Mill Street in Acton
|Elevation||350 m (1,150 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Forward sortation area||L7J|
|Area code(s)||519 / 226|
Former Highway 25
Acton (population 9,462 in 2016) is a community located in the town of Halton Hills, in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. At the northern end of the Region, it is on the outer edge of the Greater Toronto Area and is one of two of the primary population centres of the Town; the other is Georgetown, Ontario. From 1842 until 1986, the town was a major centre for the tanning and leather goods industry. In the early years, it was often referred to as "Leathertown".
In 1825, the area now known as Acton was settled by the Rev. Ezra, Rev. Zenas, and Rufus Adams. These men were Methodist preachers who took a sabbatical and began farming here on a branch of the Cr River. A fourth brother, Eliphalet, also settled here later. In the 1840s, the community had a grist mill and tannery. The community was initially named Danville when settler Wheeler Green opened a dry-goods store in 1828. It was later called Adamsville, after the three original settlers.
In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway arrived and helped spur growth in the area, especially along Mill Street. By 1869, Acton had businesses that included woodworking mills, tanneries, glove makers and carriage works. It was incorporated as a village on January 6, 1874. Originally part of Esquesing Township, Acton's principal trade was in grain, lumber, cordwood, leather and hops. It was incorporated as a village in 1874, and incorporated as a town in 1950. A new town hall was opened in 1883 (and designated a Heritage Building in 1996); postmaster Robert Swan named the village Acton after the area of Acton, London in England.
In 1926, with the help of Sir Harry Brittain, the Village of Acton was given permission by the Municipal Borough of Acton in Middlesex, England to adopt a variant of the latter's coat of arms, substituting maple leaves for the oak leaves in the original. The municipal council continued to use it until 1974, when Acton amalgamated with the Town of Georgetown and most of the Township of Esquesing to form the Town of Halton Hills.
Tanning has been an important industry in Acton since 1842, when the first tannery was established by Abraham Nelles, as the area was attractive to the leather industry because of the large numbers of hemlock spruce trees. These provided the tannin required for a firm, high quality leather of a reddish colour.
The Beardmores also opened tanneries in other parts of southern Ontario. By 1889, their main tanneries in Acton were very large, 100,000 square meters in size. They also built a large brick warehouse that year beside the railway tracks. Hides arrived by rail and were taken for processing by horse-drawn wagons and then shipped by rail to customers.
In 1969, the business was sold to Frank Heller and Company, who consolidated it into one large building in 1980. That year, three investors decided to transform the tannery into the Old Hide House, a retail store with leather clothing, goods and furniture. From 1980 to 1993, the old tannery warehouse building was a restaurant, Jack Tanner's Table.
The business was closed at times because of bankruptcy and other reasons, but is currently in operation, although the identity of the owners during parts of its history, and even now, has not been publicized.
Other specialty tanners and leather products manufacturers were also established in the town. These included Hewetson Shoe, Coronna Shoe, Superior Glove, Marzo Glove and Frank Heller and Co. In the early 20th century, Acton was the main urban community of Esquesing Township, much larger than nearby Georgetown, Ontario which now has four times the population.
Because of the extensive tanning industry that was located in the area during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, the area has earned the nickname of Leathertown.
The Grand Trunk brought train service to the area in 1856, and its station was located at Mill Street East and Eastern Avenue next to the Beardmore leather warehouse (now known as the Olde Hide House). Canadian National closed the train station in 1967, but the stop continued to serve both Via Rail and GO Trains until the 1990s. GO Train service resumed on January 7, 2013.
From 1917 to 1931, Acton was also served by the Toronto Suburban Railway, which early on entered into a notable dispute over a crossing with a spur line of the Grand Trunk in the town, that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for resolution.
In older books and papers of the area, two demonyms have existed for residents of the area at the same time. Actonite was used to identify people who moved to the area, and Actonian referred to people who grew up there. The first designation now predominates, due to the influx of new residents in the 1960s, but older residents still remember it.
The town's location was chosen because of the good source of water power from the Black Creek, and the flour mill established at the beginning is still in operation today, although its source of power has changed. It is also near the watershed between the Cr River and the Grand River which is just west of the urban area, where the Blue Springs Creek begins. Acton also has Fairy Lake at Prospect Park, which is the fairgrounds for the Acton Fall Fair every September.
|Population pyramid 2011|
|Canada census – Acton, Ontario community profile|
|Population:||9,462 (-0.5% from 2011)||9,704 (-4.6% from 2006)||10,172 (31.0% from 2001)|
|Land area:||7.80 km2 (3.01 sq mi)||16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi)||16.14 km2 (6.23 sq mi)|
|Population density:||1,213.20/km2 (3,142.2/sq mi)||601.24/km2 (1,557.2/sq mi)||630.24/km2 (1,632.3/sq mi)|
|Median age:||38.9 (M: 38.6, F: 39.2)|
|Total private dwellings:||3,577||3,645||3,218|
|Median household income:|
|Notes: Urban Area Profile, Statistics Canada – References: 2016 2011 2006 earlier|
No longer officially a town (since 1974), Acton is part of the Town of Halton Hills which is divided into four wards, each with two elected Councillors. Two others are Regional Councillors, each representing two wards on Halton Hills Council, and also serve on the Halton Region Council as does the mayor.
The current (2014-2018) membership of the town council is as follows:
|Position||Ward 1||Ward 2||Ward 3||Ward 4|
|Regional Councillor||Clark Somerville||Jane Fogal|
|Local Councillor||Jon Hurst||Ted Brown||Moya Johnson||Bob Inglis|
|Mike Albano||Bryan Lewis||David Kentner||Ann Lawlor|
Halton Hills has its own fire department but policing is provided by the Halton Regional Police Services. Halton Hills has its own official plan which came into force on 28 March 2008 and was consolidated in 2017 with the Region's plan.
The Acton branch of the Halton Hills Public Library is located at 17 River Street was initially built as the community's centennial project, and was opened in 1967. It was significantly expanded in 2012.
|McKenzie-Smith Bennett School||Public elementary||JK–08|
|Robert Little Public School||Public elementary||JK–05|
|Acton District High School||Public secondary||09–12|
|St. Joseph Elementary School||Catholic elementary||JK–08|
Acton is covered by local newspapers and television through the following services:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Acton, Ontario.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Acton (Ontario).|