St MarysSt Marys, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1865, population 6655 (2011c), 6617 (2006c). The Town of St Marys is located at the confluence of the North Thames River and Trout Creek, 45 km northeast of LONDON and 20 km southwest of STRATFORD.
The CANADA COMPANY had the area surveyed in 1839. The first settlers were attracted to the community in the 1840s because its location on the banks of the 2 watercourses meant water power to run various mills. There were also deposits of limestone close to the surface and suitable for quarrying for building materials. One of the directors of the Canada Company named the fledgling community after his wife.
Milling and quarrying were the settlement's first important industries. The settlement grew quickly and officially became a village in 1855. The community received a boost in 1858 when it became the junction for 2 lines of the GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY. Two high bridges on large stone piers were built to carry the railway across the river valleys. They remain landmarks in the town.
The mills have long been closed, but today attractive walkways along the river banks run past the old mill sites. While still a service centre for a prosperous agricultural area, St Marys now has a diversified economy that includes auto components, food processing, pet supplies and cement production. The town is often called "Stonetown" for its impressive stone buildings constructed of local limestone, such as its town hall (1891) and Carnegie Library (1905), and the heritage house that is now the St Marys Museum. One former limestone quarry is now a popular outdoor swimming pool. St Marys is home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.