Tillsonburg 150

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150th anniversary mark

Tillsonburg is having a birthday!

March 2, 2022 is the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Tillsonburg. Throughout the year, a number of special events will be held to celebrate this milestone in our community's history. 

Tillsonburg 150 Events

Tillsonburg 1872: The Story of Incorporation - March to August 28

A special exhibit in the Pratt Gallery at Annandale NHS celebrating Tillsonburg's road from hamlet on the Otter, to incorporated municipality.

Lunch and Learn Series: Celebrating 150 Years of Incorporation - March to June

Join the staff at Annandale NHS for a series of lunch and learn sessions focused on Tillsonburg's journey to incorporation. Attend one or all four!

Learn more

NEW! Time Capsule Project: Postcard to the Future - May to June

We're looking for items to include in a stainless steel time capsule that will be opened in the year 2047. Tell us what you have and why it should be included. 

Learn more

Community Birthday Party - July 1

A full day of family-oriented activities at various venues in Tillsonburg. Watch for more details coming soon!

Interested in volunteering? Contact clerks@tillsonburg.ca to find out more.

Oxford County Archives Online Exhibit 

Oxford County Archives is travelling back in time, virtually, to “visit” some of Tillsonburg’s notable businesses and industries around the time of the town’s incorporation in 1872.

In celebration of Tillsonburg’s 150th anniversary this year, the Archives has added a new virtual exhibit to its website, called “Tillsonburg 150: Celebrating Business & Industry.”

From brewers to undertakers, mill empires to dressmakers, Tillsonburg had it all in the mid to late-1800s. The virtual exhibit uncovers the stories behind the businesses that shaped Tillsonburg and the men and women who owned them. The exhibit also includes a unique feature on the Tillson family, some of the town’s most influential residents. They lived in what we know today as the Annandale National Historic Site & Museum.

Exhibit viewers will also get to look at various historical photographs and documents from the Archives’ and the Annandale National Historic Site & Museum’s collections.

View exhibit




Key Dates in Tillsonburg's Journey to Incorporation

January 18, 1872 – Public meeting held to decide whether to incorporate as a Town or Village

February 23, 1872 – Third reading of the bill to incorporate the Town of Tillsonburg passed at the Legislature of the Province of Ontario at Toronto. The bill is introduced by South Oxford MPP Adam Oliver

March 2, 1872 – Royal Assent is given to the Incorporated Town of Tilsonburg. Note the spelling! Due to a clerical error, only one “L” was put in Tillsonburg.  It would stay this way until the passing of E.D. Tillson in 1902. Following his death, citizens petitioned Council to have the error corrected.

March 15, 1872 – The public nomination meeting for Tillsonburg’s first Mayor and Council is held.  At the meeting only one person was nominated for each position -- so the entire first Council, including the Mayor was acclaimed (i.e. no election was held)

March 22, 1872 – The first Council meeting was held at noon in the Sons of Temperance Hall.


Learn more

Video - Historical Places and Names in Tillsonburg

Video - History of the Town Hall