St. Thomas, ON
The city has come a long way since it was first settled in 1810. Named after Thomas Talbot, who helped promote the development of this region during the early 19th century, the city was named the seat of the new Elgin County in 1844 and was incorporated as a village in 1852, as a town in 1861 and as a city in 1881.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century several railways were constructed through the city, and located exactly halfway between Detroit and Buffalo, St. Thomas became an important railway junction. By 1914 there were 8 different railways operating in St. Thomas with over 100 trains a day passing through the city, earning it the title of the 'Railway Capital of Canada', which is celebrated today in the revitalisation of the original train station and Elgin County Railway Museum.
The trains contributed to a sadder part of our local history, when Jumbo, P.T. Barnum's famous elephant died here on September 15, 1885, when he was struck by a locomotive. Barnum was a trustee of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and Jumbo's remains were sent there. Though only his tail and some ashes remain after a fire in 1975, Jumbo's memory lives on in a life-sized commemorative statue, erected in St. Thomas in 1985, the centennial of Jumbo's demise.
In the 1950s and 1960s, with the decline of the railway as a mode of transportation, other industry, principally automotive manufacturing, began to locate in the city with plants operated by Magna, Ford and Sterling Trucks along with many secondary producers driving economic prosperity for the next 50 years.
Unfortunately, the auto industry suffered significantly in the the worldwide recession that began in 2008 and even St. Thomas could not completely escape unscathed. Several plant closings, including those of some of the city's larger employers, hindered economic growth.
Fortunately, work had already begun on diversifying the economy and just as St. Thomas was able to successfully negotiate the decline of the railway industry, the city is well-positioned to prosper in the new economy.
The citizens of St. Thomas have also prospered away from home, most notably including the NHL's Joe Thornton, NASCAR driver D.J. Kennington and the actresses Helen Shaver and Rachel McAdams.
The St. Thomas Municipal Airport is one of the finest municipally operated facilities in Ontario, providing complete services to an ever growing sector of corporate customers, private pilots, military and public service aircraft.
St. Thomas Airport also hosts the annual Wings N' Wheels event. This extremely popular two-day event brings in the very best in classic and modern day aircraft from across North America.
5,050 foot main runway, 6 runways, 4 IFR approaches, Full fuel service including jet fuel, Fixed-wing single & multi-engine charters, Flight school, professional/commercial/private license training, Aircraft maintenance and repair facilities, Canada Customs & Immigration services.
Serves industry and the public and has the capacity to handle all corporate jets built today as well as the largest aircraft used by the Canadian Armed Forces.
The railway has been a part of St. Thomas since 1856 with the completion of the London and Port Stanley Railway. Since then a total of 26 railways have passed through town making St. Thomas what is now known as the 'Railway Capital of Canada'.
The Elgin County Railway Museum was created in 1988 as a registered non-profit charity for the purpose of preserving and restoring the railway heritage of St. Thomas and surrounding area. Our knowledgeable base of volunteers are dedicated to keeping alive the memory of the railway which put St. Thomas on the map.
Our extensive collection includes some real gems including an electric interurban, a Pullman Sleeper and even a Jordan Spreader and more precious pieces of Canada's railway history.
Even our home is part of history; we are located in the 1913 former Michigan Central Railroad Locomotive Shops next to the Canada Southern Railway which was built in 1872 as a shortcut through Canada from Chicago to New York.
We look forward to welcoming you to our collection!
Welcome to the St. Thomas Timken Community Centre, the newest ice facility in St. Thomas. This two-rink facility was officially opened to a sold-out crowd on Thursday, October 20, 2005.
We are very proud of this addition to our City, as it truly is a community centre, attracting people of all ages every day, every season. The Timken Centre has lots of parking and is a modern, fully accessible, multi-use building
The Princess Avenue Playhouse, home of the Elgin Theatre Guild, is located at 40 Princess Avenue.
The former church, built in 1907 by the Church of Disciples, was sold to the Elgin Theatre Guild in 1987-1988, giving the building a new lease on life.
Since that time, the Guild has ensured that many of the original features of this fine building have been retained.
This handsome brick building, designed by architect Neil Darrach, has three outstanding facades (north, east, south) which are framed by two distinctively different towers. Anchored in the centre of each of the three facades at the second floor level in the gable ends, are sizable, circular stained glass windows. These windows have been incorporated in several plays, including "Agnes of God". Noticeable in the brick construction of this building is the use of pink mortar.
On December 3rd, 2001, St. Thomas City Council designated 40 Princess Avenue as a building of historic and architectural value in the City of St. Thomas.
Spend a day of family fun with Thomas the Tank Engine. Take a ride with Thomas and participate in other fun Thomas themed activities at the Imagination Station, including Thomas inflatable, readings and videos, stamps, temporary tattoos and hands on arts & crafts. Have your picture taken with Sir Topham Hatt, straight from the island of Sodor! Watch the July event calander for dates.
Thought to be named after a popular Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Pinafore Park was first developed by the St. Thomas Street Railway Company in the later years of the 19th century. It was their hope that a recreational feature would encourage passenger traffic on the newly electrified railway.
Many changes have taken place since 1863, yet Pinafore Park still remains a unique spot for recreation and pleasure with something to offer everyone. Century old pavilions nestled among towering trees provide an ideal setting for family picnics. The beautiful flower displays created each year are the product of the hard work of our parks crews and our unique Carolinean climate.
Pinafore Park is oriented to the active outdoor enthusiast with hiking and cross-country ski trails, tennis courts and its first-class ball stadium, Emslie Field. In addition to its beauty and accessible layout, Pinafore boasts a wildlife sanctuary, a small lake, the Rotary Splashpad, accessible playground equipment and the magnificent Morris F. Jones Memorial Bandshell for the music lover.
The St. Thomas Fire Muster is a fun 2 day event, for the whole family! Come watch the Fire Muster Competitions, Fire Truck Rodeo Antique emergency service vehicles on display all weekend
Huge Car show, Dog Show, Parade, through Downtown St. Thomas! (Saturday), Live music, bands and entertainment all weekend!, Crafts, Vendors, Food vendors, and BBQ, Emergency Service displays and demonstrations, Auto Extrication., Midway Children's Play Area.
And so much more! Come enjoy a weekend of fun for the whole family! Entrance to the park is Free! All proceeds to local charities, hosted by the St. Thomas Professional Firefighter's Assoc. Every Labour Day weekend.
Downtown St.Thomas will come alive as the Iron Horse Festival takes to the streets! The 14th Annual Iron Horse Festival is one of St.Thomas’ largest events. More than 20,000 people over the four days come from across the region to enjoy the Festival.
It is full steam ahead for this downtown street festival that combines a variety of festival attractions with a unique blend of railway, family fun and other heritage oriented displays.
The Festival features live entertainment on three stages, family midway, rib-fest, vendors, Cruise Night, Kid’s Junction with children's activities and hands-on art projects, Iron Chef Grill-off, craft & food booths, games, loonie bingo, and much more ! You won’t want to miss this year’s Celebration! Every August.
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