Stoney Creek, Ontario
- See also Stoney Creek (electoral district).
The community of Stoney Creek located on the south shore of western Lake Ontario, just east of Hamilton (pre-amalgamation) into which feed the watercourse of Stoney Creek as well as several other minor streams. The historic area, known as the "Old Town", exists below the Niagara Escarpment. In 1984 Stoney Creek became a city.
Though residential growth exploded, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s in the lower city and in the west mountain in the 1990s and 2000s, most of the land mass of Stoney Creek remains agricultural. The communities of Elfrida, Fruitland, Tapleytown, Tweedside, Vinemount, and Winona serve as distinct reminders of the agricultural legacy of Stoney Creek and Saltfleet township.
It lost its independent status in 2001 as the Provincial Government formally merged Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Glanbrook, Dundas, Flamborough and Hamilton into the new city of Hamilton, turning the new multi-million dollar Stoney Creek City Hall into a Stoney Creek Public Library.
According to the 2001 census the population of Stoney Creek was 59,327 up 5.5 per cent from the 1996 census. Children under 14 years of age totaled 19.4% while those in retirement age constituted 12.6% of the total population. Some 25.94% or a quarter of the population was foreign born. The census showed that Stoney Creek was 92.72% white (European), (of which 55% had British or Irish origins, 16% Italian, 21% Croatian, Polish, Serbian, Ukrainian etc.), 3.0% South Asian, 1.0% Black, 1.0% mixed race, 0.6% Chinese. As of the 2006 census, the population of Stoney Creek had risen to 62,292.
History and attractions
Historic Stoney Creek was settled by Loyalists after the American Revolution and was nondescript until it was put on the map as it were by the Battle of Stoney Creek during the War of 1812. In a night-time surprise attack, the outnumbered British overwhelmed the Americans and forced their retreat to Forty Mile Creek (now Grimsby). In a forty minute battle, hundreds were killed, and the two American Generals were captured. The site of the Battle of Stoney Creek near Centennial Parkway and King Street has been preserved as Battlefield House with its associated museum, monument and park.
The Erland Lee Museum, site of the first Women's Institute in the World, is also located in Stoney Creek.
Branches of the Bruce Trail provide access to Battlefield Park as well as the Devil's Punch Bowl. The latter is marked by a large illuminated cross and offers an excellent lookout for both Stoney Creek and Hamilton. Other green spaces of note include Fifty Point Conservation Area, which includes camping and a small craft harbour.
Both the Devil's Punch Bowl and the large cross mentioned above were featured in the 2006 horror film Silent Hill. It can be seen during the first few scenes. Another movie filmed in the area was the 1998 film The Big Hit starring Mark Wahlberg.
On a more commercial note, the Winona Peach Festival serves up homegrown fruit, crafts and music. Like the peach festival, the Stoney Creek Flag Festival is also held every summer. The Stoney Creek Dairy on King Street — with a stylized Battlefield Monument in its logo — has offered frozen treats to people in the region for decades under a variety of ownership, the current one being Ben & Jerry's. In 2013, the former dairy has been torn down for re-development. Eastgate Square Mall straddles the former border between Hamilton and Stoney Creek.
Economy and transportation
Due to the temperate environment on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula, the Stoney Creek area in eastern Wentworth County was and still is known for fruit growing. In recent decades, as the quality and reputation of Ontario wines grew, Stoney Creek became part of the fringes of the Niagara winery region.
Agriculture continued to be the major employer for decades, only supplanted by others as community growth brought it into closer contact with Hamilton and the great conurbation of the Golden Horseshoe. Stoney Creek became a centre for light industry, road transportation and commuting residences, since its land costs were much lower than in neighbouring Hamilton.
Stoney Creek is served by the Queen Elizabeth Way, various current or former Ontario provincial highways and a largely irregular network of residential streets. Portions of Upper Stoney Creek are on a great grid pattern. It is poorly served by public transit in the form of the Hamilton Street Railway or HSR, which was operated in Stoney Creek by the regional government since 1974 and the megacity government since 2001.
Stoney Creek, along with Ancaster and Waterdown are among the fastest-growing parts of Hamilton. In recent years, new condominiums have been built along the lakefront beyond the reach of the industrial Hamilton Harbour. Many of the builder's sales efforts have been directed at residents of the Greater Toronto Area in large part because of the affordability factor and quick access to the western GTA via the Burlington Skyway. Detached housing growth remains strong in developments above the mountain.
Politics and government
Local jam merchant E. D. Smith promoted the area and served as a Wentworth MP around the turn of the 20th century. Otherwise, the most recent political tremor occurred when Tony Valeri, the federal minister of transport who supported Paul Martin as Liberal leader, defeated Sheila Copps, a former Canadian heritage minister who supported Jean Chrétien, in a bitter constituency nomination election after redistricting forced the two sitting MPs head-to-head in the formerly divided Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.
Like its bigger neighbour, Stoney Creek expanded over the 20th century to encompass more and more of its smaller neighbours like Fruitland, Winona, Vinemount, Tapleytown, Tweedside and Elfrida in Saltfleet Township. The Town of Stoney Creek, along with five other second-tier municipalities, became part of the two-tier municipal federation called the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth in 1974. Areas it annexed on top of the Niagara Escarpment west of Highway 20 (now known as Upper Centennial Parkway) became known as Upper Stoney Creek or Satellite City.
In 1984, it was granted city status, and was looking to challenge its more populous neighbour. However, over its residents' strenuous objections, the City of Stoney Creek was amalgamated with the other municipalities of Hamilton-Wentworth Region to form the new City of Hamilton. However, its suburban voters helped ensure the first mayor of an amalgamated Hamilton came from the former suburbs. The new city's second mayor, Larry Di Ianni, had served as a Stoney Creek Councillor for 20 years.
The first female mayor, as well as the last mayor of Stoney Creek, was Anne Bain
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- Stoney Creek News
- Stoney Creek Jr.B Warriors
- The History of Stoney Creek, a Photographic Tour
- Battlefield House Museum & Park