The Archives of Ontario has produced a series of maps illustrating the growth of the District system across the province. Each map ought to be expanded to its maximum size in order to benefit from the information it contains. Return to the collection using the "back" button on your browser.
The Johnstown District was separated from the Eastern District of Upper Canada in 1798. Although it had only been ten years since the setting up of the four original districts of Upper Canada, pressures of population over this large area necessitated breaking this administration into two geographically parallel sections: the Eastern District remained taking the area along the Ottawa River until it reached the boundary of Carleton County; the Johnstown District taking the portion further inland.
The Johnstown District consisted of the counties of Leeds, Grenville and Carleton. The district town was originally Johnstown, but Elizabethtown, later Brockville, became the district town in 1808. Johnstown should not be confused with New Johnstown, or Cornwall, which remained the district town of the Eastern District.
Carleton County, as it was first drawn up, was very large. Settlement in the area north of the Rideau River began in 1815 and by 1824 the County of Lanark was established in that area. Later, in 1838, the County of Renfrew was established from lands previously in Lanark. This whole area which had started out as Carleton County became Bathurst District in 1822.
In 1838, further parts of the Districts of Johnstown, Bathurst and Ottawa were reorganized to form a new Dalhousie District which covered the present Carleton County, leaving only Leeds and Grenville remaining in the Johnstown Distict.
In 1849, the district was replaced by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.
Ontario Districts: an Explanation
When Upper Canada was formed in 1788 it was immediately divided into four districts: Hesse, Nassau, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg. In 1792 these names were changed to Western, Home, Midland and Eastern respectively. The expansion in population of the province, and in the area settled, obliged the number of Districts to increase. By 1849 there were twenty individual districts, each with a number of counties under its jurisdiction.