by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)
In 1991 the Ontario Government incorporated three communities into one municipality, the Town of New Tecumseth. One the three combined communities was Alliston.
The first time that I had visited Alliston was with my parents. That was likely back in the sixties. Alliston in the 60’s was just a small rural town, but it was the home of one of my father’s clients, Diamond Wood Products. My father was an insurance agent (in Toronto) and he insured Diamond Wood!
Diamond Wood was an interesting manufacturer, in produced “caskets“! We had gone to visit the business at the request of its owner. He, of course, was very proud of his products and even asked my mother if she would “like to try one out!”. Surprisingly my mother declined the offer!
So much for my first visit! The only other times that I had visited Alliston was just to “drive through” to get to another location.
This was going to be my first real visit since that “exciting” day back in the 60’s. I would have liked to visit Diamond Wood again, perhaps to “test“the product, but the company had shut down years before.
Alliston is now longer that “sleepy” rural town, it is now a thriving community flowing with excess energy.
The downtown area still reminds me of “days gone by“, with local shops offering residents and visitors plenty of products to buy.
There’s still a local “old fashion” theatre offering “new fashion” films.
Even the “new” Town Square sign doesn’t really tell the whole story!
Heritage home don’t tell the story either!
You have to go a “little” way out of the downtown are to see the “real” story… HONDA!
That’s right, HONDA! In 1986 Honda Canada moved it’s manufacturing to Alliston and the community has never been the same since!
Not only did Honda move there, but did many suppliers move there!
These expansion activities allow other changes to take place. Alliston now has a beautiful recreation centre!
With all this NEW “innovation“, it brings me back to one of the most important things that the Town of Alliston is known for, the “Discovery of Insulin“. One of the co-discovers, Sir Frederick Grant Banting, was born and raised in Alliston.
The Banting Homestead is now a museum and tribute to this great Canadian scientist.
As we made our way back through the downtown area, Judi noticed a parkette. We stopped to explore.
There were beautiful flower gardens in that led to a bridge that crossed a flowing stream! What a great way to end the tour of this amazing “storybook” town!
By the way, you may want to travel to Alliston yourself and visit one of their fun events.