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Media Release: Tillsonburg celebrates 150 years of incorporation

Posted on Wednesday March 02, 2022

The Town of Tillsonburg is celebrating 150 years of incorporation today with a special cake-cutting ceremony in the Tillsonburg Town Centre Mall beginning at 12:30 p.m.

“March 2nd is a momentous day for our community,” says Mayor Stephen Molnar. “It was 150 years ago today that a bill to incorporate the Town of Tillsonburg was given Royal Assent and passed into law, effectively putting in place a governance structure that continues to this day.”

 “A lot of people don’t realize that nearly 50 years passed between the time that George Tillson founded this community, and when Tillsonburg actually became an incorporated municipality,” says Patricia Phelps, Culture and Heritage Manager for the Town of Tillsonburg. “In a sense we have two birthdays—one in 1825 when George Tillson settled here, and another in 1872 when we took our first official step as a municipality.”

 Of course, March 2, 1872 is also the day an unfortunate spelling mistake was made.

“On the Act of Incorporation, Tillsonburg was erroneously spelled with only one L,” says Phelps. “People were a little upset about it, but since the pronunciation was the same, and it was expensive to change, the spelling stayed that way for a while – and by a while, I mean 30 years.”

It wasn’t until 1902, following the sudden death of E.D. Tillson (the town’s first mayor) that Council passed By-Law 0464 seeking a correction with the Province.

Phelps says a number of sesquicentennial events are being planned for the year, all leading up to a town-wide birthday party on July 1.

 “By that date, we’re hopeful that the COVID-19 situation will have eased to the point that a full-scale community celebration will be possible,” says Mayor Molnar. “I’m grateful to the Cultural and Heritage Committee and the Tillsonburg 150 subcommittee for their hard work in pulling that event together.”

 “We’re looking forward to a full day of family fun,” says subcommittee chair Christine Wade. “We’re still working out all the details, but there will be activities to include and celebrate the entire community, including a parade, events for children, live music, food and of course, fireworks.”

Tillsonburg celebrates 150 years of incorporation