Fonds - Town of Elmira fonds

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Town of Elmira fonds

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  • 1887-1981, predominant 1887-1972 (Creation)
    Elmira (Ont. : Town)

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Physical description

80 v. 20 m of textual records 9 maps 3 architectural drawings Some volumes are very fragile and require special handling.

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Administrative history

The Town of Elmira was located within the Township of Woolwich in the current Region of Waterloo. The town began in the 1830s as Bristow's Corner, a small community that had a post office and log school house. The community was officially renamed in 1853 by the Woolwich Township council as Elmira.

Elmira originally existed as a part of Woolwich Township. However, as a part of Woolwich, Elmira only received a small portion of levied taxes. Improvements at this time including the building of sidewalks and the construction of a fire hall were all paid for by private subscription. As a growing district, Elmira needed improvements which were impossible to obtain being a part of the township. Unofficially residents selected John Ratz to serve as Reeve, a position he solidified after the village became incorporated in 1886 under the Baldwin Act, Chapter 81, 1849. A charter was obtained in December 1886 and the first municipal officers were elected. The officers included John Ratz (Reeve), August Blatz, John Ruppel, Henry Dunke and Henry Winder (Councillors). John H. Ruppel was appointed Town Clerk.

The population continued to grow until Elmira formed an urban center inside the township and was incorporated as a town in 1923. Elmira residents elected their first Mayor, P. F. Stumpf, after incorporation in 1923.

The Elmira Town council functioned as an administrative center for Elmira. In 1956 the Elmira Town council purchased 90 acres of land for industrial purposes with the intent to increase population and business. In 1962, 170 acres of land in Woolwich Township was annexed by Elmira to account for growing residential sections. Five years later, in 1967 the town council

annexed another 287 acres of land. The population had increased from approximately 2500 in 1951 to over 4000 residents by 1967.

With the establishment of regional government in 1973 the Town of Elmira as a municipal administrative unit was dissolved and incorporated into the administrative center of an enlarged Township of Woolwich.

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Administrative history

The Township of Woolwich, located in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, was incorporated January 1, 1850 under the terms of the Baldwin Act, Chapter 81, Canada Statues, 1849. The first township council and officers were established in 1851.

The Baldwin Act provided for the creation of municipal governments at the town, village and township levels and identified those to be granted municipal status. As an incorporated township, Woolwich, functions as a lower tier municipality. Initially, Woolwich council consisted of an elected reeve, deputy-reeve and councillors. Today, Woolwich council is directed by a mayor and area councillors.

In 1816, Woolwich formed part of the District of Gore, with Dundas chosen as the District Town. In the early 1800s local landowners met periodically at town meetings where they appointed a clerk, assessor and tax collector. At this time, although not officially a township, a structure was in place that enabled the town and its residents to facilitate access to goods and services around the area.

From 1838 to 1849 the township existed within Wellington District. The district stretched from Waterloo Township to Georgian Bay, with Guelph as the district centre. Woolwich sent John Meyer as its first councillor to Guelph. He held the seat until 1852 when the County of Waterloo was formed. In 1851 Woolwich formally established its municipal government by appointing John Meyer as its first Reeve. A deputy-reeve and councillors were also elected by the Woolwich council. The reeve and deputy-reeve of Woolwich sat on the County of Waterloo council in 1852, a practice that continued into the twentieth century.

When it was established, the Township of Woolwich provided local government for the rural communities within its boundaries including Winterbourne, West Montrose, St Jacobs, Conestoga, and Floradale. The Town of Elmira, although within is geographical boundary, remained separate and independent from the township, as its own administrative unit. With the establishment of regional government, the Town of Elmira was dissolved. Elmira now functions as the administrative center for the Township of Woolwich.

Effective January 1, 1973, Woolwich Township was amalgamated with part of the former Township of Waterloo to form a new area municipality, within the Region of Waterloo. (Regional Municipality of Waterloo Act, O.S. 1972, c. 105). The establishment of regional government had many effects on the nature and structure of local area government in Woolwich. Municipal departments were created including the Clerk's Office, Finance Department, Planning Department, Engineering and Public Works, and Recreation and Facilities Services Department.

A new chief administrative officer was appointed and the status of the reeve was elevated to mayor. The mayor continued to sit on regional council, much like its predecessors sat on county council. The local area government is still responsible for providing local services to its residents; however some services are now supplied by the regional government. The Local Board of Health as well as the offices of Medical and Sanitary Inspector were dissolved when the regional health department was established. Public utilities, previously a lower tier responsibility, are now organized at the regional level. The township was organized into a service area with Township of Wilmot and City of Waterloo to form Waterloo Hydro.

After dividing the township into departments, these departments remained relatively stable until the early 1990s. In 1996 the Clerk's office was combined with the Finance Department to form a Corporate Resources department. Corporate Resources was responsible for the regulation of municipal by-laws, legal services including enforcement as well as combined financial resources obligations including budgets, accounting and revenue in a manner consistent with federal and provincial legislation.

Custodial history

The Town of Elmira records were housed at the Township of Woolwich municipal office until they were transferred on long-term loan to the Region of Waterloo Archives.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of administrative records of the Town of Elmira: assessment rolls, collector's rolls, by-laws, birth death and marriages registers, list of voters, correspondence as well as other legal records and agreements, taxation documents, accounts and receipt ledgers and council and committee minutes. Fonds is comprised of the following series:

Elmira Town Clerk, 1887-1936
Elmira Town Treasurer, 1887-1936
Elmira Town Clerk-Treasurer, 1937-1973
Elmire Municipal Council, 1887-1972
Elmira Union Cemetery Company, 1884-1926
Elmira Public Utilities Commission, 1908-1977
Elmira Local Board of Health, 1897-1919
Elmira Arena Citizens Advisory Committee, 1979-1981
Elmira fire insurance plans, 1923, 1937
Elmira architectural and cartographic records, 1933, 1971
Unemployment Relief Committee, 1930-1936 C
Elmira Committee of Adjustments, [ca.1965]-1972
Elmira Library Board, 1905-1967
Elmira Planning Board, 1947-1972
Elmira Welfare Board [ca.1936]-[ca.1941]
Elmira Centennial Committee, 1966-1967

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

Some records are restricted under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Please consult the Archivist regarding access to these records.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Researchers are responsible for observing the terms of the Canadian Copyright Act. Permission of the Region of Waterloo Archives is required for any form of publication or exhibition.

Finding aids

A detailed finding aid is available in Archives Online, our descriptive database, at the following link:

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