Greater Toronto Area (GTA) retail insights and opportunities
Emerging clusters of development
- Heli Brecailo
- Caleb Harris
Driving Factors for Retail-Space Growth in the GTA
Population Growth: The outlook for population growth certainly makes the GTA an area of interest for retail. As the top destination for newcomers, its population is expected to exceed 10 million by 2046 – up from only 6.2 million in 2021.
Housing Development: The focus on high-density, mixed-use projects in growth areas and along transit corridors is bringing easy access to retail, services, amenities, and employment. Far higher housing demand than supply – which is currently creating affordability challenges – should continue to fuel further housing and retail construction.
Economic Growth: As the country’s hub for finance, technology, and health care, the GTA should continue to be one of the earliest (or the first) landing places for international retailers and retail innovation.
Transit and Infrastructure Development: Despite proceeding more slowly than desired, the construction of new subway lines and the expansion of GO Transit opens opportunities for increased accessibility and foot traffic, increasing retail demand.
Provincial Plans Shaping Future Growth in the GTA
The Province of Ontario is shaping the future growth of the GTA through several key provincial plans that emphasize sustainable development and efficient use of land and infrastructure by encouraging intensification and higher densities in strategic growth areas.
The goal is to support transit viability, reduce sprawl, and create complete communities that are walkable, livable, and sustainable. To achieve these goals, provincial plans set minimum intensification and density targets to make the best use of the region's limited land and infrastructure resources.
More recently, Ontario is seeking input on a new Provincial Planning Statement that would replace the existing Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The province wants to ensure that the policy framework is supportive of housing and aligned with the goal of building 1.5 million new homes in Ontario by 2031.
- The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe provides a detailed framework for where and how growth should be accommodated, setting targets for population and employment growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the GTA.
- The Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Program places more housing, retail, and jobs near or at transit stations along the routes of the province’s priority transit projects.
- The Housing Supply Action Plan (HSAP) reduces government fees and addresses delays in development approvals so that 1.5 million homes can be built in the province over 10 years.
- The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) provides direction on a range of land-use planning issues, including retail development, and influences how municipalities – the primary decision-makers at the local level – make decisions about zoning and development approval.
- The Greenbelt Plan and The Oak Ridges Moraine Plan help protect important and productive agricultural land, water resources, and natural areas from urbanization and support the development of compact communities.
- Milton – Trafalgar Corridor
- Milton – Agerton Area
- Midtown Oakville
- Downtown Burlington
- Brampton – Heritage Heights
- Pickering – Kingston Road
- Pickering – Seaton