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History of Georgetown

Georgetown is a community in the town of Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. It is located approximately 60km west of Toronto, situated on the Credit River, and is part of the municipality of Halton Region. Georgetown is part of the Greater Toronto Area. Georgetown takes its name from George Kennedy, who settled in the area in 1821.

 

History

Pre-British purchase

By 1650, the once plentiful Hurons had been wiped out by French missionaires, European diseases, and Iroquois. The region was now open to the Algonquian Ojibwa (also known as Mississauga) -- who moved in. By 1850 the remaining Mississauga natives were removed to the Six Nations Reserve, where the New Credit Reserve was established.

British purchase

Commencing in 1781, the British Government would purchase blocks of land from the Mississauga Nation. In 1818, the purchase that was made would become the townships of Esquesing and Nassagaweya. The task of laying out the townships fell to Timothy Street and Abraham Nelles. Charles Kennedy was hired by Nelles to survey the northern part of the townships - which would become lots 18 thru 32. Charles Kennedy received land as payment for his work.

Arrival of the brothers Kennedy

The brothers of Charles Kennedy - John, Morris, Samuel and George -- all acquired land to close one another in the Silver Creek Valley. A sawmill was built by Charles Kennedy where Main Street meets Wildwood Road. George Kennedy also built a sawmill which became the centre of a small settlement. The mill was located off of 8th line.

Other settlements in the area

Esquesing Village (Stewarttown) was the capital of the township. In addition, it was on the main north-south route to the steamships at Oakville. The Stewart Brothers had a prosperous mill in Esquesing Village.James McNab had a prosperous mill in Norval.

York to Guelph Road

In 1828, John Galt opened the road which connected the settlement around George Kennedy's Mill with the other two settlements in the area.

Kennedy's settlement grows

As Kennedy's Mill prospered, he built a grist mill, foundry and a woolen mill. Unfortunately, business was poor, which lead to the nick-name 'Hungry Hollow'. Around 1834 the Barber brothers arrived and within three years had purchased the mills from Kennedy.

Georgetown

About 1837 is when the area adopted the name Georgetown. It was also the year that two of the Barber Brothers (William and James) purchased the mill and land from George Kennedy.

The railway

In May of 1852 a rail route through Georgetown, Brampton and Weston to Toronto was announced.

McGibbon Hotel

Originally known as the Railway Exchange Hotel and owned by William Ismond, in 1862 it was sold to Thomas Clark. From then on it was known as the Clark House.In 1895 Samuel McGibbon relocated to Georgetown. Previously, he lived in Acton. Along with his brother, they leased the Clark House and renamed it the McGibbon Hotel -- which it is still known by today. Children of Samuel McGibbon ran the Hotel until 1962.

Wilbur Lake

A popular place to canoe or play hockey, it was drained around 1915 to make way for the Guelph Radial Line.

Guelph Radial Line

Toronto-Guelph Electric Suburban Railway line ran through Georgetown. Opened in 1917 and closed in 1931. Operated by the Toronto Suburban Railway Company. Known as the Radial Line since it radiated out of the centre of Toronto.

French presence

The area had no history of a concentration of French-Canadians but over a few short years that changed. Firstly, in 1947, a boys orphan farm relocated from Saint Catherines to Georgetown. This orphanage was operated by Father Clovis Beauregard and Therese St Jean, his neice. The Acadian boys from the orphanage decided to remain here in adulthood. The boys had learned apple farming and other Acadian families moved here to assist them with their apple business. In 1957 a French-Canadian Association was formed. In 1966 the old Holy Cross Church was rededicated as L'Eglise Sacre Coeur. By this time about 150 French-speaking Catholic families created their own parish.

Neighbourhoods

Georgetown grew as new neighourhoods were added. The oldest section is around Main Street and Church Street. The arrival of the railway produced a new section - around King Street and Queen Street. The Delrex subdivision was the third part of the town that was added. Shortly after Delrex, Moore Park was developed. In 1989, the Georgetown South development began and the town has grown considerably since that point.

Delrex

In the 1950s, Rex Heslop, the builder of Rexdale in Toronto, built the Delrex subdivision. Delrex was a combination of Rex and Delma (his wife) names. In the 1950s and 1960s this area was referred to as Georgetown East.

Moore Park

With the growth of Delrex subdivision, a second subdivision called Moore Park appeared in 1962.

Georgetown South

In 1989 the farm land south of Silver Creek became the newest subdivision of Georgetown, Georgetown South. The development was undertaken by several builders. Additional developments include Arbour Glen and Stewarts Mills and the Four Corners.

Georgetown South itself and "Georgetown Southers" are the object of derision by many residents of Georgetown. This is due largely to the rapid changes that these new, suburban sprawl developments and their commuter residents have had on the community. While the boon to local business is evident, many of the cultural aspects that made Georgetown unique are under pressure as 'generica' style restaurants and shopping developments are being built in town.

Demographics2006 StatCan Census Data
Sports teams
Georgetown's Sports teams include:North Halton Highlanders Rugby Football Club the local Club Rugby team which competes in the Toronto Rugby UnionGeorgetown Baseball Association (http://www.georgetownbaseball.ca/), a youth baseball organization, for players from 5-21.Georgetown Raiders Tier II Junior "A" ice hockey team. They are a part of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League.Halton Hills Bulldogs Junior "B" box lacrosse team.[edit] Defunct sports teamsGeorgetown Raiders Sr A competed in the OHA Senior A and Intermediate A ranks in the 1970s and 1980s. They are not known to be connected to another Georgetown Raiders team which is currently a member of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League.
Local events

Crazy Outhouse Race

First Saturday of June every year the Main Street is closed down for the running of the Cancer Assistance Service Crazy Outhouse Race.

Georgetown Highland Games

The second Saturday in June, Georgetown is host to a variety of Scottish traditional games and celebrations.

Farmers' market

A farmers' market operates on Main St. in downtown Georgetown on Saturdays 8:00am - 12:30pm from June through October. The section of Main St. that hosts the market is closed off to vehicles during the event.

Georgetown Fall Fair

The Fall Fair was started in 1846. It is held the Friday to Sunday following the Labour Day Weekend. The annual event is held at the Georgetown Fairgrounds and comprised mainly of carnival rides and rural contests, such as the tractor pull and demolition derby.The Georgetown Agricultural Society is committed to community involvement in education and raising awareness of our agricultural base.The Fall Fair also achieved national coverage in 2003 when a controversial riot broke out between the youth of Georgetown (approximately 500) and the Halton Regional Police force(approx 50-100). There were several teens arrested and at least another half a dozen shot by rubber bullets during the riot. No major property damage occurred, only a portion of a small white picket fence was damaged. The entire event was resolved before anything got too far out of hand, and the Fair has been able to run conflict free ever since.

Architecture of E. J. Lennox
Berwick Hall, the home of John R. Barber which is now an apartment building.Georgetown High School (1889-1959)
Industry and business
Major industries with head offices and facilities in Georgetown include Mold-Masters Limited, CPI Canada, and Neilson Dairy. Other major industrial concerns include Cooper Standard, ADM Archer Daniels Midland Cocoa (was Ambrosia Chocolate), BASF Canada, Cercor, Kingsbury Technologies (Canada) Inc. and Baltimore Aircoil (closed down years ago). The community also serves as the Canadian headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses. Georgetown has seen an explosion of population growth in the south. This has caused a number of new business to appear including Tim Hortons, Neighbours, A&P and many others.The Georgetown Marketplace is Georgetown's Mall. It has roughly 62 stores, including major companies such as Wal-Mart and Zellers. The mall is home to stores such as: Peoples Jewelers, Winners & Home Sense, LaSenza, Ardene and Stitch it! In recent years the stores have changed to be geared more towards the younger generation particularly the younger girls.
Recreation and parks

Hiking trails

The Bruce Trail goes through Georgetown.The Town is slowly developing a multi-purpose trail system in Hungry Hollow, on old railbeds and various other locations. A citizens group called HHORBA is trying to work with the Town in planning and constructing the trails to be as environmentally friendly, safe for hikers and enjoyable for bicyclists as possible. HHORBA helped construct a one trail and three bridges with members of the Bruce Trail. HHORBA in the past has been a member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Skate parks

Georgetown Skate ParkThis facility was made possible by the co-operative efforts of the Halton Hills Community through the Skateboarders, Inline Skaters & BMX Bikers of Halton Hills (S.I.B.A.H.H) Committee and the Recreation and Parks Department. Funding was provided through generous community donations and the Corporation of the Town of Halton Hills.It is located outside the Mold-Masters SportsPlex at 221 Guelph Street.The facility is user supervised and is managed through posted regulations. All facility users are required to obey the facility regulations, and assume full responsibility for any personal risk or injury. Neither the Town of Halton Hills or S.I.B.A.H.H. will assume any responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury resulting from the use of this facility.A Skate Park in nearby Acton opened in 2007. It is called The 3 Musketears Skate Park.

Transportation
GO Transit and VIA Rail serve Georgetown Station. The Georgetown Halton Hills Activan provides local transportation for individuals with physical disabilities. GO Transit offers both bus and rail services through the Georgetown GO Station. The GO Transit Georgetown rail line runs between Toronto, Georgetown and Guelph. The GO bus connects to many of the nearby towns including Acton, Brampton, Malton and Guelph.The town of Georgetown is also linked to the Provincial Highway network by Highway 7, and to Highway 401 by Trafalgar Road (Halton Hills Road 3), Mountainview Road / 9th Line (Halton Hills Road 8), and Winston Churchill Boulevard.
Notable residents

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, lived in Norval for a large part of her life.

Mike Holmes, star of the home renovation show Holmes on Homes, is a resident.

Stompin' Tom Connors lives in Glen Williams

Allan Jones, founder of "Cartoon excitement" is a resident.

Shawn Hill, MLB pitcher currently playing for the Washington Nationals.

Mike Harris (curler), olympic curler

Adam Bennett, Former NHL Hockey Player & First Round draft pick

Timothy Eaton, Founder of Eaton's department store once resided in Georgetown.

John Malinosky, Former CFL Lineman

Bryan Lewis, Former NHL Director of Officiating John McCauley, Former NHL Director of Officiating prior to Bryan Lewis

Wes McCauley, Current NHL Referree.

References

1. Canada's Shawn Hill returns to Nationals.

2. NDHL Officials. Georgetown - Reflections of a Small Town, by John Mark Benbow Rowe, 2006, ISBN 0-921901-28-3 The Story of Georgetown Ontario, by John Mark Benbow Rowe, 1992. ISBN 0-921901-12-7 St. Andrews Church History Toronto Sketches 5: "The Way we Were", Mike Filey Halton County Railway Museum Guelph Radial Line Statistics Canada 2006 Census Data

See also
Knox Presbyterian Church
External links
Esquesing Historical Society - Georgetown Town of Halton Hills site Halton Hills Public Library GDHS(Georgetown District High School) Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce Serving Halton Hills (Acton, Georgetown and surrounding area) History of Downtown Georgetown Georgetown Fall Fair Highland Games Georgetown Online Operated continuously since May 2000, Georgetown Online is a meeting place for residents, and former residents of Georgetown Ontario. LetsVote.ca Information on Halton Hills (Georgetown) Municipal Election Georgetown Little Theatre Coordinates: 4339′00″N 7955′59″W / 43.65, -79.933Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgetown%2C_Ontario"

 

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