Bradford West Gwillimbury, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1991, population 28 077 (2011c), 24 039 (2006c). The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury is composed of the former town of Bradford (incorporated 1960), most of the lands of the former township of West Gwillimbury, and a small portion of land from the township of Tecumseth. The town is located 72 km north of downtown Toronto.
Early settlement began in the late 1700s, and in 1819 disheartened settlers from the Red River Colony came to the Bradford area. The main economic activity of the area was agriculture, though several sawmills also operated in the area. The village of Bradford was incorporated in 1857 and although destroyed by fire in 1871 rebuilt quickly and was the major centre for the area, with a population of 2000 in 1873.
Throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, growth was slow and steady. Grain was the main crop, although an interesting additional crop was the hay cut from the Holland Marsh area that was used to stuff mattresses. In 1925 contracts were signed for the drainage and irrigation of Holland Marsh, and since that time the area has been an important producer of market garden crops, and is known as "The Salad Bowl of Ontario." Ninety percent of the produce is processed and packaged in Bradford West Gwillimbury.