Ingersoll, Ontario

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Town (lower-tier)
Town of Ingersoll
Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre 2.JPG
Motto: Prosperity Through Progress[1]
Ingersoll is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 43°02′21″N 80°53′01″W / 43.03917°N 80.88361°W / 43.03917; -80.88361Coordinates: 43°02′21″N 80°53′01″W / 43.03917°N 80.88361°W / 43.03917; -80.88361
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Oxford
Established[1] 1852 (village)
  1861 (town)
 • Mayor Ted Comiskey
 • Federal riding Oxford
 • Prov. riding Oxford
 • Land 12.90 km2 (4.98 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 280 m (920 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 12,146
 • Density 941.8/km2 (2,439/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code FSA N5C
Area code(s) 519 and 226

Ingersoll is a town in Oxford County on the Thames River in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The nearest cities are Woodstock to the east and London to the west.

Ingersoll is situated north of and near Highway 401. Oxford County Road 119 (formerly Ontario Highway 19) serves the town. The local high school is Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute.

The area was well known for cheese production, and was home to the first such factory in Canada from approximately 1840. In 1866, a giant block of cheese weighing 7,300 pounds (3,311 kg) was produced at the James Harris Cheese Factory for promotion of the town's cheese industry. The "Big Cheese" was exhibited in England and in the United States at the New York State Fair in Saratoga.[1]

Heavy manufacturing is currently Ingersoll's largest industry, including manufacturers such as CAMI Automotive, a General Motors car manufacturing plant that was originally a joint venture with Suzuki Motors of Canada.


The area was first settled by Thomas Ingersoll (Laura Secord's father) who in 1793 obtained a land grant of 66,000 acres (27,000 ha) from Governor John Graves Simcoe. The town was originally founded as Oxford-on-the-Thames but renamed to Ingersoll in Thomas' honour by his son Charles. In 1852, the place was incorporated as the "Village of Ingersoll". Thirteen years later in 1865, it changed status to town.[4][5]

Annual town events[edit]

Ingersoll is the host to a number of annual festivals, including the Ribfest, Harvest Festival,[6] Canterbury Folk Festival[7] and the Winter Lights Festival.[8]


  • Cheese and Agriculture Museum
  • Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre
  • Ingersoll Theatre of Performing Arts (ITOPA)

Cultural resources[edit]

Ingersoll Cheese Factory Museum and Sports Hall of Fame[edit]

Ingersoll has the distinction of having been Oxford County's cheese capital from the mid-1800s to early 1900s, producing and packaging a good deal of the county's renowned cheddar. The museum showcases the town's unique history. The Sports Hall of Fame showcases the town's athletic history. "Path of the Giants" - a 20-foot "fully round" wood carved scene by the late Wilson Johnston, depicting the pioneer trek of his ancestors, the "Dunkards" from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Cambridge, Ontario in the 1700s. The agricultural barns were built from lumber and timbers taken from barns found in Oxford County. Reg Knox was the construction manager for this project. It required the barn board and beams to be reclaimed from three existing barn buildings in the area. The buildings were disassembled by Reg and his crew and materials transported to the site where these building now stand. Construction was done by hand like the original process. No power tools were used in the construction of these building. Reg worked from a single photograph of the original Old Ingersoll Cheese Factory. The buildings were completed within 3 months by a crew of approximately 6 people from the Ingersoll area.

Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre[edit]

This active arts centre features an exhibit gallery as well as offering classes in a variety of arts and crafts.

Ingersoll Public Library[edit]

A branch of the Oxford County Library. It is located in the Ingersoll Municipal Building. War Memorial and Honour Roll are located on the south side of the Town Centre. In the lobby is a statue and plaque to honour Thomas Ingersoll, the founder of Ingersoll. The former library was a Carnegie library located near the corner of Thames and Charles Streets.

Ingersoll Theatre of Performing Arts[edit]

Several amateur productions are presented each year in this historic Strand Theatre, which was built in the 1950s.


Canada census – Ingersoll community profile
2011 2006 2001
Population: 12,146 (3.3% from 2006) 11760 (7.1% from 2001) 10977 (4.5% from 1996)
Land area: 12.90 km2 (4.98 sq mi) 12.90 km2 (4.98 sq mi) 12.90 km2 (4.98 sq mi)
Population density: 941.8/km2 (2,439/sq mi) 911.9/km2 (2,362/sq mi) 851.2/km2 (2,205/sq mi)
Median age: 40.2 (M: 38.9, F: 41.3) 38.8 (M: 37.8, F: 39.9) 36.8 (M: 35.8, F: 37.7)
Total private dwellings: 4998 4670 4347
Median household income: $60107 $51152
References: 2011[9] 2006[10] 2001[11]
Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1841 400 —    
1871 4,022 +905.5%
1881 4,318 +7.4%
1891 4,191 −2.9%
1901 4,573 +9.1%
1911 4,763 +4.2%
1921 5,150 +8.1%
1931 5,233 +1.6%
1941 5,757 +10.0%
1951 6,524 +13.3%
1961 6,874 +5.4%
1971 7,783 +13.2%
1981 8,494 +9.1%
1991 9,378 +10.4%
1996 10,502 +12.0%
2001 10,977 +4.5%
2006 11,760 +7.1%
2011 12,146 +3.3%

Historical figures[edit]

  • Thomas Ingersoll (1751-1812) b. England. removed to Great Barrington, Mass. and then to the Niagara District, Upper Canada in1795. Received grant of Oxford township (revoked in 1797, and grant reduced to 1200 acres) which became the site of the modern town of Ingersoll. Instrumental in settling families in Oxford during the 1790s. Discouraged, he ceased his promotion of settlement in Oxford in 1806, but two of his sons, Charles and James, returned to the family homestead in 1818 and laid the foundations for the hamlet of Ingersoll.[12]
  • Charles Ingersoll and James Ingersoll (1801-86).Sons of Thomas Ingersoll. Charles was a brother-in-law of William Hamilton Merritt, Niagara merchant, promoter, Tory politician, and Charles's financial backer. MP for the Oxford riding 1824-28 and 1830-32. Died of cholera in 1832. During the 1920s, James established businesses which became the nucleus for the hamlet of Ingersoll (a village 1852 and a town, 1865). A defeated Tory candidate for Oxford in 1836, county registrar (1834-86), and the returning officer for several Oxford elections.[13]
  • James Harris (1824-?). Owner of the factory in which was built Ingersoll's famous Mammoth Cheese, 7,300 pounds, in 1866. Sponsorship of the venture came from a newly-formed private corporation, the Ingersoll Cheese Company, whose shareholders included Harris, farmers who supplied the milk and expertise for construction of the mammoth, and businessmen. The cheese was exhibited at the New York State Fair at Saratoga in 1866, and then exported to England.[14]
  • Laura Ingersoll Secord (1775-1868). Daughter of Thomas Ingersoll, founder of what was to evolve into the hamlet of Ingersoll, and older half-sister to Charles and James. Mythical heroine in the War of 1812-14. Never a resident of Oxford County, and possibly never visited Ingersoll.[15]
  • Adam Oliver (1823-1882). Born Scotch Lake settlement, near Fredericton, NB in 1823. Moved with his family to Middlesex County, Upper Canada, in 1819. Moved to nearby Ingersoll, 1850. There he established himself as a lumberman, mill owner, contractor, and politician. Developed businesses in Orillia (1868-72) and Thunder Bay District (1872-78). Mayor of Ingersoll, 1865-66. Warden of Oxford County, 1866. MLA for the Oxford riding, 1867-75.[16][17]
  • James Noxon (1833-1906). Born Bloomfield, Prince Edward County, Upper Canada. Moved to Ingersoll, Canada West, 1856. With his brothers and his father's financial backing, he established one of the largest manufactory of agricultural implements in the province and the chief industry in Ingersoll. In 1878 he built a mansion which was later to become the town's Alexandra hospital (1909). Mayor of Ingersoll, 1884-85 and 1887. As president of the firm and its largest shareholder, James lived beyond his means, running up credit and draining the company's resources to pay the bank interest. To save the firm, his brothers ousted him in 1887. He removed to Woodstock and then to Toronto, where he died with a fraction of his former wealth. The firm left Noxon-family ownership in 1898, lost its prominence of early years, and was shuttered in 1918.[18]

Historical landmarks[edit]

Norsworthy House[edit]

This Queen Anne style house is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Jane Norsworthy who died in 1891 after nursing her children back to health from diphtheris (the Lady in Grey). Her son, Edward, was a major in WWI.

Natural areas and parks[edit]

Centennial Park[edit]

The Ingersoll Cheese Factory Museum and the Creative Arts Centre are located at this property. This is a long and narrow, grass-lined park with a variety of young and older trees. There is a small cheese-themed playground with benches and a walking bridge over a small babbling brook. The playground and benches are constructed of natural wood and bright yellow 'cheese slices'. The backs of the benches look like pieces of Swiss Cheese with the requisite holes. Camping is allowed in the summer with basic toilet facilities at a cost of $15.00 per night. In the winter, there is a charming display of lights that runs the length of the park from the entrance on Harris Street to the exit on Wellington Street.

Dr. Carroll's Park[edit]

Dr. Carroll's Park Cenotaph was erected by Lady Dufferin Chapter Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire in memory of the Ingersoll men who gave their lives and served the Empire in two World Wars and the Korean Conflict. In July, the Memorial Park serves as the main venue for the annual Canterbury Folk Festival, with the main stages, seating area, beverage tents, and craft vendors located in this park, while other attractions and events take place elsewhere in the nearby downtown core.

John Lawson Park and Trail[edit]

Located on the Thames River, this park contains walking trails in a natural area.

Smith's Pond Park[edit]

It was a former mill pond used for ice harvesting in the winter until the dam broke its embankment in the 1970s, and the pond was subsequently emptied. The old dam remains along with the foundation and flume. The park is a natural area with walking trails, tall grass, and a newer, smaller pond was added by splitting the flow of Harris Creek, where a fishing derby is held yearly.

Historical churches[edit]

Thames St. in Ingersoll, Ontario (2008)

First Baptist Church[edit]

This church was founded in 1858, and the congregation constructed a red brick church building in 1896, on what is now the N/E corner of Thames St. S. and Hwy 119 . Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by fire following a lightning strike in 1898, but was immediately re-built on the existing site, and is still an active, community oriented, Christian Church in and for the Town of Ingersoll.

Ingersoll Christian Reformed Church[edit]

The church's original congregation came from the Netherlands in the mid 1850s. In 1955, a barn was renovated into a church on King St. but in 1973 the barn was sold and later burned in 1975. In 1976, the congregation decided to rebuild on 1.6 ha (4 ac) just west of the first church.

Peoples Revival Centre[edit]

In 1942, the congregation bought the collegiate gym and moved the complex to its present location.

Princess Elizabeth Community Centre[edit]

In 2012, The Princess Elizabeth public School has been bought by charity named Vedic Institute of Canada and has been converted to Vedic Ashram ie Retreat Centre

Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church[edit]

The congregation was established in 1838. The brick church building was built on the corner of Thames N. and Bell Streets in 1879, and is one of the tallest structures in the town. It was raised to parish status in 1864.

Salvation Army[edit]

The congregation was established in 1884 and the church was built in 1935.

St. James Anglican Church[edit]

The congregation was established in 1834. The present building was erected in 1868.

St. Paul's Presbyterian Church[edit]

The congregation was established in 1846. It was originally named Knox Presbyterian until the union of a number of parishes in 1889.

Trinity United Church[edit]

The original "Two Tower" church was built in 1865. The present building has only one small tower. The Methodist congregation joined the United Church in 1925.

Historical schools[edit]

Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute[edit]

The current building was constructed in 1953. The original school was demolished in 1954. A cairn and plaque mark its original location in the front parking lot.

Princess Elizabeth P.S.[edit]

It originally opened in the same years as Canada's Confederation - 1867. The current building includes the one that opened as a replacement in 1909.

Victory Memorial P.S.[edit]

Built in 1920, Victory Memorial School was named in honour of Canada's participation and victory in the First World War.

Plaques and monuments[edit]

The Big Cheese[edit]

A plaque marks the site of the factory were the giant 7,300 pound cheddar that was exhibited in New York and England to advertise Oxford County cheese was manufactured.

First Cheese Factory[edit]

Located at the Ingersoll Post Office. The first cheese factory in Canada was established in the County of Oxford in 1864. The widespread adoption of the co-operative factory system in the and other counties marked the beginning of the modern dairy industry in Eastern Canada.

Founders of Ingersoll[edit]

Located on the south east corner of the Thames St bridge. Commemorates Major Thomas Ingersoll and his son Charles who were responsible for the first major settlement of the Townships of East, West and North Oxford and who founded the community of Ingersoll in 1793.

Site of Thomas Ingersoll's log cabin[edit]

This plaque, situated on a pavilion, marks the former location of Thomas Ingersoll's log cabin, 1795.

Old town hall[edit]

The original town hall, located at King Street West and Oxford Street, was designated a historical landmark due to at least one appearance by John A. Macdonald, one of the founding fathers of Canada. The plaque was removed when the building was demolished.




  • Harrisfield Public School (formerly Harris Heights Public School)
  • Royal Roads Public School (formerly Princess Anne Public School)[19]
  • Laurie Hawkins Public School
  • St. Jude's Catholic School

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ingersoll History". Corporation of the Town of Ingersoll. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Ingersoll census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  3. ^ Natural Resources Canada - Toporama - varies within town from 268m to 300m.
  4. ^ Emery, George (2002). Adam Oliver of Ingersoll, 1823-1882. Ingersoll Historical Society. p. 35. ISBN 0-9688876-1-9. 
  5. ^ Emery, George (2012). Elections in Oxford County, 1837-1875. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4426-4404-5. 
  6. ^ "Ingersoll Harvest Festival". Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mission". Canterbury Folk Festival. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "Ingersoll". Festival of Lights. 
  9. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  10. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  11. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ Dawe, Brian (1980). Old Oxford is Wide Awake! Pioneer Settlers and Politicians in Oxford County, 1793-1853. Toronto. 
  13. ^ Dawe, Brian (1980). Old Oxford is Wide Awake! Pioneer Settlers and Politicians in Oxford County, 1793-1853. Toronto. 
  14. ^ Menzies, Heather (1994). By the Labour of their Hands, The Story of mOntario Cheddar Cheese. Kingston: Quarry Press. pp. 46–49. 
  15. ^ McKenzie, Ruth. "Ingersoll, Laura (Secord)". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. pp. Vol. IX (1861–70). 
  16. ^ Emery, George (2012). Elections in Oxford County, 1937-1875. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 136–184. ISBN 978-1-4426-4404-5. 
  17. ^ Emery, George (2002). Adam Oliver of Ingersoll, 1823-1882: Lumberman, Millowner, Contractor, and Politician. Western University, London: Ingersoll Historical Society. p. 1-179. ISBN 0-9688876-1-9. 
  18. ^ Emery, George (2001). Noxons of Ingersoll, 1856-1918. The Family and the Firm in Canada's Agricultural Implements Industry. Western University, London: Ingersoll Historical Society. pp. 1–86. ISBN 0-9688876-0-0. 
  19. ^ Skiing accident claims Ingersoll teen. Woodstock Sentinel Review (2012-02-22). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  20. ^ "Betty Taylor". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ "LUCKING, Alfred, (1856 - 1929)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Here In Ingersoll" (PDF). Oxford Media Group. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  23. ^ "James McIntyre". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  24. ^ "'The Machine' punching up support for Sakura House". Woodstock Sentinel Review. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  25. ^ Cochrane, William (1891). Men of Canada, Vol. I. Brantford: Bradley, Garretson & Co. p. 254. 
  26. ^ "Bio: McDonough, Frank (1846 - 1904)". Clark County History Buffs. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 

External links[edit]