The Town of St. Marys is located at the junction of the Thames River and Trout Creek, southwest of Stratford in southwestern Ontario. The first settlers arrived in the early 1840's, attracted by the area's natural resources. The Town is known by its nickname, "The Stonetown", due to the abundance of limestone in the surrounding area, giving rise to a large number of limestone buildings and homes throughout the town. In the riverbed and along the banks, limestone was close to the surface and could be quarried for building materials. Many 19th century limestone structures have survived including churches, a beautiful museum, stunning opera house, commercial blocks, and private homes. St. Marys was incorporated into the province of Ontario, officially, in 1863.
The arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway in the late 1850's spurred growth and soon St. Marys became a centre for milling, grain-trading and the manufacture of agriculture-related products. The railway connected the Town to the rest of the world and framed the local landscape with its two large trestle bridges on limestone pillars across the waterways.
A walk through the historic streets of St. Marys offers a first-hand look at the unique stunning limestone architecture and vibrant downtown core. The community's rich history is preserved and promoted by the St. Marys Museum & Archives who continue to tell the stories of the town through its exhibitions, special events and programs.
St. Marys is home to not only 7,000 residents, but the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and is the burial place of Arthur Meighen, Canada's 9th Prime Minister, Timothy Eaton who went on to become one of Canada's greatest retailers, who opened his first businesses in Canada in St. Marys and nearby Kirkton, Ontario.
The town's present identity is very much shaped by its relationship to the natural wonder of the land, the spirit of its residents, and unique limestone architecture.