The Town of Ingersoll was established in 1793 when Thomas Ingersoll arrived from Massachusetts. He had been granted 26,700 hectares of land (66,000 acres) by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, with the proviso that Ingersoll bring at least 40 other families with him to settle the district.
That first settlement, known as Oxford-on-the-Thames, was renamed Ingersoll in 1832. Over the ensuing decades, the village grew, becoming at one time a destination on the Underground Railroad. By the late 1860s, it had become known as the cradle of the cheese industry in Canada. Thanks to the economic benefits of cheese, Ingersoll attracted other industries like the large Noxon Company – a one-time leading manufacturer of farm implements in Canada – the James L. Grant Pork Packaging Plant – one of the largest slaughterhouses in the province – and numerous other businesses.
Over the years, Ingersoll has also been home to such notables as the world-famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, world champion hydroplane racers Harold and Lorna Wilson, author of the first Canadian encyclopedia J. Hopkins Castel, and the Chaucer of Cheese local poet James McIntyre.
In the days before Highway 401 was constructed, all traffic heading from Toronto to Windsor followed the route of Highway 2, which came straight through the heart of Ingersoll. In the 1930s, the mayor reached a creative solution to the apparent problem of people driving through town but not necessarily stopping there. His solution was to install traffic lights at the main intersection. As they waited for the light to change, motorists took note of the hotels, the cafés, the shops and gas stations all around them.
We invite you to come see Ingersoll with a new vision in 2020. Get out of the car and walk our streets, see our sites, check out the local shops, restaurants and artisanal bakeries.