The Bancroft Business Improvement Area welcomes you to our website.
We hope you will find this a helpful resource for finding information about the local business community of ward one, coming BBIA events, opportunities and business news.
Bancroft, Ontario is located equidistant from Toronto and Ottawa, in the heart of Ontario and on the doorstep of Algonquin Park. The York River meanders through the centre of our town.
The York River is in the Saint Lawrence River drainage basin and flows from the southern area of Algonquin Park, to the Madawaska River. The Madawaska flows from the Ottawa River into the Saint Lawrence. The Little Mississippi River is an outlet of Weslemkoon Lake that ends in the York River. The three rivers diverge at a provincially significant wetland known as Conroy Marsh. The region boasts the highest water-to-land ratio in the country.
Historically, this area is one of the most diverse. For thousands of years, the region was a hunting and harvesting area for Canada's First Nations Peoples and the complex waterways were primary trade conduits, used by the voyageurs. At one time, these rivers were used to transport logs to sawmills located downstream. There are vestiges of this abundant history throughout the area.
In 1853, the first pioneer family settled in the area around Bancroft, which was then known as York Mills. Many of the founding families were United Empire Loyalists, who were followed soon by a wave of Irish settlers, attracted to the area by the offer of free land grants. The town was later named York Branch and then York River in 1861, when its first post office was opened. Then, in 1879, Senator Billa Flint renamed the town after his mother-in-law's maiden name, "Bancroft".
By 1893, Bancroft's Bridge Street jeweller, E.L. Weiss, had gathered a collection of local precious and semi-precious stones and minerals that was the talk of both museums and universities. Around the turn of the century (1900) gold fever took grip in North Hastings and soon various mining operations had sprung up in townships all around the village. Iron, copper, graphite, sodalite, corundum, granite, mica and feldspar mines produced for years. In the 1950s, a number of uranium mines were in operation.
Bancroft's unique geology includes igneous and metamorphic rocks, contact zones, skarns and intrusions. It is one of the most celebrated destinations for mineral enthusiasts, around the globe. Some estimate that 90% of all types of minerals found on the earth can be found in Bancroft, making it a major destination for rockhounds, geologists and new-age healers.
They say that 1.2 billion years ago, you would have needed a boat or scuba gear to visit this area as it would have been underwater at that time. Then, there was a massive upheaval of land mass, that changed the landscape forever. At that time, the land crushed and folded creating the largest mountains to ever exist on planet earth. More massive than Everest or the Himalayas, they were known as the Grenville Mountains and they ranged from 7 to 10 kilometers high. Over the past billion years, the Grenville Mountains were eroded away by wind, rain, ice and glaciers that scoured back and forth across the continent, wearing the lofty peaks down to their roots and exposing a bounty of minerals and crystals.
While you might find some of these minerals in other places around the world, you would have to mine down several kilometers to locate them. In Bancroft, these treasures are very close to the surface. For this reason, Bancroft is known as the Mineral Capital of Canada.
We love Bancroft and you will too. There are plenty of things to see and do here. The community is home to many artists and artisans, writers, actors, musicians, dancers and singers. It is the perfect playground for boating, swimming, fishing, biking, atv-ing, mud-bogging, geo-caching, flying and so more. We celebrate a rich and vibrant cultural history from the aboriginal community, pioneers, timber men, miners and farmers.
There are chutes and parks and trails that are must-sees... and friendly people to welcome you. Bancroft is a wonderful place to live and visit or start a business of your own.
We invite you to explore our website, and to learn more about the BBIA, its mandate, our volunteer opportunities, and projects that are underway. Most importantly we invite you to visit Bancroft, the business and commercial hub of North Hastings.
Bookmark this page as your BBIA information hub. Enjoy!