Tillsonburg serves a regional tri-county area of 225,000 people at the convergence of Oxford, Elgin and Norfolk counties. The industrial base has become quite diverse during the decline of the once prominent tobacco industry. The area is home to several branch plants of major US-based automotive suppliers. There are many service-related industries.
The area also has a strong agricultural community with cash crops, hog farming, milk production, tobacco, ginseng and various tertiary crops (including watermelons).
Popular Canadian country musician Stompin' Tom Connors wrote a song entitled "Tillsonburg".
- Tourist information is available at the Annandale National Historic Site (see below).
The area was settled in 1825 by George Tillson and other immigrants from Enfield, Massachusetts. A forge and sawmill were erected and roads built which led to the establishment of this small community, originally called Dereham Forge. The settlement was on the Big Otter Creek.
In 1836 the village was renamed Tillsonburg in honour of its founder. It was also in this year that the main street, Broadway, was laid out to its full 100-foot (30 m) width. Because the village was predominantly a logging and wood product centre, the street was built to accommodate the turning of three-team logging wagons.
The mid-19th century proved to be the first step in the industrialization of this municipality. A water system was devised to not only supply pure water for domestic use, but also to provide water power to such industries as a sawmill, planing mill, grist mill, spinning mill, pottery and a tannery. Many of these new establishments were either owned, started, or financed by George Tillson.
In the 1920s, major enterprises included milk production, manufacture of shoes, tractors, textiles and an increased production of tobacco.
From Hwy 401, exit 218, south on Hwy 19 (Plank Rd); or from east or west, via Hwy 3.
Passenger train services are provided by Via Rail stations in nearby Ingersoll or Woodstock.
The town is served by the Tillsonburg Municipal Airport, 7 km north of the town in Southwest Oxford Township. It receives no scheduled or charter passenger flights.
There is no transit system.
- Why Wait Taxi & Delivery, +1 226-641-6340
- KTN Taxi, +1 519-688-3900
- The Station Arts Centre, 41 Bridge St. W, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-4PM; winter Hours: M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-2PM. A multi-use facility which was created from two historic train stations that were joined together by a central gallery. It has been home to artistic, cultural and technical groups since its founding in 1983. Accessible. Free.
- Annandale National Historic Site, 30 Tillson Ave, ☏ . M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa (Jul Aug only) noon-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. A fully restored Victorian home built by Tillsonburg's first mayor, E.D. Tillson, that has been nationally recognized for its magnificent interior. Home to the community museum and a hub for public programming and cultural events. The museum has more than 18,000 items from Tillsonburg's history. The tourism information centre provides free information about tourism attractions throughout Southwestern Ontario. Adult $6, senior (60+) $5, student $3.50, children $2.50, family (2 adults + 2 school-age children) $12.
- Weekly Country Music Jamborees late May to early Sep, north of town at Casey's Park on Highway #19 north of Mount Elgin.
Lake Lisgar, a small lake in the centre of town, has been rehabilitated and is home for the Tillsonburg Rowing Club and the Lake Lisgar Water Park.
- 1 Lake Lisgar Water Park, 16 Ross Street (inside Memorial Park), ☏ . Jul-Sep: 11AM-7PM. A splash pad with a water slide, snack bar, lounge chairs and umbrellas. Free parking is available on John Street.
The town has a very active and developing downtown core area which includes the Tillsonburg Town Centre mall, built in 1980, and big box stores. All of the major Canadian chartered banks have branches in the town and there is also a credit union. The town is served by three grocery stores: Sobeys, Zehrs and Metro.
- Tillsonburg Farmers' Market operates Saturday 8AM-noon from April to October at the Station Arts Centre.
- Tillsonburg Antiques Plus, 6 Old Vienna Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-5PM.
- The Cup and Cake, 38 Ridout Street West, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM. Soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts.
- Phovn Restaurant, 43 Oxford St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-8PM. Vietnamese.
- [formerly dead link] Corey's Restaurant, 10 Brock St E, ☏ . Diner. M-Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 8AM-3PM.
- The Copper Mug, 79 Broadway St, ☏ . Su 4PM-11PM, M Tu 11:30AM-11PM, W 11:30AM-11:30PM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-11:45PM. Pub serving perch specials, beer-batteted fish and chips.
- Howard Johnson by Wyndham Tillsonburg, 92 Simcoe St, ☏ . Free WiFi, all guest rooms are equipped with a microwave and refrigerator, over 30 HD channels on a 32 inch LCD TV. Onsite restaurant. 100% non-smoking and pet-friendly
- Casey's Park, 333585 Plank Line, Salford (abput 15 km north of town, on Highway #19 north of Mount Elgin), ☏ . Country music jams Friday nights in the summer. Wi-Fi is available in the park. Unserviced tent site: $30.51/night; serviced with 30 amp, water and sewer: $45.20/night (taxes included); weekly and monthly rates available.
- Stratford, Ontario, a picturesque town that hosts the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, is about an hour's drive north of Tillsonburg.
- London, Ontario, is north-west of Tillsonburg.
|Routes through Tillsonburg|
|St. Thomas ← Aylmer ←||W E||→ Port Colborne → Fort Erie|
|END ← Ingersoll ←||N S||→ Becomes Elgin 19|