Acton, Ontario

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Urban area
Mill Street in Acton
Mill Street in Acton
Acton is located in Southern Ontario
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

Acton (population 9,704) 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.


Proclamation of the former Town of Acton, marking the centennial of the establishment of the municipality

Acton was first named Danville when Settler Wheeler Green opened a dry-goods store in 1828. It was later called Adamsville, after three settlers from a family of that name. In 1846, the postmaster named the community after the area of Acton in West London, England.

Originally part of Esquesing Township, Acton was a station on the Grand Trunk Railway with a population of 700 by 1869. The principal trade was in grain, lumber, cordwood, leather and hops. Land averaged from $28 to $35 per acre.[2]

Acton was incorporated as a village in 1874,[3] and erected into a town in 1950.[4]

On January 1, 1974, Acton amalgamated with the Town of Georgetown and most of the Township of Esquesing to form the Town of Halton Hills.

Significance of tanning (1844-1986)[edit]

Tanning has been an important industry in Acton since 1844, when the first tannery was established, as the area was attractive to the leather industry because of the large numbers of trees.[5] The tannery was subsequently purchased by Beardmore & Co. in 1865, and over time became the largest tanner in Canada.[6] It was sold to Canada Packers in 1944, and continued in operation until its closure in September 1986.[7]

Other specialty tanners were also established in the town.[8] 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.

Beardmore & Co. tannery, viewed in the air from the north. Intersection of Mill St and Main St shown at lower right.
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. Church Street is the east-west road at the left of the picture.
Acton viewed from the east. Grand Trunk train is crossing Mill St at lower left. Toronto Suburban Railway track can be seen at upper left.
Acton viewed from the air in 1919

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.

Sports teams and clubs[edit]

Downtown Acton
  • 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


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.[9]


Fairy Lake
Fairylake bathymetry.png
Bathymetric contours of Fairy Lake
Location Halton Hills, Ontario
Coordinates 43°37′28.76″N 80°2′58.09″W / 43.6246556°N 80.0494694°W / 43.6246556; -80.0494694
Lake type reservoir
Catchment area 20.31 km3 (4.87 cu mi)
Built 1830 (1830)
Surface area 0.26 km2 (0.10 sq mi)
Average depth 1 m (3.3 ft)
Max. depth 7 m (23 ft)
Water volume 400,656 m3 (14,149,000 cu ft)
Surface elevation 347 m (1,138 ft)
Settlements Acton, Ontario
References [10]


The former Acton train station

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[11] 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.[12][13][14]

From 1917 to 1931, Acton was also served by the Toronto Suburban Railway,[15] which 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.[16]


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

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


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.[17]


School Type Grades
McKenzie-Smith Bennett School[18] Public elementary JK–08
Robert Little Public School[19] Public elementary JK–05
Acton District High School Public secondary 09–12
St. Joseph Elementary School[20] Catholic elementary JK–08


Population pyramid 2011
% Males Age Females %
Canada census – Acton, Ontario community profile
2011 2006
Population: 9,704 (-4.6% from 2006) 10,172 (31.0% from 2001)
Land area: 16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi) 16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi)
Population density: 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: 3,645 3,218
Median household income:
Notes: Urban Area Profile, Statistics Canada – References: 2011[21] 2006[22]

Notable Actonians[edit]

Acton Town Hall
Acton Ontario Town Hall.jpg
General information
Architectural style Italianate
Address 19 Willow St
Town or city Acton
Completed December 1882
Opened March 1883
Cost $4,574
Owner Heritage Acton
Technical details
Floor count 2
Design and construction
Architecture firm James, Mallory and Mallory of Toronto, Ontario
Main contractor W.M. McCulla of Brampton, Ontario
Designations Heritage property


  1. ^ Acton Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. at Geographical Names of Canada
  2. ^ McEvoy, H., ed. (1869). The province of Ontario gazetteer and directory. Toronto: Robertson & Cook. p. 18. 
  3. ^ "Acton Historical Plaque". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  4. ^ "The First Council of the Town of Acton - 1950". The Acton Free Press. 1950-01-12. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  5. ^ "History of Acton". Hide House. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  6. ^ "Business and History - Beardmore & Co., Limited". Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  7. ^ "Special Commemorative Pullout Section - Marking the 20th anniversary of Beardmore closing" (PDF). The New Tanner. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  8. ^ "Company History". Superior Glove Works Ltd. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  9. ^ "Acton Agricultural Society". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  10. ^ Town of Halton Hills - Fairy Lake Water Quality Study
  11. ^ "Grand Trunk Railroad Station". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  12. ^ "GO station to be built in Acton". Guelph Mercury. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Metrolinx fulfills its commitment to bring GO Trains to Acton" (Press release). Metrolinx. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  14. ^ "It's a GO for Acton Jan. 7". Independent Free Press. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Toronto Suburban Railway - Guelph Radial Line". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  16. ^ Acton Tanning Co. v. Toronto Suburban Rway. Co., 56 S.C.R. 196, Date: 1918-03-05[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Halton Hills Public Library - Acton Branch - Virtual Tour". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  18. ^ "McKenzie-Smith Bennett School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  19. ^ "Robert Little Public School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  20. ^ "St. Joseph (Acton) Elementary School". Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  21. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  22. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  23. ^ "Acton Town Hall". Retrieved 2012-02-22. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]