Welcome to Dundas!
Dundas is a community tucked beneath the Niagara Escarpment in Southern Ontario, Canada. It became incorporated as a town on July 28, 1847, and remained a distinct municipality until its amalgamation with the City of Hamilton on January 1, 2001. The Community of Dundas today, with its picturesque downtown, heritage homes, and tree-lined streets has become the arts and cultural heart of the area.
Discover Your Historical Dundas is a project by the Dundas Museum & Archives and supported by the City of Hamilton. Here, the history of Dundas, Ontario is told through stories of people and the built heritage of the town including homes, businesses, industries and manufacturing, churches, and public spaces. Explore the map to learn more.
Dundas, Ontario History: Did you know?
John Graves Simcoe arrived in Upper Canada as its first Lieutenant Governor in 1792. With the possibility of attack by the United States being of great concern, Simcoe ordered a military road be built from Cootes Paradise (today’s Dundas) to Oxford (Woodstock), ensuring the transport of troops and supplies by land. He named it ‘Dundas Street’ for Sir Henry Dundas, Secretary for Home Affairs in Britain. There is no record that Sir Henry ever set foot in Canada. Today, within Dundas limits, the road is named both Dundas Street and Governor’s Road.
The Naming of Dundas
In 1801 the wealthy Englishman Richard Hatt moved to the area from Ancaster and began constructing a large milling complex at the conjunction of Dundas Street and Spencer Creek. He named his operation the ‘Dundas Mills’ after the street on which they were located. Hatt was interested in attracting settlers to the valley to work in his various mills and workshops, and so opened a post office in his mill so that locals could correspond with the outside world. Mail coming to this office was first addressed to the ‘Dundas Mills’, and eventually just ‘Dundas’. By the end of the War of 1812, the name had stuck, and the various settlers who came to the area after writing to their friends and family knew it only as ‘Dundas’. Learn more.