Georgetown is a community in the town of Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada and is part of the Regional Municipality of Halton. The town includes several small villages or settlements such as Norval, Limehouse, Stewartown and Glen Williams near Georgetown as well as another large population centre, Acton, Ontario. In 2016, the population of Georgetown was 42,123. It is situated on the Credit River, located approximately 60 km west of Toronto, making it part of the Greater Toronto Area. Georgetown was named after entrepreneur George Kennedy who settled in the area in 1821 and built several mills and other businesses.
By 1650, the once plentiful Hurons had been wiped out by European diseases, and the 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.
Commencing in 1781, the British government purchased blocks of land from the Mississauga Nation. In 1818, they purchased land that later became 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 Esquesing Township in 1819, and Charles Kennedy received a significant parcel of land as payment for his work. The brothers of Charles Kennedy, John, Morris, Samuel and George, all acquired land close to each another in the Silver Creek Valley. Charles Kennedy built a sawmill in a location where Main Street meets Wildwood Road today.
George Kennedy (businessman) took advantage of the Silver Creek in the early 1820s to power a sawmill, and later a gristmill and foundry and then a woolen mill; a small settlement formed around the mills, often called "Hungry Hollow". In 1828, John Galt of the Canada Company opened the York to Guelph Road (now Highway 7) which connected the settlement around George Kennedy's Mill with other settlements in the area. The road alo extended to Galt, Ontario, to Guelph, Ontario and to Goderich, Ontario.
In 1837 the Barber brothers, including William and James, purchased land and the woolen mill and foundry from Kennedy in 1837; they renamed the settlement Georgetown. The brothers started the paper-making industry in 1854, using electricity produced by a dynamo at the Credit River. Their products included large volumes of wallpaper. John R. Barber's home, Berwick Hall, still stands at Main and Park Streets. The business prospered for over 100 years. Other entrepreneurs arrived including Philo Dayfoot in the early 1840s, who started the local leather industry. In the 1850s, George Kennedy subdivided his land into small lots for sale to new settlers.
Esquesing Village (Stewarttown) was settled around 1818 and became the "capital" of the Township of Esquesing. It was also on the main north-south route to the steamships at Oakville. The Stewart Brothers had a successful mill in Esquesing Village, and James McNab had a prosperous mill in Norval.
In 1846, Norval had a population of about 200 inhabitants, served by two churches, various tradesmen, a grist mill, an oatmeal mill, a distillery, two stores and a tavern. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series lived in Norval from 1926 to 1935 and considered it to be "one of the prettiest villages in all Ontario".
The settlement of Glen Williams, Ontario was originally called Williamsburg but the name was changed in 1852 when the post office opened. The Barbers' brother-in-law, Benajah Williams, was one of the first settlers here and the community's name was given in his honour. Limehouse, Ontario originally called Fountain Green, was a small settlement that grew after the railroad arrived to the area in 1856; in addition to lime kilns (which opened in about 1840), a sawmill, blanket factory and paint factory opened in the village. In 1893, a fire destroyed the woollen mill, a paint factory and wood at the waterlime mill in Limehouse creating a serious financial problem for the settlement. The lime industry operated until 1917.
In 1846, Georgetown had a grist mill, sawmill, cloth factory, tavern, cabinet maker, foundry, chair maker, two tanneries, two tailors, two stores, three wagon makers, three shoemakers, and four blacksmiths. The population was about 700.
The Grand Trunk Railroad arrived in 1856 and a line of the Hamilton and North-Western Railway reached the community about 20 years later. The two provided a convenient method for transporting not only passengers but manufactured goods. Hotels opened near the station, including the Railroad Exchange in a building that still stands. Georgetown was incorporated as a village in 1864. In 1869 the population was 1500; the Ontario Gazetteer mentioned Barber Brothers as a noted paper goods manufacturer with a staff of 40.
The settlement was incorporated as the village of Georgetown in 1865. The 1860s and 1870s were prosperous years. Recently opened businesses in that era included the Georgetown Herald newspaper, Culp and Mackenzie's carriage making enterprise, the Creelman brothers' machine shop and the Bank of Hamilton, the first to open in the entire Halton County. By 1880, the Chapel Street School and Baptist Church and the Town Hall had been built; the high school opened in 1887.
Georgetown residents began to receive municipal water in 1891, piped by gravity. Electricity was not available until 1913 although John R. Barber had purchased a generator in 1888 and installed it at the Credit River; that provided power for the family's paper mill.
On May 13, 1895, brothers Sam & John McGibbon leased, in partnership, Thomas Clark's Hotel for $600/year. "The Hotel McGibbon" was originally built by Robert Jones and was sold to Clark in about 1867. A double veranda graced the Main & Mill Street side of the building until the hotel was ravaged by fire in the 1880s. After the fire, a third floor was added to part of the building. The McGibbon family lived at the hotel. Sam's wife, Ann, kept white linen in the dining room, and in its earliest years had been a popular place for wedding receptions and banquets.
By 1921 the village had over 2000 residents and was incorporated as a town in 1922, with LeRoy Dale as the first mayor. Many historic buildings still stand in the heart of Georgetown and in its small, more rural communities.
In the mid 1940s, the population was close to 4,000 and began to grow more quickly in the 1950s when Rex Heslop bought farms and developed the Delrex subdivision. The Hotel McGibbon was still operating although Sam McGibbon had died in 1940; a daughter, Gladys, and a son, Jack, took over the business until 1962 when it was sold to Isaac Sitzer Investments and later to George and Nick Markou purchased the hotel in 1978 and operated it until the property was sold to a condominium developer in 2015.
In 1962, the Moore Park subdivision started construction and would attract more residents to town. By that time, the Georgetown had its own hospital.
The GO Train arrived in Georgetown in 1974; the service has since expanded with a great deal of available parking at the Georgetown GO Station and frequent commuter trains on weekdays. On January 1, 1974 Georgetown was absorbed into the new regional town of Halton Hills. One of most significant changes since then included the Georgetown South residential expansion that started in 1989. The two paper companies, Provincial Papers and Georgetown Coated Paper Company closed in 1991 and 1977 respectively.
Guelph Radial Line
The Toronto Suburban Railway Company ran the Toronto-Guelph electric rail line through Georgetown from 1917 until the Guelph line was closed in 1931. This line had transported both goods and passengers but business had declined substantially. The Georgetown Station on Main Street (at the current Canada Trust site) was a familiar landmark. The venture failed because of the Depression and the increasing popularity of the automobile, as well as buses and trucks. Its proximity to the competing Grand Trunk Railway (Canadian National) line was also a factor.
The Georgetown Boys
On July 1, 1923, the first 50 orphans of the Armenian Genocide arrived in Georgetown to be educated and trained for farming at the Cedarvale Farm, now known as Cedarvale Park, operated by the Armenian Canadian Relief Fund. They children were known as The Georgetown Boys. By 1928, most had homes on farms. Aris Alexanian was a teacher and assistant superintendent at the school. He went on to open an oriental rug store in Hamilton, Ontario, which has grown throughout Ontario and is now known as Alexanian Carpet and Flooring. In 1929 the farm became the Cedarvale School for Girls; most of the residents found positions as domestic staff. In total, 109 boys and 40 girls were taken in by the Canadian government, considered by many to be Canada's first humanitarian initiative. Many became Canadian citizens.
The area had no early history of a concentration of French-Canadians, but that changed after World War II. First, in 1947, a boys' orphan farm relocated from St. Catharines, Ontario, to Georgetown. This orphanage was operated by Father Clovis Beauregard and his niece, Therese St Jean. 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. Second, in 1957 a French-Canadian Association was formed. By 1966, about 150 French-speaking Catholic families created their own parish when the old Holy Cross Church was rededicated as L'Eglise Sacre Coeur.
On January 1, 1974, Georgetown became part of the Town of Halton Hills when it amalgamated with the Town of Acton and most of the Township of Esquesing.
Together with the Town of Milton, the Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington, the Regional Municipality of Halton was formed, replacing Halton County. Halton Hills is well known for its terrain including slopes and inclines. In 1932, Bill Gauser proposed the idea to change the name from Halton to Halton Hills.
Georgetown grew as new neighbourhoods 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 is a combination of Rex and his wife Delma's 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.
Trafalgar Country: Added much later in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, Trafalgar country is mostly bungalows and two-story homes, and sits at the westernmost point in Georgetown.
Georgetown South: In 1989 the farm land south of Silver Creek became the newest subdivision of Georgetown, Georgetown South. The development was undertaken by primarily Fernbrook Homes (West of Mountainview) and Canada Homes (East of Mountainview). Additional developments include Arbour Glen, Stewart's Mills and the Four Corners. Not to be mistaken as the "Four Corners" of Hornby at Trafalgar Road and Steeles Avenue.
Public education in Georgetown is managed by the Halton District School Board, while Catholic education is managed by the Halton Catholic District School Board.
Holy Cross (with French Immersion)
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Halton Hills Christian School (a.k.a. Georgetown District Christian School)
Gardiner Public School
Silver Creek Public School
Pineview Public School
Park Public School
Joseph Gibbons Public School
Harrison Public School
George Kennedy Public School (with French Immersion)
Glen Williams Public School
Centennial Public School
Stewarttown Middle School
Silver Creek Public School
Gardiner Public School
Christ the King Catholic Secondary School
Georgetown District High School
Gary Allan High School (Adult Education)
Recreation and parks
The Bruce Trail goes through Halton Hills, passing north of Georgetown.
The Town is 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.
Georgetown Skate Park
Located outside of the Mold-Masters SportsPlex at 221 Guelph Street, this 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. The facility is user supervised and is managed through posted regulations.
Gellert Community Centre
Located on eighth line just north of 10 side road in South Georgetown. The facility contains a large indoor swimming pool and hosts various exercise classes plus other community events. Outside amenities include a splash pad, three baseball diamonds, soccer field, six tennis courts and park trails.
The Halton Hills Public Library is a two-branch library system. Both branches reflect the historic character of the community. The Georgetown Branch (9 Church Street) is co-located with the Halton Hills Cultural Centre, anchored by the former Methodist Church (now the Art Gallery) and The John Elliott Theatre. The Acton Branch (17 River Street) was built as the community's centennial project in a park setting, across a foot bridge over a creek.
Library Highlights in 2007 include:
Town council approved the Georgetown Branch Renovation/Expansion Project in principle.
Popular material was made more accessible through the "Rapid Reads" collection and the "Hot Off The Press" service.
A record breaking donation of $79,291 was received from the Georgetown Homecoming Committee for the Georgetown Branch Renovation/Expansion Project.
Convenience was increased through the installation of wireless Internet access and debit service.
Business collections were expanded to offer more programming for small business operators.
General interest programs were reintroduced for adults.
Profile was raised through media coverage partnerships and greater participation in community events.
On Saturday January 26, 2013 the renovated Georgetown Branch of the Halton Hills Public Library opened. The renovations included making the library more accessible to the public as well as more environmentally friendly.
Georgetown is covered by local newspapers and television through the following services:
The Halton Compass
GO Transit and Via Rail serve Georgetown Station. There is no local bus service, although 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 Kitchener rail line runs between Toronto and Kitchener. The GO bus connects to many of the nearby communities including Brampton, Toronto, Acton, Guelph, and Kitchener.
Georgetown is also linked to the Provincial Highway network by Highway 7, and to Highway 401 by Trafalgar Road (Halton Regional Road 3), Mountainview Road/9th Line (Halton Regional Road 13) and Winston Churchill Boulevard (Halton Regional Road 19)
There are no airports in Georgetown; the closest are Brampton Airport (general aviation) to the north and Toronto Pearson International Airport (domestic and international flights) to the east.
Adam Bennett, former NHL Hockey Player and first round draft pick
Russell Braun, opera singer
Karl Clark (chemist), member of the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame
Kenneth Walter Davidson (1937-), former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
Jason Dickinson, NHL first round draft pick and prospect
Dan Dunleavy (1966-), play-by-play broadcaster for the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto FC
Timothy Eaton (1834–1907), founder of Eaton's department store
Bob Goldham, five-time Stanley Cup Winner
PJ Haarsma, science fiction author
Mike Harris, Olympic curler
Brian Hayward, former NHL goalie and William M. Jennings Trophy winner
Shawn Hill, MLB pitcher in the Florida Marlins organization.
Mike Holmes, star of the home renovation show Holmes on Homes
Melanie Jans, four-time Canadian Squash Champion and Pan American Games Gold Medalist
Bryan Lewis, former NHL Director of Officiating
John Malinosky, former CFL lineman
John McCauley, former NHL Director of Officiating
Wes McCauley, current NHL Referee
John McDonald (author)
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942)), author of Anne of Green Gables, lived in Norval for a large part of her life
Cristy Nurse, Olympic rower
Dan Talevski, Canadian singer-songwriter
W. Stewart Wallace (1884–1970), historian, librarian, and editor
Matthew Hill, John Hill, Christopher Stewart, Anita Huggins and Glenda Hughes are Realtors specializing in residential real estate in Georgetown, Acton, Caledon, Erin and all surrounding areas. For more information about homes currently listed or to contact them please click here.