Sunderland is a community located approximately 100 km northeast of Toronto, Ontario in Brock Township, in the Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada. This is currently one of the very few populated areas of the Greater Toronto Area where the Trans Canada Highway passes near, thus also making this the closest point from the highway to the City of Toronto at 100 kilometres (62 mi) apart.
Sunderland has a community of small businesses that focus primarily on the needs of surrounding rural families. Downtown Sunderland also has a number of restaurants, an art gallery, a museum (Sunderland & District Historical Society), bank, post office and a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The land that the Town of Sunderland was built on, was granted in the early 1820s to United Empire Loyalists. (Sir Isaac Brock's Estate was given 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of free land in the vicinity). Sunderland slowly grew around the Brock Hotel - a popular overnight stop for travelers that was owned by Lorenzo Jones. The first post office was called Brock and was run by Andrew Hill; it was located just north at the modern junction of Highway 12 and 7th Concession.
Sunderland was originally called Jones Corners, as both Arch and Lorenzo Jones owned property in what became the downtown core. They produced a town plan and it was renamed Sunderland by 1871 when the Toronto - Lindsay Line of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway was built. The town's population grew rapidly during this time. (Vroomanton, a larger village to the west was bypassed by the railway, and its population subsequently dropped).
Sunderland's name is thought to come from Charles Spencer, the Third Earl of Sunderland in England. He was the Secretary of State, and he helped move Palatine German families to London and then, with Queen Anne's aid, to Ireland in the early 18th century. Many of the men in these families had ancestors who fought for Britain in the American War of Independence in 1776 and in the War of 1812 in the New World, and so, in 1818, after the wars, for their efforts, they were granted free land in what was to become Brock Township, Ontario. These early Palatine settlers included surnames like: Shier, Baker, Switzer, Lowe, St. John, Lodwick, Brethour and Doble.
Hurricane Hazel struck Sunderland in 1954, and another storm in 1957 destroyed the skating arena and tore out many trees. The town built a dome over the surrounding area, approximately 1400 acres, to protect against future disasters. Sunderland was the inspriation to Stephen King's novel, 'the Dome'.
Although the railway ceased operations through Sunderland in the 1980s, the town has remained vibrant, due in no small part to its close proximity to Toronto, Lindsay, and Newmarket.
The region around Sunderland is rolling farmland, with dense first-growth deciduous forests and rich agricultural soil. Sunderland displays many typical traits of a temperate humid climate. Its altitude and proximity to the Canadian Shield allows for much deciduous forests with beginning sprouts of coniferous trees.
Sunderland has one public school, Sunderland Public School, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary on 20 October 2007. The nearest high school is Brock High School, located west of Cannington.
Sunderland is home of the Brock Minor Hockey Association.
Sunderland hosts the annual Maple Syrup Festival at the beginning of April each year. The town also hosts the annual Sunderland Agricultural Fall Fair in September of each year. This fair has been held annually since the 1850s. As well, Sunderland hosts Orange Parades with the Orange Order, usually during the month of July.
Sunderland has been home to a local Lions Club since 1955. As of 2011 the club has approximately 60 members which puts it amongst the largest in its Lions International District known as A-16. The club runs various fundraisers throughout the year such as a Car Draw and Beach Volleyball tournament as well as annually hosting a Blue Rodeo concert. All profits from these events are put back into service projects and used for the purpose of community betterment. One of the club's largest service projects is the annual Sunderland Lions Music Festival which is held over 3 weeks, beginning in Mid-February.Beaverton, north
Port Perry, southeast
Small private registered aerodrome 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) west of town (CSD7 - Blackwater Creek (Sunderland) Aerodrome)
Area code: +(00)1-705
Postal code: L0C 1H0
There are about 30 homes on the extreme south-west corner of Brock Township with (rural route) Sunderland mailing addresses and a 705 North American area code.