Mill Street in Acton
|Elevation||350 m (1,150 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (EDT)|
|Forward sortation area|
|Area code(s)||519 / 226|
|Highways|| Highway 7|
Former Highway 25
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. From 1842 until 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".
In 1825, the area now known as Acton was settled by the Rev. Ezra, Rev. Zenas, and Rufus Adams. These men were 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. In the 1840s, the community had a grist mill and tannery. The community was initially 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 and helped spur growth in the area, especially along Mill Street. By 1869, Acton had businesses that included woodworking mills, tanneries, glove makers and carriage works. Originally part of Esquesing Township, Acton's principal trade was in grain, lumber, cordwood, leather and hops. It was incorporated as a village in 1874, and incorporated as a town in 1950. 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.
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, substituting maple leaves for the oak leaves in the original. 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.
Significance of the leather industry
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 and spruce trees. These provided the tannin required for a firm, high quality leather of a reddish colour.
The Beardmores also opened tanneries in other parts of southern Ontario. From 1877 to 1922, they operated another large facility in Bracebridge, having been attracted by the area's large supply of hemlock. It closed due to the decline of American markets around 1920.
By 1889, their main tanneries in Acton were very large, with a combined floor space of almost 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2). 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 March 1946, a breach in the tannery's filter dam lead to the release of 25,000,000 imperial gallons (110,000 m3) of waste water and debris, which flooded the village water supply and caused extensive property damage downstream as far as Limehouse and Stewarttown.
In 1980, three investors decided to transform the tannery's warehouse into the Old Hide House, a retail store with leather clothing, goods and furniture. From 1980 to 1993, the Old Hide House also housed a restaurant, Jack Tanner's Table. The business is famous for its commercial slogan that has been in use for decades, "It's worth the drive to Acton!"
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.
Other speciality 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. 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.
The Grand Trunk brought train service to the area in 1856, and its station 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.
From 1917 to 1931, Acton was also served by the Toronto Suburban Railway, which early on entered into a notable dispute with the Beardmore tannery over a crossing with a Grand Trunk spur line in the town, that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for resolution.
Actonite or Actonian
In older books and papers of the area, 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.
The town's location was chosen because of the good source of water power 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.
|Population pyramid 2016|
|Canada census – Acton, Ontario community profile|
|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 2011 2006 earlier|
|Population||% of total|
|Did not move||6,055||67.8|
|In the same municipality||1,300||14.5|
|In the same province||1,455||16.3|
|From another province||80||0.9|
|From another country||45||0.5|
|Total aged 5 or over||8,930||100.0|
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.
The current (2018–2022) membership of the town council is as follows:
|Position||Ward 1||Ward 2||Ward 3||Ward 4|
|Regional Councillor||Clark Somerville||Jane Fogal|
|Local Councillor||Jon Hurst||Ted Brown||Moya Johnson||Bob Inglis|
|Mike Albano||Bryan Lewis||Wendy Farrow-Reed||Ann Lawlor|
Halton Hills has its own fire department but policing is provided by the Halton Regional Police Services. Halton Hills has its own official plan which came into force in March 2008 and was consolidated in 2017 with the Region's plan.
Teams and clubs
- 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 Ladies Hockey (Eagles)
- 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
- Halton Hills Minor Lacrosse Association
The Acton branch of the Halton Hills Public Library is located at 17 River Street. Initially built as the community's centennial project when it opened in 1967, it was significantly expanded in 2012.
|McKenzie-Smith Bennett School||Public elementary||JK–08|
|Robert Little Public School||Public elementary||JK–05|
|Acton District High School||Public secondary||09–12|
|St. Joseph Elementary School||Catholic elementary||JK–08|
Acton is covered by local newspapers and television through the following services:
- The Independent & Free Press
- The Acton New Tanner
- The Halton Compass
- Acton UP
- Judy Fong Bates - author and teacher
- Mazo de la Roche - author, for which Acton provided settings for some of her early novels
- David Henderson - MP (1888, 1891-1917), banker and merchant
- Sir Donald Mann - industrialist and railway entrepreneur
- Jeff McEnery - comic
- Art Moore - Stanley Cup winner with the Ottawa Silver Seven
- Jamie Taras - former professional Canadian football player
- Roz Weston - radio and television personality
- Joseph Petric - musician, author, teacher
- "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Acton, Ontario". Statistics Canada. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- John Mark Benbow Rowe. Acton: The History of Leathertown. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
- "One of Acton's Founders". Acton Free Press. September 23, 1926. p. 6.
- "History of Acton". Downtown Acton BIA. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- "Acton". OntarioPlaques.com. Alan L. Brown. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
- McEvoy, H., ed. (1869). The province of Ontario gazetteer and directory. Toronto: Robertson & Cook. p. 18.
- "The First Council of the Town of Acton - 1950". The Acton Free Press. January 12, 1950. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Our History ..." Acton Town Hall Centre. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- "Acton Borough Council". Civic Heraldry of England and Wales.
- "A Suitable Crest for Acton: The Council Favors Adoption of That of Acton, England". The Acton Free Press. September 2, 1926. p. 1.
- The Regional Municipality of Halton Act, 1973, S.O. 1973, c. 70, s. 2
- "History of Acton". Hide House. Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Halton Heritage" (PDF). March 1, 1992. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- "Business and History - Beardmore & Co., Limited". Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario. Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Hind, Andrew (March 2021). "An early boon to Bracebridge". Muskoka Life. pp. 14, 16.
- Petrushevsky, Maggy (September 14, 2006). "'Mixed blessing' when Beardmore tannery was sold to Canada Packers – Bill Nelles" (PDF). The New Tanner. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- "Breaking of Filter Bed Dam Flooded Municipal Water Reservoir and Damaged Bridges". The Acton Free Press. March 21, 1946. pp. 1, 5.
- "History of Acton". The Hide House. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- Boyle, Terry (2011). Hidden Ontario: Secrets from Ontario's Past. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 9. ISBN 9781459700291. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
- "The Hide House". Retrieved October 14, 2020.
- "Special Commemorative Pullout Section - Marking the 20th anniversary of Beardmore closing" (PDF). The New Tanner. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Hide House files for bankruptcy protection". The IFP.ca. January 26, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- "Company History". Superior Glove Works Ltd. Archived from the original on 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Grand Trunk Railroad Station". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- "GO station to be built in Acton". Guelph Mercury. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "Metrolinx fulfills its commitment to bring GO Trains to Acton" (Press release). Metrolinx. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- "It's a GO for Acton Jan. 7". Independent Free Press. 13 December 2012. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Toronto Suburban Railway - Guelph Radial Line". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Acton Tanning Co v Toronto Suburban Rway Co, 1918 CanLII 1, 56 SCR 196 (5 March 1918)
- "Acton Agricultural Society". Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
- "Halton Regional Council". Halton Region. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Halton Hills 2018 Municipal Election Results" (PDF). Town of Halton Hills. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
- "About Us". Halton Regional Police Service. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Official Plan" (PDF). Town of Halton Hills. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Halton Hills Thunder Minor Hockey". Retrieved March 14, 2021.
- "Halton Hills Public Library - Acton Branch - Virtual Tour". Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "McKenzie-Smith Bennett School". Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Robert Little Public School". Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "St. Joseph (Acton) Elementary School". Halton Catholic District School Board. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
- "Judy Fong Bates returns to read at Acton Library". Independent and Free Press. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- Coles, Hartley (July 19, 2007). "Acton knew her as plain Maisie Roach; worldwide she was Mazo de la Roche". New Tanner. Acton.
- "Hon. D. Henderson Passed Away on Thursday Morning". The Acton Free Press. December 14, 1922. p. 1.
- "Sir Donald Mann Died on Saturday". The Acton Free Press. November 15, 1934. p. 1.
- Dills, G. Arlof; Moore, H.P.; Dills, David R. (1939). Acton's Early Days (2006 ed.). Acton, ON: Dills Printing and Publishing Company. ISBN 0-9735463-0-1. OL 16869774M. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- Rowe, J. Mark B. (2002). Acton : the history of Leathertown. Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press for the Esquesing Historical Society. ISBN 1-55046-379-9. OL 3769922M. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
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