It used to be ‘Jane and Steeles’ and ‘Kipling’. But these are now the old Assyrian spots in Toronto. Welcome to Woodbridge, the beautiful town, part of the bigger municipality of Vaughan: welcome to the new ‘Assyria Town’ Yes, this is where a big wave of the Assyrian population has been relocating to, since the year 2000. That is the year where a large urban sprawl started taking place here. If you go back just 10 years in the past, this land was nothing more than a big empty space, with a few houses here and there, and lots of farms. Forward to the future, about 10 years later, and you will be amazed to find that Woodbridge and the city of Vaughan in general is undergoing some major construction and development, making it one of the fastest growing cities in all of Canada. Woodbridge (as well as Maple, which are both part of Vaughan) have got some of the biggest theaters, theme parks and malls in all of Canada. This includes the VaughanMills, Canada’s Wonderland, Colossus Theaters and much more. So it is no wonder that a lot of Assyrians have been relocating to the North, and settling in this great developing city.
Business and Retail Presence
This city doesn’t deserve the title of ‘Assyria Town’ just due to it having a big Assyrian population. That alone is not enough. It also got to do with all the Assyrian businesses that have been opening in the area, commercial and retail. In addition to that, Woodbridge has got some of the most popular Assyrian hang-out places, mainly Tim Horton’s Coffee spots and restaurants. The main one of course is on Weston and Rutherford, followed by the one on Weston and 407, and many others. There are also all the new Assyrian stores and retail businesses opening in the area. Baghdad Food Market was the first, opening in Vaughanmills Mall in 2005. It was followed by Sam’s Food Market in Woodbridge. And just this year alone, 3 other stores opened in Vaughanmills, including Kristine Hair Salon, Alexandria Boutique and Gril4U Shawerma Restaurant.
It is not just about the business and retail presence in this city, that would make it the obvious ‘Assyria Town’ of choice. There is more to it. The social side of it. When Iraq won the Asia Cup in the summer of this year, most of the celebrations for the Iraqi Assyro-Chaldo-Syriac community was centered in and around Vaughan. More precisely, at the Tim Horton’s on Weston and 407 and on Weston and Rutherford for the rest of the night. You had people coming from other parts of Toronto, to celebrate here. These celebrations clearly stamped the city as the new Assyrian front and their major new hub. The Assyrian Church has also taken some interest in the city of Woodbridge, holding their summer picnics in the ‘Polish Army Park’, located in a beautiful spot in Woodbridge.
Woodbridge is the Future and the Future is Now!
Given all this interest and visible presence by the Assyrian community in this city, it will be natural that more and more Assyrian businesses and even organizations will relocate to it. Consensus and urban trends in the GTA point to the fact that people keep moving to the North, and more 416ers are turning into 905ers. So the time has come for Assyrians elsewhere to follow up and take a look at relocating to this city, and be close to the community. Be it for business or living. Of course, this is not to suggest that Assyrian communities elsewhere in the GTA, such as in Toronto itself, Mississauga etc. are becoming a thing of the past, as they are very established and rooted in their areas for decades. But Vaughan and its daughter towns including Woodbridge and Maple, remain the hottest new destinations for Assyrians in the city at this moment. Looking forward to getting a franchise Assyrian Society social club here in Woodbridge!