Ancaster, Ontario

Ancaster, Ontario

Ancaster is a suburban community in the southwest of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, with which it amalgamated in 2001. It is considered the greatest of Hamilton communities.

Geography, economy and population

Ancaster is the most westerly portion of the Golden Horseshoe conurbation of southern Ontario. It is a bedroom community whose residents typically work in downtown Hamilton itself, Brantford, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga or Toronto.

The former municipality had a population of 33,232 in the 2006 census, a considerable increase from the 2001 census figure of 27,485. Development in "Old Ancaster", the historic village core, has been tightly controlled. Its current population growth and building boom occurs mainly on the east side of Highway 403 in such typically suburban commercial developments as the Power Center and residential developments such as the Meadowlands. It has resided in the 905 area code since the latter's creation, and its telephone exchange prefixes are 648 and 304, majority being 648.


It was surveyed as Ancaster Township in the 1790s, attached variously to Nassau District, Home District, York County (West Riding) and Halton County. Finally, in 1851, it was attached to Wentworth County and its successors where it remains today. It was one of the three original potential capitals of Upper Canada with a strong defensible position and close to water but ended up being too close to the American border.

Its pioneer settlers deforested the land and planted crops for subsistence agriculture. For a century it was an unimposing gristmill hamlet and police village. The mill was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. It now operates as the [ Ancaster Old Mill] , a restaurant and banquet hall popular for wedding receptions. The Barracks of 1812 still stand on Wilson Street as a reminder of the war of 1812 between the British and Americans. Some fine examples of Victorian architecture are also located on Wilson Street, amongst them is the imposing Richardson residence, now the home of [ The Spa at Ancaster] , which was built in 1872 as a wedding present for Dr Henry Richardson.

The Hermitage is a popular site in Ancaster [] . This historic house was once the property of Reverend George Sheed in 1830. Since then the house has changed ownership many times before burning to the ground in 1934. The shell of the old house and surrounding buildings can still be visited today. One of the main draws of this old property is the legend of the property being haunted. There are ghost tours run throughout the summer [] with the tour guides telling haunted stories of the land and the surrounding county.


When it became part of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth in 1974, the Town of Ancaster absorbed the Township of Ancaster (including other hamlets like Jerseyville, Lynden and Alberton). The new town had two representatives on the regional council which totaled (with the Regional Chair) about 20 members.

It was amalgamated with the nearby City of Hamilton in 2001. The amalgamation was bitterly and unsuccessfully protested by its residents and those of adjacent communities (such as Dundas and Flamborough), particularly since the Progressive Conservative MPP Toni Skarica government had promised in the last election that the amalgamation would not occur. Conservative M.P.P. Skarica resigned in protest, and a local Flamborough Mayor, Ted McMeekin, who led the fight in opposing the amalgamation, won the Liberal party nomination winning the by-election on an anti-amalgamation platform. Nonetheless, the amalgamation was not rescinded by the Harris government.


Ancaster was part of the Wentworth County Board of Education since its inception, and was covered by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board when it was created in 1998. The town's only public institute of secondary education was [ Ancaster High School] until 2005. Today, it is no longer classified as a vocational school, its official name is Ancaster High School. The other secondary school is Bishop Tonnos Secondary School belonging to the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

Post-secondary or tertiary education is only available at [ Redeemer University College] , a Christian institution closely associated with the Christian Reformed Church. It was incorporated in 1980 and began classes in Hamilton two years later. It built a campus in Ancaster in 1986 where it had its first graduating class. It had cooperative relations with McMaster University, which provided some instructors and some cross-listed courses. By 2000, it had acquired its present name and its graduates became B.A.s or B.Sc.s instead of Bachelors of Christian Studies.

Ancaster Public Library, a branch of the Hamilton Public Library System, is located on Wilson St. The library was reopened on November 27, 2006 after an extensive project that involved extending the library to include the entire first floor of the building.

ports and Nature

The Hamilton Golf and Country Club was founded in 1894 and was originally sited beside the Hamilton Jockey Club (now Centre Mall), moving to Ancaster in 1916. It hosted the PGA tour in 2003 and again in 2006.

The [ Hamilton Conservation Authority] (sometimes in conjunction with the City of Hamilton) operates several sites in Ancaster. [ Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum] showcases local history (including the area's participation in the Underground Railway), fine arts, gardens and walking paths.

The Bruce Trail snakes through Ancaster as it links Queenston with Tobermory. The famous walking path goes through part of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area and crosses the [ Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail] . These offer four seasons recreation for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, snowshoers and cross country skiers.

The Ancaster Rotary Center is an addition to Morgan Firestone Arena. It includes a full size gym, workout complex, and many rooms which are usable for rent or camps in the summer. It also contains various sporting events. The entire complex is surrounded by four baseball diamonds and five soccer fields, four of which are for younger children and are all owned by the Ancaster Youth Soccer Club.

Annual Events

*Ancaster Fair (September)
*Ancaster Heritage Days (June)
*Ancaster Old Mill Race (June)
*Lobsterfest (May)
*M-Town Invitational Tournament (semi-annually in June and December)

Notable Ancastrians

* Phoebe Judson, founder of Lynden, Washington
* Bob Young, former CEO of Red Hat, Inc., and owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

External links

* [ The Hamilton Golf & Country Club]
* [ Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum]
* [ Griffin House]
* [ Bruce Trail]
* [ Dundas Valley Conservation Area]
* [ Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail] (formerly West Hamilton to Jerseyville Rail Trail)
* [ Redeemer University College]
* [ Ancaster High and Vocational School]
* [ Ancaster Depression Glass Show and Sale]
* [ Lobsterfest]
* [ Ancaster Fair]
* [, A Historical Photographic Tour of Hamilton's Past]
* [ Ancaster Heritage Days]

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