Mount Forest, Ontario

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Mount Forest
Unincorporated community
Downtown Mount Forest in March 2009.
Downtown Mount Forest in March 2009.
Coordinates: 43°58′54″N 80°44′12″W / 43.98167°N 80.73667°W / 43.98167; -80.73667
Country Canada
Province Ontario
County Wellington County
Township Wellington North
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Forward sortation area N0G (2L1, 2L2, 2L3)
Area code(s) 519 and 226
NTS Map 040P15
GNBC Code FCFAL

Mount Forest is an unincorporated community located on the junction of the 6 and the 89 in the township of Wellington North, Ontario. The town's motto is "High, Happy, Healthy", which can be seen on the water tower when approaching the town from the south. As of the 2011 Canadian census the population of Mount Forest was just over 5,000.

History[edit]

Founding of Mount Forest plaque

Prior to European settlement, present day Mount Forest was prime hunting ground for the Saugeen Ojibway peoples due to its location on the Saugeen River. Because of this, many sacred burial sites are believed to be located in the White Bluffs region of present day Mount Forest.

Originally known as Maitland Hills, its name was changed to Mount Forest in 1853. The name change came about because it was discovered that the village was actually on the Saugeen River system not on the Maitland River as had previously been supposed. Mount Forest is on a height of land near the headwaters of the Saugeen River.

The village was surveyed into lots in 1853 by Francis Kerr, PLS. By 1864, the population had grown to 1185 so that it qualified to be incorporated as a village. By 1879 it had become an incorporated town. The 1871 town directory stated that Mount Forest had 10 hotels, eight churches and 18 stores. Later that year the railway was completed and the first train entered Mount Forest pulled by a wood-burning engine.

A local newspaper, the Mount Forest Confederate, was first printed in 1867. For the first year, the newspaper was sent to village residents free of charge, but the second year it began charging 50 cents per year.

The first public school was built in 1856. The first high school was originally in the Old Drill Hall, but was an unsuitable location because it was beside the Market Square where livestock sales were held monthly. The new high school was built in 1878. A third high school was founded in 2004 with the combination of the Mount Forest District High school and the neighboring Town of Arthur.

Dr. A.R. Perry purchased the home of Alex Martin on the corner of Dublin and Princess Streets and established Strathcona Hospital, a 10-bed private hospital. In 1923, a group of citizens headed by G.L. Allen, changed Strathcona Hospital into a public hospital. Wentworth Marshall, a pharmacist, generously bought the hospital from Perry. Marshall's mother, Louise, was the supervisor at the hospital until she became ill with cancer. It was closed in 1921, but a year later reopened under a new name: Mount Forest General Hospital. In 1928, the deed of the hospital was turned over to the town and the name was changed yet again to Louise Marshall Hospital in honour of Marshall's mother.

Mount Forest was amalgamated into the new township of Wellington North on January 1, 1999.

Culture[edit]

Mount Forest's library was completed in 1913 with a grant of $10,000 from well-known philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Mount Forest is also the site of the founding of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.

Mount Forest was the first place that Aimee Semple McPherson preached.

The Mount Forest Chamber of Commerce along with the Arthur and Minto Chambers formed a networking group named Northern Wellington Young Professionals in October of 2012. This is a group of business owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and business leaders between 20 and 40 years old who get together for networking events. It gives local businesses within Northern Wellington Township an opportunity to grow their customer/client base and meet fellow young professionals within the community. Northern Wellington Young Professionals operates out of Mount Forest but holds events in Harriston and Arthur as well.

Though small in size, Mount Forest's former concert theatre, The Old Roxy, has seen many famous musicians perform on its stage, acts such as The Tea Party, Bif Naked, Hedley, K-OS, Kim Mitchell, Blue Rodeo, Jann Arden, Doves, Paul Brandt, April Wine, and George Canyon. Before becoming a concert theatre, The Old Roxy was a movie theatre owned and operated by Allan Sharpe and his family.

Mount Forest also hosts a number of different sporting events throughout the year. The Mount Forest Patriots are a local junior "C" hockey club that were very successful through the mid-1990s. The Trillium 10k is an annual race held each May which features 10 km and 5 km running races, a 5 km walk event, and a 10 km inline speed skating race which has been contested by members of the Canadian national team.

The Town of Mount Forest is also home to (now defunct) indie folk band Sampson & The Doc, and hardcore punk bands Bestial Death, QUAID, Skabies and Slag. Plus the metal band Resurrection Of The Forbidden Flesh A.K.A. "The Flesh"

The town is also home to a fast-growing arts community, with several art galleries featuring local artists. For a short time, an art gallery by the name of The Spotted Moose Emporium held "Open Mike" nights where local poets, writers and musicians come together to share their talents with the public. The Spotted Moose also sponsored "Pecha Kucha" nights that have been featured on the Pecha Kucha's international website.

Notable Residents[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°58′54″N 80°44′12″W / 43.98167°N 80.73667°W / 43.98167; -80.73667