Whitby | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Whitby, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1855, population 138,501 (2021 census), 128,377 (2016 census). The town of Whitby is located on Lake Ontario, 56 km east of Toronto.

Settlement and Development

The area was first known as Perry's Corners after Peter Perry, an early settler. It was also known as Windsor but was renamed Whitby in 1848 after a seaside town in Yorkshire, England. Whitby was made the county town for Ontario County in 1852 and was incorporated as a town in 1855. In 1968, the former town of Whitby and township of Whitby amalgamated in to form a new municipality. When the County of Ontario was dissolved in 1974, Whitby became one of eight area municipalities in the new Regional Municipality of Durham.


In the 19thcentury, Whitby was a transportation hub. It had a busy harbour, the Whitby-Port Perry Railway (1869), and many road connections. By 1871, however, Whitby had been eclipsed by both Oshawa and Toronto as the region’s transportation centre.

Whitby is home to a steel mill operated by Gerdau, in addition to other companies like pharmaceutical manufacturer Patheon.

Camp X

During the Second World War, a training school for covert agents and a radio communications centre, calledCamp X, operated close to Whitby. It was the first such purpose-built facility constructed in North America. Although no accurate figures exist, it has been estimated that some 500 students passed through the camp.

Cultural Life

Whitby was in William Lyon Mackenzie’s riding. He held so many pre-1837 rebellion meetings in the town square that it became known as “radical corners.”

Other notable Whitby-residents include local editor and Liberal organizer, W.H. Higgins. Higgins’ letter to Archbishop Lynch of Toronto helped spur Ontario's “No Popery” campaign.

The Whitby Dunlops are a hockey team in the Allan Cup Hockey league. They won the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1958.

Further Reading

External Links