Ancaster, Ont, Urban Community within the city of Hamilton. Ancaster was incorporated as a town in 1974, but in 2001 it was merged into the new city of HAMILTON
. Ancaster was named in 1793 by Augustus Jones, the surveyor of the township, after the parish of Ancaster in Lincolnshire, England. It was first settled in the 1790s. During the WAR OF 1812
renegade settlers operating in the area were captured and charged with treason. At "The Bloody Assize" held in Ancaster, 15 of the 19 charged were found guilty, and of those 8 were executed and 7 exiled. By the 1830s Ancaster was the commercial centre for the area, but soon suffered several setbacks. In 1832 the opening of the Desjardins Canal in DUNDAS
, Ancaster's neighbour and rival, was a blow to Ancaster. Likewise the town was bypassed by the railway, which went to Hamilton. While its role as a commercial hub was over, agriculture ensured Ancaster remained a vibrant community.
The NIAGARA ESCARPMENT
runs through the community. Along much of the escarpment lies the Dundas Valley Conservation Area which protects part of the Carolinian forest of southern Ontario. Many historic buildings, most notably the Old Town Hall (1871) and Griffin House (c
pre-1850), as well as the Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum, are local attractions.
Old Town Hall, Ancaster
Old Town Hall in Ancaster, Ont (courtesy of the former Town of Ancaster).
The Ancaster Assizes
The Bloody Assize of Ancaster was a series of trials conducted after the War of 1812, in 1914, in which 19 men accused of supporting the American cause were officially charged with High Treason. The Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board erected a memorial plaque in Ancaster to commemorate the trials (photo used with permission from the website www.ontarioplaques.com).
DEBORAH WELCH and MICHAEL PAYNE
Links to Other Sites
The City of Hamilton website offers information about municipal services, local attractions, and community events.