About Alliston/New Tecumseth
So you have decided to move to Alliston!
This bustling community was amalgamated in 1991 along with nearby villages of Beeton and Tottenham, to form the Town of New Tecumseth. The main downtown hub of Alliston is located along Highway 89, known as Victoria Street. It has become one of the top 10 fastest growing communities in Canada, with the 2016 Census showing its population increased by 25% since 2011 - more than 5 times more than the average growth in Ontario during the same period. Still, its population sits at around 20,000 residents, giving it a small town feel.
The town began as a commercial centre for farmers, and became best known for its potatoes. The famous spuds are still a major industry in the town and are celebrated by the annual Alliston Potato Festival. The Alliston Business Improvement Association was originally established in 1988 to revitalize the downtown area. They have organized many community events including food truck rallies, holiday events, as well as being a large part of the annual Potato Festival.
Honda of Canada Manufacturing operates a large auto manufacturing facility southeast of Alliston, currently consisting of three major factories.
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One plant creates the new model Civic, another the new model CRV, and the third manufactures engines for these and other plants across North America. The plants have a combined work force of more than 4500 workers.
The town has two large parks: Riverdale Park to the north along the Boyne River, and PPG Park to the south. Many major residential areas are located to the north and to the south, with additional residential and commercial developments made since then in the northwest, north and southwest since the mid-1990s, and more future development is expected. Another residential area, adjacent to the Nottawasaga Inn, is located 5 km east of Alliston- the first phase built is known as Green Briar; the second phase, to the west of the Inn is known as Briar Hill. The Nottawasaga River is situated east of the town; the Boyne River, which runs through Alliston, joins the Nottawasaga, just downstream from Nicolston Dam. The CPR (Toronto - Parry Sound - Sudbury) runs right up through the middle of town.
Located between Tottenham and Alliston, Beeton is home to approximately 4,000 people. The town was a stop on the Hamilton and North-Western Railway, where the railway split just north of the townsite. The line was later taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway, eventually turning into Canadian National Railways. Canadian Pacific Railway constructed a second line just to the west of town. The CNR right-of-way was closed in the 1970s. The portion of the CNR railway running from Beeton south to Tottenham is now used for the South Simcoe Railway, a heritage steam train railway offering tourists a trip back into time! Operating excursions since 1993, it is the oldest operating steam heritage railway in Ontario and features the second oldest operating steam locomotive in Canada! The trips travel over 4 miles of track from Tottenham through the scenic Beeton Creek valley. Although the trains stop in Beeton, passengers cannot disembark, as there is no station. The railway has plans to add a Beeton station, but as is common with many heritage railways, this sort of project is highly dependent on fundraising.
Tottenham was given its name from its first postmaster, Alexander Totten. The town was ravaged by a fire in 1895, which began at the McKinney foundry. Eighty structures were destroyed, including the foundry and a Methodist church. Despite warnings the year before that the town needed a fire engine, none was purchased. To combat the 1895 fire, the town of Allandale sent its fire engine, preventing further spread of the fire. Today, the Tottenham Conservation Area is a recreational facility in the village, which is also famous for its annual event, the Tottenham Bluegrass Festival. There is also the restored South Simcoe Steam train that is a tourist attraction, taking passengers to Beeton and back. The train is made up of restored 1920's era coaches, previously owned by the CPR and CNR. The railway has two locomotives, one built in 1883, which helped to build the transcontinental railroad! The railway's collection also includes cars not used on the excursions, including combination passenger/baggage coach used as a museum, two wooden cabooses, various boxcars, flat cars, and steam generator cars.
Earl Rowe Provincial Park is located three kilometers west of Alliston, in the amalgamated Township of Adjala-Tosorontio. It is one of the largest provincial parks in Southern Ontario.
Alliston traces its history to three brothers, William, John and Dickson Fletcher, who moved to the area 1821 from England. They built a cabin on the corner where four of the original townships merged, Adjala, Tosorontio, Essa and Tecumseth. Known as Fletcher House, it still stands at 18 Fletcher Crescent. It is thought the name Alliston comes from Allerston, North Yorkshire, England, where the Fletchers originated.
The Fletchers built a grist mill on the Boyne River in 1853, a tributary of the Nottawasaga River. The first child born in the new town was Margaret Grant, who was later mother to Frederick Banting, the co-founder of insulin. The Fletchers became the first postmasters, and publishers of the first newspaper, The Alliston Star, which changed to the Alliston Herald in 1871 and continues to be published today. The village was formally incorporated in 1874, with a Fletcher as the first reeve.
Alliston was upgraded to a Town in 1891, the same year a tragic fire nearly wiped out the entire downtown area. The fire started at the stables of the Queen's Hotel, and spread quickly because of high winds. In all, 30 acres of the town were destroyed by the fire, which received the attention of John A. Macdonald. This led to the creation of a waterworks the next year, which included twenty fire hydrants, and the addition of a hook and ladder truck in 1894.
The town has had many a famous resident. Theodore Loblaw, of the famed Loblaw grocery chain, was born there in 1872. He is credited with opening the areas first and only hospital, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, in 1928. It was named after his grandparents, William and Elizabeth Stevenson. Today, the hospital offers 38 inpatient beds and a wide range of outpatient services. It serves nearly 40,000 patients a year, across Adjala-Tosorontio, Canadian Forces Base Borden, Essa, Innisfil and New Tecumseth. It is hoping to undergo an expansion and redevelopment in the near future to be able to serve the quickly growing community.
Nobel prize winner Sir Frederick Banting was born in 1891 at a farmhouse that still stands. In fact, the town's only high school is named in his honour, Banting Memorial High School. Banting went to medical school in Toronto, and graduated in 1916. He signed on for military duty, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1919 for heroism. After returning to Canada, he continued his medical training. He set up a medical practise in London, where he became fascinated with diabetes and the pancreas. His collaboration with Charles Best, J.J.R. MacLeod, and James Collip, and discovered the production of life saving insulin, which continues to help diabetics today. And the very farmhouse that Banting was born has been restored and reopened as part of the Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation. It was officially opened on November 10, 2012, on World Diabetes Day and Banting Day. The 107-acre site is part of a long term goal to provide a local outreach facility offering education and support for people living with diabetes.