Settlement of Tottenham

In the area that is now Tottenham, Ontario, the earliest known deed was granted to William Greer in 1822 for land that is now part of north eastern Tottenham. Although William Greer acquired the land in what was then known as Tecumseth, there is no record that he settled in the area or used the land for any purpose. Part of William Greer’s property was later acquired and used by Francis Shields until the 1880’s. The earliest known settlement was in 1823 by James Tegart and family when he acquired Lot 8, Concession 4. In the years that followed James Tegart’s clearing and farming of his land, the Tegart home became a place of worship for new settlers to the area. James Tegart eventually used part of his property to create what became the Tottenham cemetery. In 1832 John Totten and family (including his younger brother Alexander) moved from Toronto Township and settled on Lot 6, Concession 3. John Totten later retuned to Toronto Township and gave possession of his property in Tecumseth to Alexander.

The first general store was opened on Lot 6, Concession 3 in 1835 by Alexander Totten. In the years that followed, Alexander Totten’s store became a center point for the community that grew around it. When the first post office opened in 1858, it was suggested at a local meeting by Nicholas Eagan that the village be named Tottenham in honour of Alexander Totten for his contributions to the community. He also noted that Tottenham was a community in England.

In 1884 a census was taken by John Thomas Smyth for the incorporation of the Village of Tottenham. This 1884 census stated a population of 792 within the proposed limits for incorporation. Following the 1884 incorporation, George A. Nolan was elected as the first reeve of Tottenham in 1885.

Tottenham’s location, 40 kilometers North West of Toronto and within a prime agricultural area, made it an ideal location for growth. This ideal location resulted in both the Grand Trunk Railway and North Western Railway (later CN rail and CP rail) locating their lines and stations in Tottenham.

The fire of 1895

On June 18 1895, a fire started at McKinney’s Foundry in the south-western part of Tottenham at the corner of Queen Street and Albert Street. Despite fire fighting efforts and help from local communities, the fire spread and destroyed approximately 80 structures in the southern and western parts of Tottenham. Estimates in 1895 put the damage costs at $125,000. The only fortunate part was that no lives were lost in the blaze.


In 1991, Tottenham joined the communities of Alliston, Beeton and Tecumseth in formation of the Township of New Tecumseth.

Copyright © 2010 - 2024 Tottenham.ca. This is not an official site for Tottenham, Ontario.