Records indicate there were about 800 people living in the Township of Pickering in 1825. The area was heavily wooded and there were 3 sawmills and some shipbuilding at the mouth of the Rouge River. The area also attracted farmers from Britain and the United States, and by 1850, when Pickering became a county, it had a population of over 6000. In the 1870s the Frenchman's Bay Harbour Company built a lighthouse, wharf and grain elevator at Frenchman's Bay. A small village grew up around this development.
Through most of the later 19th and early 20th centuries, the area remained primarily agricultural, and the population numbers remained static. Like many communities on the periphery of Toronto, the pace of development in Pickering increased after World War II. Many people moved into the area in the 1950s; after 1960 major housing developments sprang up. Manufacturing companies also moved into the area attracted by access to Highway 401 and other transportation routes. In 1965 ONTARIO HYDRO began to build Pickering nuclear generating station just east of Frenchman's Bay, adding further growth. In 1974 the township was divided with the eastern and northern parts, including the villages of Brougham, Claremont, Green River, Greenwood and Whitevale, becoming the town of Pickering; the remainder became the town of AJAX.
The Pickering Museum Village, located in Greenwood, is a collection of 19th century buildings with costumed interpreters. Three conservation areas and Seaton Trail preserve some of the city's natural landscape.
Author DEBORAH WELCH and MICHAEL PAYNE
Links to Other Sites
Regional Municipality of Durham
The website for The Regional Municipality of Durham. Many local government links.
The City of Pickering website offers information about municipal affairs, community organizations, and cultural attractions.
Reminiscences of Early Days of Brougham
A brief account about some of the early settlers in the Village of Brougham, Ontario. From the website for the Pickering-Ajax Digital Archive.