Before the Humber River flows through major metropolitan areas like Vaughan and Etobicoke, it winds its way through smaller GTA communities like Bolton.
The most populous town in the Caledon region, Bolton serves as a quiet alternative to nearby suburban communities like Brampton & Vaughan. Packed with greenspace, Bolton is a particularly attractive place to settle for families who love the great outdoors.
Although Bolton lies at the north-eastern extreme of the GTA, it’s still a short drive from the larger settlements of the south. The area boasts a rich history for a town of its size and still retains some of the landmarks of its early days.
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The settlement of Bolton begins with the arrival of James Bolton, a settler from Norfolk who arrived in the area in 1818. He was followed soon after by his nephew James Bolton who established a small grist mill in the area.
Historic Bolton grew around where Queen Street and King Street intersect today. Shortly after the arrival of the Boltons, the area quickly attracted more residents.
By 1840 the settlement was going by the name Bolton Mills and included over a dozen families as well as 2 stores, blacksmiths, a cobbler, tailor, and even a hotel.
Bolton’s historic core is still in use to this day, located at the intersection of King and Queen Streets. Although it isn’t a major tourist attraction, it’s incredible to think the surrounding lands were inhabited by Indigenous peoples who travelled the waterways in canoes.
By 1857, Bolton had ballooned to 700 residents. It’s municipal status as a village was cemented as it was included in the Township of Albion under the newly-formed Peel County.
Railway access played an important role in Bolton’s development as a population centre. It fell on the proposed Toronto, Grey, and Bruce railway line. Land in the town could be bought for $40 to $50 an acre, further helping population growth.
Although today’s housing prices are a far cry from those of the early 20th century, Bolton is still a great place to purchase real estate at a great value.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling property in the Bolton area, Frank Leo & Associates have 30 years of experience getting clients top dollar for their homes and helping people find the perfect properties for their budgets. Get in touch to find out how.
Historically an agrarian community, Bolton’s development as a GTA suburb didn’t really take off until the late 20th century.
Developments began North of the Humber River in the 1970’s. The river provides a natural geographic division separating the suburbs from the urban area immediately to the south.
Concurrent with the suburban boom, the Bolton’s urban centre was growing around Queen & King St. An increasing population also launched an industrial boom to the southwest throughout the 70’s and 80’s.
Toward the latter end of the 20th century, housing development continued to grow. They grew to include both the western and southern parts of the burgeoning town.
Industry, business, and natural beauty all come together in Bolton. Situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine, the town is home to numerous nature reserves and ecological projects like the Bolton Resource Management Tract and the Nashville Conservation Reserve.
Despite the conservation area, the cul-de-sacs and crescents of Bolton’s suburban community are rife with space for growing families or retirees to enjoy their privacy.
North Bolton includes the town’s historical centre as well as most of its residential zoning. To the south there’s bountiful industrial development, with both international corporations and local businesses operating in the municipality.
As a genuine small town of just 26,000 residents, Bolton doesn’t offer much in the way of high-density residential real estate. It’s for this reason that many Ontarians choose to call Bolton home.
The vast majority of residential housing in the town is fully-detached. There is a bit of semi-detached housing sprinkled throughout, mostly semi-detached homes and row houses.
In addition to residential real estate opportunities, Bolton is rife with commercial real estate. The town’s proximity to major metropolitan areas and relatively small size has made it a hotspot for industrial development on the peripheries.
In addition to typical suburban shopping fare consisting of big box stores and strip malls, Bolton is a hotspot for thrill-of-the-hunt shopping experiences and charming local boutiques and shops in the city’s historic quarters and beyond.
This local shopping fare is centred around the historic intersection of King St. and Queen St. There you’ll find everything from clothing stores to bars and restaurants In a typical 4-corners small-town setting.
Further south along Queen St. you’ll reach 1 of 2 suburban shopping venues separated by the rail line. These offer residents big box stores shopping and chain restaurants as well as fast food places.
With 2 recreation centres and abundant outdoor activities to boot, Bolton offers residents numerous recreational opportunities.
Both types of recreational amenities are exceptionally well-appointed and sure to accommodate nearly anyone’s preferences.
Nature is hard to ignore in Bolton. For most residents, the wealth of natural beauty is part of the reason they chose to call Bolton home. That and the added privacy it affords, yet greenspace isn’t limited to large conservation areas.
While conservation lands dominate most of the town’s extremities, especially around the Humber River and its valley, numerous smaller parks are scattered across the town’s suburban communities.
What the area is really known for when it comes to natural assets is the Oak Ridges Moraine. Prized for its dramatic geographic features, the Moraine not only serves local residents with its natural splendor but attracts visitors from all over the GTA.
Bolton residents coming from more populous cities will be thrilled to learn of the extent of recreational amenities at Bolton’s 2 rec centres.
This extensive range of amenities is only the beginning. Clubs, campgrounds, and community groups exist all over the Caledon region, making it an excellent place to live for people who love to stay active and social.
Schooling is of paramount importance for many suburban residents. Those who choose to call Bolton home aren’t disappointed.
Public schooling in the region is administered by the Peel District School Board and the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board. Although French Immersion programming is available at bot the secondary and primary levels, French-language boards don’t service the town due to its size.
In addition to Bolton’s public schools there are numerous private schools, tutoring services, and music academies available to residents.
Owing to its proximity to Brampton, Mississauga, and Vaughan, Bolton is extremely accessible. It should also come as no surprise that getting around within the town and its surrounding suburbs is no stressful task.
Although Bolton has a railway line running through the town, it services mostly industrial purposes as opposed to passenger travel.
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Aside from the industrial area and town centre, most local streets follow the typical suburban pattern of cul-de-sacs and weaving crescents. They provide safe, convenient travel for daily life and not much in the way of traffic.
In terms of inter-city travel, Bolton is well connected by both 400 series highways and smaller county roads. Highway 400, which connects Barrie with Toronto, runs Parallel to Bolton to the east.
Also parallel and even closer lies Highway 427, offering a convenient avenue into Brampton, Mississauga, and beyond.
Bolton’s main street – Queen St. – also runs straight down into Etobicoke as a 2-lane highway.
Public transit in Bolton is covered by Brampton’s ZUM transit, GO Transit, as well as specialized transit services. Although routes are not numerous, the option is there for those who don’t drive.
For a complete list of public transportation options, consult the Town of Caledon website.
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