Grimsby celebrates its centennial year of shift from village to town

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Published March 24, 2022 at 3:23 pm

Grimsby's Main Street, looking east, circa 1930

Yes, the name “Grimsby” has been in Niagara area since 1876 but the Town of Grimsby wasn’t created until 1922, making it 100 this year.

Originally, it didn’t have a name as the land was originally inhabited by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation until the mid-1600s.

By 1770, British Loyalist settlers came to the area, set up shop and called the area “The Forty” after the Forty Mile Creek.

In 1986, the name Grimsby popped into play as it was incorporated as “The Village of Grimsby,” named after the England fishing town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire County in north-east England. (Surprisingly, neighbouring Lincoln was not named after Lincolnshire County but rather was chosen by a citizens’ vote in 1970.)

However, the Town of Grimsby was not officially formed until 1922, therefore making 2022 its centennial year.


The Village of Grimsby Labour Day Parade down Main Street in 1909.

Oddly, at this moment, the town if experiencing most of its development dating back to the 1950s where it is virtually lake-locked – the north end between the QEW and Lake Ontario, an area that was just fields and trees for centuries.

Surprisingly, while there is much more area to the south towards West Lincoln, the suddenly-quite-steep Niagara Escarpment abuts that end and development is quite restrictive for that land.

Over the past century, the community has gone through many changes, from being a small rural village to becoming a centre for the manufacturing of farm equipment, furnaces, hospital furniture and other metal products.

Later, Grimsby, with its orchards on the escarpment became the hub of the Niagara Peninsula’s fruit-growing industry.

The town also had a successful fishing industry which lasted until the 1960s. The Town of Grimsby and the Township of North Grimsby were amalgamated in 1970 with the formation of the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

With a number of wineries and distilleries, Grimsby now serves as the western starting point for touring the Niagara wine region.

 

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