The Best Guide To Living In St. Thomas Ontario


Located in Southern Ontario just north of Lake Erie, St. Thomas is a vibrant city that is home to just over 40,000 residents.

Widely known as the “Railway Capital of Canada”, St. Thomas was founded in 1881 and was the location of several important railways in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since its inception, 26 railways have passed through the area since the first one was completed in 1856.

The railway also played a big role in arguably St. Thomas’s most infamous event ever - the tragic death of Jumbo the Elephant in a locomotive crash in 1885.

Jumbo The Elephant St. Thomas Ontario

Following the gradual decline of the railway industry, much of the economic success of St. Thomas was centered around the rapidly expanding automobile industry.

Today, the city continues to grow and evolve as many new companies and industries have flocked to Elgin County.

Located just over two hours away from downtown Toronto, there are countless activities and attractions for both tourists and residents to enjoy. The city has managed to maintain plenty of coziness and charm while also providing countless amenities usually found in larger urban areas - entertainment, arts, shopping, hiking, food - the list goes on and on.

It also has a recently upgraded Hospital that now includes new emergency care facilities, surgical and operating room facilities, and mental health facilities.

Named by MoneySense Magazine as one of the “Best Places To Live In Canada” in 2018, the current median combined income of the average St. Thomas household is just over $70,000 per year.

Current property tax rates for the residential area sit at 1.5332%.

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St. Thomas also has easy access to many major transportation routes in the area, including the 401.

The city itself is also located in relatively close proximity to 5 US-Canada border crossings including two that are less than 200 KM away. With an average summer temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius and an average winter temperature of 2 degrees Celsius,

St. Thomas is considered part of the Carolinian Zone - ideal for long growing seasons and a big part of the reason why it is home to more flora and fauna than anywhere else in Canada.

The following blog is a great guide that highlights some of the best attractions, landmarks, and events that St. Thomas has to offer.

It outlines a wide range of different activities and should have something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are planning your next night out, organizing a day trip with a friend, or just trying to get some great ideas for ways to spend quality time with the people you love in a great atmosphere, this guide is for you.

With our help, you can learn the ins and outs of St. Thomas while also figuring out how to get the most out of living in such a vibrant and fun city.

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Cultural Activities

St. Thomas offers residents a ton of great local cultural activities including art galleries, museums, and live theatre.

One of the biggest draws is the Elgin Military Museum, which is located on the west side of the city.

The museum is home to stories and artifacts from many major wars ranging from 1812 to modern day Afghanistan.

Another heavily trafficked museum Elgin County Railway Museum - it features a ton of interesting displays that honour the rich history of the railroad in the greater St. Thomas area.

St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre

There is also a fantastic art gallery located in St. Thomas - it is one of the highest ranked city attractions on both Google and TripAdvisor.

The St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre (STEPAC) features a wonderful blend of art and local culture.

The Centre contains various exhibitions, showcases, and runs educational tours daily. It gives local artists a place to showcase their work and for members of the general public to take a wide variety of various art classes and workshops - including painting, drawing, and history.

STEPAC also offers a wide variety of summer camps that kids love.

Finally, St. Thomas is also home to the Elgin Theatre Guild, which is located on historic Princess Avenue. The Guild puts on many popular events in the community including live theatre and various concerts.

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Recreational Facilities

St. Thomas has an abundance of riches when it comes to indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. Many of the outdoor facilities are open year round, including Pinafore Park, Waterworks Park, and the TransCanada Hiking Trail.

Pinafore Park is perhaps the most well known and features 90 sprawling acres of jaw-dropping natural beauty.

It provides easy access to everything that a nature-lover could want: spacious gardens, walking trails, a bird aviary, a wildlife sanctuary, and a picnic area.

It also has plenty to offer families as well, since the park also has a playground, several concessions, a bandshell, and even a splash park.

Waterworks Park also has an impressive splash park, along with many other amenities including lush gardens and cross-country ski trails. There is certainly no shortage of indoor facilities either.

The Joe Thornton Community Centre contains twin ice rinks, an indoor walking/running track, and a multi-purpose gymnasium.

The local YMCA just received an impressive $2 million dollar upgrade and offers members access to a fully-renovated gymnasium and impressive pool area.

St. Thomas is also home to many critically-acclaimed 18 hole golf courses. There are a wide variety of public and private options available depending on personal preferences and budget.

Some excellent private courses include the St. Thomas Golf & Country Club, which offers a world-class playing AND social experience, Redtail Golf Club, and Kettle Creek Golf & Country Club.

The public courses in the St. Thomas region are great as well, especially Iron Creek Country Club, The Bluffs Golf Club, and Belmont Golf Club.

St. Thomas also has something to offer for dog lovers, as the city operates two separate off-leash areas for canines and their companions. The Lions Club Dog Park is located just off of Main Street while the Kettle Creek Dog Park - which opened in 2014 - is located just north of town.

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There are many wonderful schools located in the greater St. Thomas / Elgin County area.

Public options within the city limits include Arthur Voaden Secondary School, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, and Parkside Collegiate Institute. St. Joseph’s High School is the Catholic High School.

St. Thomas Community Christian School and Faith Christian Academy are independent Christian Elementary Schools that offer classes to students from K-6.

Algoma University, which was founded in 1965 and is based out of Sault Ste. Marie, also has a campus located in St. Thomas.

Attractions and Annual Events

One of the most recognizable landmarks in all of St. Thomas is the 38-ton monument featuring Jumbo the Elephant.

Originally built in 1985, this lifesize replica of the “King Of The Elephants” was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Apart from the statue and an old railway car, there is also a massive plaque that retells the entire story of that fateful night in September over 125 years ago.

Railway City Brewing Co. is another one of the top attractions in the greater St. Thomas area. It’s facilities are open seven days a week - the company runs fun, informative tours of their brewery and provides guests with samples and insights into their brewing process for a wide variety of different beers.

St. Thomas is also home to a wide variety of spectacular annual events.

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Although the dates often fluctuate from year to year, mainstays in the local community include the Arts Crawl, Canada Day Fireworks, Light The Night, Great Lakes International Airshow, Iron Horse Festival, Santa Claus Parade, and much, much more.

The Iron Horse Festival is especially noteworthy, as it brings residents together each August to celebrate the rich history of the railway industry in the area.

The Festival hosts many musicians and various street performers over a span of 4-5 days. It is currently trying to raise funds to save the old railway station, which was originally built in 1872.

In the winter, Light The Night is also a hugely popular event, as Pinafore Park plays host to a month-long winter celebration that features thousands of holiday lights and finishes with a massive New Year’s Celebration and firework display.

While it’s impossible to come up with a complete breakdown of what living in St. Thomas is all about, this guide is certainly a good starting point to work from. There is certainly no shortage of unique experiences to have in St. Thomas as the city has a wonderful mixture of attractions, events, natural areas, and entertainment options.

A Drone Point Of View Of St. Thomas

Team Forster lives and works in the great St. Thomas area and knows each neighbourhood extremely well. In a competitive market in an extremely popular city, you need a seasoned negotiator and highly attentive real estate agent by your side.

Do you think St. Thomas, Ontario could have the home of your dreams? Contact Team Forster today to book house viewings and to receive more information about this fantastic area.


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Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!