Township of King
King City, Nobleton and Schomberg
King Township was named for John King (1759-1830), an English Under-Secretary of State for the British Home Office. The lands were originally acquired by the British in an agreement with the Mississaugas, known as the Toronto Purchase in 1787. Acquisition under the Toronto Purchase included the townships fo Etobicoke, King, Vaughan and York (Upper Canada) in 1805, where 250,808 acreses were exchanged for £1,700.
By 1801, Timothy Rogers, a Loyalist from Vermont had travelled north along Yonge Street and found an area southwest of Newmarket that he found very appealing. He applied for and received a grant for land totalling 40 farms, each of 200 acres and returned to Vermont to recruit families to operate the farms.
The area would become known as Armitage in honour of its first settler Amos Armitage. It was the first of King’s settlements and is now part of Newmarket. Soon after the establishment of Armitage, the communities of Kettleby and Lloydtown were established to the west. More settlers arrived over the subsequent years to populate the region, drawn by the relatively cheap fertile land.
By 1842, the principal villages at the time were Lloydtown, Brownsville (now Schomberg), Bogarttown (now a part of Newmarket), and Tyrwhitt’s Mills (now Kettleby).
In 1851, the township annexed from West Gwillimbury the portion of land north of its extant and east of the Holland River as a result of the formation of Simcoe County, although some of the land has been ceded to what are now known as Newmarket, Aurora and Oak Ridges.
There is some evidence of a large Wendat (Huron) encampment at Hackett Lake. Residents in the area in the 1950s and ’60s discovered arrowheads and other archaeological items indicating a Huron presence. This is consistent with the fact that the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, a major route used in the 17th and 18th centuries, passes through the township. The route was used by explorer Étienne Brûlé, who first travelled along the trail with 12 Huron guides in 1615.
Early settlements in the area developed primarily around gristmills and sawmills. These were important economic engines in the region during the 19th century, which resulted in the establishment of other communities and businesses nearby.
The majority of King is located on the Oak Ridges Moraine, which is the origin for the headwater of many rivers, including the Humber River.
The Holland Marsh, considered to be Ontario’s vegetable basket, straddles King Township and Bradford West Gwillbury. King is also known for its horse and cattle farms.
Thoughtful planning has allowed for slow growth in the Township, with the population growing to 24,512 in 2016. As the area is largely rural, homes are mostly single-family dwellings, but with the recent addition of master-planned communities in all three of the municipalities, a wider range of housing options has become available. Go to myhomepage.ca to search for a new home or condo in King Township.
Most residents of King work outside of the township, with many finding the commute to Toronto very reasonable. The top employers in King City are Seneca College, the head office of Clublink and the Kingridge Conference Centre.
Public schools with classes from kindergarten through Grade 12 are administered by the York Region District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. The only public secondary school in King, King City Secondary School, serves students in a relatively large geographic area, including some from adjacent towns. A private Catholic high school, St. Thomas of Villanova College, and private JK -12 school, The Country Day School, are also located in the township.
There is also a campus of Seneca College located in King City, which offers a variety of programs.
If you love horses, you’ll find lots to do in the area. Home to some of Canada’s top riding facilities, you can learn to show jump or take up the fine art of dressage.
There’s nothing like a leisurely drive in the country, especially when it’s to the Holland Marsh, known as Ontario’s vegetable basket. The Holland Marsh was originally a wetland that was developed into a growing area that now spans 7,000 acres of very fertile soil. While carrots, celery and onions remain the main crops, the area now boasts orchards as well as craft breweries, wineries and restaurants. The Holland Marsh Growers’ Association holds a yearly Soup Fest in the autumn.
In Schomberg, the yearly agricultural fair (held in May) is a must-see event, as is its Main Street Christmas festival.
The King Brewery opened in 2002 in Nobleton and is open for tours. It’s best known for its Czech Pilsner.
Public transit is provided by York Region Transit/Viva and GO Transit. Because of the rural nature of the communities, public transit isn’t that viable a way of moving around the region, but GO Transit does provide commuter service to Toronto. There is easy access to major provincial highways including Highways 9, 27, 400, 427, 404, and 407.
Small villages offer lots of boutique-style shopping along their main streets and these three villages are no exception. You’ll also be close to the largest mall in the region, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket.
Sheena’s Kitchen in Schomberg offers lots of gourmet treats, and fine dining establishments abound, including The Schomberg Pub & Grill. In King City, Hogan’s Inn, Locale and the Paper Crane offer fine dining. In Nobleton, give The Summerhill a try, or perhaps Raffaele’s Cantina.
Police service is provided by the York Regional Police. There are no hospitals in King City, Schomberg or Nobleton, but there are plenty of medical centres and doctors’ offices.
PARKS & REC
King Township offers a wide variety of programming throughout the year. Hiking and bike trails are prevalent and are enjoyed by most area residents.
In Nobelton, the Cold Creek Forest and Wildlife Area includes over six kilometres of trails and is one of the best spots for bird watching. The Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill is an internationally recognized site for cutting-edge research in biodiversity, ecology and conservation biology. Public walking trails are available there in addition to their events and workshops.