With a specialization in tradeable goods and services that drive the regional economy, the TYW megazone represents a diversified economic profile and almost 140,000 jobs. This makes it one of the most significant employment areas in the GGH. To put it in perspective, the TYW area has almost as many jobs as all of the Urban Growth Centres outside the City of Toronto combined.1

Manufacturing is the dominant activity, representing a regionally significant cluster. Indeed, the area could be thought of as the region's workshop. As well, wholesaling and transportation activities figure prominently, given the presence of the CN intermodal terminal. The zone contains other regionally significant economic assets, such as York University.

In recent years, the area has been undergoing a significant transformation related to the ongoing restructuring of the GGH economy. Almost 13,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared, largely replaced with jobs in warehousing and transportation, business services, and higher education. In addition, almost 6,000 population-related jobs were added to the area.

The creation of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and the replanning of Downsview, as well as major transit investments in the extension of the Spadina subway and Highway 7 BRT, signal the further evolution of the area and have the potential to help address the auto-dependence of the megazone.

Of particular importance is ensuring that major public investments in transit are having a meaningful impact on reducing auto dependence and supporting densification. The potential success of initiatives such as the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre must be understood in the context of a restructuring regional economy, which affects the mix of firms, their locational requirements, and their expectations with respect to the nature of the built environment.

The challenges should not be underestimated, highlighting the need for reurbanization strategies that integrate planning, placemaking, transit investments, and economic development. The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre exemplifies this approach, but even with a direct connection to the newly extended subway, substantial financial incentives have been required to attract office development.

Moreover, it will be critical to ensure that office uses - the single most important source of higher density employment uses - are directed to transit-accessible locations.

[1] TYW had 140,380 jobs as of 2011, while the UGCs outside of the City of Toronto had a combined total of 151,535 jobs.