Woodstock, Ontario

Woodstock, Ontario
—  City  —
Motto: The Friendly City[1]
Woodstock is located in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°07′50″N 80°44′48″W / 43.13056°N 80.74667°W / 43.13056; -80.74667Coordinates: 43°07′50″N 80°44′48″W / 43.13056°N 80.74667°W / 43.13056; -80.74667
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Oxford
Established 1851 (as town)
  1901 (city)
 – Mayor Pat Sobeski
 – Governing Body Woodstock City Council
 – MPs Dave Mackenzie
 – MPPs Ernie Hardeman
 – Land 43.79 km2 (16.9 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 300 m (984 ft)
Population (2006)[2]
 – Total 35,480
 – Density 810.3/km2 (2,098.7/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code span N4S, N4T, N4V
Area code(s) 519 and 226
Website www.city.woodstock.on.ca

Woodstock (2006 population 35,480) is a city and the county seat of Oxford County in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, Canada. Woodstock is located 128 km southwest of Toronto, north of Highway 401 along the historic Thames River. It is known as the Dairy Capital of Canada and promotes itself as "The Friendly City." Woodstock is the only city in Ontario to still have all of its original administration buildings.[citation needed]

Vansittart Avenue (named after Admiral Henry Vansittart, an early settler) in Woodstock's west end has one of the finest residential Victorian streetscapes in the province.[citation needed] Woodstock has a community centre that hosts hockey games in addition to most social gatherings.[citation needed]



City Hall

The city government, Woodstock City Council, consists of four city councillors, two city and county councillors, and the mayor who serves as the Head of Council, currently Pat Sobeski. Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County, with the recently constructed County Administration Building located across from City Hall in the area of Dundas and Reeve Streets. For provincial and federal elections, Woodstock is included in the riding of Oxford. Currently, the MP of Oxford is Dave MacKenzie (Conservative), and the MPP is Ernie Hardeman (Progressive Conservative).


Woodstock General Hospital is the largest in the county. It is currently situated on the original site in North Woodstock. It has a workforce of nearly 600 people and 270 volunteers. In the fall of 2011, the WGH will move after over 100 years to a new location in south Woodstock. Through millions of dollars in local private donations, backed by government grants, the city will soon have a state of the art medical facility. The new hospital is close to the 401 expressway, and has many upgrades including a helipad and an MRI/cancer center.

Woodstock was the former home of the Oxford Regional Center. Opened in 1906 as the Hospital for Epileptics, it was later renamed the Ontario Hospital in 1919. Originally on the west side of highway 59, the hospital then expanded on the east side in the 1950s and transformed as a house for mentally disabled individuals. At its peak, the center employed 1500 people. It closed its doors in 1996, and since then all buildings have been demolished.


The community was first settled in 1800 after it was determined by Sir John Graves Simcoe, governor of what was then known as Upper Canada, that the area would make a good townsite. The early settlers were American immigrants from New York state. Increased immigration from Great Britain followed in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1836 there were 200 people living in Woodstock, and by 1844 the population had grown to almost 1,000 inhabitants and nearly 200 homes. Woodstock was incorporated as a town in 1851 and had its first town meeting in the Royal Pavilion Hotel. In 1902 Woodstock, with a population of nearly 9,000, petitioned the provincial legislature for city status and the "Town of Woodstock" was incorporated into the "City of Woodstock"

Devastating tornado

On August 7, 1979, the Woodstock area was hit by three tornadoes, two of which registered at least F4 on the Fujita Scale.[4] On the west side of town along Ingersoll Road, a Dominion Food Store was heavily damaged while the tornadoes skipped over every other home and business. Dickson's Florist was wiped out and the Fry home was moved on its foundation. Father Grondziel of the new Polish Roman Catholic Church, next to the Dominion Food Store, had just stepped into the washroom when one of the tornadoes passed by and took off the roof of the church and everything in the room he had just been in. No one on the street was injured but the cleanup took many weeks. On the south side, the buildings of the Maranatha Christian Reformed Church and the John Knox Christian School were destroyed, and the only fatality occurred when a vehicle on Highway 401 was blown off the road and the lone occupant killed.

Downtown Woodstock

Downtown Woodstock stretches from Vansittart Avenue to Huron Street on Dundas Street, the city's main street. It houses the city's banks, administration buildings, independent retailers and several restaurants. The majority of buildings are a century old. Downtown promotes itself through its B.I.A. members as a place to shop, work, play and dine. Although there are a few vacancies in the city center, the downtown is full of beautiful historic buildings and several unique retail outlets.[citation needed][citation needed]In the 1990s the city undertook an extensive makeover of the main street, adding many gardens and cobbled sidewalks. Every summer the main street is shut down for the cities "Sidewalk Sales" celebrations, a mix of retail sales and various entertainment.


Census Population
1841 1,085
1871 3,982
1881 5,373
1891 8,612
1901 8,833
1911 9,320
1921 9,935
1931 11,395
1941 12,339
1951 15,544
1961 20,486
1971 26,173
1981 26,603
1991 30,075
2001 33,061
2006 35,480


Woodstock has many popular attractions held throughout the year. The Woodstock Wood Show is held every October at the fairgrounds and is one of the largest in North America.[citation needed]The Canadian Farm Show is held every September at the North end of the city and is also one of the largest in Canada.[citation needed] The Woodstock Fair is held at the end of August at the fairgrounds and consists of a midway, contests, concerts and other events. On Victoria Day weekend there is a parade along Dundas that ends in Southside Park where there is also a Midway. Woodstock is also home to an OLG Slots, live harness racing, and 7 screen movie theatre (Gallerie Cinemas).


Old St. Paul's Anglican Church

One of Woodstock's most notable buildings is Old St. Paul's Anglican Church. Built in 1833 and situated near the intersection of Huron and Dundas Streets, the first sermon was held in the rectory on June 29, 1834. The first person buried in St. Paul's cemetery was a blacksmith named Spencer who died of cholera the day following his arrival in Woodstock in 1834.[6] It is alleged that the church tower was infamously used as a temporary jail during the rebellion of 1837. The church, a brick cruciform structure surrounded by Woodstock's oldest cemetery, boasts original box pews and dozens of memorial tablets commemorating prominent Woodstock citizens. The first incumbent was William Craddock Bettridge.

Springbank Snow Countess

Springbank Snow Countess
Old City Hall

The "Springbank Snow Countess" was commemorated by a life-size statue (designed by acclaimed Oxford County agricultural artist Ross Butler) which is located on the corner of Dundas and Springbank.

This bell iron and lead statue was made to honour a record-setting milk production by a Holstein (Friesian) cow named Snow Countess.

The statue was first unveiled on August 4, 1937, by the Holstein Frisian Association of Canada. Snow Countess was born on November 18, 1919, and died at age 16 on August 9, 1936. During her lifetime, she produced 9,062 pounds of butterfat, impressive at the time. The statue and granite base cost $4,000 to design and erect.

The cow has become an important symbol to Woodstock and is used in many cultural events, such as the annual Cowapalooza Festival.

Capitol Theatre, Woodstock

The "Capitol Theatre" originally the Woodstock Opera House. This building was recently torn down.


Woodstock has five high schools; Woodstock Collegiate Institute, the oldest in the city, home of the Red Devils; Huron park Secondary School, home of the Huskies; College Avenue Secondary School, home of the Knights; St Mary's Secondary School (catholic), home of the Warriors; and Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame (French catholic), home of the Wolves. Fanshawe College operates a post-secondary campus at the south end of the city, and offers a variety of full and part time programs. Fanshawe has applied for a permit to add on to their current campus and make it double its size and allow it to offer many new programs

List of Woodstock schools, year built, and attendance:

Public schools[7] Woodstock Collegiate Institute (1939), 584. College Avenue Secondary School (unknown), 842. Huron Park Secondary School (1955), 964.

Algonquin Public School (unknown), 634. Central Public School (1880's), 289. DM Sutherland Public school (unknown), 192. Eastdale Public School(1955), 278. Northdale Public School (1950), 264. Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School (unknown). Southside Public School (1956), 266. Springbank Public School (1964), 272.

Former public schools

Broadway Public School, Chapel Public school, Hillcrest Public School, Princess Public School, Victoria Public School.

Catholic schools[8] St Mary's High School (1997), 983. Holy Family French Immersion (1981), 192. St Michel's (1967), 300. St Patrick's(unknown), 249. St Rita's (unknown).

Sports and recreation

Woodstock has several parks and gardens. Most notably is Southside Park, which has a playground, baseball diamonds, public washrooms, soccer fields, gardens, and a new Skatepark. It also has a large pond, and many walking trails. At the North End of the city is Roth Park, which stretches along the Gordon Pittock Reservoir. This park contains a playground and several kilometers of walking, running, and biking trails. Woodstock has two ice rinks, two at the Community Complex at the south end of the city, and one at the fairgrounds in the central region. The Woodstock Soccer Club has built an indoor and outdoor soccer park at the north end, at the former site of the Oxford Regional Center. Woodstock two indoor swimming pools, Southside Aquatic Center, and the YMCA, and one outdoor pool, the Lions Pool. The Woodstock Public Library is one of the oldest in the province and has a large selection of books, movies, magazines, and newspapers and also has internet access for members.

Museum and arts

The Old Woodstock Town Hall, a National Historic Site of Canada,[9][10] now houses the Woodstock Museum. On the lower level is a permanent exhibit highlighting the history of the city and area, and the original town council room exists in its original state. Upstairs is a ballroom which houses several different exhibits throughout the year. The Woodstock Art Gallery is currently located on Hunter Street but will soon be moving into the old Shopper's Drug Mart building on Dundas Street across from Museum Square. The Woodstock Little Theatre houses plays year round in the former market building across from the museum.


Pittock Dam

Construction was started on the dam in 1964 and officially completed in 1967. The cost of the dam and land base at that time was close to $6 million. Present annual maintenance costs are about $40,000.[11]

The Pittock Dam is designed for both flood control and flow augmentation purposes. It is designed to benefit water quality downstream during dry summer conditions and provide year round flood control capability to protect downstream communities.

Woodstock Airport

The Woodstock Airport is located 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) west of Woodstock.


Toyota Plant

In June 2005, Toyota, briefly the world's largest automaker, announced plans to build a new, $CAD1.1 billion automobile assembly plant in Woodstock on a 1,000-acre (4 km2) undeveloped site in the city's northeast end. The plant was expected to employ 2000 people and begin full production of the Toyota RAV4 SUV in November 2008, at the rate of 150,000 a year. However, due to slowing car sales and bleeding market share to South Korean marques, Toyota cut production by 50% to 75,000 a year and reduced the work force 40% to 1200 people. The other 800 workers are expected to be recalled when (if ever) car sales increase. It was the first new auto assembly plant to be built in Canada in two decades.

Hino Motors Canada Ltd.

Early in March 2006, Hino Motors, a Toyota Motor Co. subsidiary, announced that it will be the first Japanese truck manufacturer to build its vehicles in Canada with a new Woodstock plant slated to begin production in April 2006, in the former General Seating plant in the Pattullo Ridge Business Park near Highway 401 and Highway 59.

The $3 million, 120,000 square foot (11,000 m2) plant will employ 45 and assemble 2,000 trucks a year when it begins production.[12]

In late November 2008 the Hino Motors automotive plant was completed.[13]

Woodstock Organ Company

A major Canadian piano and organ and reed organ company operated under the name of Woodstock Organ Company for many years of the early twentieth century. It was owned by D W Karn, who was at one time mayor of Woodstock. Karn had previously operated an organ and piano manufacturing company under his own name.

Other industries

Woodstock is also home to: General Motors National Parts Distribution Warehouse, the largest of its kind in Canada. Vuteq Canada, an automotive supply company to GM and Toyota. Toyota Boshuko, an automotive supply company to Toyota. Tigercat Industries, a forestry and logging equipment manufacturer. RWF Braun, a heavy equipment manufacturer. Kelsey Hays, an automotive supply company for Ford. Firestone, a textile/tire manufacturing company. Purina, a pet food company.

Some of Woodstock original Industrial Companies who are no longer there include Thomas Built Busses, Timberjack (later called John Deere), Harvey Woods, and Massey Furgeson.


Woodstock has one daily newspaper owned by Sun Media Corporation, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review.

There are three licensed FM radio stations:

  • FM 94.3 - CJFH, "Hope FM" Christian music
  • FM 103.9 - CKDK "1039 FM" Adult Greatest Hits
  • FM 104.7 - CIHR, "Heart FM" adult contemporary

The city also has a rebroadcaster of Toronto television station Citytv, operating on channel 31 and primarily targeting London and surrounding towns.[14]


Via Rail station in Woodstock

Woodstock Transit provides bus service on weekdays and Saturdays.[15]

For intercity travel Via Rail operates a train station in the city, offering Quebec City-Windsor corridor service to Toronto, Windsor, and points in between.[16]

Highway 401 runs along the southern edge of the city, and its junction with Highway 403 is located in the extreme south-east. Woodstock is centred on the intersection of the former Highway 59 and Highway 2, now Oxford Road 59 and Oxford Road 2.

The nearest airport with scheduled flights is London International Airport, 40 km to the west. The nearest major airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport, 128 km to the east.[17]

Notable natives

Further reading

Art Williams. Bits & Pieces: A Montage of Woodstock, Ontario in Text and Pictures. Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills, 1967, 1990.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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