St. Marys, Ontario

St. Marys
Town (single-tier)
Town of St. Marys
Nickname(s): The StoneTown
Motto: The Town Worth Living In
St. Marys
Coordinates: 43°15.5′N 81°08′W / 43.2583°N 81.133°W / 43.2583; -81.133Coordinates: 43°15.5′N 81°08′W / 43.2583°N 81.133°W / 43.2583; -81.133
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Established 1844
Incorporated 1864
  Mayor Al Strathdee
  Land 12.48 km2 (4.82 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
  Total 6,655
  Density 533.3/km2 (1,381/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code N4X
Area code(s) 519 and 226

St. Marys is a town in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is located at the junction of Thames River and Trout Creek, southwest of Stratford and surrounded by the Township of Perth South. It is in the Perth census division but is independent of Perth County. The town is also known by its nickname, "The Stone Town", due to the abundance of limestone in the surrounding area, giving rise to a large number of limestone buildings and homes throughout the town. St. Marys Cement, a large cement producer founded in the town, capitalized on this close feedstock, and grew to be a major producer of cement in the province of Ontario.

St. Marys is home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. It is the burial place of Arthur Meighen, Canada's 9th Prime Minister. Timothy Eaton, who went on to become one of Canada's greatest retailers, opened his first businesses in Canada in St. Marys and nearby Kirkton, Ontario.


In 1839 the Canada Company sent a surveyor to Blanshard Township in the Huron Tract to choose a site for a town on the Thames River which would later be named St. Marys.

The "Mill Race" a 19th-century limestone canal to divert water from the Thames River to the mills

The first settlers arrived in St. Marys in the early 1840s, attracted by the area's natural resources. At the new town site, the Thames River cascaded over a series of limestone ledges, providing the power to run the first pioneer mills and giving the community an early nickname: Little Falls.

St. Marys was incorporated into the province of Ontario, officially, in 1863. However, it did not incorporate itself into Perth County.

In the riverbed and along the banks, limestone was close to the surface and could be quarried for building materials. Many 19th century limestone structures survive: churches, commercial blocks, and private homes. They have given St. Marys its current nickname: Stonetown.

The arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway in the late 1850s spurred growth and soon St. Marys became a centre for milling, grain-trading and the manufacture of agriculture-related products. The railway connected the town to the rest of the world and framed the local landscape with its two large trestle bridges on limestone pillars across the waterways.

In 1908, a handle and hockey stick company was founded by Solen Doolittle in the town of St. Mary's, called the St. Marys Wood Specialty Company. Located on James St in St. Marys from the early 1900s, it moved in 1933 to Hespeler, Ontario. During their time in St. Marys the company made many such items as hammer handles, hockey sticks and baseball bats. After many ownership changes over the years, by 1988 the now-Cooper bat had risen to #2 in the National Baseball League after Lousville Slugger. This success subsequently inspired the town to bid for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.


Population trend:[3]

Historical populations

Private dwellings occupied by usual residents (2011): 2731 (total dwellings: 2856)


St. Marys contains many 19th century buildings built with locally quarried limestone. Notable buildings include the Opera House built in 1880, the spired municipal Town Hall built in 1891, and the Public Library built in 1904.

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame moved to St. Marys from Toronto in 1994 and opened in 1998. It is dedicated to preserving Canada's baseball heritage. Since opening, 75 members (46 players, 23 builders, 2 honorary, 4 honorary teams) have been inducted. It includes professional ballplayers, amateurs, builders and honorary members who have helped popularize the sport in Canada. The facility also includes a baseball field designed by landscape architect Art Lierman of London, Ontario.

The Grand Trunk Trail is a walkway transformed from a two kilometre section of the former Grand Trunk Railway line. The trail features a walk over the restored Sarnia bridge, providing panoramic views over the town.

In 2012, the Re-Purposing of the Sarnia Bridge to part of the Grand Trunk Trail was inducted to the North America Railway Hall of Fame.[4] The bridge was inducted in the “Community, Business, Government or Organization" class in the "National" category.

The Wildwood Dam is a dam located on Trout Creek, upstream of the Town of St. Marys.

The Quarries consist of two former limestone quarries located in southern St. Marys, one of which has been rehabilitated as an outdoor swimming pool. The area became a popular swimming spot with locals after filling with water between 1930 and 1935. In 1945 the town bought the quarries along with 50 acres (200,000 m2) of surrounding land, and now manages it as a public recreational facility. The quarry is Canada's largest outdoor swimming pool.

St. Marys is also home to the St. Marys Museum and Archives.


St. Marys is located along Highway 7.[5] It is serviced by Via Rail at St. Marys railway station connecting it to a rail line between Toronto and Sarnia.[5]


The St. Marys Lincolns are a member of the OHA Junior "B" Hockey Association and play in the Western Junior "B" Hockey League. They play their home games at the Pyramid Recreation Centre which contains a twin pad ice surface, swimming pool, outdoor splash pad and more. Prior Lincoln team members who played with the NHL include Terry Crisp, Don Luce, Lonnie Loach, Mark Bell, Steve Shields and Bob Boughner.

One of the town's more prominent men's league teams are the LA Batts. The "Batts" feature an all star cast of eclectic former minor hockey stars from St Marys and other hockey associations from across Ontario. Rather than play an entire grueling men's league season, the Batts focus their skills and attention at the annual St Marys Minor Hockey Al Kennedy Memorial Easter Fundraising Tournament.[6] With the current tournament championship drought continuing into 2015, the teams most notable achievements continue to be their sizable donations to minor hockey at the aptly name "Blue Line Club" temporary arena bar.


Notable people


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