"Beautiful spot! A perfect oasis in the leafy desert...." Such were the first impressions of a traveller who arrived in the Glen in 1847. Glen Williams is a tiny village, a hamlet, in the Credit River valley just north of Georgetown, a 45 minute drive west of Toronto. The Glen is part of Halton Hills in the Halton Regional Municipality.
Today the "perfect oasis" takes considerable pride in its legacy of well-constructed buildings, its long manufacturing history and its sense of community (an irreplaceable commodity these days).
If you like art, crafts, antiques, and well-preserved heritage buildings, then you’re going to love this place. In the Glen you can visit artists' studios at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, housed in former grist and sawmills, and shop for antiques in the Beaumont Mill, another industrial heritage building. You can go for a hike. You can watch artists at work, see glass blown, take a class, have a beer in the pub. You can build a canoe (really!)
Throw in some charming rural scenery and a few tasty, cosy country places to eat, and you’re all set for a perfect girlfriend getaway or a great romantic weekend retreat.
The Glen has nestled at this quiet place in the Credit River Valley since 1825. Founded by hardworking Loyalists who harnessed the power of the local stream to run saw and flour mills. They kept at it, built bobbin mills, grist mills, woollen mills, knitting mills. They build beautiful brick homes for their families out of locally made brick. They built a Town Hall, churches, shops, stores, a tannery, a post office. They built a community.
From Georgetown, Ontario: Glen Williams is north of Georgetown which is on Highway 7. From Highway 7, turn northwest onto Mountainview Rd N. Continue 2.0 km. onto Confederation St. and on to Main Street in the Glen.
From Highway 401: Hwy 401 west to Winston Churchill Blvd. N. 15 km north (just past Mayfield Rd) to left turn at Old School Road (22nd Side Road). Follow into Glen Williams.
VIA Rail stops in Georgetown.
GO Transit provides rail service between Georgetown and Toronto.
GO Transit also provides bus service between Georgetown and Toronto.
Walking is convenient around the village core and parking is easily available.
- 1 Glen Williams Visual Arts Centre, 515 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. W-Su and holiday Mondays noon – 5PM. Historic buildings house the working studios of over 35 artists. In addition to rotating shows of 2-dimensional art, by individual artists or small groups, you can see and purchase a wide selection of pottery, fibre, glass, wood, jewellery, sculpture and other media. Williams Mill regularly invites guest artists and educators to hold classes in its heritage stone Education Centre overlooking Glen Williams Park and the Credit River. Free.
- 2 Glen Williams Glass, 515 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily noon-5PM and by chance or appointment. A collective studio made up of seven independent glass artists, part of The Williams Mill. Glen Williams Glass is open daily, and welcomes visitors to observe the glassblowing process and enquire about the various techniques and styles of its seven members. Free.
- 1 Glen Williams Park, 509 Main Street. The park includes baseball diamonds, park pavilion, and flower gardens. Tradition and character have been preserved in the old dug out and concession stand. Glen Williams Park is the perfect place to have a picnic, organize a friendly game of baseball or listen to the tranquil sounds of Credit River flow by. Free.
- 2 Hike the Bruce Trail. A portion of the Bruce Trail, the hiking trail that runs along the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory runs just north of Glen Williams through the Scotsdale Farm, Silver Creek Conservation Area and on to the Terra Cotta Conservation Area. A side branch, the Credit Valley Footpath, extends into and through the Glen. In full, this footpath stretches from the Bruce Trail at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area southeast to the base of the 10th Line and on east just past the ruin of the Barber Dynamo to the east of Glen Williams.
- 3 Shelagh Law Parkette, 66 Confederation Street. A riverside parkette in the Glen at the corner of Main & Confederation Streets, named after a local volunteer and Glen Williams Citizen of the Year for 1992, Shelagh Law. A fine place to take kids to splash around in the waters of the Credit River on a hot summer afternoon.
- 4 Dempster Boats (Wooden Boats and Boards), 515 Main St, Unit P (Housed in the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, in the lower level of the stone building.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Ususlly M-F 9:30AM-3PM; call ahead to ensure staff are there. Evening hours and Saturday morning hours are available by class or by appointment only. Build your own boat, be it canoe, kayak, paddleboard. Build a skateboard even. Classes are essentially a series of one-on-one tutorials. They show you how to build one ‘corner’ of the boat. You do the second ‘corner’ under their watchful eye. Then you complete the remaining ‘corners’ on your own. You will be guided right through to the last step of building your boat including varnishing or painting.The focus is on making and repairing wood based gear for self-propelled recreation on land and water.
- Canada Day. July 1st. Canada Day the Glen Williams way: Come enjoy breakfast, baseball games, parade at noon, children's games, entertainment and duck race. A wonderful family day with no admission fees.
- 1 Beaumont Mill Antiques and Collectibles, 586 Main Street, ☎ . W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 9AM-6PM. A multi-vendor antique and collectibles market housed in a turn-of-the-20th-century limestone knitting mill. 36 vendors offer a broad assortment of collectibles and antiques including a selection of antique, retro, vintage and primitive furniture, fine collectible glass including pressed glass and goblets, carnival glass, crystal, opalescent glass, depression glass, art glass and Fenton glass. Also on offer is fine china including Fuller dinner services, tea services figurines and vases. In stock are over 70 refurbished crystal chandeliers and an good assortment of vintage, industrial and Deco lighting. There is variety of original oil and water colours as well as prints.
- 2 Reeve & Clarke Fine and Rare Books, 521 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-Su 11AM-5PM, other times by chance or appointment. The storefront of Laidlaw House and the Frazier Shop in which Timothy Eaton (who founded Eaton's Department Store) first worked in retail, the oldest surviving commercial building in the village, now serves an antiquarian book business. Stock includes literature, travel, history, art, and children's books. Most are first editions. Also included are fine bindings, general antiquarian books, ephemera, and a selection of small antiques.
- 3 [dead link] The Record Store & Sports Collectibles (At the Beaumont Mill Antiques Mall), 586 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-6PM (and holiday Mondays). Vintage Vinyl inventory includes thousands of titles with many more arriving every week. Music memorabilia, records, vinyl, 45s, EPs, LPs, 78s, albums, books, DVDs, laserdisc (also, sports and war books & goodies).
- 4 The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe, 12707 9th Line (a continuation of Confederation Street) (in the country a few miles north of Glen Williams), ☎ , toll-free: . Tu-Sa 10AM-5:30PM; Su noon-4PM; closed on holidays. The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe is filled to the brim with everything a Quilter wants! Occasional demos, check the website or Facebook for notices. No need to call in advance to sign up. Just show up about 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. demos are free.
- 5 Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre (Georgetown Garden Centre), 12266 Tenth Line, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Seasonal hours. A huge selection of large landscape-size trees and evergreens, more than 600 varieties of nursery stock. The outdoor shopping area has the largest selection of annuals, perennials and specialty plants in the area. Direct from the farm selection and pricing. Also offers "Make It & Take It" workshops and free learning sessions with simple, step-by-step instructions and tips. Check the website for schedules.
- 1 The Glen Oven Cafe, 520 Main Street, ☎ . W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Homemade breads, baked daily, scones, squares, soups, quiche, coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, fruit smoothies, everything homemade from scratch. Eat inside or better yet, relax in the shade of the big trees on the outdoor porch.
- 2 The Glen Tavern, 515 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. W-Su from 5PM, open for Mother's Day from 3PM. Seasonal, contemporary food, carefully selected wines and drinks in a convivial setting. Reservations recommended.
- 1 Copper Kettle Pub, 517 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su from 11AM. This historic landmark which served as the hamlet's General Store and Post Office for more than a century (built in 1852 by Charles Williams) is now local family owned and operated and has been renovated to bring an authentic, pub experience to the community. With daily chalkboard specials, all menu items are carefully prepared with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. It features live music on Saturdays at 9PM-11:30PM and Sunday evenings 5PM-8PM, and has a selection of local craft beer & cider offerings on tap.
- Bob's House (Airbnb listing), Glen Williams, Ontario. Close to art galleries, restaurants, cultural exhibits and antique shops. No smoking, Not suitable for pets, no parties or events, May not be safe or suitable for children (0-12 years), 2 nights minimum stay. $51 per night.
A self-guided walking tour, including the Listed and Designated Heritage Properties:
You may park your vehicle at the Glen Williams Park, 509 Main Street. Start your tour at Main Street, at the entrance to the park. Most of these properties are still private homes so please respect the homeowners:
- Williams-Holt House (Williams Chair Factory) - 504 Main Street: Designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Built as a cabinet and chair factory by Issac Williams, son of the Glen Williams founder Benajah Williams. Associated with the neighboring tool factory since both buildings are the same size and have identical facades. Good example of the Georgian style.
- Williams Edge Tool Factory - 508 Main Street: It was used as a the “Edge Tool Factory” until 1870; associated with the neighboring cabinet and chair factory since both buildings are the same size and have identical facades; good example of the Georgian style.
- Williams House - 510 Main Street: Built and occupied by Dr. Moffatt Forester who married Charles Williams' daughter Elizabeth; the Williams Family ran the cabinet and tool factories at 504 and 508 Main Street; good example of the Georgian style of architecture.
- Joseph Williams House - 511 Main Street: Residence was built for Joseph Williams when he was the manager of the Williams Mill; Joseph was the third generation of Williams.
- Charles Williams House - 514 Main Street: Built for Charles Williams, patriarch of the second generation of the Williams who founded the village; home of Joseph Beaumont, owner of the Beaumont Knitting Mills; excellent example of a Gothic Revival style residence.
- Williams Mill - 515 Main Street: c. 1852/1901; Designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Village sawmill built by Williams family and first hydro-electric plant.
- General Store and Post Office (Copper Kettle) - 517 Main Street: Built by Charles Williams, of the Williams family that founded the village, as a general store; served as the local general store and post office until 1972; good example of a commercial building with excellent decorative brickwork.
Here, keep to the right and head up Prince Street:
- Glen Williams Town Hall - 1 Prince Street: 1871 - Designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Built of local brick in a Colonial Cape Cod style. It has been central to the history of the Village & associated with Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne Shirley books including Anne of Green Gables.
- Schenk House/Blacksmith Shop - 3 Prince Street: Good example of brick industrial building from the 1870s; owned by William Tost, a local blacksmith who operated a carriage works out of a two-storey residence and owned the patent for the “iron beam harrow”; the building was later used by William Schenk who operated an Orange Crush bottling business.
- Alexander House - 6 Prince Street: Good example of Georgian architectural style; the property was first owned by William Alexander, owner of the Glen hotel; the barn on the property is thought to be the first Glen Williams School House.
- Hawkins Shop - 7 Prince Street: One of the original store buildings from the Village’s core.
- Norton House - 9 Prince Street: Owned by school teacher Theophilus Norton; Good example of a two-storey Gothic Revival home.
- School House - 15 Prince Street: Served as a two-room school house for 75 years; land donated by mill owner Charles Williams.
Here you have the choice to continue a short distance further up Prince Street to the Glen Williams Cemetery and its commanding view of the hamlet in the valley below.
Retrace your steps back down Prince Street to Main:
- Laidlaw House and the Frazier Shop (Reeve & Clarke Fine & Rare Books) - 519 and 521 Main Street: Designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Laidlaw House was built in 1858 by James S. Laidlaw. The Frazier Shop, built in 1847 by Thomas Frazier, is an excellent preserved example of an early Victorian commercial building. Also associated with Timothy Eaton (future founder of the T. Eaton commercial empire) who was hired to serve as a clerk and bookkeeper.
- 524 Main Street: Associated with Mr. William Alexander, a local innkeeper and Thomas Jefferson Hill, the father of the first mayor of Halton Hills. The hotel provided rooms and meals for salesmen, farmers and merchants who had business in Glen Williams.
- Beaumont Duplex - 526 & 528 Main Street: Associated with Joseph Beaumont, owner of Beaumont Knitting Mills who likely built the building as worker housing. Good example of Gothic Revival architecture used in row housing.
- Logan Cottage - 530 Main Street: Unique stone addition built on original stone cottage (rear).
- 531 Main Street: Associated with James Laidlaw who built the house; built very similar to the frame house at 532 Main Street; Early Village vernacular residence.
- 532 Main Street: Associated with John Rutledge, a local butcher, who owned the building; good example of an early Vernacular building in the Village of Glen Williams.
- St. John’s United Church - 533 Main Street: Unique wood-frame Methodist church built 1840 and bricked over in 1903. Has functioned as a church since 1840; in the heart of Glen Williams next to the Credit River.
- Tannery - 536 Main Street: Associated with Thomas Board, owner of the Dominion Glove Works as a tannery; Purchased by Joseph Beaumont in 1906 as a complement to his Beaumont Knitting Mills.
- St. Alban’s Anglican Church - 537 & 539 Main Street: Associated with Rose Ann McMaster, a prominent local who donated land for the church; has functioned as a church since 1902; designed by architect F.S. Baker.
Cross the street to climb Mountain Street:
- Barraclough House - 25 Mountain Street: The home was built for John Sykes the owner of Sykes and Ainley Manufacturing Company and later resided in by E.Y. Barraclough, General Manager of the Glen Woolen Mills Company. Located on an embankment overlooking the Credit River; unusual example of Edwardian style of architecture including a unique stain glass window.
- 28 Mountain Street: The home was built for Norman Ainley, owner of the Sykes and Ainley Manufacturing Company.
- Mino Cottage - 24 Mountain Street: Good example of a 1850s cottage; built by George Mino, a local labourer.
- Francis Williams House - 15 Mountain Street: The house was built for Woolen Mills Company owner Jacob William's widow; It later served as Thompson and Wilson Ginger Beer Bottling Facility; Good example of Georgian style architecture with Gothic Revival tail.
Come back down Mountain and turn left onto Tweedle Street:
- David Williams House - 3 Tweedle Street: Owned by Benajah Williams and the Woollen Mill Company.
- Woollen Mills Housing – 5, 7 & 9 Tweedle Street: Glen Woollen Mills Company had storage sheds on the site until the early 20th century; 5, 7 and 9 Tweedle Street were built as worker housing for the mill employees; used from 1964-1981 as housing for Sheridan Nurseries.
- Labourers Cottage - 11 Tweedle Street: Owned by one of the first property owners in Glen Williams, John Rutledge, who was also a butcher.
- 14 Tweedle Street - Excellent example of the Gothic Revival style; built by Sykes and Ainsley Woollen Mills as a worker’s home.
- Mino House - 22 Tweedle Street: Good example of the Gothic Revival style; built by George Mino, a local labourer.
Backtrack slightly and follow Forster Street to return to Main Street. This short hill you are descending is the subject of a painting by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson, "Village Street October". At the bottom of the hill you can choose to turn left on Main and continue a short distance to another bridge again crossing the Credit River. If you continue beyond the bridge you will shortly enter the area of the village which is the subject of Casson's 1938 oil on canvas, "Street in Glen Williams", a leafy, autumnal portrait of a quiet road in the hamlet, which sold at auction in Toronto in 2010 for a record $542,800, including buyer's premium, the highest such valuation ever accorded a Casson canvas. Mr. Casson, who joined the Group of Seven in 1926, "recorded small towns in every season," Canadian art critic and historian Paul Duval wrote in 1980, "and Street in Glen Williams is unquestionably his key autumn portrayal."
Now backtrack along Main Street to:
- 554 Main Street: The house is of a pattern similar to several others in the Village which provided comfortable family homes for factory workers.
- Holdroyd House - 552 Main Street: Owned by the bookkeeper for the Sykes and Ainley Mills Harry Holdroyd on a large prominent corner lot.
- Isaac Cook House - 549 Main Street: Owned by William Alexander who owned the Glen Hotel and later his son Thomas Alexander, the Village’s blacksmith.
- 541 Main Street: Typical example of a frame residence from the 1850s.
- 548 Main Street: Good example of an early Village vernacular residence; may have been constructed for mill employees.
- Murray House - 543 Main Street: Owned by John Murray a local carpenter; Three generations of Murrays lived in the home. Early example board and batten frame house.
|Routes through Glen Williams|
|Kitchener ← Guelph ←||W E||→ Brampton → Toronto|
|Kitchener ← Acton ←||W E||→ becomes Peel 107 → Brampton → Markham|
|Kitchener ← Acton ←||W E||→ Brampton → Toronto|