The Township of Hilton is one of four municipalities on St. Joseph Island, located in the channel connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The Island is approximately an 8 hour drive from Toronto, Ottawa and Detroit. It can be reached by travelling the Trans Canada Highway and taking the toll-free bridge at the intersection of Hwy 17 East and Hwy 548.
The Township of Hilton covers an area of approximately 116km2 and is located on the south-eastern section of the Island. The Township is considered a rural community with some small hobby type farms but is comprised mainly of single family homes. The residents turn to the hamlets of Richards Landing and the Village of Hilton Beach and the nearby City of Sault Ste. Marie (45 minute drive) for essential services such as banking, groceries, gas, shopping.
Hilton Township is made up of a total of 761 properties including 121 permanent households and 244 seasonal households. Approximately 68% of the permanent homes are located inland while 74% of the seasonal homes are situated on the water. The remaining properties are comprised of many 100 acre vacant parcels that serve as hunting properties or managed forest lots.
We currently have a permanent population of 257 with an age breakdown as follows: 0 – 20 years: 4%; 21 – 50 years: 29%; 51 – 65 years: 28%; 65 years and over: 39%. During the summer months, this population figure increases by almost 500 seasonal residents.
The Township of Hilton continues to grow as a popular location for summer residences. It offers a scenic, quiet escape for nearby urban residents, as well as, an annual vacation destination for many U.S. and European travellers.
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, St. Joseph Island was inhabited by the Ojibway. Around 1798, the British government negotiated Treaty No. 11 with the Ojibway which resulted in St. Joseph Island becoming British property.
European immigration to the Island occurred in the late 1770’s with the arrival of the fur traders. The Northwest Company established a trading centre on the southern tip of the Island in 1783. By the late 1830’s, permanent settlement had begun with Major William Rains obtaining a charter to colonize the Island with one hundred families.
The first township, St. Joseph, was formed in 1876; Hilton Township was formed in 1883 and Jocelyn Township in 1886. The Village of Hilton Beach, formerly known as Marksville, separated from the Township of Hilton in 1923.
Early industries included the fur trade, fisheries, lumbering and agriculture. Wharf facilities were built to service boats travelling through the North Channel.
Until early in the 20th century, residents relied on small boats to reach the Island. Ferry service was introduced in 1919 and continued till 1972 when a bridge was constructed connecting the Island to the mainland.
2983 Base Line, Hilton Beach, ON P0R 1G0
+1 (705) 246-2472