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Athens, Ontario

Coordinates: 44°37.5′N 75°57′W / 44.6250°N 75.950°W / 44.6250; -75.950
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Township of Athens
Athens Main Street
Athens Main Street
Athens is located in United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
Athens is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 44°37.5′N 75°57′W / 44.6250°N 75.950°W / 44.6250; -75.950
Country Canada
Province Ontario
CountyLeeds and Grenville
IncorporatedJanuary 1, 1998
 • MayorHerb Scott
 • Federal ridingLeeds–Grenville
 • Prov. ridingLeeds–Grenville
 • Land127.88 km2 (49.37 sq mi)
 • Total3,013
 • Density23.6/km2 (61/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal Code
Area code613 / 343

Athens (2016 Population 3,013)[1] is a township in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It is located approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of the St. Lawrence River, near Brockville, west of Addison, and about 90 kilometres (56 mi) south west of Ottawa. Formerly, it was a part of Yonge township before becoming Rear of Yonge and Escott with Athens as its own census division and finally, Athens township. The township consists of the town of Athens and a few other small communities.

Formerly known as Farmersville, Benoni Wiltse, a United Empire Loyalist, and his brothers settled in the town of Athens in 1792. Farmersville was renamed to Athens in 1888 by Arza Parish in honour of Athens, Greece, because it was an educational centre with grammar school, a model school for teacher training, and a high school. Athens' post office was named in 1890.[2] Currently, the town of Athens is known for a series of large outdoor murals depicting historical local life, painted on the sides of various buildings.

Each year, a summer fair is held, called "Cornfest". This fair celebrates the harvest of corn and is held on the 3rd Saturday of August annually. Another celebration that is held each year is called the "Farmersville Exhibition", and is also known as "Steam Fair." This fair celebrates the agricultural heritage of the town, and includes steam engines and antique tractors. This takes place in July.

Athens has its own high school Athens District High School, which is under the Upper Canada District School Board, as well as a live entertainment venue Joshua Bates Centre which features a series of live musical performances each year.


Aside from Athens, the township consists of the communities of: Anoma Lea, Beales Mills, Charleston, Glen Elbe, Glen Morris, Hayes Corners, Wiltsetown. The township administrative offices are located in Athens.

Beales Mills[edit]

Beales Mills, Ontario is a small settlement located southwest of the town of Athens, close to Charleston.[3] The community was settled around the mid-19th century by a Benjamin Beale for whom the settlement was named. Beale established a sawmill, gristmill, and a flour mill along the creek located through the settlement, now known as Beales Creek, as well as a shingle manufacturing business.[4]

The community relied on the nearby hamlet of Charleston for most of its needs, such as a post office, however Charleston relied on Beales Mills to supply water power to most of its businesses.[4] Eventually, around the 1900s, the settlement began to decline as the mills closed. Presently, the site of Beales Mills consists of a few residential buildings most of which are modern. The ruins of a stone mill and dam can still be seen today. The settlement is largely considered a ghost town.[4]


The township of Athens is home to several old burying grounds or cemeteries. Some of these cemeteries include: Barber Cemetery, an unregistered cemetery in Charleston called Charleston Village Cemetery, Temperance Lake Cemetery, Kincaid's Corners Cemetery, Holmes Cemetery, Lake Eloida Cemetery and an abandoned and unnamed pioneer cemetery.[5][6] In the settlement of Wiltsetown, there is a cemetery called Wiltse Pioneer Cemetery that was established around 1795.[7] Wiltse Pioneer Cemetery holds close to 300 interments, most of which are unmarked or marked by field stones instead of engraved tombstones.

In the town of Athens, there is a Roman Catholic cemetery called St. Denis Roman Catholic Cemetery, as well as a non-denominational community cemetery.[5] The community of Glen Elbe has its own cemetery which is no longer is use, but maintained by its own board. This cemetery dates to around 1840.[5]

East of Athens there is a Quaker cemetery simply called Quaker Cemetery which was established in the 1830s; this cemetery is no longer in use but is maintained by the township.[8] Most of the stones here are badly deteriorated with only two being legible.

East of Athens along Highway 42 is a mass gravesite associated with the House of Industry as it operated from 1895 until 1946 housing the sick, elderly or poor. The gravesite is currently marked by a large stone simply reading "Pioneers of Leeds & Grenville 1895 – 1946".[9] The original plans for the burial site included space for over 480 individuals in specific areas of the site, however, it is unclear if these plans were ever followed.[9] Over one hundred graves are located here, of those who lived at the House of Industry between the aforementioned years and whose bodies remained unclaimed after death. For many years it was unclear where the graves were precisely located, as absolutely no records were kept and no grave markers were placed at the time.[9] The mass grave became abandoned in 1946 when the House of Industry came under new management, who deemed the burial practices being used as undignified. A plot was then reserved in Glen Elbe cemetery for the unclaimed dead. In recent years, the long-neglected cemetery has been cleaned up and a fence was built around the stone memorial. A cooperative effort between local genealogical societies has recently discovered the approximate boundaries of the burial plot by dowsing for grave sites.[9]

Notable person[edit]


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Athens had a population of 3,042 living in 1,214 of its 1,325 total private dwellings, a change of 0.8% from its 2016 population of 3,018. With a land area of 129.54 km2 (50.02 sq mi), it had a population density of 23.5/km2 (60.8/sq mi) in 2021.[10]

Canada census – Athens community profile
Population3,042 (+0.8% from 2016)3,013 (-3.4% from 2011)3,118 (1.0% from 2006)
Land area129.54 km2 (50.02 sq mi)127.88 km2 (49.37 sq mi)127.77 km2 (49.33 sq mi)
Population density23.5/km2 (61/sq mi)23.6/km2 (61/sq mi)24.4/km2 (63/sq mi)
Median age50.8 (M: 50.8, F: 50.8)47.4 (M: 47.3, F: 47.4)44.1 (M: 43.9, F: 44.4)
Private dwellings1,325 (total)  1,214 (occupied)1,336 (total)  1,268 (total) 
Median household income$85,000$71,936$63,754
References: 2021[11] 2016[12] 2011[13] earlier[14][15]

Population trend:[16]

  • Population in 2016: 3,013 (-3.4% from 2011)[1]
  • Population in 2011: 3,118 (+1.0% from 2006)[17]
  • Population in 2006: 3,086 (+1.1% from 2001)
  • Population in 2001: 3,053
  • Population in 1996:
    • Athens (village): 997
    • Rear of Yonge and Escott (township): 2,043
  • Population in 1991:
    • Athens (village): 961
    • Rear of Yonge and Escott (township): 1,868

Mother tongue:[17]

  • English as first language: 95.2%
  • French as first language: 1.6%
  • English and French as first language: 0.2%
  • Other as first language: 3.0%


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Census Profile, 2016 Census Athens, Township". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Names. Toronto: Macmillan. p. 134. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  3. ^ "Beales Mills, Ontario - location". Google Maps. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Beales Mills History". Ontario Ghost Towns. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Search results: Cemeteries in Leeds County". CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Ontario Genealogical Society Cemetery Transcriptions: Leeds County". Ontario Ministry of Government Services. Archived from the original on June 9, 2013.
  7. ^ "Wiltse Pioneer Cemetery - Wiltsetown, Ontario Canada". Waymarking.com. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "Abandoned (Quaker) Cemetery, Leeds County, ON". CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Cheek, Darcy (January 15, 2013). "Project marks lost cemetery". Brockville Recorder & Times. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  11. ^ "2021 Community Profiles". 2021 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 4, 2022. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  12. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 12, 2021.
  13. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 18, 2021.
  16. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  17. ^ a b "Canada 2011 Census -Athens community profile". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2019.

External links[edit]