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A Brief History Of Milton, Ontario

The town of Milton Ontario began as mill town on a mill pond, but that’s not how it got its name. The area was first settled by Jasper and Sarah Martin from Newcastle England. The future town grew from a parcel of land 100 acres in size that was granted to the Martin family.

Running through this plot of land was Sixteen Mile Creek, which Jasper quickly recognized as the key to his future success. He built a grist mill on the creek as well as creating a pond to harness the power of the water, a great attraction for those wishing to process their farmed goods. The mill became the centre of a population base that numbered 100 over the next seventeen years, and the “town” was referred to as Martin’s Mills. This title was replaced around 1837 twice, becoming first Mill Town and then Milton.

Although it may seem as though Milton is a natural jump from Mill Town, the name actually came about as a tribute to the Martin’s favourite author John Milton (writer of Paradise Lost, among others). Aside from the Miltons, there was one other family, the Fosters, who owned substantial property within the township. The land was split into north and south of Main Street, with the Martin family owning land to the north and the Fosters to the south. The land where the current town hall now stands was donated to the town by Hugh Foster, thus the name of the building (Hugh Foster Hall).

In 1857, Milton was incorporated as a town after it was chosen as the county seat for the Halton district. The town expanded its borders, taking in parts of the former territory belonging to the town of Esquesing as well as the village of Campbellville and several other outlying areas. This annexation continued well into the 20th century, when Milton annexed parts of Oakville and Burlington.

In recent years the addition of parts of the Niagara Escarpment has meant that Milton has become a major tourist hot spot, built around the idea of environmental and historical conservation.

By: Rob Parker

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