It is on the Credit River, approximately 60 km west of Toronto, making it part of the Greater Toronto Area. Georgetown was named after entrepreneur George Kennedy who settled in the area in 1821 and built several mills and other businesses.
By 1650, the Hurons First Nation had been wiped out by European diseases and the Iroquois. The region was now open to the Algonquian Ojibwa (also known as Mississauga). By 1850 the remaining Mississauga natives were removed to the Six Nations Reserve, where the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Reserve was established.
Commencing in 1781, the British government purchased blocks of land from the Mississauga Nation. In 1818, they purchased land that later became the townships of Esquesing and Nassagaweya. The task of laying out the townships fell to Timothy Street and Abraham Nelles. Charles Kennedy was hired by Nelles to survey the northern part of Esquesing Township in 1819, and received a significant parcel of land as payment for his work. The brothers of Charles Kennedy, John, Morris, Samuel and George, all acquired land close to each another in the Silver Creek Valley. Charles Kennedy built a sawmill in a location where Main Street meets Wildwood Road today.
George Kennedy took advantage of the Silver Creek in the early 1820s to power a sawmill, and later a gristmill and foundry and then a woolen mill; a small settlement formed around the mills, often called "Hungry Hollow". In 1828, John Galt of the Canada Company opened the York to Guelph Road (now Highway 7) which connected the settlement around George Kennedy's Mill with other settlements in the area. The road also extended to Galt, to Guelph and to Goderich.
In 1837 the Barber brothers, including William and James, purchased land and the woolen mill and foundry from Kennedy in 1837; they renamed the settlement Georgetown. The brothers started the paper-making industry in 1854, using electricity produced by a dynamo at the Credit River. Their products included large volumes of wallpaper. John R. Barber's home, Berwick Hall, still stands at Main and Park Streets. Other entrepreneurs arrived including Philo Dayfoot in the early 1840s, who started the local leather industry. In the 1850s, George Kennedy subdivided his land into small lots for sale to new settlers.
The Grand Trunk Railway arrived in 1856 and a line of the Hamilton and North-Western Railway reached the community about 20 years later. Hotels opened near the station, including the Railroad Exchange in a building that still stands.
The Toronto Suburban Railway ran the Toronto-Guelph electric rail line through Georgetown from 1917 until the Guelph line was closed in 1931. This radial line had a passenger station on Main Street (at a site occupied in 2022 by Goodfellas Wood Oven Pizza). The venture failed because of the Depression and the increasing popularity of the automobile, buses and trucks. Its proximity to the competing Grand Trunk Railway (later Canadian National) line at the current Georgetown railway station was also a factor.
In the mid-1940s, the population was close to 4,000 and began to grow more quickly in the 1950s. The GO commuter train arrived in Georgetown in 1974, enabling residents to commute to downtown Toronto for work.
Georgetown is on Highway 7.
- See also: Rail travel in Canada
1 Georgetown GO Station, 55 Queen St (corner of King and Queen Street). Georgetown railway station is a heritage railway station built for the Grand Trunk Railway completed in 1856. It is a one-storey, stone structure with a tower in one corner. Today, the station is used by Via Rail and GO transit trains as well as GO Transit buses.
- GO Transit, ☏ , toll-free: . GO Transit operates bus and rail commuter/regional transit within and near the Greater Toronto Area. The Kitchener route operates trips most of the day from Monday to Friday between Toronto and Brampton including stops in Mississauga. On those days, during morning and afternoon rush hours, trips travel between Toronto and Kitchener including stops in Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Acton, and Guelph though only toward Toronto in the morning rush and only toward Kitchener in the afternoon rush. In addition, one trip to Toronto in the morning rush and one trip from Toronto in the afternoon rush travels past Kitchener terminating in London with additional stops in Stratford and St. Marys.
- VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: . Operates many intercity trains across Canada. Operates a route daily between Sarnia and Toronto including stops in London, St. Marys, Stratford, Kitchener, Guelph, Georgetown, Brampton, and Mississauga.
- GO Transit, ☏ , toll-free: . Operates bus and rail commuter/regional transit within and near the Greater Toronto Area. GO Transit operates bus service, which connects Georgetown to many of the nearby communities including Brampton, Toronto, Acton, Guelph, and Kitchener.
There is no local bus service, although the Georgetown Halton Hills ActiVan provides local transportation for individuals with physical disabilities.
- 1 Heritage downtown area, Main St (between James St and Church St). Georgetown's downtown area is 250 metres (820 ft) long and is lined with shops and restaurants.
- 2 Old Seed House Gardens (Dominion Gardens Park), 135 Maple Avenue. Daily 7AM-11PM. A 1.8 acres (0.73 hectares) public garden honouring the legacy of the Dominion Seed House in Georgetown. It features formal gardens, meandering pathways, a dry stone riverbed leading to a naturalized pond, and a walled garden among the foundations of the famous mock-Tudor Dominion Seed House building. In spring, hundreds of tulip and daffodils fill the beds with brilliant colour. Magnolia, pear and cherry trees blossom, the forsythias display their golden dress, and lilacs along the paths burst into bloom. Magnificent heritage peonies have been planted in a showy array lining the formal area beds. Free.
- 3 Remembrance Park, Charles St & James St. This park is a war memorial with a monument, fountain, flowers and two old artillery pieces. There is a pleasant, tree-lined walkway with benches leading to a pavillion east of the monument.
- 4 Devereaux House, 11494 Trafalgar Road (north of Maple Avenue), ☏ , email@example.com. Th 1-6PM. Restored and elegantly furnished Victorian home.
- 5 St. George's Anglican Church, 60 Guelph St. A stone church built in 1878.
- 6 Mill street building, 70 Mill st (at Park Ave). Attractive building with a clock tower.
- 7 George Kennedy mural, Mill St at Guelph St. The side of a store has a large mural dedicated to George Kennedy, the founder of Georgetown. Part of the mural depicts a 1900 view of Main Street Georgetown.
- 8 McNab Street underpass. This road tunnel under the railway embankment was built in 1856 along with the railway. It is very narrow, about the width of a tight laneway. Cars use it in both directions but not at the same time. Drivers must yield to pedestrians. It's fun to drive through. On the north side of the tunnel, you can take John Street to Mountainview Road to continue to Main Street in the picturesque community of Glen Williams.
- 1 Fallbrook Trail Ranch, 14097 Ninth Line, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 9AM-5PM. Trails, lessons & Western riding club.
- 2 Hike the Bruce Trail. A side trail connects from the main trail through Glen Williams along the Credit Valley Footpath. Near Terra Cotta, the trail follows the Niagara Escarpment north to Tobermory or South to Niagar-on-the-Lake.
- Georgetown Highland Games: The second Saturday in June, Georgetown is host to a variety of Scottish traditional games and celebrations.
- A farmers' market operates on Main St. in downtown Georgetown on Saturdays 8AM–12:30PM from June through October. The section of Main St. that hosts the market is closed off to vehicles during the event.
- The Georgetown Fall Fair started in 1846. It is held the Friday to Sunday following the Labour Day Weekend. The annual event is held at the Georgetown Fairgrounds and consists mainly of carnival rides and rural contests, such as the tractor pull and demolition derby. The Georgetown Agricultural Society organizes and runs the fair each year.
- Georgetown Santa Claus Parade on the third Sunday in November, in the evening starting at 5pm. Organized by the Georgetown Lions Club. Includes a variety of floats from local organizations and businesses, bands, and Santa Claus himself! The parade route is: Guelph Street from Sinclair to Mill Street and Charles Street to the Fairgrounds. These roads are closed to traffic from approximately 5–7PM.
- The Georgetown Craft Beer Festival, also known as "Head For The Hills", is held the third Saturday of the month in September, and runs from 11AM–6PM at Trafalgar Sports Park. Organized by the Georgetown Lions Club, Georgetown Kiwanis Club, Georgetown Kinsmen Club, and Georgetown Rotary Club. The festival showcases craft brewers from across Ontario, gourmet food trucks, live music, and games.
- 1 Uncorked on Main, 72 Main St S, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Sa from 5PM. Small bites & share plates, creative cocktails, craft beer, and wines often accompanied by local musicians. Reservations not accepted.
- 1 St George Pub, 7 Main St N, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 10AM-1AM. English pub with live music F and Sa. Menu offers traditional pub fare, hamburgers, steaks, vegetarian dishes.
- 1 Cedar Springs Motel, 12363 Hwy 7. Free Wi-Fi, free parking, air conditioning, non-smoking rooms, kitchenette, wheelchair access, laundry service. From $67.
- 2 Best Western Halton Hills, 365 Guelph Street, ☏ , toll-free: . Coffee maker, non-smoking, High Speed Internet Access, continental breakfast. From $129.
|Routes through Georgetown|
|Kitchener ← Guelph ←||W E||→ Brampton → Toronto|
|Kitchener ← Acton ←||W E||→ becomes → Brampton → Markham|
|Kitchener ← Acton ←||W E||→ Brampton → Toronto|