St Thomas

St Thomas, Ont, incorporated as a city in 1881, seat of Elgin County, population 37 905 (2011c), 36 110 (2006c). The City of St Thomas is located in southwestern Ontario, 29 km south of London. In 1803 Thomas Talbot began to place settlers on a large tract of land he owned N of Lake Erie. St Thomas, est c 1810, was the capital of the settlement and was named for the eccentric founder of the backwoods colony, who governed it for 50 years.

Originally an agricultural centre, it became an important railway town at the turn of the century; by 1911 it was on 7 different rail lines. St Thomas attracted world attention in 1885 when Jumbo, a famous circus elephant, was killed after charging a Grand Trunk Railways train near the town site. Today it has an economy marked by diversified light industry.

In 1824 the first medical school in what is now Ontario was established there by Charles Duncombe and John Rolph. Nicknamed "The Garden City," it has public parks well known for their brilliant floral displays.