Originally the site of an Anishinaabe (Mississaugus) village in the 18th century known as Asukhknosk, the future location of the city was settled by United Empire Loyalists, after which it became known as Meyer's Creek after prominent settler and industrialist John Walden Meyers. It was renamed Belleville in honour of Lady Arabella Gore in 1816, after a visit to the settlement by Sir Francis Gore and his wife.
Belleville became an important railway junction with the completion of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1855. In 1858 the iron bridge over the Moira River at Bridge Street became the first iron bridge in Hastings County. Belleville's beautiful High Victorian Gothic city hall was built in 1872 to house the public market and administrative offices. The City Hall tower stands some 185 feet (56 m) above street level.
The Dixie Lee Fried Chicken chain (1964) and the Journey's End Corporation economy limited service hotel chain (1978) were both founded in the city.
In 1998, the city was amalgamated with the surrounding Township of Thurlow to form an expanded City of Belleville as part of Ontario-wide municipal restructuring. The city also annexed portions of Quinte West to the west.
Belleville is located at the mouth of the Moira River on the Bay of Quinte in southeastern Ontario between the cities of Quinte West to the west and Napanee to the east. These cities are connected by both Ontario's Highway 2 and the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Highway 401); The city is also served by Highway 37, running north-south from Belleville towards Tweed to the east of the Moira River; and Highway 62 (once Highway 14 south of 401), northwards towards Madoc, and southward to Prince Edward County over the Bay Bridge.
Belleville is located in a transitional zone which may be considered part of the Central Ontario or Eastern Ontario regions by different sources. Officially, Belleville is properly considered part of the Central Ontario region as it is located west of the St. Lawrence River's starting point, but the city is popularly considered part of Eastern Ontario as it shares the eastern region's area code 613 and K postal code.
Belleville's climate has four distinctive seasons. The City's traditional continental climate (hot summers, cold winters) is moderated by its location near Lake Ontario. The lake moderates temperature extremes, cooling hot summer days and warming cold days during the fall and winter. As such, winter snowfall is somewhat limited due to the increased frequency of precipitation falling as rain during the winter months. In the summer months, severe thunderstorm activity is usually limited because of the non-favourable lake breeze conditions. The city, being located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is also in an unfavourable location for lake effect snow. One notable exception however, was in December 2010 when 14 cm of snow occurred in one day as a result of a snow band from Lake Ontario. The summer months do not typically experience exceedingly hot temperatures, however humidity levels can make daytime highs uncomfortable. Summer rainfall is usually modest, and delivered by passing thunderstorms or warm fronts. Remnants of tropical systems do pass through on occasion towards summer's end, resulting in one or two days of consistently wet weather. The winter season is highly variable, with the record setting winter of 2007-08 experiencing near 270 cm of snow. Four years later, the winter of 2011-12 experienced only 60 cm of snow. Winter temperatures are also highly variable, even in one season. Air masses change frequently, and while a few days may see above freezing temperatures at a time in January, the next week may bring cold and snowfall. Autumn is usually mild, with an increase in precipitation starting in late September as conditions for fall storms develop. Recent years have had a tendency to bring almost snow free Novembers to the region.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Belleville was 104 °F (40.0 °C) on 9 July 1936. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −39 °F (−39.4 °C) on 9 February 1934.Mean Daily Temperature - Annually = 8.1 °C (46.6 °F)
Mean Maximum Highest Temperature - Summer = 26.8 °C (80.2 °F)
Mean Minimum Lowest Temperature - Winter = −11.1 °C (12.0 °F)
Growing Degree-Days = 2236
Growing Season = 190–200 days
Mean Annual Precipitation = 911.6 mm (35.89 in)
Mean Annual Snow Fall = 139.7 cm (55.0 in)
Average Number of Days with Precipitation = 149 days
Average Number of Days with Snowfall = 41 days
Average Number of Days with max. temperature > 0 °C (32 °F) = 312 days
Local government is represented by Belleville City Council with a mayor and eight councillors. There are two city wards with Ward 1 (Belleville) represented by six councillors and Ward 2 (Thurlow) by two councillors. Ward 1 consists of the historic city and Ward 2 was created in 1998 with the amalgamation of Township of Thurlow.
City Council sits at Belleville City Hall.
The city has their own police force since 1834, but had constables since 1790. The force has about 116 members and headed by a Chief of Police and Deputy Chief. The service is stationed out of one location only. Policing on provincial highways are provided by the Ontario Provincial Police from the Quinte West Detachment in Trenton, Ontario.
Procter & Gamble, Kellogg's, Bardon Supplies Limited, Redpath, Sigma Stretch, Magna, Amer Sports Canada, Sears and Avaya (formerly Nortel) are corporations operating in Belleville. Many other manufacturing sector companies operate within the City of Belleville, including Bioniche Life Sciences, Sprague Foods, Airborne Systems Canada Ltd, Berry Plastics Canada, Sigma Stetch Film Canada, CpK Interior Products, Halla Climate Control Canada, Reid's Dairy, Parmalat Canada - Black Diamond Cheese Division and Norampac Inc, just to name a few.
Belleville is home to two shopping malls: The Bay View Mall in east-end Belleville and the Quinte Mall along Bell Boulevard (south of Highway 401) in North Belleville. In January 2017 a Shorelines Casino opened on Bell Boulevard.
The Quinte Economic Development Commission is the regional economic development office representing the City of Belleville, the City of Quinte West and the Municipality of Brighton. The Quinte EDC is mandated with the responsibility for regional marketing for its member municipalities as well as supporting existing industries through regional strategies.
The City of Belleville is located within a 15-minute drive of 8 Wing / Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton. 8 Wing CFB Trenton is Canada’s largest Canadian Forces Air Base and is available for commercial flights for passenger and cargo uses, by prior arrangement with DND. There is a Customs and Immigration office located on site for international flights. Airport facilities include snow removal, crash response, fire fighting and rescue services, 24-hour-a-day air traffic control tower, fully equipped airfield navigational and visual approach, and one paved runway which is 10,000 feet long and can accommodate 747 and C5A classes.
Belleville is serviced by the 401 highway system, and bus service to and from Toronto International Airport is provided three times daily each way by Megabus. Deseronto Transit provides public transportation services to destinations including Deseronto, Napanee, and Prince Edward County.
Belleville is located on the Toronto-Montreal main rail lines for both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway; both companies provide freight access. VIA Rail also operates five daily passenger services each way along its Windsor–Québec rail corridor.Highway 62/North Front Street
Highway 62 runs from the northern city limit with the Township of Centre Hastings to the southern boundary with the Municipality of Prince Edward County (where the highway crosses the Norris Whitney Bridge over the Bay of Quinte). From Highway 401 south to the Canadian National Railways overpass, 62 follows North Front Street. South of there, as that street splits entering downtown, 62 follows the eastern branch, Pinnacle Street, across the Sagonaska Bridge and through downtown. 62 then turns East at Dundas Street (old Highway 2), and continues to Bay Bridge Drive, where the highway heads south into 'the County'.
Highway 37/Cannifton Road Parkway
Highway 37 runs from the northern city limit with Tweed south to the 401, where it is co-designated as Cannifton Road Parkway until it meets Station Street. There, it follows Station Street west to its terminus at Pinnacle Street downtown.
Highway 2/Dundas Street
Running across southern Belleville, Dundas Street is a four-lane highway from where it enters Belleville's west end at Wallbridge-Loyalist Road to Point Anne Road, approximately 11 km east. Highway 2 originally crossed the Moira River at the Lower Bridge, co-designated with Bridge Street, but when Dundas Street finally crossed the Moira in the early 1970s, the old route was forgotten, although it is still signed as Highway 2.
Of interest is the eastern section of Dundas Street where, as Highway 2, it was rebuilt in the late 1930s as a "dual highway" (four lanes), to the same standards as the concurrent Queen Elizabeth Way. Part of a period of freeway design experimentation in Ontario, it was never upgraded in the same manner as the QEW, as Highway 2 was supplanted by the new 401 as the major transportation corridor along Lake Ontario. It remains today as an example of early freeway design.
Bell Boulevard/Adam Street
Bell in 2010 was extended east to the Moira River, where the Veterans Memorial Bridge connects it to Adam Street, with the combined route connecting Wallbridge-Loyalist Road on the western boundary of Belleville, running through the North-west Industrial Park and over the Moira as it passes through Riverside Park, ultimately ending at University Avenue, in the city's North-East Industrial Park. From Sidney Street east to North Park Street, Bell Boulevard is home to a variety of commercial properties, including Reid's Dairy and the Quinte Mall, as well as a number of restaurants and hotels.
College Street/Airport Parkway
College Street runs from the residential area of West Park Village, across the city to the North-East Industrial Park. Branching off of College and running east to Shannonville Road is Airport Parkway, formerly known as the Byron Street Extension.
According to the 2011 Canadian Census, the population of Belleville is 49,454, a 1.3% increase from 2006. The population density is 200.0 people per square km. The median age is 43.5 years old, a bit higher than the national median at 40.6 years old. There are 22,153 private dwellings with an occupancy rate of 95.1%. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the median value of a dwelling in Belleville is $200,473 which is a fair bit lower than the national average at $280,552. The median household income (after-taxes) in Belleville is $48,552, not much lower than the national average at $54,089.
Belleville is mostly made up of European descents. The racial make up of Belleville is:90.7% White
4.4% Aboriginal; 2.9% First Nations, 1.1% Metis
1.3% South Asian
1.0% East Asian; 0.5% Chinese, 0.3% Korean, 0.2% Japanese
0.6% Southeast Asian; 0.2% Filipino
0.4% Latin American
0.2% West Asian
0.1% Multiracial; 1.2% including Metis
Most of Belleville is either a Christian (67.1%), or affiliates with no religion (30.3%). The remaining 2.6% affiliate with another religion.
The city of Belleville, with the amalgamation of the Township of Thurlow, and the annexation of a portion of the City of Quinte West, had a population of 48,821 people in the Canada 2006 Census. Belleville is the largest urban centre in a much larger market area generally known as the Quinte Region. The city's census agglomeration had a population of 91,518 in the 2006 census.
Population trend:Population in 2011: 49,454
Population in 2006: 48,821
Population in 2001: 45,986 (or 46,029 when adjusted to 2006 boundaries)
Belleville (former city): 37,210
Thurlow (former township): 7,680
Population in 1996:
Belleville (city): 37,083
Thurlow (township): 7,986
Population in 1991:
Belleville (city): 37,243
Thurlow (township): 7,615
Mother tongue:English as first language: 90.8%
French as first language: 1.5%
English and French as first language: 0.2%
Other as first language: 7.5%
Belleville offers a number of options at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.
Academy of Learning College is a local college.
Loyalist College is a local public college.
The Public school system is served by the Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board. The Catholic School system is served by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.
Following are Belleville area schools managed by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.
Belleville was home to the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, who were sold and the franchise moved to Hamilton. They played at the Yardmen Arena, located on Cannifton Road. Belleville was also previously home to two senior hockey teams, the Belleville Macs and the Belleville McFarlands. The McFarlands won the Allan Cup in 1958, and the World Championship in 1959. Belleville is also home the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club, which challenged for the America's Cup in 1881. Belleville also has some other teams, such as the Belleville Bearcats and the Belleville Jr. Bulls.
On September 25, 2016, the Ottawa Senators announced that their AHL affiliate will move from Binghamton, New York, to Belleville for the 2017-18 season. The new team will be known as the Belleville Senators.Belleville Intelligencer (daily)
The Empire Theatre
JulyBelleville's Canada D'Eh
Waterfront and Ethnic Festival
SeptemberQuinte Fall Fair and Exhibition
NovemberBelleville Festival of Trees
Belleville Nighttime Santa Claus Parade
Christmas at the Pier
DecemberChristmas at the Pier
The City of Belleville has three Sister City arrangements with communities outside of Canada which include: Lahr, Germany - Established in 1971
Gunpo, South Korea - Established in 1996
Zhucheng, People's Republic of China - Established in 1996
Lee Aaron, hard rock and jazz singer. Best known for "Metal Queen"
Marianne Ackerman, playwright, novelist, and journalist
Drew Bannister, professional ice hockey defenceman
Dennis Bock, novelist and short story writer
Michael Botterill, professional Canadian football linebacker
Sir MacKenzie Bowell, Canada's fifth Prime Minister
Wilfred Leigh Brintnell, a pioneering Canadian aviator
James Brown, politician
Stevie Cameron, award-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author
Matt Cooke, NHL hockey player
Brander Craighead, football player
Bob Crawford, retired NHL hockey player
Lou Crawford, former OHL and AHL head coach
Marc Crawford, NHL head coach
Bob Dillabough, retired NHL player with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and the Oakland Seals
Herbert Henry Dow, Dow Chemical, Born February 26, 1866
Rick Green, retired NHLer
Ellie Anne Harvie, actress
Bobby Hull, Hockey Hall of Fame member
Brett Hull, son of Bobby, Hockey Hall of Fame member (inducted 2009)
Dennis Hull, Bobby's younger brother, member of 1972 Team Canada
Aislinn Hunter, poet and fiction writer
Frances Itani, fiction writer, poet and essayist
Avril Lavigne, Canadian singer/songwriter, born in Belleville, moved to Napanee at age five
James Frederick Lister, lawyer
Norm Maracle, hockey goaltender
James Marker, inventor of Cheezies
Rick Meagher, retired NHL player
Rick Mofina, author of crime fiction and thriller novels
Susanna Moodie (1803-1885), author, moved to Belleville with her husband in 1840 after several years spent "roughing it in the bush" near Lakefield, Ontario
Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007 spent her teenage years in Belleville, studying at Centennial Secondary School and at Quinte Ballet School of Canada
Farley Mowat, author, born in Belleville
William Barton Northrup, lawyer and politician
Brian Orser, figure skater and coach
Shawn O'Sullivan, 1984 Olympic silver medalist boxer
Pete Quaife, bassist for The Kinks in the 1960s, lived in Quinte Region from 1980 to 2005
Peter Quinney, Canadian football player, Toronto Argonauts
Andrew Raycroft, NHL goaltender
Brad Richardson, NHL forward
Alexander Milton Ross, abolitionist and agent for the Underground Railroad
Johnny Rutherford, former Major League Baseball pitcher
Nancy Anne Sakovich, actress and former model
Mike Schad, National Football League offensive lineman; attended Moira Secondary School
Martin Seemungal, Foreign Correspondent CBC, ABC, CTV, PBS Newshour
Andrew Shaw, NHL player, currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens
Derek Smith, NHL forward
Matt Stajan, NHL forward resided in Belleville from 2000-2004
Manly E. MacDonald, Semi-impressionistic painter
Alex Stieda, former professional road bicycle racer
Chris Valentine, former ice hockey player and coach
Thomas Campbell Wallbridge, lawyer and politician
John Weldon, animated movies director, Oscar Award winner (1979)
Ed Westfall, retired NHL player
The Wilkinsons, country music group
Ty Wishart, professional ice hockey player
Jerry Yanover, political advisor