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Ancaster, Ontario

From Academic Kids

Ancaster is a suburban community southwest of Hamilton, Ontario, with which it amalgamated in 2001. This article describes its development until that time.

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Geography, economy and population

Ancaster is the most westerly point 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 community had a population of approximately 28,000 in the 2001 census. 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 Centre 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 304 and 648.

History

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.

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 (http://www.ancasteroldmill.com), a restaurant and banquet hall popular for wedding receptions.


Government

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. Skarica resigned in protest, but the amalgamation was not rescinded.

Education

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 is Ancaster Vocational and High School (http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/AncasterHigh/).

Post-secondary or tertiary education is only available at Redeemer University College (http://www.redeemer.on.ca), a Christian institution closely associated with the Christian Reformed Church. Incorporated 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.


Sports 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 will again in 2006.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (http://www.hamrca.on.ca) (sometimes in conjunction with the City of Hamilton) operates several sites in Ancaster. Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museumshowcases (http://www.city.hamilton.on.ca/culture-and-rec/MUSEUMS/fieldcote/default.asp) 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 (http://www.city.hamilton.on.ca/Parks/Trails/HamBran.asp). These offer four seasons recreation for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, snowshoers and cross country skiers.


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