Uxbridge | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Uxbridge, Ontario, incorporated as a township in 1974, population 21,176 (2016 census), 20,623 (2011 census). The township of Uxbridge is located 68 km northeast of Toronto on Highway 47. The town of Uxbridge was amalgamated in 1974 with the townships of Scott and Uxbridge to form a new township in the Regional Municipality of Durham.

Indigenous Peoples

Uxbridge is located on the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga and Chippewa ( Ojibwe) (see also Anishinaabe). At the time of European settlement, the Mississauga and Chippewa inhabited the area between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe, including what became Uxbridge.


The first white settlers in Uxbridge, in about 1806, were Dr. Christopher Beswick and 12 Quaker families from Pennsylvania. They were soon joined by Scots, Germans and Pennsylvania Dutch. Incorporated as a town in 1885, Uxbridge’s principal economic activity in the 19th century was as a service centre for local agriculture. The municipality was reputedly one of the first in Ontario to own its own waterworks.

Williams Treaties

Despite white settlement throughout the 19th century, by the early 20th century Mississauga and Chippewa in the Uxbridge area still hadn’t signed treaties with the provincial or federal governments. In 1923, commissioners representing both governments hastily arranged two treaties in order to extinguish the First Nations’ title to the land. Known collectively the Williams Treaties, the documents were signed in 1923. There are seven First Nation signatories to the Williams Treaties: Alderville, Mud Lake (now known as Curve Lake), Rice Lake (now known as Hiawatha), Mississaugas of Scugog Island, Chippewas of Beausoleil, Chippewas of Georgina Island and Chippewas of Rama.

Cultural Life

Residents of note include local manufacturer Joseph Gould, an ally of William Lyon Mackenzie. Gould named the settlement after Uxbridge, England. Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the “Anne” series, wrote more than half her published works while residing in Leaskdale, a hamlet just north of the town.

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