Unveiling the Mystery: Why is Vaughan Called Concord?

Ever wondered why Vaughan is called Concord? Dive into the fascinating history behind this Toronto suburb’s unique name and discover the tale of a pioneering settler’s connection to a faraway town.

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Have you ever driven through Vaughan, Ontario, and found yourself curious about the origins of the name “Concord”? This bustling suburb, northwest of Toronto, holds a story waiting to be unearthed. So, why is Vaughan Called Concord? The question itself is wrong, you should ask why is Part of Vaughan Called Concord? Because Vaughan and Concord are actually two different places! Vaughan is a city, while Concord is a suburban industrial district within Vaughan.

The city of Vaughan itself is named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed a peace treaty with the United States in 1783.

Concord, on the other hand, is believed to be named after Hiram White, an early settler who emigrated from Concord, Vermont in 1818. It’s believed he, along with others who might have missed their hometowns, played a role in naming this part of Vaughan “Concord.”

But who exactly was Hiram White, the man who gave Vaughan its distinct name? Unfortunately, detailed records of his life are scarce. However, piecing together historical fragments paints a picture of a pioneer seeking a new life in Canada. We know he settled on Lot 8, Concession 3, in Vaughan and likely took up farming, a common pursuit for early settlers.

Vaughan’s story stretches far back before European settlers arrived. The land was originally inhabited by the Huron-Wendat people, an Iroquoian-speaking First Nation. They thrived in the area for centuries, living in longhouses, farming vegetables, fishing, and hunting. Evidence of their presence can still be found in archaeological remains like longhouse sites and tools.

For example, the Skandatut ancestral Wendat village overlooked the Humber River. This village, once home to around 2,000 Huron people in the 16th century, is close to where an Huron ossuary (mass grave) was discovered in Kleinburg in 1970.

European arrival in the 17th century disrupted the Wendat way of life. Treaties, disease, and displacement forced them from their traditional lands. However, their presence in Vaughan remains a crucial part of the city’s history. 

In the early 1800s, Vaughan’s economy heavily relied on mills. The rivers, like the Humber and Don, provided the perfect source of power. These mills, like sawmills and gristmills, processed lumber and grain, forming the backbone of Vaughan’s development.

Places like Thornhill, Vaughan’s oldest hamlet, were established around these mills. The first sawmill in Thornhill was built in 1801, followed by a gristmill in 1815. These mills attracted settlers and businesses, creating thriving communities.

Fast forward to today, and Vaughan’s industrial landscape has changed dramatically. While some mills still stand as reminders of the past, Vaughan has become a major hub for modern businesses and corporations. The shift from mills to malls reflects Vaughan’s transformation into a prosperous and dynamic city.

This change wasn’t sudden. The post-war era saw a rise in manufacturing, followed by a boom in the service sector. Today, Vaughan boasts a thriving business scene with a focus on technology, communications, and finance. This shift showcases Vaughan’s ability to adapt and evolve over time.

The Rise of Concord Village

Concord’s story doesn’t begin and end with Hiram White. The name resonated with the growing community. By 1854, Concord had blossomed into a postal village, with John Duncan serving as its first postmaster. The arrival of the Northern Railway in 1853, with a stop christened “Concord,” further solidified the name’s place in the area’s identity.

Concord’s landscape has undergone a significant transformation over the years. Once a quiet village, the 20th century ushered in a period of industrial development. The opening of Highway 400 in 1951 played a pivotal role, attracting businesses and transforming Concord into Vaughan’s industrial district.
More Than Just Industry: A Look at Concord’s Neighborhoods

While Concord is known for its industrial might, it also boasts diverse residential neighborhoods. Glen Shields, a community built in the 1970s and 1980s, offers a suburban haven. Dufferin Hill, a more recent development, adds to the area’s vibrant tapestry.

Despite the industrial shift, Concord hasn’t forgotten its roots. The Village of Concord remains a designated heritage conservation district, preserving a slice of the area’s rich history. This dedication to the past ensures that Hiram White’s legacy lives on.

Hiram White’s decision to name the area “Concord” had a profound impact. The name transcended a mere label; it became a symbol of connection, a bridge between his past and his new Canadian home. It serves as a reminder of the human element woven into the fabric of Vaughan’s history.

FAQs on Vaughan and Concord

1. Is Vaughan a city or a suburb?

Vaughan is a city within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

2. What are some of the industries in Concord?

Concord is home to a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, logistics, and distribution.

3. Where can I find the Village of Concord heritage conservation district?

The Village of Concord heritage conservation district is located in the northwest corner of Vaughan, roughly bounded by Steeles Avenue to the south, Highway 400 to the west, Dufferin Street to the east, and Rutherford Road to the north.

4. Does Concord still have a train station?

The original Concord train station, established in 1853, was closed in the 1960s. However, Vaughan is well-serviced by GO Transit, offering convenient public transportation options.

5. What are some things to do in Concord?

While Concord is primarily an industrial district, Vaughan offers a variety of attractions, including museums, parks, and shopping centers. Additionally, exploring the Village of Concord heritage conservation district provides a glimpse into the area’s history.

6. Where can I learn more about the history of Vaughan and Concord?

The City of Vaughan website offers a wealth of information on the area’s history, including the Village of Concord. Local libraries and historical societies may also have resources available.

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