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8 Small Towns to Move to LESS THAN 1 HOUR from the GTA

Are you tired of the craziness of living in Brampton or Toronto and craving that “hometown” feeling? In this blog, I’ll introduce you to the 8 different towns that make up Dufferin County – all with that small-town vibe – and, all within a 25-50 minute commute to the GTA.

If you follow the 410 to the northern border of Peel Region you’ll find yourself in Orangeville, which is just one of the 8 small towns that make up Dufferin County.  Full of tight-knit communities and spectacular views, one of these towns might just be the perfect place for you to call home.

#1. Orangeville

Orangeville is definitely the most populated and vibrant town within Dufferin County, with just over 30,000 residents in 2023.  It sits on the northern border of Caledon, ON, and is well known for its historic charm, welcoming locals, fantastic cuisine, and love for all things sports and the outdoors. The historic downtown is what attracts many newcomers looking to move away from the larger cities since it provides a great balance of that small-town feel while still offering a rich culture and atmosphere; from the weekly farmers market to lunch dates on the patio, live theatre and music, or one of the many events such as Ribfest or the Blues and Jazz festival.

#2. East Garafraxa

The Township of East Garafraxa, is a predominately rural community to the west of Orangeville and within commuting distance of urban centers such as Toronto, Brampton, Guelph, and Kitchener.  It features a mix of estate-style subdivisions, and rural estates but still remains predominantly farms.

#3. Mono

Probably most known for the stunning Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, Hockley Valley Resort & Island Lake Conservation Area, Mono, ON is a nature lovers paradise.  Located northeast of Orangeville, Mono is a popular destination for those looking to be emersed in nature while still having all of the conveniences of town just a few minutes away. It is also a very popular area for those looking for investments such as Airbnb or as a second home for those looking to escape the city on weekends.

Aerial view of Hockley Valley Resort in Mono, Ontario.

#4. Amaranth

In case the name didn’t give it away, Amaranth is a rural community named after the plant, Amaranth, which grows abundantly in the area.  Here you will find mostly farms, or rural homes with loads of acreage, and a few residential pockets such as the hamlet of Laurel.

#5. East Luther Grand Valley

East Luther Grand Valley is another rural community with a small residential community in the heart of town and is locally referred to as just “GRAND VALLEY”.  Although a new residential development recently brought a ton of new people to the area, it is still the embodiment of a “small town” and honestly, looks like something right out of an old western movie! Coined as “Nature’s Playground” it is well known for the Grand River which flows right through town, and the Luther Marsh which covers over 10,000 acres, including Luther Lake, which means a large portion of Grand Valley is environmentally protected.

#6. Shelburne

Shelburne is Dufferin County’s smallest town but also its fastest-growing. Located at the north end of Hwy 10 Shelburne is most known for its annual Fiddle Contest, tight-knit community, affordable housing, and its cold and windy winters. Many have flocked to Shelburne over the last 5 years from major cities like Brampton since the addition of affordable new housing developments making it a hub for investors and first-time buyers. But it’s also a great place to raise a family with its many parks, schools, and community events, not to mention the wide variety of indoor and outdoor sports and recreation. 

Shelburne, Ontario aerial view of downtown and water tower

#7. Mulmur

Located at the north-eastern border of Dufferin County sits Mulmur Township.  Straddling the Niagara Escarpment, Mulmur features a variety of level agricultural fields, steep slopes with breathtaking views, and river valleys surrounded by thick, lush forests.  While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this is the perfect place for those who love the outdoors … and AWD.

#8. Melancthon

Pronounced MEL-ANK-THON. A rural farming community on the northwest corner of Dufferin County. Melancthon is made up of mainly agricultural land best known for its amazing potatoes,  which produce more than half of the GTA’s fresh potatoes, all thanks to the exceptional “Class 1 soil”, and the residential hamlet of Hornings Mills.  It is also home to one of Canada’s largest wind farms.

So now that you know where to find these commute-friendly towns, you may also be wondering “Are these towns really that much more affordable?”. If so, click the link below to view all homes currently for sale in Dufferin County.

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