Grand River riverfront in Paris, Ontario
|• Total||13 km2 (5 sq mi)|
|• Density||946.8/km2 (2,452/sq mi)|
|Forward sortation area|
Paris (2016 population, 12,310) is a community located at the spot where the Nith River empties into the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. It was voted "the Prettiest Little Town in Canada" by Harrowsmith Magazine. The town was established in 1850. In 1999, its town government was amalgamated into that of the County of Brant, thus ending 149 years as a separate incorporated municipality but Paris remained the largest population centre in the county. While Brantford is located within Brant geographically, it is a fully independent community with its own municipal government.
Paris was named for the nearby deposits of gypsum, used to make plaster of Paris. This material was discovered in 1793 while the area was being surveyed for the British Home Department. By late 1794 a road had been built from what is now Dundas, Ontario, to the east bank of the Grand River in what became Paris, called The Governor's Road (now Dundas St. in Paris). The town has been referred to as "the cobblestone capital of Canada" (in reference to a number of aged cobblestone houses).
The town was first settled on 7 May 1829, when its founder, Hiram Capron, originally from Vermont, bought the land at the Forks of the Grand in 1829 for $10,000 and divided some land into town lots. Capron built a grist mill on the present townsite and was also involved in opening an iron foundry and in mining of gypsum.
Records from 1846 indicate that the settlement, in a hilly area called Oak Plains, was divided into the upper town and the lower town. In addition to successful farmers in the area, the community of 1000 people (Americans, Scottish, English, and Irish) was thriving. Manufacturing had already begun, with industries powered by the river. A great deal of plaster was being exported and there were three mills, a tannery, a woolen factory, a foundry, and numerous tradesmen. Five churches had been built; the post office was receiving mail three times a week.
The village was incorporated in 1850 with Hiram "Boss" Capron as the first Reeve. It was incorporated as a town in 1856 with H. Finlayson as the first mayor. By 1869, the population was about 3,200.
While the telephone was invented at Brantford, Ontario, in 1874, Alexander Graham Bell reminded people in the area about a Paris connection. "Brantford is right in claiming the invention of the telephone" and "the first transmission to a distance was made between Brantford and Paris" (on 3 August 1876).
The use of cobblestones to construct buildings had been introduced to the area by Levi Boughton when he erected St. James Church in 1839; this was the first cobblestone structure in Paris. Two churches and ten homes, all in current use, are made of numerous such stones taken from the rivers. Other architectural styles that are visible in the downtown area include Edwardian, Gothic, and Post Modern.
Paris is also the transmitter site for a number of broadcast radio and TV stations serving the Brantford and Kitchener-Waterloo areas. The actual tower site is 475 Ayr Road, just south of the town of Ayr, and it was erected and owned by Global Television Network in 1973 for CIII-TV. It was officially the main transmitter for the southern Ontario Global network until 2009, when its Toronto rebroadcaster (which had been the de facto main transmitter, given that the station was and still is based in Toronto) was redesignated as the main transmitter. Global leases space on the Ayr tower for broadcast clients including Conestoga College's campus radio station CJIQ-FM as well as local rebroadcasters of the CBC's Toronto-based outlets.
The town hosts an annual Fall Fair which takes place over the Labour Day weekend. The Fair has rural lifestyle exhibits, a midway complete with carnival games, rides, and a demolition derby. The Fair is also host to country music nights which have included big-name acts such as Montgomery Gentry, Gord Bamford, Emerson Drive, Chad Brownlee, Deric Ruttan, Kira Isabella, and James Barker Band.
Paris is also the northernmost community to participate in Southern Ontario's Green Energy Hub.
Since the late 1990s, Paris has experienced population growth, which may be in part attributed to the rising popularity of rural communities among GTA bound commuters (see bedroom community) and the completion of Highway 403 between Hamilton and Woodstock.
The County is divided into five wards, each with two elected Councilors. The Mayor for the 2014-2018 term is Ron Eddy. The County provides fire and ambulance services but contracts with the Ontario Provincial Police to provide police services, overseen by the Police Services Board. The administrative offices are located in Burford, Ontario.
Sights and attractions
- Barker's Bush is a network of community walking/biking trails, rare Carolinian forest, thriving ecosystem, and natural corridors. Its main access is through Lion's Park.
- Paris Fairgrounds is home to the five-day Labour Day Weekend Fair.
- Paris Speedway Track is a motorcycle track which has held some national-level races. Notable riders include John Kehoe and Kyle Legault.
- Penman's Dam was built in 1918 by John Penman, a textile industrialist. A partnership project led by the Paris Firefighter's Club sees the dam lit up each evening and can be viewed crossing the William Street Bridge or at one of the riverside restaurants or coffee shops.
- Public schools in Paris are run by the Grand Erie District School Board, while Catholic schools fall under the administration of the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board. The town also has a Montessori Children's Academy.
- Paris Central Public School is an elementary school that is located near the centre of downtown, with over 300 students. Children are close to major town attractions.
- North Ward School, another public elementary school, is located on Silver Street in the north end of the town.
- Other elementary schools include Holy Family Elementary School (Catholic) and Cobblestone Elementary School (public).
- Paris District High School (PDHS), founded 1923, is a regional public high school in the town, with over 1005 students. The school serves as a regional secondary school for Paris and various other communities of Brant County, including Burford, St. George, and Glen Morris.
- Away from Her (2006)
- Silent Hill (location) (2006)
- The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)
- Phil the Alien (exteriors) (2005)
- Shadow Builder (1998)
- Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes (1994) (Television)
- Ordinary Magic (1993)
- Blood & Guts (1978)
- The Hard Part Begins (1973)
- Bark Ranger
Notable natives and residents
- (ordered by last names)
- Syl Apps, Olympian in pole vaulting, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player, and Member of Provincial Parliament
- Morgan Ashbury / Cara Covington, author of A Little R & R, and 38 other novels.
- John Bemrose, author of The Island Walkers
- Todd Brooker, alpine skier
- George Bernard Flahiff, Archbishop of Winnipeg from 1961 to 1982 and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church
- Joel Cassady, Drums/Percussion in the band Walk off the Earth
- Zac Dalpe, Iowa Wild hockey player
- George Wallace Gouinlock, prominent architect of the late 19th and early 20th century 
- Al Grantham, musician and singer/songwriter 
- Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne Gretzky, attended high school in Paris from the family farm in nearby Canning, Ontario.
- Mickey Ion, ice hockey referee in the PCHA, WCHL and NHL. Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- John Muckler, NHL Coach and General Manager
- John Penman, early manufacturer and businessman
- Ted Reader, celebrity chef
- Linda Schuyler, television producer of Degrassi franchise
- Barry Silverthorn, documentary producer of The End of Suburbia
- Glen Sonmor, hockey player and manager
- Albert Johnson Walker, infamous conman and convicted killer
- William "Lady" Taylor, early professional ice hockey player in the IPHL and OPHL.
- Jay Wells, ice hockey player with the New York Rangers and Stanley Cup champion in 1994.
- The Lions Club of Paris
- The Kiwanis Club of Paris-Brant
- The Optimist Club of Paris
- Kinsmen Club of Brantford (Serving Brantford and Brant County)
Buildings and structures
- CIII Television Tower
- Paris Old Town Hall
- The Historic Arlington Hotel
- The Canadian Tavern
- Hamilton Place (Key example of Cobblestone building in Canada)
- Paris Branch of the County of Brant Public Library (a Carnegie Library)
- The Cedar House 12 Broadway St. W (formerly the old mill that ran the raceway from the Nith River to the Grand River)
- At The Forks of The Grand - history book about the town
- "Paris". Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "Paris". www.brant.ca.
- "waynecook.com - Resources and Information".
- Smith, Donald A. At the forks of the Grand : 20 historical essays on Paris, Ontario. p. 15.
- Smith, Wm. H. (1846). SMITH'S CANADIAN GAZETTEER - STATISTICAL AND GENERAL INFORMATION RESPECTING ALL PARTS OF THE UPPER PROVINCE, OR CANADA WES:. Toronto: H. & W. ROWSELL. p. 142.
- McEvoy, Henry (1869). The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory: Containing Concise Descriptions of Cities, Towns and Villages in the Province, with the Names of Professional and Business Men and Principal Inhabitants, Together with a Full List of Members of the Executive Governments, Senators, Members of the Commons and Local Legislatures, and Officials of the Dominion, and a Large Amount of Other General, Varied and Useful Information, Carefully Compiled from the Most Recent and Authentic Data. Robertson & Cook. p. 328.
- "The unveiling of the Bell Memorial at Brantford, Ontario" (PDF). brantford.library.on.ca. 24 October 1917. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- Reville, F. Douglas. History of the County of Brant Vol. 1. Brantford, ON: Brant Historical Society, Hurley Printing, 1920/. PDF pp. 187–197, or document pp. 308–322. (PDF)
- Brantford News, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Life & Opinion | Brantford Expositor
- Global Television Network
- (CRTC), Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "ARCHIVED - Licence renewals". www.crtc.gc.ca.
- "Council". www.brant.ca.
- "County Government". www.brant.ca.
- "Paris dam may be lit at night". Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "Brant County School Locations" (PDF). Grand Erie District School Board. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Montessori Children's Academy". mcaparis.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "Home". www.granderie.ca. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Ashbury, Morgan. "Author". www.bookstrand.com. Siren Publishing. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Brant 89". ancestry.com.
- "Paris Star". Paris Star.
- Gretzky, Walter (1 June 2011). On Family, Hockey and Healing. Random House of Canada. ISBN 9780307369376.
- "Jay Wells Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "HistoricPlaces.ca - HistoricPlaces.ca". www.historicplaces.ca.
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