Exeter, Ontario

Last updated

Exeter, Ontario
Exeter, Ontario pictures.jpg
Top left: Exeter's town hall constructed in 1887, Right: Exeter's water tower, Bottom left: An Exeter, Ontario White Squirrel
"Home of the White Squirrel"
Canada Ontario location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Exeter, Ontario on a map of Ontario
Coordinates: 43°21′N81°29′W / 43.350°N 81.483°W / 43.350; -81.483
Country Canada
Province Ontario
County Huron
  Total4.39 km2 (1.69 sq mi)
 (2016) [1]
Demonym Exonian
Time zone EST
Postal Code
N0M 1S0 & N0M 3S0
Area code(s) 519, 226
Website www.southhuron.ca

Exeter is a community in the municipality of South Huron, in the southern portion of Huron County, Ontario, Canada, located approximately 40 kilometres north of London. The community proclaims itself the "Home of the White Squirrel", owing to the presence of the unusually-coloured mammals. Exeter's mascot, "Willis The White Wonder", can be seen at many community events throughout the year, including Canada Day celebrations, the Exeter Rodeo, and the Santa Claus Parade.



Exeter was first founded in the winter of 1832 by the Irish settlers James and Jane Willis accompanied by the explorer Sir Michael Jacques. By 1853, Exeter had grown into a community of over 300 with the help of Isaac Carling bringing immigrants from the Exeter and Devon areas of England. The original Carling homestead, a designated historical landmark still stands on Huron St.W. It was on July 1, 1873, when the settlements north and south of the Ausable River (Francistown and Exeter respectively) merged to form the Village of Exeter.

The first written reference to Exeter was by Rev. William Proudfoot who passed through the area in 1833. He described the area as having "excellent soil" with the trees "being chiefly maple, elm, oak, ironwood and black ash". When he passed through the area through London Road, which was barely a trail, there were only two dwellings in what is now Exeter. They were the homes of James Willis and William McConnell. Proudfoot spent the night in McConnell's home which also served as a tavern for the area. [2]

Railway service arrived in Exeter in the 1870s. This was in the form of the London, Huron and Bruce Railway. Incorporated in 1871, it was leased to the Great Western Railway in 1873, which also provided financial guarantees for its construction costs. Completed in 1876, it was built northward from a junction near London, crossing the original Grand Trunk Railway mainline (later the CN Forest Subdivision) at Lucan Crossing, the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway (later the CN Goderich Subdivision) at Clinton Junction, and terminating at Wingham Junction with the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway. It passed through Exeter on its way from Lucan Crossing to Clinton Junction. [3]

A rail yard existed in Exeter by 1949, as well as a spur line serving the Exeter Produce and Storage Company. By this time, the railway had come under the management of the Grand Trunk conglomerate and, later, the Canadian National Railways (CN). The line was later sold to the Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR) in 1991. [3]

Exeter eventually became a town of over 4,700 people. Paintings of some of Exeter's historical citizens, by the late artist Harry Burke, may be seen at the Exeter Legion Hall.

Exeter was damaged by an F2 tornado on December 12, 1946.


Sir Wilfrid Laurier speaking from the platform of a railway observation car in Exeter during the federal election campaign, November 1904. Sir Wilfrid Laurier speaking from the platform of a railway observation car during the federal election campaign.jpg
Sir Wilfrid Laurier speaking from the platform of a railway observation car in Exeter during the federal election campaign, November 1904.

Exeter is located on the north-south Highway 4. At the north end of the community, Highway 4 intersects with County Road 83. This intersection of Highway 4 and County Road 83 is the busiest intersection in Huron County.

Freight train service is provided by the Goderich-Exeter Railway, connecting to Canadian National Railway service at London, Stratford and Toronto. The line running through Exeter is most commonly used by the Hensall District Co-Operative.

The closest local airfield is at Centralia/James T. Field Memorial Aerodrome, south of Exeter in Huron Park. Closest major international airport is London International Airport.

Exeter is served by scheduled bus service to Owen Sound and London. [4]


Exeter is home to many community organizations including:



Notable people



Public education in Exeter is managed by the Avon Maitland District School Board, which has Exeter Elementary School and South Huron District High School in the town, on adjoining properties. Catholic education is under the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board, which manages Precious Blood Catholic Elementary School in Exeter. There is no Catholic secondary school in the town; students have to travel to Clinton or Stratford.

Health & Wellness Facilities

South Huron Recreation Centre South Huron Recreation Centre (NW View) - Exeter, ON.jpg
South Huron Recreation Centre

Health and wellness facilities in the Exeter area include the South Huron Hospital, South Huron Medical Centre/Walk-In Clinic, and the Grand Bend and Area Community Health Centre. Jessica's House is a residential hospice that offers care close to home. Community Psychiatric Services and CMHA Middlesex offer mental health support services. The Exeter Villa and One Care Home & Community Support Services offers help seniors in all capacities.

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wingham, Ontario</span> Community in Ontario, Canada

Wingham is a community located in the municipality of North Huron, Ontario, Canada, which is located in Huron County. Wingham became part of North Huron in 2001 when the Ontario government imposed amalgamation on the former township of East Wawanosh, the village of Blyth, and the town of Wingham.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huron County, Ontario</span> County in Ontario, Canada

Huron County is a county of the province of Ontario, Canada. It is located on the southeast shore of its namesake, Lake Huron, in the southwest part of the province. The county seat is Goderich, also the county's largest community.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grand Bend</span> Place in Ontario, Canada

Grand Bend is a community located on the shores of Lake Huron in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is part of the Municipality of Lambton Shores in Lambton County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ausable River (Lake Huron)</span> River in Ontario, Canada

The Ausable River is a river in southwestern Ontario Canada which empties into Lake Huron at Port Franks, Ontario. The Ausable's initial source is in a moraine near the community of Staffa, Ontario located in the municipality of West Perth, Ontario at a point 334 metres (1,096 ft) above sea level. Although the river has a total measured length of over 240 kilometres (150 mi), because of its meandering course, the mouth in actuality is only 64 kilometres (40 mi) from its source near Staffa. The Ausable drains 1,142 square kilometers (441 sq mi) of land, and falls 158 metres (518 ft) in elevation from source to outlet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bayfield River</span> River in Ontario, Canada

The Bayfield River is a river in Huron and Perth Counties in southwestern Ontario, Canada, that empties into Lake Huron at the community of Bayfield in the municipality of Bluewater.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goderich, Ontario</span> Town in Ontario, Canada

Goderich is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario and is the county seat of Huron County. The town was founded by John Galt and William "Tiger" Dunlop of the Canada Company in 1827. First laid out in 1828, the town is named after Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich, who was prime minister of the United Kingdom at the time. It was incorporated as a town in 1850.

Huron South was a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that was represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1867 to 1935. It was created by the British North America Act of 1867 which divided the County of Huron into two ridings: Huron North and Huron South.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goderich–Exeter Railway</span>

The Goderich–Exeter Railway is a short line freight railway that operates around 70 miles (110 km) of track in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Created in 1992, it was the first short line railway in Canada to be purchased from a class I railway, in this case Canadian National Railway (CN). It took over operation of further CN trackage in 1998. As of 2004, the railway had 44 employees. Its headquarters are in Stratford, Ontario, and owned by short-line railroad holding company Genesee & Wyoming.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles MacNaughton</span> Canadian politician

Charles Steel MacNaughton was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1958 to 1973 who represented the central Ontario riding of Huron. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments of John Robarts and Bill Davis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lambton Shores</span> Municipality in Ontario, Canada

Lambton Shores is a municipality in Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, that is on the southern shores of Lake Huron.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bluewater, Ontario</span> Municipality in Ontario, Canada

Bluewater is a municipality located in Huron County, Ontario, which is part of Southwestern Ontario, Ontario, Canada. As of 2016, the municipality has a population of 7,136.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Port Franks, Ontario</span> Place in Ontario, Canada

Port Franks is a small Southern Ontario community in the municipality of Lambton Shores, Lambton County in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is located along Kings Highway 21 near Pinery Provincial Park, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of Thedford, Ontario. Archaeological evidence suggests that human habitation and use of this site date back thousands of years, and that locally obtained flint was manufactured at the so-called 'flint chipping beds' in the vicinity long before the period of European contact with First Nations peoples in the Great Lakes Basin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bayfield, Ontario</span> Place in Ontario, Canada

Bayfield is a community in the municipality of Bluewater, Huron County in southwestern Ontario, Canada with a 2016 population of 1,112. Bluewater Municipality includes Bayfield, Bruce field, Dashwood, Hensall, Varna, and Zurich This municipality is made up of 92.8% English speaking people, 6.3% of other language speaking people and 0.9% of French speaking people as of 2016. In addition to this the majority of Bayfield's population is made up of Canadians, creating 88.2% of the population in the year 2016. It is on the eastern shore of Lake Huron at the mouth of Bayfield River. Bayfield is a popular tourist destination. Visitors enjoy the historic Main Street with its many well-preserved old buildings, including the Little Inn which has served travelers since the 1800s, initially as a stagecoach stop. Main Street is lined with boutique shops, art galleries and fine dining restaurants. The nearby marina and public beaches draw crowds in the summer months.

Sodom, Ontario, was a small Canadian logging industry-based community that existed in the last quarter of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. It was located on the boundary between the present day municipalities of South Huron and Bluewater, Ontario, Canada, on Dashwood Road approximately 500 meters west of the present-day intersection of Dashwood Road and Ausable Line, at the point at which Dashwood Road bridges the Ausable River. The original site of the community is now occupied by South Huron and Bluewater.

Hay Swamp is a provincially significant wetland complex, 1839 hectares in size, located in parts of the central land areas of the municipalities of Bluewater and South Huron, in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Approximately 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) in length and 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) in width, at its widest point; it consists of 15 extensively forested individual wetlands, situated on either side, of sections of both the upper drainage of the Ausable River and its tributary, Black Creek.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huron Tract</span> Area of land in Ontario, Canada

The Huron Tract Purchase also known as the Huron Block, registered as Crown Treaty Number 29, is a large area of land in southwestern Ontario bordering on Lake Huron to the west and Lake Erie to the east. The area spans the counties of Huron, Perth, Middlesex and present day Lambton County, Ontario in the province of Ontario.

The Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance is a weekly local newspaper, published in the town of Exeter, Ontario. It serves the counties of Huron, Middlesex, and Lambton. It was established in 1873 as the Exeter Times-Advocate.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is a local conservation agency named in the Ontario Conservation Authorities Act. Located in Southern Ontario, the agency focuses on the conservation of the drainage basins of the Ausable River, Bayfield River, Parkhill Creek, and Gullies watersheds. The headquarters is located in Exeter, Ontario.

The London, Huron and Bruce Railway (LH&BR) was a short line railway in Ontario, Canada. It started in London, Ontario, running northward for 70 miles (110 km) to the small town of Wingham. It originally planned to continue north to Southampton or Kincardine, but instead joined the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway (WG&BR) at Wingham. The route was primarily used for farm shipments, and was nicknamed the "Butter and Egg Special", while passengers complaining about the rough ride constructed the backronym "Let 'er Hit and Bounce".

The Middlesex and Huron Regiment was an infantry regiment of the Non-Permanent Active Militia of the Canadian Militia. It was formed in 1936, as a result of the Amalgamation of The Middlesex Light Infantry and The Huron Regiment. In 1946, the regiment was disbanded.


  1. "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Exeter, Ontario". Statistics Canada . Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  2. Wooden, Joseph L. (1973). A History of Exeter, Ontario. Exeter, Ontario: Exeter Times Advocate. p. 2.
  3. 1 2 "C.N.Rys. Exeter Subdivision". CNR-in-Ontario.com. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  4. "Owen Sound-London Schedule". Aboutown Northlink. Archived from the original on 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  5. Nixon, Scott (2017-05-10). "Cultural Collective plans weekly events at MacNaughton Park". SouthWesternOntario.ca. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  6. "New Exeter BIA manager settles into job". SouthWesternOntario.ca. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  7. "Experience Exeter - About the Exeter BIA". Experience Exeter. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  8. "Exeter Lions Club". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  9. February 1, William Proulx Published on; February 1, 2019 | Last Updated; Est, 2019 2:19 Pm (2019-02-01). "Bach Music Festival rebranded to Huron Waves Music Festival". Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  10. "South Huron Hospital unveils five-year plan". SouthWesternOntario.ca. 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  11. "Welcome to South Huron Hospital Foundation | Huron County, Ontario". South Huron Hospital Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  12. "Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority". Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  13. "Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance". Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  14. "About the Examiner" . Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  15. "90.5 Exeter Today". 90.5 Exeter Today. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  16. "Information on Charles Trick Currelly" . Retrieved 2007-10-08.
  17. Teotonio, Isabel; Hauch, Valerie (February 17, 2013). "Canadian investment banker and visionary John MacNaughton dies at 67". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. "Exeter native John A. MacNaughton remembered". SouthWesternOntario.ca. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  19. "Pickard, Allan — Biography — Honoured Builder". Legends of Hockey. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  20. "1982 NHL Entry Draft -- David Shaw". www.hockeydraftcentral.com. Retrieved 2023-05-25.
43°21′N81°29′W / 43.350°N 81.483°W / 43.350; -81.483