Island Link To Ontario County’s Namesake

October 23, 2011

He was secretary to Bermuda’s Governor and relocated to Ontario with Sir Francis Gore in 1806 when his superior was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the British territory then known as Upper Canada.

He never married and he had no children.

He died in relative obscurity in 1821 at the age of 52.

But in Ontario — along the lake between Hamilton and Mississauga — the name of Halton is everywhere, even if very few people know its origins.

Colonial administrator William Halton’s surname name is used for Region of Halton, the former County of Halton, Halton Hills, and the Halton federal and parliamentary constituencies. Hundreds of businesses use the name.

Now Canadian author John McDonald has published a coffee-table book on William Halton, the end product of a five-year journey which brought the historian to Bermuda and England to conduct research.

“William Halton was very well respected, very compassionate,” Mr. McDonald told an Ontario newspaper this week, saying he developed a great deal of respect for the man he came to know solely through writings which survived in the Bermuda Archives and other repositories.

Sir Francis Gore appointed Halton as Provincial Agent for Upper Canada in 1816 and in this role he lobbied for compensation for Canadians who had fought the Americans alongside the British in the War of 1812.

To accommodate an influx of settlers from the British Isles following the war, Ontario’s Gore District was created — subsequently divided into two counties, one of them named Halton after William Halton.

“I have always been fascinated by how places got their name, and the meaning behind the name,” said Mr. McDonald, who has served as a member of council for Halton Hills and for regional council in Halton.

Read More About

Category: All, History