Norwich, Ontario Canada

Discovering Norwich, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

Nestled in Oxford County, Southwestern Ontario, Canada, lies the Township of Norwich. This municipality is home to the Town of Norwich, which forms the heart of the township. The name Norwich, pronounced NOR-witch, is believed to have originated from Norwich in upper New York State, from where the pioneering families emigrated in the early 19th century. The community was then known as Norwichville.

Exploring the Communities of Norwich, Ontario

The modern Norwich is a fusion of the former East Oxford, North, and South Norwich Townships. It encompasses the communities of Beaconsfield, Bond's Corners, Brown's Corners, Burgessville, Cornell, Creditville, Curries, Eastwood, Hawtrey, Hink's Corners, Holbrook, Milldale, Muir, Newark, New Durham, Norwich, Oriel, Otterville, Oxford Centre, Rock's Mills, Rosanna, Springford, Summerville, Blows, and Vandecar.

The Rich History of Norwich, Ontario

The history of Norwich, Ontario, dates back to 1792 when John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, issued the first proclamation announcing the names and boundaries of political boundaries for Upper Canada. The county names were designed to mirror Britain, with Norwich and Dereham townships named after the towns of Norwich and Dereham in Norfolk County, England.

The first settlers in the township were likely Samuel Canfield Sr. and his family, who made their new home a half-way stopping point for travelers along the road, at what became known as Oxford Centre. The township of Norwich was founded by two men, Peter Lossing and Peter De Long, both from New York. The town of Norwich commenced as a completely Quaker settlement.

The Norwich Quaker Settlement in Ontario

In 1809, Peter Lossing, a member of the Society of Friends from Dutchess County, New York, visited Norwich Township. In June 1810, he and his brother-in-law, Peter De Long, purchased 15,000 acres of land in the area. This marked the beginning of one of the most successful Quaker communities in Upper Canada.

The Otterville Grist Mill and Otter Creek Sawmills in Norwich, Ontario

The first mill on the site was built in 1807 by partners John Earle and Paul Averill Jr. By the 1820s, several sawmills were established along Otter Creek in Norwich Township, supplying not only local needs but also exporting sawn timber and lumber to New York state.

Dairy Farming and Cheese Factories in Norwich, Ontario

Oxford Township's pioneer farms were already famous for butter and cheese-making before the War of 1812, and Norwich Township's Quaker pioneers were quick to follow. By the 1840s, dairy farmers in Oxford, Norwich, and Dereham townships were competing each year for top honors at agricultural fairs around the province for butter and cheese-making prizes.

The Amalgamation of Norwich, Ontario

In 1975, Oxford County underwent countywide municipal restructuring. The Village of Norwich and the Townships of East Oxford, North Norwich, and South Norwich were amalgamated to create the Township of Norwich.

The Tornadoes of 1979 and 1998 in Norwich, Ontario

On August 7, 1979, Norwich was struck by the Woodstock Tornado, one of the largest tornadoes ever to occur in Southern Ontario. The storm cut a path of destruction across Norwich Township from Blows to New Durham. On the afternoon of June 2, 1998, a severe weather outbreak affected Southern Ontario. At around 3:50 pm, there was a report of a tornado touching down in Holbrook and heading straight for Norwich.

Demographics of Norwich, Ontario

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Norwich had a population of 11,151 living in 3,761 of its 3,892 total private dwellings, a change of 2.9% from its 2016 population of 10,835. With a land area of 424.01 km2 (163.71 sq mi), it had a population density of 26.3/km2 (68.1/sq mi) in 2021.

Attractions in Norwich, Ontario

Norwich, Ontario, is home to several attractions including the Norwich and District Museum, Emily Stowe Public School, Grand Trunk Railway Station Museum and Blacksmith Shop, Early black settlement cemetery, Otterville Park, and Norwich Tigers.

Historical Schools in Norwich, Ontario

Norwich, Ontario, is home to several historical schools including East Oxford P.S., Norwich District High School, Norwich P.S., and Otterville P.S.

Plaques and Monuments in Norwich, Ontario

Norwich, Ontario, is home to several plaques and monuments including Bell with historic plaque, Emily Howard Jennings Stowe, M.D., Establishment of Free Rural Mail Delivery, Harold Adams Innis, economic historian, The Norwich Quaker Settlement, Otterville African Methodist Episcopal Church and Cemetery.

Cultural Resources in Norwich, Ontario

Norwich, Ontario, is home to several cultural resources including Norwich and District Historical Society Museum & Archives, Burgessville Public Library, Norwich Public Library, Otterville Public Library, Ross Butler Studio and Agricultural Gallery, South Norwich Historical Society Museum (GTR), Thames Valley Museum School, and Woodlawn Community Centre.