- For other places with the same name, see Vaughan (disambiguation).
Vaughan (pronounced "Von") is a city of 306,000 people (2016) in York Region, in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, north of Toronto, west of Richmond Hill and Markham, east of Brampton, and south of Simcoe County. It is a vast suburban and rural area whose principal draws for visitors are the Canada's Wonderland amusement park, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Vaughan is a conglomeration of former towns that have now sprawled to become one city. Many residents identify with these smaller towns rather than as Vaughan, with the exception of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.
- Maple - Old town is around Keele Street and Major Mackenzie, Vaughan City Hall is located near there.
- Woodbridge - Old town is on Woodbridge Avenue between Islington Ave and Kipling Ave. Modern boundaries are Steeles Avenue in the south, Highway 400 in the east, Major Mackenzie Drive in the north, and Highway 50 in the west.
- Concord - Concord is mainly comprised of industrial buildings. Concord's boundaries are Steeles Avenue to the south, Highway 400 to the west, Dufferin Street to the east, and Rutherford Road to the north.
- Thornhill - Thornhill stretches into Markham. Old Thornhill is on Yonge Street between Centre Street and John Street. Modern boundaries of Thornhill-Vaughan are Dufferin Street in the west, Highway 7 in the north, Yonge Street in the east, and Steeles Avenue in the south.
- Kleinburg - The old town is on Islington Avenue and Nashville Road, near Highway 27.
- Vaughan Metropolitan Centre - VMC is the new "downtown" area of Vaughan that was carved out of Concord. It is still in development. It is around Highway 7 and Jane. Many new condominiums are being built at as of Jan 2021, most of them already sold out.
In the late pre-contact period, the Huron-Wendat people populated what is today Vaughan. The Skandatut ancestral Wendat village overlooked the east branch of the Humber River (Pine Valley Drive) and was once home to approximately 2000 Huron in the 16th century. The site is close to a Huron ossuary (mass grave) uncovered in Kleinburg in 1970, and 1 km north of the Seed-Barker Huron site.
The first European to pass through Vaughan was the French explorer Étienne Brûlé, who traversed the Humber Trail in 1615. However, it was not until the townships were created in 1792 that Vaughan began to see European settlements, as it was considered to be extremely remote and the lack of roads through the region made travel difficult. The township was named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed a peace treaty with the United States in 1783.
Despite the hardships of pioneer life, settlers came to Vaughan in considerable numbers. The population grew from 19 men, 5 women, and 30 children in 1800 to 4,300 in 1840. The first people to arrive were mainly Pennsylvania Germans, with a smaller number of families of English descent and a group of French Royalists. This migration from the United States was by 1814 superseded by immigrants from Britain. While many of their predecessors had been agriculturalists, the newer immigrants proved to be highly skilled tradespeople, which would prove useful for a growing community.
Around the facilities established by this group were a number of hamlets, the oldest of which was Thornhill, in which was built a saw-mill in 1801, and a grist mill in 1815. It had a population of 300 by 1836. Other such enclaves included Kleinburg, Coleraine, Maple, Richmond Hill, Teston, Claireville, Pine Grove, Carrville, Patterson, Burlington, Concord, Edgeley, Fisherville, Elder's Mills, Elgin Mills, Jefferson, Nashville, Purpleville, Richvale, Sherwood, Langstaff, Vellore, and Burwick (Woodbridge).
World War II sparked an influx of immigration, and by 1960, the population stood at about 16,000. The ethno-cultural composition of the area began to change with the arrival of different groups such as Italians, Jews and Eastern Europeans.
The City of Vaughan is served mainly by Toronto Pearson International Airport. From Pearson Airport, you could use several methods to reach Vaughan. By automobile, you would take 409 East, exit onto Highway 401 East, and then take Highway 400 North, and after that, it depends where you need to go. Alternatively, if you only need to get to the west side of Vaughan, you could take Highway 427 North from the airport instead. Using public transit, you could take GO Bus 40 (Hamilton-Richmond Hill Centre), which goes from Terminal One to Highway 407 Station, and transfer onto local transit, the subway, or another GO Bus if required.
A few flights also arrive at Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto. From Billy Bishop, there are several methods to reach Vaughan. By automobile, you take Gardiner Expy West, 427 North, then 401 East, then 400 North, and after that, depends on where you need to go. Alternatively, if you only need to get to the west side of Vaughan, you could just continue on Highway 427 northbound.
Using public transit, you could take the subway, which is cheaper or the GO commuter train, which is faster. For the subway, take Line 1 north towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. Vaughan is served by two stations. Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is the terminus and where the "new downtown" is, and has connections to local VIVA rapid transit as well as other local buses. Highway 407 Station has connections to regional GO Buses. For the commuter train, take the Barrie Line. Two stations are in Vaughan, which are Maple GO and Rutherford GO. When trains are not running, GO buses replace the service.
The City of Vaughan is only served by GO Transit commuter rail. Within the city of Vaughan are two GO stations: 1 Rutherford GO Station and 2 Maple GO Station, all part of the Barrie Line. Barrie Line goes south to Union Station or north to Barrie. From Toronto, take the Barrie Line north to either Rutherford or Maple stations. From Barrie, take the Barrie line south to either Rutherford or Maple Stations. From either east or west, one must transfer at Toronto's Union Station in order to take the Barrie line.
Three major freeways run through Vaughan: Highway 400, Highway 427, and Highway 407 ETR. Highway 400 goes north/south towards Barrie and Toronto. Highway 427 goes north/south and ends in Toronto on the south side. Highway 407 ETR goes to Brampton and Richmond Hill. The Highway 407 ETR is an electronically tolled highway, and therefore there are no toll booths to collect money; your licence plate is photographed. In addition, the rates are based on mileage: rates are available on to their website.
Arterial roads in the City of Vaughan are laid out in a grid format, usually 2 km by 2 km. There are few turn restrictions, however, there are more in busier areas. Parking is generally free and readily available.
Bus service into Vaughan is provided by TTC, YRT and GO. (See York Region article for details.)
The Toronto Transit Commission's subway Line 1 Yonge-University provides service from downtown Toronto to three stations in Vaughan, York Region. The three stations are Pioneer Village (at the Toronto/Vaughan border), Highway 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, all having bus connections. A trip from Union Station in downtown Toronto to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre takes about 50 minutes. Subway service is provided by the Toronto Transit Commission and uses only TTC fares. There are no free transfers between the subway and YRT, Viva, Go Transit or Züm buses.
Vaughan is a relatively large city, however, it is sparse compared to neighbouring Toronto. Getting around is usually best with a car, however, you may cycle or take the bus.
Vaughan is served by the York Region's Transit system (YRT and VIVA) as well as the provincial GO Transit. Some ZUM (Brampton Transit) routes also enter Vaughan.
York Region Transit
York Region Transit is the main local transit agency. It operates in Vaughan, and in neighbouring Richmond Hill, King, and the rest of York Region. Click the link for an overview on bus service in York Region.
York Region Transit operates from 5AM in the morning to 1AM at night. It does depend on the route, however. It is best to check a schedule to reduce unnecessary waiting time.
The primary fare media used on the YRT is the Presto Card, which is also usable on many surrounding transit systems, on UP Express between Pearson Airport and downtown, and on GO Transit which provides regional rail and bus service (including service to Niagara Falls). Presto cards may be purchased at many local outlets, and at any staffed GO Transit station, The card costs $6.00, and can be loaded with any desired amount of money. To use the card, tap it on the green reader when entering a bus. A green light and a beep will confirm acceptance. If multiple YRT/VIVA vehicles are used to complete a one-way journey under two hours from your initial tap-on, only a single fare will be charged. Separate fares apply on other transit systems.
Many York Region Transit routes mostly follow major arterial roads.
A simple chart to remember the routes on major arterials:
- 4/4A - Major Mackenzie Drive
- 85/85C - Rutherford Road
- 77 - Highway 7 (use for local trips)
- Viva Orange - Highway 7/Centre Street/Bathurst Street (use for express trips)
- 5 - Clark Avenue
- 7 - Martin Grove Road
- 13 - Islington Avenue
- 165/165F - Weston Road
- 20 - Jane Street
- 107 or 96 - Keele Street
- 105 - Dufferin Street
- 88 - Bathurst Street
VIVA is the rapid transit branch of YRT. In Vaughan, it is only present on Highway 7, Centre Street, and Bathurst Street. VIVA and YRT use the same fare; one can transfer without paying extra charges. However, on VIVA, in an attempt to lower waiting time at stops, fare payment is done at the stop rather than on the bus. If you are caught riding without proof-of-payment, you may be fined for fare evasion. VIVA buses sometimes use rapidways, which are bus lanes situated in the middle of the road. These are present on Highway 7, Centre Street, and Bathurst Street. They include a heated waiting area.
In 2017, the Toronto Transit Commission opened an extension to Line 1 Yonge-University-Spadina. 6 new stations were opened, two of which are in the City of Vaughan. These stations are Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and Highway 407 Station. The TTC fares are not interchangeable with YRT fares. Therefore, even if you just travel within Vaughan, you must still pay a separate fare.
- Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station - This station is the western terminus of Line 1 of the TTC at Highway 7 and Jane Street. It connects to local YRT Bus service and VIVA buses. There are large parking lots, however, they are privately owned.
- Highway 407 Station - This station is mainly a commuter station and is at Jane Street and Highway 407 ETR. Many GO bus services and local YRT bus routes connect here. There are large parking lots.
Vaughan has two GO stations, which are part of the Barrie Line. Rutherford GO and Maple GO. During non-rush hour times, these routes are replaced by GO bus service.
- Maple GO - near Keele Street and Major Mackenzie Drive, the GO station is relatively small. It is connected to local YRT bus service.
- Rutherford GO - near Keele Street and Rutherford Road, this GO station has extensive parking lots. It is also connected to local YRT bus service.
Taxis are generally not found on the roads; therefore they cannot be hailed from the street. In order to acquire a taxi, it is best to pre-book a trip using a phone or using the internet.
Ride-share applications such as Uber and Lyft can also be used and are easier to acquire a ride compared to traditional taxis.
Unlike the neighbouring City of Toronto, it is completely legal to cycle on sidewalks. Due to this, it is very safe to cycle as you are separated from the vehicles. Some routes also have dedicated bike paths on the side (Dufferin Street from Rutherford to Major Mackenzie). In addition, some roads also have bike lanes on the side of the road.
It is a provincial law that cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet, and all riders must have a bike with reflectors and a bell. This is almost never enforced due to the low number of cyclists.
The YRT has taken measures to be welcoming of bicycles. All YRT/VIVA buses have easy to use bike racks, and bicycles are allowed onto the TTC subway during off-peak hours. This allows you to be able to take your bike almost anywhere in the city.
Beware of right-turning vehicles when you enter an intersection. Drivers usually do not expect cyclists or pedestrians due to the low number of peds and cyclists. Therefore they may not look before they turn, as they only look for other cars.
See https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1UtUsyG3R54vtWe2a38Bn3TZbiTA for Vaughan's official cycling map, which indicates which routes have bike lanes, where trails are located, etc. Note that "Bike Routes", whether signed or unsigned, does not necessarily mean there is extra infrastructure in place for cycling; it could just be a normal road.
As a suburban community, driving is the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to get around. Arterial roads are in grid format and are 2 km apart. Some of the busiest routes include Highway 7, Bathurst Street, Rutherford Road, and Highway 27.
There are 3 major freeways in Vaughan:
- Highway 400 runs north/south and is situated in between Jane Street and Weston Road. Highway 400 heads to Barrie and Sudbury going north, and to Toronto's Black Creek neighbourhood going south. It ends at Highway 401 on the southern end. Highway 400 has exits at Steeles Avenue, Highway 407 ETR, Highway 7, Langstaff Road (partial), Bass Pro Mills Drive (partial), Rutherford Road, Major Mackenzie Drive, and Teston Road in Vaughan. A short drive north of the Teston Toad interchange, there are travel plazas in both directions.
- Highway 407 ETR runs east/west north of Steeles Avenue and south of Highway 7. After Keele Street, the highway runs largely parallel to Highway 7. The 407 is an electronically tolled freeway; therefore there are no toll booths. Your licence plate is photographed. Rates vary depending on the time of day, and is based on mileage. Rates are available on their website. The 407 ETR has agreements with several provinces and state governments (notably Quebec and New York); therefore just because you might have an out-of-province plate does not mean you will not be charged. Highway 407 ETR has exits at Highway 427, Highway 27, Pine Valley Drive, Weston Road (partial), Highway 400, Jane Street, Keele Street, Dufferin Street, and Bathurst Street in Vaughan.
- Highway 427 runs north/south and is situated between Highway 50 and Highway 27. As of Nov 2020, Highway 427 ends at Highway 7, but the freeway is being extended north to Major Mackenzie Drive. Highway 427 goes south to Etobicoke in Toronto and ends at the QEW/Gardiner Expressway interchange. Highway 427 has exits at Highway 407 ETR and Highway 7 in Vaughan. Beware of the large number of trucks on Highway 427, as the freeway passes through mostly industrial lands.
- 1 McMichael Canadian Art Gallery, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 10AM-4PM, closed Dec 25. Renowned for its devotion to collecting and exhibiting only Canadian art, the McMichael permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the only major public art gallery devoted solely to the collecting and exhibiting of Canadian art. The gallery offers visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy Canadian landscape paintings in the woodland setting that inspired them. Adult $18, senior $15, 25 and under $5, child 5 and under free, parking $7.
- 2 Woodbridge Fairgrounds, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Baitul Islam Mosque, 10610 Jane Street, Maple, ☏ (ext 2246). Headquarters of the Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
- 3 Reptilia Zoo, 2501 Rutherford Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-6PM, holidays 10AM-5PM. A 25,000 sq ft Reptile Zoo and Education Centre near Vaughan Mills and Canada's Wonderland. Over 250 reptiles, amphibians, and a few arachnids. Adults 13-64 $17, child 2-12 $12, senior 65+ $14, infants under 2 free.
- 4 J. E. H. MacDonald House, 121 Centre St, Thornhill (at Yonge St), ☏ . Once the home of famed Canadian painter, J.E.H. MacDonald, a founding member of the Group of Seven and his accomplished son, illustrator Thoreau MacDonald. The house is now used as an event space.
- 1Canada's Wonderland, 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive (YRT bus 760 from GO bus terminal at Finch subway station), ☏ . A theme park that is open seasonally from May to October and contains more than 200 attractions. 17 roller coasters, 20 acre (8 hectare) waterpark.
- 2 Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Dr (Exit on Rutherford Dr from Highway 400), ☏ . Daily 9:30AM–4PM. A modern wildlife conservation centre that has hiking, workshops, and encounters with the wildlife.
- Boyd Conservation Area, a park between Woodbridge and Kleinburg southeast of the intersection of Islington Avenue and Rutherford Road.
- North Maple Regional Park, 11805 Keele Street. A 900-acre park that used to be landfill.
Vaughan has no public post-secondary institutions. However, Vaughan is home to the Canadian Campus of Niagara University, a private Catholic University, and offers programs in Education. It is located east of Jane and Highway 7, in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. York University, a full public university in Toronto, is located on the Toronto-Vaughan border, at Steeles and Jane.
Vaughan has been called Canada's best shopping city numerous times.
- 1 Promenade. In the east of the city, at the corner of Bathurst St. and Centre St. It has 290,000 sq ft. of retail space with over 175 retailers. Anchors include, T & T Supermarket, The Children's Place, Old Navy, American Eagle Outfitters, Coach, and the second Aroma Espresso Bar in Canada. Movie theatre operated by Rainbow Cinema.
- 2 Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Concord (Rutherford-Highway 400), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM; Su 11AM-7PM. Large outlet mall adjacent to Canada's Wonderland in central Vaughan, with 1.2 million sq ft of indoor shopping, an outdoor power centre area and 15 anchor stores, including Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, H&M, The Children's Place, Holt Renfrew Last Call, Tommy Hilfiger, and Urban Behaviour. Legoland Discovery Centre is available for entertainment, and food court and full-service dining options are available. The mall is open on most statutory holidays; a shuttle bus is run to Toronto's Union Station June-Sept and during the month before Christmas.
- 3 Market Lane Shopping Centre, 140 Woodbridge Ave (exit on Islington Blvd from Highway 7; turn on Woodbridge Ave), ☏ . In the city's west end.
- 1 Romano's Restaurant, 830 Rowntree Dairy Road, Woodbridge, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 11:30AM-3PM, Tu-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. Upscale Italian.
- 2 Siamese Thai Cuisine, 200 Whitmore Rd, Unit 11-12, Woodbridge, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sa 4:30PM-10:30PM, Su 4:30PM-9:30PM. Dishes $12-19, lunch specials $10-12.
- 3 Churrasqueira Red Rooster, 2354 Major MacKenzie Dr # 1, Maple, ☏ . Su M 11AM-8PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-9PM. Portuguese-style dishes. Grilled & rotisserie chicken, parisienne potatoes, rice and homemade Piri Piri sauce. Mains $13.50-23, sandwiches $7.50-8.
- 2 Novotel Toronto Vaughan, 200 Bass Pro Mills Drive, toll-free: . 3-star hotel. Right next to Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre and Highway 400.
- 3 Aloft Vaughan Mills, 151 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Vaughan, ☏ . 3-star hotel. Right next to Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre and Highway 400.
- 4 Kleinburg Inn, 9770 Highway 27, Woodbridge, ☏ . The only lodging in Kleinburg. (It's in Woodbridge but it's closer to Kleinburg.) 2-star hotel. At the intersection of Highway 27 and Major Mackenzie Drive.
There are no hotels in Maple.
- 5 Liberty Suites Hotel, 7191 Yonge St #1201, Thornhill, ☏ . It's in Markham on the border between Markham and Vaughan. 3-star hotel. Close to Steeles Avenue and Toronto.
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
A cluster of hotels are located around the Highway 400 and Highway 407 interchange. They are near Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway station and Viva Rapidway.
- 6 Courtyard by Mariott, 150 Interchange Way, Concord, ☏ . 3-star hotel. Double from $140.
- 7 Residence Inn by Mariott, 11 Interchange Way, Vaughan, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 8 Hilton Garden Inn, 3201 Hwy 7, Vaughan, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 9 Monte Carlo Inn, 705 Applewood Crescent, Concord, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 10 Homewood Suites by Hilton, 618 Applewood Crescent, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 11 Springhill Suites by Mariott, 612 Applewood Crescent, Vaughan, ☏ . 3-star hotel.
- 12 New Woodbine Hotel, 7242 Highway 27, Woodbridge, ☏ . A motel. Right next to Highway 407 ETR as well as a cemetery. Also near Highway 427.
- 13 Holiday Inn Express, 6100 Hwy 7, Woodbridge, ☏ . 3-star hotel. At Highway 7 and Highway 27 intersection. Near Highway 427.
- 14 Element Vaughan Southwest, 6170 Hwy 7, Woodbridge, ☏ . 3-star hotel. At Highway 7 and Highway 27 intersection. Near Highway 427.
- 15 Vaughan Inn, 6700 Hwy 7, Woodbridge, ☏ . 2-star hotel. At Highway 7 and Highway 50 intersection. Near Highway 427.
These two hotels are at the southern border of the city with Toronto. They also happen to be in different communities (one is in Woodbridge the other in Concord) but are literally right next to each other.
- 16 Four Points by Sheraton, 3400 Steeles Avenue West, Concord, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 3-star hotel on Steeles at Highway 400, at the border of Toronto. Near York University and Pioneer Village subway station. Note that there's only a northbound exit onto Steeles.
- 17 Staybridge Suites Toronto - South Vaughan, 3600 Steeles Ave West, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-star hotel on Steeles at Highway 400, at the border of Toronto. Near York University and Pioneer Village subway station. Note that there's only a northbound exit onto Steeles. $170 and up.
Vaughan is a very safe city. There is organized crime in Vaughan, however, those rarely affect regular people. Pickpocketing is also rare due to the sparse nature of the city.
There are a few homeless people in Vaughan. They may ask for money at the side of the road.
Pedestrians and cyclists should beware of vehicles making right turns.
Avoid river/creek banks or bridge underpasses during periods of excessive rain, during/after heavy thundershowers or melting snow. Recent flooding can soften the soil and cause it to suddenly collapse into the water under any weight.
Occasionally, Vaughan will be hit with a severe winter storm accompanied by significant snowfall (quite often mixed with freezing rain, ice, or sleet). Avoid driving during and immediately after the storms if at all possible. This is especially true for those unfamiliar with winter driving and controlling a car in a skid. Take public transit, walk, or stay inside.
For an emergency, dial 911 (you can dial it at the pay phone without inserting any coins).
Vaughan has three overlapping area codes, 905, 365 and 289. However, area codes from Toronto (416, 437, 647) are common in Vaughan. As a result, Vaughan has 10-digit local dialling. You must always dial the area code as part of the number you are trying to reach.
Complimentary internet is available at Vaughan Public Libraries.
yorkregion.com has local news
1 Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is at the northwest corner of Major MacKenzie Drive W and Jane St intersection. It is just north of Canada's Wonderland.
York Regional Police serves as the city's law enforcement. There is only one police station that serves the City of Vaughan. Due to Vaughan's size, sometimes a station from a neighbouring municipality may be closer.
- York Regional Police District 4, 2700 Rutherford Road, Concord, ☏ . York Regional Police District 4 police station
There is only one radio station that operates in Vaughan, being CFU758 (frequency 90.7 FM), which is a high school radio operated by Vaughan Secondary School. It does not broadcast very far and can be only heard in the vicinity of the school.
All other radio heard in Vaughan is broadcast from across the Greater Toronto Area, with most being from Toronto. CityNews 680 is Toronto's all news radio, and reports breaking news, weather, and traffic.
Take public transit to Downtown Toronto or take local flights from nearby Buttonville, Markham, Brampton or Downsview airports. These may include aerial tours.
The region is a gateway to Southern Ontario with tourist attractions including Niagara Falls, Ontario Wine Country and the Niagara Escarpment. Take a day trip to Lake Simcoe or Lake Wilcox. Many parks are located nearby.
|Routes through Vaughan|
|Barrie ← King ←||N S||→ North York → Toronto|
|Hamilton ← Brampton ←||W E||→ Richmond Hill → Markham|
|END ←||N S||→ Mississauga → Toronto|
|Kitchener ← Brampton ← becomes ←||W E||→ Richmond Hill → Markham|
|END ←||N S||→ North York → Entertainment and Financial Districts, Toronto|
|Barrie ← Aurora ←||N S||→ North York → Toronto|