One of the most common questions for Muslims who live in the Greater Toronto Area (Ontario, Canada) is that whenever they travel within Toronto and adjacent cities are they deemed to be a traveller according to Islamic jurisprudence (Figh) or not?
The traveler ruling is precisely explained in Imamiyah Jurisprudence references and this note does not intend to elaborate on that. This note aims to answer this question: “where is the exact geographical boundary of the Greater Toronto Area in terms of the Islamic ruling pertinent to travelers?” in other words “how much a person who reside in Toronto area should move to be considered as a traveller according to Imamiyah Islamic Law (perform a two raka’ah salat instead of four raka’ah and break his/her fast)?”
First of all, it is necessary to define some related terms:
The main condition of to be considered a traveler is that the intention to travel the complete distance should be present at the start of the journey. It is necessary that either the walls of the town should disappear from sight or its adhan should not be hearable. This limit is around 1350 meters after the end of the city. The limit they have set for the beginning of the journey is also the limit for terminating it; i.e. if a person is returning back home, he is supposed to pray qasr until he sees the walls of his town or is able to hear its adhan.
This article is solely dedicated to scrutinizing the geographical boundary of the Greate Toronto Area for the purpose of determining the notion of “end of the city” in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). These are the assumptions for drawing the line of the boundary in determining the end of the city:
Based on the Google Earth satellite imagery that has been taken in Summer 2018 the cities that ARE part of the Greate Toronto Area from East to the West are Ajax, Pickering, Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington. The adjacent cities that are NOT part of the Greater Toronto Area are Whitby, Whitchurch, East Gwillimbury, West Gwillimbury, Kettleby, King City, Nobleton, Caledon, Georgetown, Milton, and Hamilton. It is worth noting that due to the fast urban development in the GTA this boundary should be updated at least each five years. Therefore, the introduced boundary for the GTA in this article is only valid until 2025 not beyond that.
Details of the end of the city boundary:
East: the boundary between Ajax and Whitby. This boundary is aligned with the highway 412 between the intersection 401 and road number 41. In this area the minimum distance of the houses is 2 kilometers which is far more than 800 meters (as our metric).
North: The northern boundary of Ajax at the road number 4, the northern boundary of Pickering at the road number 3 and Finch Avenue, the northern boundary of Markham at Major Mackenzie Drive East, the northern boundary of Newmarket at the road number 19 or Green Ln East, the northern boundary of Vaughn at the road number 49 or Teston Road, and the city of Brampton at the road number 14 or Mayfield Road.
West: the boundary between Burlington and Hamilton at the intersection of Hwy 403 and Hwy 6.
South: Lake Ontario.
The boundaries which needed more elaboration are the far East and far West. At the Eastern end, the boundary of Ajax and Whitby is determined by Highway 412 and its buffer. At this area the residential buildings are completely separated and located around 2 km apart from each other. The green and brown area on the map shows the agricultural or unbuilt lands and the gray areas are the residential units and houses.
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Finally, the higher resolution of the boundary of the GTA from East to West are provided below. As a reminder the areas with yellow hue are inside the Greater Toronto Area boundary.
Map no. 1: the Eastern boundary of GTA between Ajax and Whitby
Map no. 2: the east and north boundary of the GTA between Pickering and Toronto
Map no. 3: Northern boundary of GTA at the Markham area
Map no. 4: east, west and northern boundary of the GTA at the Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan areas
Map no. 5: east and western boundary of the GTA at the Aurora and Newmarket areas
Map no. 6: east, west and northern boundary of the GTA at the Newmarket area
Map no. 7: west and northern boundary of the GTA at the Vaughan area
Map no. 8: west and northern boundary of the GTA at the Vaughan and Brampton area
Map no. 9: the western boundary of the GTA at the Brampton area
Map no. 10: the western boundary of the GTA at the Mississauga area
Map no. 11: the western boundary of the GTA at the Oakville area
Map no. 12: the western boundary of the GTA at the Burlington area