History of Brampton

Over 180 years ago settlers arriving in Chinguacousy Township, at what was to become the intersection of Queen and Main Streets were confronted with thick forest, swamps and a river that contained salmon for them to eat and water to bathe in and to drink. John Elliott, John Scott, John Lynch and George Wright were four settlers who envisioned a village and worked tirelessly to make their dream a reality.

Chinguacousy Township together with Albion, Caledon, Toronto and Toronto Gore Townships were contained within the County of Peel. The County had been purchased from the Mississauga Band of the Ojibwa First Nation. The first purchase in 1805 encompassed an area that stretched from Lake Ontario to the approximate location of Eglinton Avenue. The second purchase in 1819 contained 648,000 acres that included the remainder of Peel County. The first Township Councils were elected in 1821 but until 1851 Peel was considered to be part of York County and was governed by the Home District Council that met in Toronto. Between 1851 and 1866 Peel was governed by a council made up of members from the United Counties of York and Peel.

John Elliott started selling lots from his one hundred acre lot at the south-east intersection of Queen and Main Streets in the late 1820s. By 1834 he had a store, a wagon maker and several shoe makers established on his farm and started to advertise in the Canadian Correspondent newspaper for more settlers to live in the small village that he had named Brampton after the market town in Cumberland, England. Elliott was born and raised in the countryside near Brampton, Cumbria.

The passing of the Municipal Corporations Act in 1849 opened the door for the incorporation of many small villages across Ontario. Brampton received its charter and officially became a village on January 1, 1853. Three years later the railway arrived and brought more industry and residents to the burgeoning village. In 1866 Brampton was elected to be the County Seat of Peel County and the Peel County Court House and Gaol (Jail) were built on a prominent hill overlooking the Etobicoke Creek. Brampton achieved the status of a Town in 1873 and remained a town until the Regional Municipality of Peel was established on January 1, 1974. At this time Brampton was proclaimed a City and was restructured to include part of Chinguacousy Township, Toronto Gore Township and a small area of Mississauga (the former Toronto Township).

Some other highlights of Brampton's history:

Throughout its history the Etobicoke Creek flooded regularly causing much damage to the downtown area. The last great flood of 1948 established the need for a flood control channel, which was opened in 1952 and diverted the creek away from the downtown core.

In 1884 the mechanics of the Haggert Machine Works formed the Brampton Mechanics Band. Known today as the City of Brampton Concert Band, it is one of a very few Municipal Bands still in existence today, and has enjoyed an unbroken history of 118 years.

In 1902 the Town of Brampton purchased part of the front lawn and gardens of "Alder Lea", the mansion of Kenneth Chisolm on Mains St. South. Sir William Gage, owner of Gage Publishing (a publishing house specializing in school text books), purchased the remainder and donated the land to the Town with the condition that it be a available to the citizens as a public park and arboretum. The grateful Town named the property Gage Park and it became Brampton's first municipal park in 1903.

The Lorne Scots Militia Regiment was formed in 1936 from an amalgamation of the Lorne Rifles and the Peel Dufferin Regiment. Bramptonians have represented their Country in every uprising and war since the Mackenzie Rebellion in 1837.

In the 1950s part of Chinguacousy Township to the east of Brampton became known as the home of Canada's first satellite community, Bramalea.