Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Robert Sharpe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Since the 1970's, nonmetropolitan areas have grown at rates in excess of those experienced by metropolitan areas. Two opposing arguments have been put forth in attempting to explain such a trend. Such arguments focus on the processes of counterurbanisation and metropolitan overspill. This paper ascertains to what extent these processes determine population change in Simcoe County, Ontario, between the years of 1971 and 1991. Associated physical factors, such as metropolitan distance and accessibility, settlement size, and settlement form, are all assessed. Emphasis, however, is placed on an examination of internal and external commuting patterns and their role in explaining recent patterns of demographic change. The results suggest that demographic growth has been generated by both external and internal sources. On the one hand, growth has occurred because of the spillover of population from Metropolitan Toronto. Those municipalities which are closest to, have direct transportation links to, and are part of the Metropolitan Toronto commutershed, have been Simcoe County's fastest-growing areas over the past twenty years. And yet, internal processes not characteristic of counterurbanisation, also seem to be of importance. A combination of Toronto's overspill, along with its own internally-generated deveiopment, have resulted in the substantial growth of Barrie and the increasing incorporation of the County into its sphere of influence. Furthermore, many of the municipalities now part of Barrie's commutershed have also experienced a rapid increase in population growth. Meanwhile, those municipalities in Simcoe County not influenced by either Metropolitan Toronto or Barrie, have not grown quickly nor by many people.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season