About St. Catharines Ontario

St. Catharines (2006 population 131,989; metropolitan population 390,317) is the largest city in Canada’s Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, Canada, with 97.11 square kilometres (37.5 sq mi) of land. It lies in Southern Ontario 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Toronto across Lake Ontario and is 19 kilometres (12 mi) inland from the international boundary with the United States of America along the Niagara River. It is the northern entrance of the Welland Canal. Residents of St. Catharines are known as St. Catharinians.

St. Catharines carries the official nickname “The Garden City” due to its 1,000 acres (4 km²) of meticulously groomed parks, gardens and trails.

St. Catharines is situated in an excellent area for commerce and trade since it is conveniently located between the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Fort Erie-Buffalo metropolitan area. Manufacturing is the city’s dominant industry, as noted by the heraldic motto, “Industry and Liberality”. General Motors of Canada, Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of General Motors, operates two plants in the city and until recently was the city’s largest employer, a distinction now held by the District School Board of Niagara. TRW operate a plant in the city, though in recent years employment has shifted from heavy industry and manufacturing to services.

The city was first settled by Loyalists in the 1780s. The first settlers, Sergeant Jacob Dittrick and Private John Hainer of Butler’s Rangers, came to the area where Dick’s Creek met Twelve Mile Creek. Dick’s Creek was named after another early settler, Richard Pierpoint, a Black Loyalist who had been born in what is now Senegal and who had escaped slavery in New York  to fight for the British Crown, hence his nickname of Captain Dick. This part of the settlement eventually became the centre of town. Native trails were used as travel routes, resulting in present day radial road pattern from the city centre.

In 1808 the name “St. Catharines” appeared for the first time on a survey; the name comes from Robert Hamilton’s wife Catharine, who was the daughter of John Askin, a merchant and land speculator at Detroit and Sandwich (now Windsor). In 1817 the post office was established with the name “St. Catherines” (sic), but by 1821, the name was officially “St. Catharines”.