History of Whitchurch – Stouffville
Whitchurch Township dates back to 1792 as part of the newly-created York County. The name comes from the village of Whitchurch in Herefordshire, England where the wife of Lieutenant Governor Sir John Graves Simco was born.
While settlement in the area dates back to the 1790’s, the first regional survey wasn’t carried out until 1800. Along with a 2nd survey 2 years later, the township established a system of land concessions which allowed land to be easily allotted to settlers.
Evidence of this system, which parcelled out 200-acre lots, is still visible today in the layout of the road network. Each square in the grid of rural roads represents the boundaries of original concession blocks.
Typical of GTA towns, the first settlers in the area were Quakers and Mennonites, pacifist groups from New England States who were seeking religious freedom and to escape from conflict. Due to their resourcefulness and settling abilities, the Upper Canada Government granted them permission to settle with the hope that a population centre would attract more settlers.
The first settlements in the township were built in the “4-corners” model at the intersections of main roads or near streams where mills could be built to process felled timber. One such hamlet would eventually give its name to the town of Whitchurch – Stouffville. It was called Stouffville and was named after a Mennonite settler named Abraham Stouffer.
Stouffer’s successful mill encouraged other Mennonite settlers to join him, and by 1830 “Stouffville road” as it became known was carved through pristine woods to connect with York (Toronto). The establishment of a post office in 1832 cemented the name “Stouffville” as opposed to Stoufferville.
Stouffville grew rapidly, perhaps foreshadowing the rapid growth of today’s town, and by 1877 it was officially incorporated as a village.
Rapid growth continued thanks largely to the Toronto and Nipissing Railway which had arrived a few years earlier. By 1877 a second track was built north to Lake Simcoe. Although the railway’s primary purpose was industrial it also made travel throughout Ontario more convenient, further promoting growth.
By the turn of the century Stouffville had modern amenities such as its own newspapers, as well as telegraph and telephone connections. By this time the once lush forests of the region had been stripped down to only 7% of all land being woodland.
Evidence of this deforestation is clear today, though the 1911 reforestation act has brought back a good deal of woodland with conservation areas like Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area and the Porritt Tract York Regional Forest. Today, the area is one of the most successful restorations of degraded landscapes in North America.
Loss of the forestry industry caused the township to Stagnate over most of the 1900’s, up until the ‘70’s when the growth of Toronto incentivized commuting from out of town. What resulted was the amalgamation of Whitchurch Township and the Village of Stouffville into a single governing body called the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
Although the township is still officially known as Whitchurch-Stouffville the Town decided to rebrand by dropping the word “Whitchurch” from all signage. As a large and spacious stretch of rural land not far from Toronto, Whitchurch-Stouffville has a promising future as one of the GTA’s suburban communities.
Whitchurch-Stouffville, pronounced “Wit-Church Stew-Ville” is a largely rural township of the Greater Toronto Area located on the eastern border of York Region. With the motto “Country Close To The City” it’s no surprise that this pocket of Ontario is one of the fastest growing communities in the GTA.
Although the township sits at just over 45,000 residents according to the latest census, it’s also the 2nd fastest growing municipality in York Region with a population increase of nearly 25% between 2011 and 2016. With a projected 97% of the population growth rooted in the Community of Stouffville, it’s shaping up as a major suburb for the GTA.
Real Estate in Whitchurch-Stouffville
Real estate in Whitchurch-Stouffville is mostly made up of single-family detached homes.
What’s more, most Whitchurch-Stouffville residents own their homes. In a 2012 report issued by the Town, home ownership in the township is considerably higher than the provincial average of 71.4% with 85.3% of local residents owning their homes.
Although there are some historic homes in the Whitchurch-Stouffville, the modern population boom began in the 1970’s when suburbs were already a common fixture in urban planning. As a result, The Town of Stouffville has a modern layout and design with winding streets, cul-de-sacs, and plenty of greenspace.
Outside of the city there are numerous country estates and micro-communities, many of which are quite affluent.
For home-buyers seeking privacy, Whitchurch-Stouffville is an ideal choice. Since the turn of the millennium the number of private residences has practically doubled, creating ample opportunity for the GTA home buyer who wants a break from the city.
Interested in learning more about Whitchurch-Stouffville real estate? Review real estate listings & homes for sale in Whitchurch-Stouffville or reach out to one of our representatives for expert advice. We’re here to answer all of your real estate questions.
While you might not find boutique shopping opportunities in Whitchurch Stouffville, the town nicely combines a Main-Street shopping thoroughfare with a more contemporary strip-mall packed with most major big box stores.
The small pedestrian commercial district cuts through the town horizontally following Main St. in typical small-town fashion, with a few dense commercial patches spanning its length. Many of the businesses along Main St. are franchises, but there are still several independent restaurants and shops along the strip.
For a more suburban style of shopping, SmartCentres Stouffville is the place to go. There you’ll find all the big names you could expect of an Ontario outdoor shopping centre.
As a smaller GTA town, Whitchurch-Stouffville may only have 2 recreation centres but still offers numerous other recreational opportunities for the whole family, both indoors and outdoors.
The Whitchurch-Stouffville Leisure Centre provides all the amenities and facilities you would expect from a municipal fitness and recreation centre. It’s the town’s primary centre and boasts a large 25m pool complete with slide, gymnasium, and multi-use fitness rooms.
Stouffville 55+ Club
Catering to the town’s older population, the 55+ club is exactly what it sounds like – a club designed to foster community, friendship, and activity for older residents. Activities include exercise, socializing, and even shared meals.
For a mere $20/year members can take part in card games, travels & book clubs, or just enjoy the “meals together” initiative. Actively-inclined members can take yoga & tai chi classes, try line dancing, or even take a group day trip.
Although the Stouffville Arena Recreational is mostly used for ice bookings, it also provides public hours for free skate, shinny hockey, family skate, and adult free skate. You can get all the details on the town website’s Skating section.
Other Active Recreation in Whitchurch-Stouffville
In addition to indoor facilities, Whitchurch Stouffville manages a number of outdoor recreation spaces, parks, camps, classes, and a spring/summer guide to help residents take full advantage of all local and surrounding amenities.
For a complete list of all recreational opportunities & programing, consult the Whitchurch-Stouffville town website.
Schools in Whitchurch-Stouffville
For many GTA residents considering a move to a smaller town like Whitchurch-Stouffville, one of the big draws is the education. It’s no secret that in small towns class sizes can be smaller and communities generally more tight knit, and Whitchurch-Stouffville is no exception.
Quality education is available across 2 school boards from elementary school to high school. Both local school boards are York Region boards and offer several school options for residents. Continuing education programs are available as well.
The township’s school boards are:
York Region District School Board – an amalgamated board covering the entire York region. It is the 3rd largest school district in Ontario.
York Region Catholic District School Board – York’s Catholic board which serves over 55,000 students across the region.
Whitchurch Highlands Public School
Stouffville Christian School
Glad Park Public School
Harry Bowes Public School
Barbara Reid Public School
Oscar Peterson Public School
Stouffville District Secondary School
Public Transit in Whitchurch-Stouffville
Whitchurch Stouffville is serviced by York Region Transit, and the service consists of 1 route within urban Stouffville as well as connections to Markham and its other routes. Route 9 runs a course around Stouffville before going down Highway 69 to around Highway 407. There was a route 15 which connected the town to Yonge St., but it was cancelled due to low ridership.
Travelling By Rail
Staying true to its history as a town that was made by the railroad, Whitchurch-Stouffville remains well connected by track. In fact, the entire north-eastern branch of the GO Network gets its name from the town.
Riders can take the Stouffville line up to Lincolnville and right back down to Union Station. That’s where travel opportunities truly open up, since there’s no VIA Rail service on the Stouffville tracks.
Travelling By Car
Whitchurch-Stouffville is covered by a grid of smaller, rural highways but the primary roads are Highways 408, 407 (toll road), and 404. The later 2 form the south-western borders of the township.
Personal transportation is essential for Stouffville residents, since transit options are limited and the GO Bus service follows the same route as the train tracks.
Have Questions About Whitchurch-Stouffville or Whitchurch-Stouffville Real Estate?
If you’re thinking of buying or selling real estate in Whitchurch-Stouffville or you’re seeking advice about real estate in this beautiful part of Ontario don’t hesitate to reach out to Frank Leo & Associates.
We have over 30 years of real estate experience in the GTA at your disposal. You can also get started taking advantage of our Guaranteed Home Selling System with a Free, no-obligation Home Evaluation.