For the last ten years that we’ve been visiting my in-laws in Canada, they’ve lived in the township of Oakville just outside of Toronto. When they first moved there, we were impressed by the small suburban areas, quaint feel in the centre of town, and the beautiful properties along the lakeshore. Everything just seems to fit together nicely.

Not having been here now for the last four years, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the town. Instead of the flat skyline we were used to, it’s now starting to fill with taller condo buildings.

An increasing number of properties along the lakeshore have eschewed traditional homes in favour of a more modernist look. Gone are the homes that tried to keep in with the style of other homes in the area. There are now several homes that can only be described as boxes comprising of glass and wood. Finally, the centre of town has lost its charm. I’ve noticed some of the smaller independent stores have gone. Instead, there are more retail outlets from more extensive franchises there.

In a way, I suppose, it’s been the victim of its own success. As more and more people are looking to move to the Greater Toronto Area, they look towards places outside of the city that isn’t too far away. Mississauga, located just outside the city, could be considered a city in its own right. The skyline is a sea of high-rise buildings that now dwarf what would have been the tallest buildings there twenty years ago. Oakville is the next town along the shores of Lake Ontario. With condo buildings now featuring prominently here, I think it’s safe to say it will follow the same route as Mississauga.

Just up the road from Oakville is the small town of Waterdown. I was stunned to see how much this small town has expanded over the last few years. What was once a quaint town centre is now dwarfed along the road by multi-story buildings for commerce and residential use.

One could argue that this is simply a sign of the times. I could partly agree with anyone who presented this argument. Everything changes over time, but it’s a shame to see the old, small towns along Lake Ontario gradually morphing into a single sprawling urban area.