Ancaster is a community and former municipality in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, located on the Niagara Escarpment. It was founded as a town in 1793 and was one of the oldest European communities established in present-day Ontario. It amalgamated with the city of Hamilton in 2001.
The Hamilton Golf and Country Club was founded in 1894 and was originally sited beside the Hamilton Jockey Club (now Centre Mall), moving to Ancaster in 1916. It hosted the Canadian Open in 2003, 2006 and again in 2012.
Ancaster's geography has had a very significant effect on human settlement patterns throughout its prehistory and in the present day. A highly influential geographical formation has been the Niagara Escarpment consisting primarily of limestone formed from ancient fossilized sea organisms that spans from present day New York State through Ontario to Illinois. The escarpment itself created the water power that encouraged early European settlers to gravitate to the area in the late 1700s. However, this energy source would not have been accessible if the escarpment were not navigable. This long-meandering landform generally proved to be an inhospitable transportation barrier for thousands of years for past indigenous cultures. However, a natural break in this escarpment in the precise area that would become Ancaster village had for millennia created an opportunity for people to traverse up and down the escarpment providing a relatively easy navigable land transportation gateway from the head of the lake to the surrounding land on the escarpment and vice versa.
Ancaster is the most westerly portion of the Golden Horseshoe conurbation of southern Ontario. It is generally considered to be an affluent bedroom community whose residents are typically professionals who work in downtown Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga or Toronto.
The former municipality had a population of 33,232 in the 2006 census, a considerable increase from the 2001 census figure of 27,485. Development in Olde Ancaster, the historic village core, has been tightly controlled. Its current population growth and building boom occurs mainly on the east side of Highway 403 in such typically suburban commercial developments as the Power Centre and residential developments such as the Meadowlands. It has resided in the 905 area code since the latter's creation, and its telephone exchange prefixes are 648 and 304, majority being 648.
Nature in Ancaster
The Hamilton Conservation Authority (sometimes in conjunction with the City of Hamilton) operates several sites in Ancaster. Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum showcases local history (including the area's participation in the Underground Railway), fine arts, gardens and walking paths.
The Bruce Trail snakes through Ancaster as it links Queenston with Tobermory. The walking path goes through part of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area and crosses the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail.
Annual Events in Ancaster
- Ancaster Community Food Drive (February)
- Paris To Ancaster Bicycle Race (April)
- Lobsterfest (May)
- Ancaster Heritage Days (June)
- Ancaster Old Mill Road Race (June)
- Festival of Friends (August)
- Ancaster Fair (September)
- Ancaster Christmas Tree Lighting (December)