Discover Pickering, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

Introduction to Pickering, Ontario

Pickering, Ontario, with a population of 99,186 as of 2021, is a city nestled in Southern Ontario, Canada. It lies immediately east of Toronto in Durham Region. The city's history dates back to the 1770s when it was primarily settled by British colonists. The population surged after the American Revolutionary War, as the Crown resettled Loyalists and encouraged new immigration. Today, Pickering is home to several provincially significant historic sites and museums, as well as the multi-billion-dollar casino complex, Durham Live.

The Rich History of Pickering, Ontario

Early Period

The present-day Pickering was Aboriginal territory for thousands of years. The Wyandot, who spoke an Iroquoian language, were the historical people living here in the 15th century. The first recorded history of this area was made in 1669, when the French Jesuit missionary François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon noted reaching what he called the Seneca (more likely the Onondaga) village of Gandatsetiagon, on the shores of Frenchman's Bay.

Township of Pickering

The British took over Canada in 1763 following the defeat of the French in the Seven Years' War. British colonial settlers began migrating into the area from eastern parts of Canada. The township was originally called "Edinburgh" but in 1792 was renamed after Pickering, North Yorkshire. The conversion of a local trail into the Kingston Road in 1799 greatly increased settlement in the area.

City of Pickering

On 1 January 1974, the Ontario County was dissolved, and the area became part of the Regional Municipality of Durham. The rest of the township became the Town of Pickering, which in 2000, became the City of Pickering. The city has seen a rise in the number of high-rise condos in the 21st century.

The Cityscape of Pickering, Ontario


The city covers an area of 231 square kilometres (89 sq mi) with an elevation of 89 metres (292 ft). Toronto, Markham, and Rouge Park border Pickering on the west; Ajax and Whitby border Pickering on the east; Uxbridge is to the north; and Lake Ontario forms Pickering's southern boundary.


The southern part of the city is mainly suburban, with industrial areas restricted to the area around Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The northern part of the municipality is mainly rural, primarily used for agricultural purposes. The primary rural communities in Pickering are Claremont, Brougham, and Whitevale.

Demographics of Pickering, Ontario

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Pickering had a population of 99,186 living in 33,425 of its 34,327 total private dwellings, a change of 8.1% from its 2016 population of 91,771. The city has estimated that by 2031, Pickering will be home to 131,608 residents.

Ethnicity and Language in Pickering, Ontario

As per the 2021 census, the most common ethnic or cultural origins in Pickering are English (14.0%), Irish (11.5%), Scottish (11.0%), Canadian (10.6%), Indian (9.6%), Italian (5.6%), German (5.0%), Jamaican (4.3%), Filipino (4.3%), Chinese (3.9%), British Isles (3.6%), Pakistani (3.5%), Sri Lankan (3.3%), and French (3.3%). The 2021 census found English to be the mother tongue of 69.2% of the population.

Infrastructure in Pickering, Ontario


Transit service in Pickering began with the Bay Shores dial-a-bus, which began in 1970–1973. In 2001 Pickering Transit merged with former Ajax Transit to form the Ajax-Pickering Transit Authority (APTA). In 2006, the regional transit system Durham Region Transit took over operations in the Durham Regional Municipality.

Pickering, Ontario in Popular Culture


Pickering has been the filming location for several films and television shows, including the 1957 CBC/Hollywood production of the classic television show Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, the 1979 film The Black Stallion, and the 1994 comedy The Ref.


A television adaptation of Jack Reacher was partially filmed in North Pickering.


"Past years in Pickering: Sketches of the History of the Community" by William Robertson Wood provides a detailed account of the community's history.