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The People Who Made It Possible

Although the corporation was not formed until 1974, it was the foundation laid by our community members that helped to create the thriving and diverse area that we, today, call home.

Durham Region was originally home to a number of First Nations people, including (but not limited to) individuals from Iroquois and Ojibway. The Mississauga Nation is a branch of the Ojibway of the Three Fires Confederacy, who moved southward to the Sault Ste. Marie area around 1695 to take advantage of the fur trade. The Mississauga people settled into community groupings at the mouth of the Credit River, on the shores of Rice Lake, Mud Lake and Lake Scugog.

The first immigrants to this area, during the 1600s and 1700s, were French, followed by English explorers and settlers. These individuals created a demand for furs to export to France, England and other parts of Europe.

One of the buildings on campus at Durham College.

One of the buildings on campus at Durham College.


A couple shopping in downtown Port Perry, Ontario.

A couple shopping in downtown Port Perry, Ontario.

Moving into the 1800s

In the 1800s, early immigrants established mills and lumber operations; created local harbours; and began manufacturing farm equipment, construction goods, carriages and sleighs; and other goods for shipment to other parts of Canada, the United States and abroad.

During this time, the United Empire Loyalists–refugees from the United States' War of Independence–also helped to clear the land and establish farms and logging operations. Many place names within the Region reflect the origins of these early settlers.

One of the earliest families was the Baldwins of Clarke Township. An offspring, Robert Baldwin, became a premier of Upper Canada in the 1840s. He would later become father of the Baldwin Act of 1849, which established municipal government in Ontario.

A beautiful landscape of farms and horses in Uxbridge.

A beautiful landscape of farms and horses in Uxbridge.


A bale of hay in a farmer's field.

A bale of hay in a farmer's field.

What happened during the 1900s?

In the 1900s, immigrants (British, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian decent) continued to settle in this area, primarily taking jobs in factories, foundries and businesses that eventually became the commercial and business base of Durham Region.

As the era came to a close (late 1900s), immigration patterns began to change, with more individuals coming from the Middle East, East Asia, Asia and South America, in addition to the Caribbean and Central America.

Durham Region is home to many forests and tree-lined streets.

Durham Region is home to many forests and tree-lined streets.

Durham Region, today

Today, the population in Durham Region is becoming more culturally and ethnically diverse, as the population of immigrants and visible minorities continues to grow at a steady rate. In addition, it remains home to First Nations people, primarily the Mississauga Nation and a large Métis community.

This cultural makeup means diversity in faith organizations, places of worship, grocery stores, restaurants and organizations that support specific cultures. Increasing numbers of new immigrants settling in Durham Region will support even further growth of these (and other culturally relevant) organizations and services.

People choose Durham for different reasons. But, one thing is for sure: it is a wonderful place to raise a family.



The Lake Ontario shoreline.

The Lake Ontario shoreline.