Of the many population centres and market towns which surround our portion of Southern Ontario, the City of Woodstock is one of the larger ones within a 45-minute drive of Kitchener-Waterloo.  With a population now north of 40,000 residents, the seat of Oxford County has in recent years become an increasingly popular option for would-be homebuyers exasperated by spiraling costs of ownership in Kitchener-Waterloo proper.

While Woodstock has popped onto the radar of KWAR members mainly for this reason, the city is not without significant amenities of its own – making it an ideal spot to settle down for anyone who has recently made the shift to WFH but might still need to put in the odd day at the office for meetings.  Sitting directly astride the confluence of the 401 and 403, and with a VIA Rail station of its own, the city is within easy striking distance of Hamilton and the GTA to the east, as well as London to the west.

The city itself is best represented by the broad and leafy avenues which branch north from the principal thoroughfare of Dundas Street (Ontario Highway 2); home to scores of stately Victorian-era residences and multiple public parks and squares.  Great examples of period architecture and properties with deep historic roots are scattered throughout the downtown area, making Woodstock an ideal home for Canadian history buffs, or for anyone with an eye for old-world craftsmanship, for that matter.  Original public and civil administration buildings to be found here include the market building, city hall and post office, the Oxford Country gaol, a Carnegie library, the armoury and the county courthouse, among others.

Originally settled at the turn of the 19th Century by a group of United Empire Loyalists, Woodstock later became a centre for immigration from the British Isles.  With the presence of a number of mills and small commercial concerns – as well as being a market town for the surrounding farmlands – population had grown to 1,500 by 1850, and Woodstock was first incorporated as a town the following year.  Growth continued into the 20th Century, with city status arriving in 1901 at nearly 9,000 residents.

In more recent times, growth has continued decade over decade as Woodstock’s reputation as a centre for manufacturing has spread – boosted, mainly, by the arrival of a $1.1B Toyota plant in 2005.  Outward expansion of the city’s suburban limits since then has been focused in the southern and north-eastern reaches of town, with hundreds of newly built homes and a handful of developments underway to meet increasing demand from out-of-town buyers.

If you’re on the lookout for more space for your family at a more reasonable price of entry, Woodstock could be an option worth exploring – so long as you don’t mind a commute (which is much friendlier than anything in the GTA)!  More than just a bedroom community for Kitchener-Waterloo or London, Woodstock is an amenity-filled urban centre in its own right, with its own rich heritage and surrounded by the picturesque rolling farmland characteristic of our part of Southwestern Ontario.

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