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St. Thomas is a city in Southern , Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. It is the seat for Elgin Countymarker and gained its city charter on March 4, 1881.

History

The city, located at the intersection of two historical roads, was first settled in 1810. It was named the seat of the new Elgin Countymarker in 1844 and was incorporated as a village in 1852, as a town in 1861, and as a city in 1881.


In the late 19th century and early 20th century several railways were constructed through the city, and St. Thomas became an important railway junction. A total of 26 railways have passed through the city since the first railway was completed in 1856. It has earned the title of the "Railway Capital of Canada." In the 1950s and 1960s, with the decline of the railway as a mode of transportation, other industry began to locate in the city, principally primary and secondary automotive manufacturing.

Jumbo (the elephant) died here on September 15, 1885, when a locomotive crashed into him. There is a life-sized commemorative statue that was erected in 1985, on the centennial of Jumbo's demise.

The city was named after Thomas Talbot who helped promote the development of this region during the early 19th century . The founder of the settlement that became St. Thomas was Capt. Daniel Rapelje, descendant of a Walloon family settled in New Amsterdam, now New York Citymarker, at its inception in the seventeenth century. In 1820, Rapelje, the town's first settler, divided his land into town lots suitable for a village. Owner of the New England Mill, Rapelje subsequently donated two acres of land for the building of Old St. Thomas Church.

In 1824, Charles Duncombe and John Rolph established the first medical school in Upper Canada, in St. Thomas, under the patronage of Colonel Thomas Talbot .

Between 1881 and 1988 the city had a private woman's school operating called Alma College which unfortunately was destroyed by fire in 2008.

St. Thomas railway station, built between 1871 and 1873.
Currently it is under restoration.





Government

Cliff Barwick is the current mayor of St. Thomas. The City Council consists of the mayor and seven Aldermen, all elected at large.

St. Thomas Transit, which includes both conventional bus service and paratransit, is owned by the city and staffed and operated by Aboutown Transportation.

Demographics

St. Thomas had a population of 36,110 people in 2006, which was an increase of 8.4% from the 2001 census count. The median household income in 2005 for St. Thomas was $54,876, which is below the Ontario provincial average of $60,455.

According to the 2006 census, 95.5% of the population is Caucasian, 1.2% Aboriginal, and 3.3% Visible minorities.

Religious affiliation is 52.1% Protestant, 21% Catholic, 22.1% No affiliation, and 4.8% Other.

Education

Fanshawe Collegemarker has a campus in St. Thomas. Catholic schools are controlled by the London District Catholic School Board and public schools are controlled by the Thames Valley District School Board. There are two independent Christian schools, St. Thomas Community Christian School and Faith Christian Academy.

Business

Ford Motor Company of Canada' St. Thomas Assemblymarker in nearby Talbotville has been building cars since 1968.

Media

St. Thomas has several media outlets based in the city. The St. Thomas Times-Journal is the city's newspaper, owned by Bowes Publishers. Rogers Cable operates a local community channel.

A low-power FM radio station — VF8016, 90.1 MHz — broadcasts religious activities from Faith Baptist Church of St. Thomas. CFHK-FM, branded as 103.1 Fresh FM, is also licensed to St. Thomas, although its programming largely targets the larger Londonmarker market.

Although the city does not have its own television station, Industry Canada has allocated channel 33 for future use in St. Thomas.

Sports

There is a dragway called St. Thomas Dragwaymarker located a reasonable distance away from the town and minutes east of the historical community of Spartamarker. The dragway was established in 1962 to better accommodate the local drag racing community.

Climate



Parks

Satellite image of St. Thomas
There are two major parks in the city: Pinafore Park in the south, beside Pinafore Pond; and Waterworks Park in the north, which is straddled by Kettle Creekmarker and the Waterworks Reservoir nearby.

The Trans Canada Trail goes through St. Thomas, with a pavilion located in Jonas Street Park.

The Elgin Military Museummarker is located in the west end of St. Thomas.

Notable residents



References

  1. Rayburn, Alan (1997), Place Names of Ontario, University of Toronto Press, Pg. 304 ISBN 0802072070
  2. Capt. Daniel Rapelje, 1774–1828, OntarioPlaques.com
  3. History of St. Thomas Church Begins with Rapelje
  4. http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/userfiles/HTML/nts_1_7016_1.html


External links




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