Discover Fonthill, Ontario: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Fonthill, Ontario, a charming community nestled in the town of Pelham, Canada, is a delightful blend of small industries, residential suburbs, fruit orchards, and nature trails. Known for its neighbourly attitude, Fonthill is primarily a bedroom community, with most residents commuting to Welland, St. Catharines, and even as far as Buffalo, Hamilton, and Toronto for work.
The Geography and Geology of Fonthill, Ontario
Fonthill is uniquely situated on the Fonthill Kame, a geological formation created by glacial deposits. The community shares its name with this natural feature. The Effingham Creek, a cold-water stream, originates in the glacial silts and sands of the Short Hills area of the moraine, northwest of Fonthill. This creek is a tributary to the Twelve-Mile Creek, which eventually empties into Lake Ontario. For more about the geology of the town, see Fonthill Kame.
The History of Fonthill, Ontario
The early days of Fonthill are subject to some debate, particularly regarding its naming. Records indicate that settlement began around 1829, with the area initially being called "Osborne’s Corners" in 1842. It was later renamed "Temperanceville," and finally "Fonthill," after Fonthill Abbey in England. The name Fonthill was made somewhat official by an 1848 bylaw, although both names were in use until the 1860s or 70s. Fonthill became an incorporated village in 1922 and has since grown, with smaller businesses thriving.
Fonthill was home to two large businesses: Fonthill Nurseries and the Fonthill Canning Factory. The nursery, started in 1837, employed 250 local people and shipped throughout Canada and abroad. The canning factory, opened in 1912, primarily canned local tomatoes and fruit, employing about 260 local people. On June 10, 2006, Fonthill celebrated its 150th anniversary with the opening of a replica of the original bandstand, historical displays, and a variety of musical and artistic presentations.
Fonthill is also the birthplace of 'Tennis Ball Golf', invented by Eric Sinclair and Jason Giallonardo of Townsend Circle in southern Fonthill.
The Can-View Drive In of Fonthill, Ontario
On May 20, 1996, Fonthill's Can-View Drive In was reportedly struck by a tornado, resulting in the destruction of one of its four outdoor movie screens. This incident led to a widely reported urban legend that the screen was destroyed during a screening of the blockbuster film Twister. Despite being largely discredited, the legend has produced numerous accounts over the years, including a 2018 short documentary produced by The Atlantic.
The Location of Fonthill, Ontario
Fonthill is conveniently located a fifteen-minute drive south of St. Catharines, five minutes northwest of Welland, twenty minutes west from Niagara Falls, and twenty minutes north of Port Colborne. Its main access route is Highway 20, also known as Canboro Road, running west to east from Hamilton to Niagara Falls. Access to the United States is through either the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, or the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Queenston.