Toronto 2025: Growth brings Milton prosperity, growing pains
'We're not growing out anymore, we're growing up,' mayor says
The surging growth of the Greater Toronto Area is putting new pressure on Milton.
In 1955, less than 3,000 people lived in the town located about 55 kilometres west of Toronto. But between 2006 and 2011, Milton's population grew by 56 per cent, earning it the title of Canada's fastest growing community.
Located next door to Mississauga and Oakville and only an hour from Toronto by GO Train, the town offers housing that is affordable by Toronto standards and what Krantz calls "a bit of both town and country."
Milton's population, now just over 100,000, is expected to double in the next 15 years to 230,000.
It's also one of the youngest communities in Canada, with an average age of 34 years old.
Krantz has witnessed much of the town's transformation. He was first elected mayor in 1980 and began serving on town council back in 1965.
He said the town's challenge in the coming years will be to add more housing while using less land.
"When I was first elected, apartment buildings and townhouses were never heard of," he told CBC News. "That was probably the wrong thing because we were using up a tremendous amount of land."
He remembers when four houses were built on an acre of land. Now six houses per acre is common.
"We're not growing out anymore, we're growing up."
Pressures over land use cropped up last week, with some residents planning to oppose CN Railway plans for a new container transfer terminal close to town.
Krantz said he worries about Milton losing its identity as a small town and admits residents are feeling the growing pains. Rush hour traffic can be difficult and parking can be a problem at the local GO station.
But he's confident the community can grow without losing what made it popular in the first place: its proximity to Toronto with easy access to natural areas like the Niagara Escarpment.
"There are two types of people in this world, those of us who are Miltonians and those who wish they were," he jokes.