDEX and other air transport companies frequently flying in large bodied aircraft. The GGH will also greet many domestic and international travelers through Canada’s busiest passenger airport by volume, Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
Due to the GGH’s moderate climate, rich soil and abundance of freshwater, this area is one of the largest and finest food production and farming areas in North America. One million acres located within the Greater Golden Horseshoe produce at least 200 different farming commodities such as fruits and wine in the Niagara Peninsula and vegetables in the Holland Marsh.
Surrounding the Golden Horseshoe is 2 million acres of protected farm land and green space called ‘The Greenbelt’, it is the largest greenbelt in the world. This greenbelt is also a protected water belt that protects waterways such as wetlands, lakes, valleys, streams, rivers and important ground water reserves. This area is permanently protected under the Ontario Growth Plan first created in 2006 as a result of widespread quarry activities, urban sprawl and large industrial growth concerns.
Moving a large population of both people and goods in an area slightly larger than Prince Edward Island is a monumental task for any jurisdiction. A series of expressways known as the 400’s do just that. The backbone being the 401 is one the widest and busiest expressways in the world. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is the largest in the Golden Horseshoe and is currently the only operator of a rail based rapid transit system. The TTC has planned major expansions over the next 10-year period. Other cities in the Golden Horseshoe have also approved or built some form of rail transit systems. Kitchener-Waterloo with its Ion light rail system. Hurontario light rail in Mississauga & Brampton. It is projected by Metrolink, the operator of Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit system will be operational by 2024. The average person takes 82 minutes to commute to and from work within the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
This area is home to almost 9 million people and expected to swell to 11.6 million by 2031 and 13.5 million by 2041, This is 68% of Ontario’s population and over a quarter of Canada’s population making it the largest and the fastest growing region Canada by population in not only Canada but North America as well. Under the new Anti-Sprawl policy created to protect agricultural and ecologically sensitive areas in the GGH, 60% of new residential developments will take place on already developed land.