Local History

Town History

The area that became the Town of New Tecumseth was home to waves of settlement and migration by many Indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of Anglo-European settlers. The groups most often identified with this area include the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Chippewa/Ojibwe.

Many Canadians think of treaty rights as something that only applies to Indigenous peoples. In fact, all Canadians have treaty rights and responsibilities – without them, Canada would not exist! The area that is now the Town of New Tecumseth is part of the Lake Simcoe-Nottawasaga Purchase (Treaty 18), which was signed in 1818 by representatives of the Chippewa Nation. Today, descendants of this group make up the Chippewa Tri-Council, with communities based at Georgina Island, Rama, and Beausoleil First Nations.

The Town of New Tecumseth was formed in 1991 and includes the former municipalities of the Town of Alliston, the Villages of Beeton and Tottenham, and Tecumseth Township. The name Tecumseth is derived from the name of Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief from the Ohio River Valley who led a confederacy of Indigenous nations that fought alongside the British during the War of 1812. The Township was first surveyed in 1819 and the area near present-day Bond Head was the first to be settled. Municipal government in the Township was first established in 1842.

Village of Beeton

The Village of Beeton was known as a bustling centre of manufacturing. In 1874 the village's name was changed from Clarksville to Beeton to honour the influence of D.A. Jones on the village's development. Jones was the first commercial honey producer in Canada. He was influential in bringing the railway to Beeton and in determining the layout of much of the village's downtown core. By 1886 Beeton was home to 77 enterprises, including four hotels, knitting and woolen mills, sawmills, a newspaper, a cheese factory, a stove manufacturer, and four carriage makers. The Beeton Fall Fair has its roots in the 1840s and continues to be a significant annual event.

Village of Tottenham

Through the 1820s Irish families like the Nolans, Tegarts and Tottens settled this area before the Village of Tottenham was finally incorporated in 1884. Businesses flourished and the population grew to about 700 after the railway arrived in 1877. Tottenham was home to the Coleman Fare-Box Company, which shipped transit fare boxes all over the world. In 1921 widow Elizabeth Williams was elected to Tottenham's town council. Known around town as Aunt Daisy, Williams was the first woman locally to serve in this capacity. The Tottenham Conservation Area began as an informal swimming and picnic area on the property of George Nolan's mill and continues to be a central gathering place in Tottenham.

Town of Alliston

In 1847 British immigrant William Fletcher settled and built a mill on the Boyne River around which the Town of Alliston eventually developed. The Memorial Library was opened in 1924 by Sir Frederick Banting, who was born and raised in Alliston and won the Nobel Prize in 1923 as co-discoverer of insulin. The establishment of Stevenson Memorial Hospital in 1928 was made possible by donations from grocery store founder T.P. Loblaw who named the hospital for his grandparents. The area of present-day Riverdale Park and Museum on the Boyne was home to the fairgrounds and a racetrack and has been the focal point of many community activities for more than a century.