Acton, Ontario

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Acton
Urban area
Mill Street in Acton
Mill Street in Acton
Acton is located in Southern Ontario
Acton
Acton
Location in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 43°37′53″N 80°2′20″W / 43.63139°N 80.03889°W / 43.63139; -80.03889Coordinates: 43°37′53″N 80°2′20″W / 43.63139°N 80.03889°W / 43.63139; -80.03889
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Regional municipality Halton
Town Halton Hills
Founded 1828
Incorporated (village) 1874
Erected (town) 1950
Amalgamated 1974
Elevation 350 m (1,150 ft)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Forward sortation area L7J
Area code(s) 519 / 226
Highways  Highway 7
Former  Highway 25
NTS Map 040P09
GNBC Code FABPG[1]

Acton (population 9,462 in 2016) is a community located in the Town of Halton Hills, in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. At the northern end of the Region, it is on the outer edge of the Greater Toronto Area and is one of two of the primary population centres of the Town; the other is Georgetown, Ontario. From 1842 until about 1986, the town was a major centre for the tanning and leather goods industry; in the early years, it was often referred to as "Leathertown".[2]

History[edit]

Beardmore & Co. tannery, viewed in the air from the west. Grand Trunk spur line is coming in from the east, intersecting with the Toronto Suburban Railway line curving from south to west. Agnes Street is the east-west road at the left of the picture.

The area now known as Acton was settled in 1825 by the Rev. Ezra, Rev. Zenas, and Rufus Adams, Methodist preachers who took a sabbatical and began farming here on a branch of the Credit River. A fourth brother, Eliphalet, also settled here later.[3] Others also settled in the vicinity, In the 1840s, the community had a grist mill and tannery.[4] The community was first named Danville when settler Wheeler Green opened a dry-goods store in 1828. It was later called Adamsville, after the three original settlers.

In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway arrived in 1856 and helped spur growth in the area, especially along Mill Street. By 1869, Acton had businesses that included woodworking mills, tanneries, glove makers and a carriage works. It was incorporated as a village on January 6, 1874.[5] Originally part of Esquesing Township, Acton's principal trade was in grain, lumber, cordwood, leather and hops.[6] It was incorporated as a village in 1874,[7] and incorporated as a town in 1950.[8] A new town hall was opened in 1883 (and designated a Heritage Building in 1996); postmaster Robert Swan named the village Acton after the area of Acton, London in England.[9][10]

In 1926, with the help of Sir Harry Brittain, the Village of Acton was given permission by the Municipal Borough of Acton in Middlesex, England to adopt a variant of the latter's coat of arms,[11] substituting maple leaves for the oak leaves in the original.[12] The municipal council continued to use it until 1974, when Acton amalgamated with the Town of Georgetown and most of the Township of Esquesing to form the Town of Halton Hills.[13]

Significance of the leather industry[edit]

Tanning has been an important industry in Acton since 1842, when the first tannery was established by Abraham Nelles, as the area was attractive to the leather industry because of the large numbers of hemlock spruce trees. These provided the tannin required for a firm, high quality leather of a reddish colour.[14]

A number of subsequent owners operated the tannery business, but the Beardmore family who purchased it in 1865 and ran it for over 50 years.[15] At one time, it was the largest tanner in Canada.[16]

The Beardmores also opened tanneries in other parts of southern Ontario. By 1889, their main tanneries in Acton were very large, 100,000 square meters in size. They also built a large brick warehouse that year beside the railway tracks. Hides arrived by rail and were taken for processing by horse-drawn wagons and then shipped by rail to customers.

In 1944, the tannery was sold to Canada packers who ran it until 1986.[17][18] At one time, it was the largest tanner in Canada.[19]

In 1969, the business was sold to Frank Heller and Company, who consolidated it into one large building in 1980. That year, three investors decided to transform the tannery into the Old Hide House, a retail store with leather clothing, goods and furniture.[20][21] From 1980 to 1993, the old tannery warehouse building was a restaurant, Jack Tanner's Table.

The business was closed at times because of bankruptcy and other reasons, but is currently in operation, although the identity of the owners during parts of its history, and even now, has not been publicized.[22][23]

Other specialty tanners and leather products manufacturers were also established in the town. These included Hewetson Shoe, Coronna Shoe, Superior Glove, Marzo Glove and Frank Heller and Co.[24][25] In the early 20th century, Acton was the main urban community of Esquesing Township, much larger than nearby Georgetown, Ontario which now has four times the population.

Because of the extensive tanning industry that was located in the area during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, the area has earned the nickname of Leathertown.

Early transportation[edit]

The former Acton train station
Downtown Acton

Acton is located at the intersection of Highway 7 and Halton Regional Road 25. GO Transit provides bus and train service on its Kitchener corridor, with a stop at Acton GO Station.

The Grand Trunk brought train service to the area in 1856, and its station[26] was located at Mill Street East and Eastern Avenue next to the Beardmore leather warehouse (now known as the Olde Hide House). Canadian National closed the train station in 1967, but the stop continued to serve both Via Rail and GO Trains until the 1990s. GO Train service resumed on January 7, 2013.[27][28][29]

From 1917 to 1931, Acton was also served by the Toronto Suburban Railway,[30] which early on entered into a notable dispute over a crossing with a spur line of the Grand Trunk in the town, that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for resolution.[31]

Actonite or Actonian[edit]

It is interesting to note in older books and papers of the area that not one, but two demonyms have existed for residents of the area at the same time. Actonite was used to identify people who moved to the area, and Actonian referred to people who grew up there. The first designation now predominates, due to the influx of new residents in the 1960s, but older residents still remember it.

Geography[edit]

The town's location was chosen because of the good source of waterpower from the Black Creek, and the flour mill established at the beginning is still in operation today, although its source of power has changed. It is also near the watershed between the Credit River and the Grand River which is just west of the urban area, where the Blue Springs Creek begins. Acton also has Fairy Lake at Prospect Park,which is the fairgrounds for the Acton Fall Fair every September.[32]

Demographics[edit]

Population pyramid 2011
% Males Age Females %
0.5
 
85+
 
0.7
0.6
 
80–84
 
0.9
0.7
 
75–79
 
1.2
1.2
 
70–74
 
1.3
1.9
 
65–69
 
1.9
2.7
 
60–64
 
3.1
3.2
 
55–59
 
3.4
3.6
 
50–54
 
3.7
4.7
 
45–49
 
4.0
4.2
 
40–44
 
4.6
3.5
 
35–39
 
4.0
2.9
 
30–34
 
3.6
2.5
 
25–29
 
2.6
2.7
 
20–24
 
2.4
3.4
 
15–19
 
3.3
3.5
 
10–14
 
3.4
3.5
 
5–9
 
3.5
3.4
 
0–4
 
3.2
Canada census – Acton, Ontario community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 9,462 (-0.5% from 2011) 9,704 (-4.6% from 2006) 10,172 (31.0% from 2001)
Land area: 7.80 km2 (3.01 sq mi) 16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi) 16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi)
Population density: 1,213.20/km2 (3,142.2/sq mi) 601.24/km2 (1,557.2/sq mi) 630.24/km2 (1,632.3/sq mi)
Median age: 38.9 (M: 38.6, F: 39.2)
Total private dwellings: 3,577 3,645 3,218
Median household income:
Notes: Urban Area Profile, Statistics Canada – References: 2016[33] 2011[34] 2006[35] earlier[36]

Government[edit]

No longer officially a town (since 1974), Acton is part of the Town of Halton Hills which is divided into four wards, each with two elected Councillors. Two others are Regional Councillors, each representing two wards on Halton Hills Council, and also serve on the Halton Region Council as does the mayor. [37]

The current (2014-2018) membership of the town council is as follows:[38]

Position Ward 1 Ward 2 Ward 3 Ward 4
Mayor Rick Bonnette
Regional Councillor Clark Somerville Jane Fogal
Local Councillor Jon Hurst Ted Brown Moya Johnson Bob Inglis
Mike Albano Bryan Lewis David Kentner Ann Lawlor

Halton Hills has its own fire department but policing is provided by the Halton Regional Police Services.[39] Halton Hills has its own official plan which came into force on 28 March 2008 and was consolidated in 2017 with the Region's plan.[40]

Sports[edit]

Teams and clubs[edit]

  • Halton Hills Minor Hockey (Halton Hills Thunder): The 2013-2014 season was the inaugural season of the amalgamation of the Georgetown Minor Hockey Association (Georgetown Raiders) and The Acton Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) (Acton Tanners). Before this amalgamation, Acton was an Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) BB centre. The newly amalgamated association is an Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) AA-AE centre.
  • Acton Chargers Select Hockey and House League
  • Acton Curling Club
  • Acton Minor Ball
  • Acton Skating Club member of Skate Canada-Learn to Skate, Powerskate, Figure Skate
  • Acton Villa Soccer Club. Youth and adult soccer, indoor and outdoor
  • Acton Aqua Ducks Swim Club, established in 1987

Infrastructure[edit]

Library[edit]

The Acton branch of the Halton Hills Public Library is located at 17 River Street was initially built as the community's centennial project, and was opened in 1967. It was significantly expanded in 2012.[41]

Education[edit]

School Type Grades
McKenzie-Smith Bennett School[42] Public elementary JK–08
Robert Little Public School[43] Public elementary JK–05
Acton District High School Public secondary 09–12
St. Joseph Elementary School[44] Catholic elementary JK–08

Media[edit]

Acton is covered by local newspapers and television through the following services:

  • Acton Free Press
  • TVCogeco
  • The Acton New Tanner
  • The Halton Compass

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Acton Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. at Geographical Names of Canada
  2. ^ http://www.leonardshoup.com/?page=shop/flypage&product_id=69655
  3. ^ http://www.downtownacton.ca/history/tabid/56/default.aspx
  4. ^ http://ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Halton06.html
  5. ^ http://ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Halton06.html
  6. ^ McEvoy, H., ed. (1869). The province of Ontario gazetteer and directory. Toronto: Robertson & Cook. p. 18. 
  7. ^ "Acton Historical Plaque". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  8. ^ "The First Council of the Town of Acton - 1950". The Acton Free Press. January 12, 1950. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  9. ^ http://www.downtownacton.ca/history/tabid/56/default.aspx
  10. ^ http://www.actontownhallcentre.ca/index.php/history
  11. ^ "Acton Borough Council". Civic Heraldry of England and Wales. 
  12. ^ "A Suitable Crest for Acton: The Council Favors Adoption of That of Acton, England". The Acton Free Press. September 2, 1926. p. 1. 
  13. ^ The Regional Municipality of Halton Act, 1973, S.O. 1973, c. 70, s. 2
  14. ^ "History of Acton". Hide House. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  15. ^ http://images.ourontario.ca/Partners/HHPL/HHPL002885961pf_0031.pdf
  16. ^ "Business and History - Beardmore & Co., Limited". Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2012-05-28. [permanent dead link]
  17. ^ http://images.ourontario.ca/Partners/HHPL/NT001708407pf_0019.pdf
  18. ^ http://images.ourontario.ca/Partners/HHPL/HHPL002885961pf_0031.pdf
  19. ^ "Business and History - Beardmore & Co., Limited". Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2012-05-28. [permanent dead link]
  20. ^ http://hidehouse.ca/about/history-of-acton/
  21. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=uXk3yUgj1yYC&pg=PA99&dq=Kingston,+ontario&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiBna2wxr7TAhVL7YMKHfRMD744HhDoAQg3MAQ#v=onepage&q=Kingston%2C%20ontario&f=false
  22. ^ "Special Commemorative Pullout Section - Marking the 20th anniversary of Beardmore closing" (PDF). The New Tanner. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  23. ^ https://www.theifp.ca/community-story/5359928-hide-house-files-for-bankruptcy-protection/
  24. ^ http://www.downtownacton.ca/history/tabid/56/default.aspx
  25. ^ "Company History". Superior Glove Works Ltd. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  26. ^ "Grand Trunk Railroad Station". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  27. ^ "GO station to be built in Acton". Guelph Mercury. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "Metrolinx fulfills its commitment to bring GO Trains to Acton" (Press release). Metrolinx. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  29. ^ "It’s a GO for Acton Jan. 7". Independent Free Press. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  30. ^ "Toronto Suburban Railway - Guelph Radial Line". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  31. ^ Acton Tanning Co v Toronto Suburban Rway Co 1918 CanLII 1, 56 SCR 196 (5 March 1918)
  32. ^ "Acton Agricultural Society". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  33. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  34. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  35. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  36. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. 
  37. ^ http://www.halton.ca/regional_council_administration/halton_regional_council_2014-2018/
  38. ^ "Halton Hills 2014 Municipal Election Results". Town of Halton Hills. 
  39. ^ http://www.haltonhills.ca/
  40. ^ http://www.haltonhills.ca/officialplan/pdf/op/01_Town%20of%20Halton%20Hills%20Official%20Plan.pdf
  41. ^ "Halton Hills Public Library - Acton Branch - Virtual Tour". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  42. ^ "McKenzie-Smith Bennett School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. [permanent dead link]
  43. ^ "Robert Little Public School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. [permanent dead link]
  44. ^ "St. Joseph (Acton) Elementary School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]