BRADFORD WEST GWILLIMBURY HISTORY
1791-- Major S. Holland laid out a settlement of log cabins at the east branch of the Holland River.
1807-- Settlers, mostly of Irish origin, located in West Gwillimbury, north of Bradford.
1819-- The largest settlement in Simcoe Country was established west of Bradford by families from Scotland, had survived Lord Selkirk's Rebellion in the Red River Settlement, now Manitoba. It became the Scotch Settlement. A church, the Auld Kirk, built in 1823 held services in Gaelic.
1824-- Six mills were operating on Scanlon Creek in the Irish settlement north of Bradford. The first corduroy plank road was build across Holland Marsh and the river and as far north as Churchill.
1829-- Bradford's first resident, William Milloy, built a log tavern on the fork of the road that branched west. Later, when the streets of Bradford were laid out, the tavern was isolated. He built another tavern in the Marsh near the bridge, nicknamed "The Bullfrog " by soldiers quartered there during the 1837 rebellion.
1830-- Miss Letitia Magee obtained from the Crown a large block of land, bounded by Holland and Barrie Streets, which extended north to the next concession. Newcomers purchased land from her.
1831-- John Edmanson built a tavern in the centre of the new settlement Bradford which was named after Bradford, England, as many of the pioneers came from the vicinity of that Yorkshire town.
1835-- In 1835 a post office was established.
1850-- Transportation was by stage via plank road or by water, i.e. steamboat from the dock by the bridge of points around Lake Simcoe.
1853-- The first railway built in Upper Canada reached Bradford on June 15. By 1866, 7000 passengers used the train. The railway brought to Bradford an era of boom prosperity. It became the focal point for South Simcoe trade. The Plank Road had been extended from Bradford to Bond Head about 1 1/2 years prior to the arrival of the railway. It is now Highway 88.
1857-- Bradford was incorporated as a village. Thomas Driffill became the first Reeve on January 1, 1858. The population was about 1,000 persons.
1871-- May 23, the main core of Bradford was devastated by fire. It left 130 homes and businesses in ashes. From the ashes a new and improved Bradford arose, with buildings made of brick.
1872-- Bradford prospered with businesses such as lumber and mattress making using Marsh hay. Horses used in the harvesting of the hay used wooden snowshoes like clogs strapped to their front feet to prevent them from sinking into the marsh. The date of the earliest records of a library are dated 1879
1902 & 1905-- Lacrosse, learned from the Indians, was the sport of the time and the whole town closed down when a home game was scheduled. In these years the Bradford boys won the Ontario Lacrosse Championships.
1923-- Professor William Day started the drainage system to prepare the Holland Marsh for cultivation. He buried old cars to form dykes and planted willows on top to anchor them. This kept the drainage canals from overflowing into the fields. Now thousands of acres are under cultivation yielding crops of vegetables selling for millions of dollars.
1930-- A waterwork system, with water supplied from drilled wells, was installed in Bradford.
1954-- Hurricane Hazel struck the area. The pumps on the Marsh were unable to control the water and the entire Marsh was flooded. About three thousand persons were made homeless. The Bradford Rotary Club set up a trailer camp at the Community Centre.
1959-- On February 11 the main section of Bradford was again destroyed by fire, north west of the main intersection.
1960-- Bradford was incorporated from a Village to a Town. The same year the first sanitary sewer system was installed.
1982-- Go Transit had its inaugural run of the Go Train service on September 7.
1991-- On January 1, the Town of Bradford and the Township of West Gwillimbury were amalgamated and became the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.