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Whitchurch-Stouffville (2006 population 24,390) is a town in south-central Ontario, Canada in the Regional Municipality of York in the Greater Toronto Area. Situated in the southeast corner of the region, the town primarily functions as a bedroom community for the City of Toronto and its environs.
According to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census
- Population: 24,390 according to the 2006 census, estimated to be 30,000 as of December 2007
- % Change (2001-2006]): 10.8
- Dwellings: 8,898
- Area (km²): 206.74
- Density (persons per km²): 118
- Average Household Income: $110,000 (from 2001 census data)
Whitchurch-Stouffville is located approximately 24 kilometres north of the City of Toronto. It is bounded by Davis Drive in the north, Regional Road 30 in the east, and Highway 404 in the west. The southern boundary conforms with a position approximately 200 metres north of 19th Avenue, and is irregular due to the annexation of lands formerly part of Markham Township in 1971.
Motor traffic is served primarily by Ontario provincial Highway 48 and Highway 404, which are in turn complimented by a network of regional roads that form a grid pattern across the town.
Whitchurch-Stouffville is traversed by two rail lines operated by Canadian National Railway although only one, formerly the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, provides passenger service to Toronto. York Region Transit (YRT) and the Greater Toronto Transit Authority operate public transportation services in Whithchurch-Stouffville.
Whitchurch-Stouffville is home to several public and catholic schools:
- Public Elementary Institutions:
- Ballantrae Public School
- Glad Park Public School
- Orchard Park Public School
- Summitview Public School
- Whitchurch Highlands Public School
Public Secondary Institutions:
- Stouffville District Secondary School
Catholic Elementary Institutions:
- Saint Marks Elementary
- Saint Brigid Elementary
- Stouffville Christian School
As the town continues to expands, new facilities are being constructed to accommodate the increasing number of school-aged children in the community. In 2006, construction was begun on a new facility to replace the aging Stouffville District Secondary School, and students entered it's doors in September 2007. Located near the intersection of Weldon and Hoover Park Drive (part of a major suburban expansion project), it accommodates approximately 1,500 students. There are currently no post-secondary education facilities located in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
Whitchurch Township was created in 1792 as one of ten townships in York County. It was named in honour of the village of Whitchurch, Herefordshire in, England, where Elizabeth Simcoe (wife of Upper Canada Lieutenant Governor Sir John Graves Simcoe) was born. Between 1800 and 1802, John Stegman completed a survey of the township which created a system of land concessions. This allowed for the organized distribution of land to settlers, with each concession containing five, 200-acre (0.81 km²) lots. This layout remains visible today, as the road network in the area reflects the locations of the boundaries between concession blocks.
Early settlers of this period included Quakers and Mennonites, from the nearby American states of Pennsylvania, Vermont and New York. They also included Hessian soldiers, who had been granted land in Upper Canada by Britain in exchange for their service the American Revolution against the 13 colonies. Several settlers also established mill sites to process the timber that was cleared from the land, which led to the creation of hamlets at travel intersections throughout the township. Stoufferville was one such hamlet, which grew around the saw and grist mills of Mennonite settler Abraham Stouffer. When a post office was established there in 1832, the name was shortened to Stouffville.
In 1877, the Village of Stouffville was separated from the township. Stouffville's growth was aided by the establishment of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, built in 1871, which connected Stouffville with Toronto. This connection was created in large part to provide a reliable and efficient means of exporting timber harvested and milled there. Forestry led to large-scale deforestation, eroding the thin soils of northern Whitchurch into sand deserts. Reforestation efforts were begun locally, and with the passage of the Reforestation Act (1911), the process of reclaiming these areas began. Vivian forest, a large conservation area in northern Whitchurch-Stouffville that remains in existence today, was established in 1924 for this purpose. There are currently around 5,000 acres (20 km²) of reforested land, managed by York Region, in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The suburban expansion of Toronto in the mid-20th century led to a reexamination at the provincial level of municipal governance. On January 1, 1971, Whitchurch Township and the Village of Stouffville were merged to create the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. In addition to the merger, the southern boundary of the town was moved four farm lots south of the original southern boundary of Main Street. This land was formerly a part of Markham Township, and meant that for the first time, residents along the south side on Main Street were legally a part of the town.
The town is currently served by two local community newspapers: the "Stouffville Free Press" and the "Stouffville Sun-Tribune". A community radio station, CIWS-FM, launched in 2008.
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