Welcome to Alliston
Just 45 minutes north of Toronto, the charming town of Alliston is a rural getaway from the distractions and expense of living in the city for the town’s 10,000 or so residents. Situated within Ontario’s Simcoe County, Alliston has long been a commercial hub for the surrounding area’s farming communities, and was amalgamated into the Town of New Tecumseth along with the nearby settlements of Beeton and Tottenham in 1991. Alliston is located near the Nottawasaga River to the east, where a premier family golf resort now stands, the Nottawasaga Inn and Resort.
The town’s downtown area is located along Victoria Street, and is readily accessible via Highway 89.
For visitor accommodations, Alliston has two inns available: the Nottawasaga Inn as well as the Red Pine Inn. There is also several local Bed & Breakfast, facilities including the charming “Stevenson Farm”, the once glorious summer home of entrepreneur T.P. Loblaw.
Located in the heart of prime agricultural land, the urban residential area stretches about 3km from east to west. The housing market available in Alliston has something to offer everyone including the newly developed Briar Hill retirement living complex.
Old town charm and newer developments provide a distinct and diverse open market. Most homes in range in price from $250-400k within main residential districts located in the north and south of the town within easy walking distance to schools, churches and the main street business core.
In the north, century style homes are available in Previn Court Homes‘ Victorian Village. This development offers various home types such as bungalows, two storey houses, split level accommodations and town homes for prices ranging from $250-350K.
“Alliston West” is a more recent area of expansion in the town’s Northwest, where Previn Court Homes has built a second subdivision, a mix of different house builds. Bungalows, two-stories and semi-detached homes dominate the neighbourhood, with the odd block of townhouses making it possible to find something to suit everyone’s tastes. Streets like Henderson Cresent, Preston Avenue and Smith Street have been named after Alliston veterans. Built in the 1990’s the development of affordable housing has made it a good choice for first-time home-buyers and a strong up-and-coming neighbourhood.
Alliston’s Southwest is another area that has seen commercial and residential development since the early 1990s making it a good place to look for new developments and affordable starter homes.
Retirement living in Alliston ranges from the upscale Briar Hill development suitable to the active retirement lifestyle, to the fully assisted Riverwood Retirement home.
Located in the midst of a well-known potato-producing region, the town of Alliston draws commerce from the surrounding farming communities. Businesses and enterprises flourish in the area which provides residents and tourists with many dining and entertainment options. The Canadian Pacific Railroad’s Toronto – Parry Sound – Sudbury line also runs through the middle of the town, providing additional transport mobility and employment prospects for the town’s residents.
The area’s largest employer is an auto manufacturing facility run by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, which employs workers in three large factories. There are also several ‘spin-off manufacturing outlets related to the automotive industry.
Schools and Churches
Alliston’s children may go to school at one of four elementary schools. The town has two public elementary schools, Ernest Cumberland which features the all year round school curriculum, and Alliston Union Public School, as well as two Catholic schools, Holy Family and St. Paul’s. Alliston Christian Community School is located just south of Alliston on the Tecumseh-Adjala townline.
Named after Sir Frederick Banting, co-dicoverer of Insulin born in Alliston, the Banting Memorial High School, services local students and those from across rural South Simcoe. It offers many programs above the general academics including those designed to facilitate the needs of a ‘special student’.
In Alliston you will find many places of worship including St Andrews Anglican Church, St. John’s United Church, Grace Baptist Church, Alliston Alliance Church, St. Pauls Catholic Church, Alliston Christian Reformed Church, New Beginnings Christian Church, Faith Community Church, Alliston Christian Fellowship, Christian Reformed Church of Alliston, Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Knox Presbyterian Church.
The town of Alliston has one major hospital, the Stevenson Memorial Hospital. The hospital provides a full range of accredited hospital services to a catchment area including the towns surrounding Alliston, and plans are underway to further expand the hospital’s services. The Stevenson Memorial Hospital was conceived of and made possible by donations from Theodore Loblaw of the Loblaws chain of grocery stores, and was built in memorial to his grandparents, William and Elizabeth Stevenson.
Nearby Riverwood Retirement Home offers fully assisted long term care for the elderly and incapacitated.
Sports, Parks and Recreation
Alliston’s Nottawasaga Inn boasts two NHL-sized hockey rinks in the Centre Ice Sportsplex arena, as well as a 60 000 square foot convention centre and banquet hall. The Inn is also the only resort in Ontario to have a full 45-hole regulation golf course, making it one of the 25 best-rated golf resorts in Canada.
The Town of New Tecumseth Recreation Centre opened October 2007. This 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art centre boasts an ice arena, field house and walking track, guest & event services as well as a pro shop, and food service facilities.
The Alliston Curling Club hosts a regulated set of rinks, as well as a small banquet room, and is always ready to welcome new members.
There are two large parks in Alliston; Riverdale Park, home of the outdoor Rotary Pool, is located to the North of the town, along the Boyne River, and PPG Park and playing field is found in the South.
Located ½ way between Beeton and Alliston is the “Beattie Pinery” now known as Alliston Pinery Provincial Nature Reserve. This magnificent stand of old growth forest is one of the few preserves of this kind remaining in the South Simcoe area. Once owned by the great lumberman John Tackaberry, it was spared the axe and saw by the coming of the end of the lumbering era in South Simcoe. Consisting of over 197 acres this forest is home to over 50 species of birds, including 11 area sensitive interior species, and almost 300 species of vascular plants.
Just three kilometers to the West of Alliston, Earl Rowe Provincial Park is one of the largest provincial parks in Southern Ontario. It is located along the Boyne River, where rainbow trout can be seen every spring making their way upstream to spawn. The area was once settled by Hurons who partially flooded the area for agricultural purposes, which now creates a reservoir where visitors can paddle and bathe. Two beaches provide ample space for sunbathing, and nearby walking trails give hikers a chance to explore the Alliston area’s beautiful natural surroundings.
Alliston is home to branch 117 of the Royal Canadian Legion, and many community service groups including The Lions, Rotary, Probus, Historical Society and the South Simcoe Arts Council to name a few. A number of popular local eateries can be found along the”main street” stretch of Victoria Street, and shopping needs are met by this industrious downtown core as well as ‘big box’ style facilities located on the the out skirts. The head branch of the New Tecumseth Library is located here.
Annual Community Events
Now heading to it’s 39th year, the ever popular Alliston Potato Festival celebrates Alliston’s role as one of the prime potato-growing regions in Ontario, and is an important fundraising event for the township’s many local community organizations. The festival includes performances and activities for all ages, as well as the Annual Rotary Potato Festival Parade which is attended by over 30 thousand festival-goers each year, making it one of Canada’s largest community parades.
Christmas is a magical time for the young and old and the Town of New Tecumseth celebrates with several community event offerings. “Light – Up” is usually launched on the eve of the scheduled Santa Clause parades in each of the individual villages.
The annual Alliston Santa Claus Parade day, which includes fun filled activities for the entire family throughout the town, ends with a grand finale of count down to Light Up, community caroling, and a visit by the Jolly Old Fat man himself.
The 12th Night Celebrations are heralded by an outdoor family event consisting of a giant bonfire of discarded Christmas trees by special collection, with the hosting of this event is shared by the 3 villages.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Fletcher House- Not open to the public, but still standing Fletcher House, located at 18 Fletcher Crescent was built in 1849, by the founders of Alliston the Fletcher family. The Fletchers journeyed to Toronto from England in search of better prospects and working conditions. Old time photographs and etchings of the village then, depicts many views of the Fletcher grist mill which was eventually refurbished to a hydro electric generating facility, later to fall into decay, and the Mill Pond and sluice which was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel.
Museum on the Boyne- (formerly South Simcoe Pioneer Museum) The Museum on the Boyne, consists of 3 heritage buildings.
Situated on the site of the former Alliston Fairgrounds, the main gallery is housed in the historic Agricultural building and hosts collection of artefacts and archives of the town’s early settlement. The 1850’s McDonald Log Cabin is staged to display the life of early immigrants who came to Simcoe County seeking employ and livelihood offered to those with the pioneering spirit. The completely restored Keffer Barn features displays of heritage farm machinery and agricultural equipment. The Museum offers year round access to the collection as well as community and educational based workshops and programming.
Sir Frederick Banting Homestead- Sir Fredrick Banting was born November 14, 1891. He was a Nobel Laureate, known for his co-discovery of Insulin with Charles Best. Serving in both World Wars, Major Banting died February 21, 1941 at Musgrove Harbour Nfld. when his Hudson airplane crashed shortly after takeoff. He is also noted for his many military efforts including his work with Wilber Franks in the development of the Franks G-Suit at the Banting & Best Laboratory University of Toronto.
Sir Fred was also well known as a contemporary of the Group of Seven and in particular enjoyed painting expeditions with his good friend and painting companion, A.Y. Jackson. “Banting as an Artist”, was authored by Jackson in 1943.
T.P Loblaw – Stevenson Farm- Well known for his chain of Grocery Stores, TP maintained a summer home (Stevenson Farm) just north of Alliston. Concerned there was no local hospital should his guests suffer a hunting or riding accident, he founded Stevenson Memorial Hospital named so after his Grandparents. This is now the “Stevenson Bed & Breakfast” a delightful country retreat.
Emily Ferguson Murphy- Born March 14, 1868 in Cookstown, now Innisfil Twp. Woman’s activist, author and jurist Emily Ferguson Murphy grew up in Thompsonville, a small hamlet just south of Alliston. In 1916 she became the first woman Magistrate in Canada and the British Empire.
Most noted was her work in 1927 with four other women: Henrietta Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby, ( who together became known as The Famous Five), launching the “Persons Case,” contending that women could be “qualified persons” eligible to sit in the Senate. Although, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that they were not, on a later appeal the women won their case.
The Nicolston Mill- Located just east of Alliston on Highway 89 the Nicolston Millis the last of the remaining mills left standing in this tiny hamlet. Once hosting woolen, saw, knitting and grist mills, this lovely spot along the Nottawasaga River plays host to a camping facility favourite to sport fishermen and out door enthusiasts. Visitors from all over are drawn to watch the rainbow trout make circus like acrobatics on the MNR installed fish ladder, as well as view the giant white sturgeon at the remains of the old mill dam site, coming to spawn in early spring. Since the introduction of Chinook Salmon to the Georgian Bay watershed system, fall fish watching has become it’s own spectator sport in this area of protected waters.
The Gibson Centre for Arts and Culture- This beautiful 1890’s heritage building transformed from ‘factory to fabulous’ and now offers a centre for the arts and culture in Tecumseth Township and surrounding areas. It features a main floor gallery, performance stage, banquet and wedding facilities, as well as workshopping and community programming space.
The centre offers year round exhibitions in the main level gallery, and presentations of the performing arts from local well knowns to popular chart toppers.
The Mill Pond Centre for the Arts- Nestled in the historical area of main street Alliston, the modern Mill Pond Centre for The Arts, consists of a small eatery and coffee shop offering wholesome homemade food, plays host to the local book selling enterprise of “A Loft of Books”, and offers a professional gallery area and peforming arts centre all overlooking the beautiful and rustic Boyne River valley.