Too many candles for a cake as St. Catharines turns 147 years old


Published May 1, 2023 at 10:10 am

St. Paul St. in downtown St. Catharines in 1942. (Photo: St. Catharines Museum)

May 1st usually means summer is just around the corner but to St. Catharines, it means something else – another candle on the birthday cake.

While it has existed for many years prior and under several different names, on this day in 1876, St. Catharines attained city status, making it 147 years old today.

St. Catharines had already been incorporated as a town in 1845 and administrative and political functions were added to St. Catharines in 1862 when it became the county seat of Lincoln.

In the late 1700s, the area was little more than a farm settlement with over 3,000 United Empire Loyalists, loyal to the British crown, immigrating during the American Revolution.

Previously called Shipman’s Corner after Paul Shipman, owner of a tavern that was a important stagecoach transfer point, by roughly 1810, it was officially become the Village of St. Catharines. While no one is certain, it’s believed to be named after Catharine Askin Robertson Hamilton, wife of the Honourable Robert Hamilton, a prominent businessman.

St. Catharines began to spread its boundaries in all directions with land being added five times during the 1950s. The Town of Merritton, Village of Port Dalhousie and Grantham Township were all incorporated as part of St. Catharines in 1961.

If you’re curious about the growth of the city from the start, the city has an abridged version HERE.

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