Ancaster is a picturesque community perched on the Niagara Escarpment. A break in the Escarpment attracted European settlement during the 18th century because it allowed ease of travel from Lake Ontario to the lands above. The availability of streams and waterfalls powered mills and facilitated industrial growth.
By 1793, the Town of Ancaster was founded. Within a few decades, it became Upper Canada’s largest commercial and industrial centre. That progress was short-lived. Advancements in rail and water transportation benefitted neighbouring towns closer to the lake and as a result Ancaster lost its relative economic prominence. Small-town charm, beautiful surroundings, and upscale neighbourhoods have attracted people here since 1792. Today the historic and picturesque village core remains among its primary points of interest, along with outstanding recreation, shopping, entertainment and dining options.
In 2001, Ancaster amalgamated with the City of Hamilton. Population growth is currently around 35,000 people. Commercial developments include the Power Centre on Meadowlands and the Walmart shopping plaza on Wilson Avenue. Points of interest include the Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum, recreational walking trails, and a variety of restaurants, pubs and shops. Running through Ancaster is a portion of the Bruce Trail which connects Queenston to Tobermory.
Typical residents of Ancaster today are urban professionals who commute to employment in downtown Burlington, Hamilton, Oakville, Mississauga or Toronto. Local events include the Paris to Ancaster Bicycle Race – April, Lobsterfest – May, Ancaster Heritage Day – June, Ancaster Old Mill Race – June, Festival of Friends – August, and the Ancaster Fair – September.