The Mississaugas of the Credit held 648,000 acres of land north of the Head of the Lake Purchase lands and extending to the unceded territory of the Chippewa of Lakes Huron and Simcoe. In mid-October, 1818, the Chippewa ceded their land to the Crown in the Lake Simcoe-Nottawasaga Treaty and, by the end of October, the Crown sought to purchase the adjacent lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit. The Deputy Superintendent of the Indian Department, William Claus, met with the Mississaugas from October 27–29, 1818, and proposed that the Mississaugas sell their 648,000 acres of land in exchange for an annual amount of goods. The continuous inflow of settlers into their lands and fisheries had weakened the Mississaugas’ traditional economy and had left them in a state of impoverishment and a rapidly declining population. In their enfeebled state, Chief Ajetance, on behalf of the assembled people, readily agreed to the sale of their lands for £522.10 of goods paid annually. Significant municipalities found within the lands of the Ajetance Purchase of 1818 include Brampton and Milton.
The town took root out of a settlement by Jasper Martin along the Sixteen Mile Creek; Martin immigrated from Newcastle upon Tyne, England with his wife Sarah and two sons on May 17, 1818. Martin was granted 100 acres (40 ha) of land, from the Crown in 1820, designated Lot 14, Concession 2, Township of Trafalgar, Halton County, in the District of Gore. Martin built a grist mill along the creek and created a pond, known as Mill Pond, to power his mill. The mill became the centre of settlement for others as they settled in the region. In 1837 the area had a population of approximately 100 people and was named after the English poet John Milton. The town, as it is today, soon after became known as Milton. The two principal property owners of the young town were the Martins and the Fosters. The current site of Milton's town hall was donated by Mr. Hugh Foster (and thus, it is called Hugh Foster Hall).
By 1855, the United Counties of Halton and Wentworth split, and Halton became a separate county. Its council consisted of members representing the townships of Esquesing, Nassagaweya, Trafalgar and Nelson, along with Acton, Georgetown, Milton, Burlington and Oakville. Milton was then named as the county town (seat), a decision that certainly created a lot of local controversy. The people in Oakville were very upset because Oakville was an established place with a railway. Milton did not even have a railway, according to historian John McDonald. For 25 years there was this great rivalry. Every time county council tried to pass something to improve the Milton area, the Oakville councillors would often balk at it. A man named Hugh Foster donated 4 acres (1.6 ha) of land to the county to construct its administration building in Milton, which is still in place on Mary Street today and now used as the Milton Town Hall. Milton was incorporated into a town in 1857, after being chosen as county seat for Halton.
By 1869, Milton had a population of 1,000. Records from 1874, indicate that Milton had county buildings, a telegraph office, a foundry, a tannery, a woolen factory, a grist mill and a saw mill, a weekly newspaper and a number of stores.
In the early 1900s Milton was well known because of the P.L. Robertson Manufacturing Company, the first to make socket-head screws. Although formed in Hamilton in 1907, the business relocated to Milton in 1908. P.L. Robertson was the inventor of the square-socket drive for screws.
In 1974, the present municipal structure was created when the Regional Municipality of Halton replaced Halton County. The new town of Milton added parts of the former township of Esquesing (most of this township comprises Halton Hills), all of Nassagaweya Townshipincluding the village of Campbellville, and the northern sections of Trafalgar and Nelson from (a 1962 annexation of the former townships) Oakville and Burlington respectively.
With the addition of the Niagara Escarpment lands, tourism, recreation, and heritage conservation have increased in importance. The Halton Region Museum, which has a large number of historic agricultural buildings, and the Halton County Radial Railway museum are located in Milton, as is Country Heritage Park (formerly the Ontario Agricultural Museum). Five large parks operated by Conservation Halton reside in the town, and Mohawk Raceway is located near Campbellville. It is also home to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, the Vanier Centre for Women and one of two criminal courthouses serving Halton Region.
In 2015, the population numbers on all signs entering Milton increased to 100,000 based on official estimates by Town planners. According to the Canada 2016 Census there were 101,715 people living in Milton, and its population in 2006 was 53,939, representing an increase of 56.5%. The 2016 Census counted 32,452 housing units and 31,325 being occupied.
- The average population density per square kilometre was 2,520.3 persons.
- Age distribution indicated 32.5% of the population was 19 and younger, 59.1% of the population ages 20–64 and 8.4% 65 and older.
- The average total income of households in 2015 was $116,180.
- With one earner in a household, $60,829.
- Males had an average total income of $62,433 versus $42,328 for females.
- 24.0% of the population had completed high school as their highest education. 4.5% a Trades certificate or diploma. 21.6% College. 35.6% University.
- 11.8% of the population had not completed high school.
- As of the 2006 census, 17% of residents were a visible minority vs. 30% as of the 2016 census.
According to the 2016 Census, English is the mother tongue for 60.6% of the population, down from 77.6% in the 2006 Census. However, the absolute number of native English speakers actually increased (61,180 in 2011, from 41,430 in 2006), but the increase in the absolute number of non-English native speakers was even higher, thus explaining the decrease in its relative proportion of English as mother tongue in the population. French is the mother tongue for 1.4% of the population.
According to the 2016 Census, immigrant languages with the most notable proportions of native speakers are Urdu (8.0%), Arabic (2.9%), Spanish (2.5%), Polish (1.9%), Punjabi (1.9%), Filipino Tagalog (1.7%), Portuguese (1.4%), Mandarin Chinese (1.1%), and Italian (1.0%).
According to the 2011 Census, the majority of Milton is Christian (64.6%), including Catholics (36.6%). 19.5% report no religious affiliation. Milton also has large Muslim (9.7%), Hindu (3.0%), and Sikh (1.9%) communities. The remaining 1.3% affiliate with another religion.
|Canada 2016 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Mixed visible minority||1,490||1.5%|
|Other visible minority||985||1%|
|Total visible minority population||45,685||45.4%|
|Total Aboriginal population||980||1%|
Milton's Planning Department divides the town into communities. These divisions have little to do with politics and are based on traditional neighbourhoods.
|Old Milton||Old Milton was built mainly between 1850 and 1890. Its boundaries are Bronte St S – CP Railroad Tracks – Thompson Rd – Robert St/Nipissing Rd.|
|Beaty||The Beaty neighbourhood started in 2001, this first homes to be built in "New Milton". Beaty is bounded by Derry Rd – Louis St. Laurent Ave – James Snow Pkwy – Thompson Rd. This neighbourhood was named for the Beaty Family who farmed in Trafalgar Township for more than a century. John Beaty emigrated from Ireland in 1820 and was one of the first settlers in the new survey. Between 1856 and 1857 Beaty held a number of offices and made an unsuccessful attempt to win a seat in the Provincial Legislature. John's son, William, became a pioneer of innovative agricultural practices.|
|Bronte Meadows||Bronte Meadows was constructed between 1982–1985. Its boundaries are Derry Rd – Bell St – Bronte St – Commercial St. This area is well known for its excellent tobogganing hill at Sixteen Mile Creek, as well as John Tonelli arena. Milton District Hospital and the Milton Sports Centre are found just on the other side of Derry Road.|
|Bowes||Bowes is a new neighbourhood being developed in south Milton in the Boyne Survey, which will add 6,000 new homes and approximately 25,000 new residents. Construction of this survey began in 2015. Bowes is bounded by James Snow Pkwy – Britannia Rd – Thompson Rd S – Louis St Laurent Ave.|
|Cobden||Cobden is a new neighbourhood being developed in south Milton in the Boyne Survey, which will add 6,000 new homes and approximately 25,000 new residents. Construction of this survey began in 2015. Cobden is bounded by Thompson Rd S – Britannia Rd – Regional Road 25 – Louis St Laurent Ave.|
|Clarke||The Clarke neighbourhood started building in 2003 and construction is still ongoing today. Clarke's boundaries include Derry Rd – CP Railroad Tracks – Thompson Rd – James Snow Pkwy. The neighbourhood was named after Samuel Clarke, a long time agriculturist and municipal politician. Clarke founded Milton's first newspaper The Halton Journal in 1855 and sold it nine months later to Rowe & Graham. Clarke was also a founding member of the Halton Agricultural Society, serving as its first Secretary-Treasurer until 1857.|
|Coates||The Coates neighbourhood began construction in 2005 and is bordered by Derry Rd – Louis St. Laurent Ave – Thompson Rd – Ontario St.|
|Dempsey||The Dempsey neighbourhood began construction in 2002, bounded by Steeles Ave – CP Railroad Tracks – Thompson Rd – James Snow Pkwy. The Dempsey neighbourhood is named after John Dempsey, who emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1800s with his wife and 7 children. After arriving in Milton he built "Winding Sixteen Farm". Dempsey also opened a dry goods, grocery, and hardware store in the community. He also served as a member of the Milton Council in 1860 & 1861.|
|Dorset Park||Dorset Park, registered in 1973 by British residential construction firm Wimpey Homes, is named after Dorset County in Southern England. The neighbourdhood is bordered by Steeles Ave – Main St E – Ontario St & Thompson Rd.|
|Fallingbrook||Fallingbrook was built which was in the 1960s – the area is just South of Old Milton has quite a few heritage homes. It falls in the area south of Barton and Sydney Sts – east of the CN Railway tracks – west of Ontario St – north of Laurier Ave.|
|Ford||Ford is a new neighbourhood being developed in south Milton in the Boyne Survey, which will add 6,000 new homes and approximately 25,000 new residents. Construction of this survey began in 2015. Ford is bounded by Bronte St S – Britannia Rd – Regional Road 25 – Louis St Laurent Ave.|
|Forrest Grove||Forrest Grove is bounded by Ontario St – Milton Evergreen Cemetery – Sixteen Mile Creek – Parkway Dr E.|
|Harrison||The Harrison neighbourhood, also known as Hawthorne Village South, was established by Mattamy Homes in 1999, with construction beginning in 2007. Hawthorne Village has been the best selling community in the Greater Toronto Area for five years (2007–2012), and is home to 3,500 families. The boundaries for Harrison are the CN Railway Tracks – Tremaine Rd – Louis St. Laurent Ave – Derry Rd.|
|Milton Heights||The neighbourdhood is bordered by Steeles Ave – Peru Rd – Highway 401 – Old Tremaine Rd|
|Mountainview||Mountainview was named for the extensive views of the Niagara Escarpment from its most westerly vantage point. It was the first area built after the sewage plant was built in 1949. Mountainview is bordered by Steeles Ave – Woodward Ave– Bronte St N – Ontario St.|
|Scott||The Scott neighbourhood is bounded by Tremaine Rd – Derry Rd – CN Railroad tracks – Main St.|
|Timberlea||Timberlea sprung up in the 1980s and is bounded by Derry Rd – Main St E – Ontario St – Thompson Rd.|
|Valleyview||Valleyview is dominated by high-end homes on Valleyview Cres and is bounded by Ontario St – Laurier Ave – Sixteen Mile Creek.|
|Walker||Walker is a new neighbourhood being developed in south Milton in the Boyne Survey, which will add 6,000 new homes and approximately 25,000 new residents. Construction of this survey began in 2015. Walker is bounded by Tremaine Rd – Britannia Rd – Bronte St S – Louis St Laurent Ave.|
|Willmott||Willmott District started construction in 2010 and will continue through 2014. Willmott is bounded by Louis St. Laurent Ave – Derry Rd – Ontario St – The Railway Tracks.|
Milton's public elementary and secondary schools are part of the Halton District School Board. Milton's Catholic elementary and secondary schools are part of the Halton Catholic District School Board. There are also several private schools in Milton.
In 2008, the town reached an agreement in principle with Wilfrid Laurier University for the latter to establish a satellite campus in Milton. Funding of $90 million for the Milton Education Village which would also include a Conestoga College satellite campus, on land donated by the town, was approved by the provincial government in April 2018. In October 2018 funding for the project was withdrawn by the new Ontario government (elected in June) before construction had begun. Mayor Gord Krantz indicated that the town would look for alternative funding.
Halton District School Board
- Boyne Public School (JK–8)
- Anne J MacArthur Public School (JK–8)
- Brookville Public School (JK–8)
- Bruce Trail Public School (JK–8)
- Chris Hadfield Public School (JK–8)
- Craig Kielburger Secondary School (9–12)
- E. C. Drury School for the Deaf (JK–12)
- Escarpment View Public School (JK–8)
- E. W. Foster Public School (JK–5)
- Hawthorne Village Public School (JK–8)
- Irma Coulson Public School(JK–8)
- J. M. Denyes Public School (JK–5)
- Martin Street Public School (JK–7)
- Milton District High School (9–12)
- P. L. Robertson Public School (JK–8)
- Robert Baldwin Public School (JK–5)
- Sam Sherratt Public School (JK–8)
- W. I. Dick Middle School (6–8)
- Tiger Jeet Singh Public School (JK–8)
Halton Catholic District School Board
- Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School (9–12)
- Guardian Angels Catholic School (JK–8)
- Holy Rosary Catholic School (JK–8)
- Lumen Christi Catholic School (JK–8)
- Our Lady of Fatima Elementary School (JK–8)
- Our Lady of Victory School (JK–8)
- St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School (JK–8)
- St. Peter Catholic School (JK–8)
- Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School (9–12)
- Queen of Heaven Catholic Elementary School (JK–8)
- St. Benedict's Catholic Elementary School (JK–8)
Mon Avenir Conseil Scholaire Catholique (French Catholic School Board)
- École Élémentaire St. Nicolas (JK–6)
- The Montessori Country School (Casa)
- Milton Christian School (JK–8)
- Keswick Sutherland School & Equestrian Center (JK–8)
- Halton Waldorf School (JK–8)
- Hitherfield School (PK–8)
Public library system
Milton is served by two library locations, a recently constructed Main Library located on Main Street East and Beaty Branch located on Fourth Line, which opened on November 17, 2009. A third library branch, Sherwood Branch, is scheduled to open in Spring of 2019. This branch will be located on Main Street West, near Tremaine Road and will help service the newer subdivisions in the west end of Milton.
In 2005, the Milton Public Library celebrated its sesquicentennial year.