Listowel, Ontario

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Unincorporated community
Main Street
Main Street
Listowel is located in Ontario
Location of Listowel in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°43′54″N 80°57′13″W / 43.73167°N 80.95361°W / 43.73167; -80.95361
Country Canada
Province Ontario
County Perth
Township North Perth
Settled 1857
Incorporated (village) 1867
Incorporated (town) 1875
 • Type Municipality of North Perth
Elevation 382 m (1,253 ft)
Population (2016 Census)
 • Total 7,530
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Forward sortation area N4W
Area code(s) 519

Listowel is an unincorporated community in Ontario, Canada, located in the municipality of North Perth. It was created in 1998 during the amalgamation of several other communities in the northern section of Perth County, and dissolved with the creation of North Perth. Its population was 7,530 at the Canada 2016 Census in a land area of 6.65 square kilometres; at the time there were 3,159 occupied dwellings.[1]


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 History timeline
  • 2 Culture
    • 2.1 Paddyfest
  • 3 Local teams
  • 4 Economy
  • 5 Notable people
  • 6 Media
  • 7 Related places
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


Settler John Binning arrived in 1852 and was the first to create a permanent residence in the area. Within four years a sawmill and a settlement called Mapleton developed. On June 1, 1856, the name was changed when the post office named Listowel was opened; the population was 200 and a taverns and a general store were already operating. The new name is based on Listowel, Ireland. The majority of early settlers were of Protestant Irish origin. By 1866, the population had increased to 800 and the settlement became an incorporated Village. The first Reeve (1867–72) was D. D. Hay. The arrival of the railway hastened development and it became a Town with a population of 2,054 in 1875 in what is now North Perth in Perth County, Ontario.[2][3]

On February 28, 1959, the Listowel Memorial Arena collapsed, burying a boys' hockey team playing a scrimmage game – the worst tragedy in the town's history. Seven young players, along with a referee and recreation director (Reginald Kenneth McLeod), were all killed in the tragic collapse.

On March 17, 2011, the local dollar store caught fire and its roof collapsed killing volunteer firefighters Ray Walter (30) and Ken Rea (56).[citation needed] Listowel mourned this tragic loss, closing major streets and posting black ribbons all over town in honour of the fallen firefighters. Paddyfest festivities continued to honour Kinsmen Ray Walter, but in a somber fashion. A community funeral service was held March 24, 2011 at the Listowel Memorial Arena, with a broadcast directly to Elma Community Center. Over 10,000 were expected to visit Listowel that day and Premier Dalton McGuinty joined emergency responders from all across the country to attend the funeral service. A minute of silence was held at the Ontario Legislature earlier in the week and flags were flown at half mast. Firefighters from London, Ontario and Kitchener, Ontario came to help staff the local fire stations so all North Perth firefighters could attend the service. This was the first time a double firefighter fatality in Ontario has happened since 1978. Ken and Ray will be remembered for their bravery and will be honoured in the community of North Perth forever.

The town currently has plans to build a new hockey arena, cemetery and school on the west side of town in the next few years.[citation needed] Westfield Elementary School, an amalgamation of Wallace Public School and Listowel Central School, accepted its first cohort of students in September 2016.[4] As well, a new hockey arena, the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex, is currently raising funds to begin construction. The project held a ground breaking ceremony on June 4, 2016.[5]

History timeline[edit]

  • 1871: Gravel roads extend in several directions, to Mitchell and to Stratford, for example, but are not adequate for moving products to distant markets. A by-law to provide financial aid to expanding a railroad is passed.
  • 1873: Construction of the Stratford & Huron railroad starts and the line will allow for shipping of goods in and out of town.
  • 1877: The first elementary school opens.
  • 1879: The first high school is opened.
  • 1880: A gas company was organized, and it supplies lighting to the residents
  • 1891: A factory to produce Morris pianos is built and employs 80 to 100 people within a few years; an old tanner is expanded and becomes Breithaupt Leather Company.
  • 1894: A manufacturer of agricultural implements opens and grows substantially over the next years.
  • 1897: The same company introduces electricity in Listowel.
  • 1900: The Listowel Furniture Company is opened.
  • 1902: The town is booming, and the population is 2,661. A woolen mill has opened and there is a planing mill, a flour mill and a brewery; a dairy products exporting company is doing a high volume of business.[6]


The region is home to many visual artists who are showcased annually as part of the region's Studio Tour. Theatre 311 is a venue for live theatre, drawing on local talent and actors from surrounding cities.[7] Listowel is also represented in the film industry by Dura Mater Productions,[8] an independent film company that has received recognition by film festivals throughout North America and Europe.[9]

The Bookery (now the Salvation Army Thrift Store) is located across from Veky's International Cuisine Restaurant. This Celtic-inspired book store stocks over 25,000 books and traditional Celtic, Irish and Scottish jewellery in silver. In addition, they provide gallery space for local artists to display their work.[10] Listowel has also raised its fair share of talented musicians from many genres, such as Thirteen O'Clock,[11] Krymera,[12] Brian Vollmer (lead singer of Helix),[13] Ian Laing,[14] The Bender singers,[15] and In the vein of classical music, the Grammy Award-winning baritone, Kevin McMillan,[16] is from Listowel.


Listowel has a large Irish festival, called Paddyfest, which is held over the two weeks surrounding St. Patrick's Day. The festival was first started in 1977 from an idea put forth by Dave Murtha to honour the large numbers of persons of Irish ancestry present in the Listowel area and is largely maintained by the Kinsmen and Kinette clubs of Listowel.

The official spokesperson for Paddyfest is chosen yearly in the Paddyfest Ambassador Competition. Contestants must perform a speech, impromptu question and interview with the judges and receive the overall highest score to be awarded this position. A separate award of Talent is given out to the contestant with the highest score in the talent competition. Runner-up and Congeniality are also awards which are available. The Paddyfest Ambassador Competition changed its name and official status from being Miss Paddyfest when first created.

Local teams[edit]

Listowel has a Jr. "B" hockey team from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (Mid-West Conference). They are called the Listowel Cyclones.


In 1871 the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway extended its line to Listowel. It was joined in 1873 by a second railway, the Stratford and Huron Railway, and Listowel soon became an important shipping point. The population doubled when industries, including a woollen mill, a sawmill, a planing mill and a tannery, were established. In 1891 the Morris, Field, Rogers Company Ltd began to manufacture Morris pianos in Listowel.[2]

The surrounding area is mostly agricultural land located on the Perth Plain, dominated by the beef and pork industries.

The Campbell Soup Company was a major local employer for 48 years, operating a frozen, foodservice and specialty food plant in Listowel. This relationship ended abruptly with the announcement of the factory's pending closure on April 28, 2008.[17] In 2010 the former Campbell Soup plant was purchased by Erie Meat Products and expected to ship 50-60 million pounds of poultry to world markets on an annual basis.[18]

Since 1996 the area around Listowel has attracted new industries,[19] including Listowel Technology, Inc. a manufacturer of injection-moulded automotive parts with a 240,000-square-foot facility employing 500. In 2012, EFS plastics constructed a 40,000 square foot plant in the North Perth Industrial Park. Other businesses in the park include Vision Manufacturing Solutions, Hutchison Precision Inc., Shredall and Energrow. HLA/Horst Welding was planning to complete a new 64,000 square foot metal fabrication facility in 2016.

In addition to Listowel Technology and the Memorial Hospital, other major employers, and the number of employees, include:[20]

  • Spinrite Inc. 375
  • Erie Meat Products Ltd. 250
  • Ideal Supply Company Ltd. 175
  • L.H. Gray & Sons 85
  • Benshaw Canada Controls 52
  • B.T.E. Assembly 50

Notable people[edit]

Knox Presbyterian church
Christ Church (Anglican)
  • George Hay, NHL Hall of Famer
  • Bert Johnson, MPP, Deputy Speaker, 1995–2003
  • Jared Keeso, Gemini Award winning actor[21]
  • Pegi Nicol MacLeod, artist
  • Andrew Edward McKeever, Major, Royal Flying Corps. Canadian Ace World War I with 31 victories
  • John Smale, President, CEO and Chairman of Procter & Gamble; Chairman of General Motors[22]
  • Chuck Tatham, television writer and producer[23]
  • Cyclone Taylor, NHL Hall of Famer
  • Brian Vollmer, Helix vocalist
  • Ann Voskamp, author,[24] winner of award of merit in Christianity Today's Books of the Year, 2012 [25]
  • Horatio Walker, popular artist in North America at the turn of the 20th century
  • Corey Conners, PGA pro golfer
  • Roland McKeown, AHL player for the Charlotte Checkers


  • The local newspaper is the Listowel Banner which publishes weekly.

Related places[edit]

  • Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Deborah Welch And Michael Payne. "Listowel". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Cook, Wayne (2013). "Historical Plaques of Perth County". Wayne Cook. Wayne Cook. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Johnston, William (2015). "History of Perth County 1825-1902 - Listowel, Ontario". Listowel Org Free. Listowel Org Free. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Theatre Three-Eleven Home-page of local theater
  8. ^ Dura Mater Productions
  9. ^ Archived July 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "The Bookery". Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Thirteen O''Clock". November 2, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ CA. "Krymera | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Official Site of Helix". Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ian Laing". April 14, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ "LPC – Calendar of Events". Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ Kevin McMillan
  17. ^ "Campbell's plant to close, throwing 400 out of work". Toronto Star. April 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Commercial Investment Prospectus - Listowel" (PDF). Municipality of North Perth. Municipality of North Perth. 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "Opportunities" (PDF). Perth County Economic Development. Perth County Economic Development. Winter 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "Opportunities" (PDF). Perth County Economic Development. Perth County Economic Development. Winter 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "John Smale obituary: Procter & Gamble CEO and G.M. chairman dies at 84". Los Angeles Times. November 22, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  23. ^ Chuck Tatham
  24. ^ "Hardcover Advice & Misc". The New York Times. February 19, 2012. 
  25. ^

External links[edit]

  • Paddyfest
  • Listowel, Ontario from its founding to 1902
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia: Listowel

Coordinates: 43°43′55″N 80°57′12″W / 43.73194°N 80.95333°W / 43.73194; -80.95333