The Simcoe District was the subject of an act of the provincial legislature in 1837 "to compose a separate and distinct district, to be henceforth called and known by the name of the district of Simcoe." But the district was not proclaimed until 1843. The district was carved out of the northern section of the Home District. The length of winters and the shortness of the crop-growing season dissuaded many settlers until the 1830s. Once the district was established, its district town was Barrie.
The delay in proclaiming the District allowed it to increase in size from the original 19 townships of Simcoe County in 1843 (including two that were later allocated to Ontario County) to 24 townships of which 5 were in Grey County and 2 were in Dufferin. Grey and Dufferin Counties were not established until after 1849 when the District was abolished.
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.
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.