My Southwestern Ontario


Map of Economic Regions, I borrowed this map from Dr. Moffatt’s website.

Over the weekend Dr. Mike Moffatt posted his definition of Southwestern Ontario (SWO) as well as his sub-division of our region. First, I find his subdivision of SWO intriguing and an apt description of the different parts of SWO. My issue is that the use of Economic Regions (ER) lumps communities into SWO that really aren’t in our region. Now I completely understand why Dr. Moffatt includes the communities that he has, simply put ERs are how Stat Can provide data that covers entire regions without excluding rural populations so you take what you can.

Defining SWO is a challenge as there are mismatches between the most relevant data that is available and the geographic division. I have had this issue researching development charges in our region as I can often get city/town information but then data on housing starts is by CMA or ER.

My ideal definition of SWO would be the following (I use counties for my definition:

– 22 (Dufferin county), 23 (Wellington county), 30 (Waterloo regional municipality), 28 (Haldimand Norfolk census division); 29 (Brant census division), 32 (Oxford county), 34 (Elgin county); 39 (Middlesex county), 36 (Chatham-Kent census division), 37 (Essex county), 38 (Lambton county), 31 (Perth county), 40 (Huron county), 41 (Bruce county) and 42 (Grey county).

More or less I cut, Barrie/Simcoe County (43) as well as Hamilton/Burlington (24 and 25) and Niagara (26) from my SWO. My reasoning for this is that the economic/social/political orientation of these communities in my opinion (Windsor bias could be showing) is towards GTA rather than SWO. I have friends who live in Hamilton and commute to the GTA and you don’t often hear of people living in Hamilton and commuting westward. From what I know of the Barrie region, it is quickly becoming its own economic hub in Central Ontario (by my definition) as well as an important northern starting point for commuting into the GTA. I don’t include Niagara because its primary connection to other parts of Ontario are via the QEW leading transportation networks to Hamilton and then the GTA. Additionally being a border region, like Windsor-Essex, a portion of their economic and political interests are tied Buffalo and New York state. 

My definition is hardly perfect as finding recent data that covers these areas is difficult and unfortunately, my trimming of Hamilton, Niagara and Barrie disrupts Dr. Moffatt’s relatively neat population distribution across his three sub-regions.


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