Whitchurch-Stouffville

Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1971, Regional Municipality of York, population 45,837 (2016 census), 37,628 (2011 census). The town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is located 47 km northeast of Toronto. The Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site, originally known as the Mantle Site, is located just south of Whitchurch-Stouffville. The site was the location of a large, 16th century Huron-Wendat village.



Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous people have lived in the Whitchurch-Stouffville area for thousands of years. The Huron-Wendat farmed vegetables, fished, hunted for small game and lived in longhouses. When Europeans arrived in the 1600s, French traders allied with the Huron-Wendat and became enemies with the Haudenosaunee. The Iroquois Wars, fought over the control of the fur trade during the 17th century, depopulated the Huron-Wendat. Diseases introduced by the Europeans also decimated the Huron-Wendat population.

In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Haudenosaunee left the area north of Lake Ontario for their territory in upper New York State. Their withdrawal led to the migration of Anishinaabeg peoples, including the Mississauga, into southern Ontario.

Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site (Mantle Site)

In 2002, archaeologists identified the remains of a Huron-Wendat village on land just south of Whitchurch-Stouffville. The location was named the Mantle Site, after the owner of the land. Since then, members of the Huron-Wendat community renamed the site the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site. Lainé was a Huron-Wendat Second World War veteran.

The site was excavated between 2003 and 2005. The excavation revealed a Huron-Wendat village covering 4.2 ha. The village was home to about 1,800 people during the 16th century. Archaeologists documented 95 longhouses and over 100,000 artifacts, including stone axes, flint arrow tips and ceramic cooking pots. Corn fields surrounded the village for several kilometres in every direction. The town of Whitchurch-Stouffville was built on one of these former cornfields.

European Settlement

The first European settlement took place in the 1790s. John Graves Simcoe, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, created Whitchurch Township in 1792. Stouffville (originally Stouffersville or Stoversville) was named after Abraham Stouffer, who arrived from Pennsylvania in 1805.

Initially, the township administered the affairs of Stouffville. However, the village soon became the dominant commercial centre in the region. It inaugurated its own council in 1877. Despite the separation there continued to be an interdependence between the two. For example, they shared utilities such as water supply and early telephone service. The township and the village amalgamated in January 1971. York Region, of which Whitchurch-Stouffville is part, was also formed at this time.


Further Reading

  • Jennifer Birch and Ronald F. Williamson, The Mantle Site: An Archaeological History of an Ancestral Wendat Community (2012)