Snowball: More than a Crossroads

Dec 19, 2010

Snowball is a friendly hamlet of about 150-200 residences, and a few businesses located at the corner of Dufferin Street and 17th Sideroad on the eastern edge of the township. The community includes homes on King View Crescent, an estate residential development built by individual owners in the 1970s. Snowball’s Chance, an informal citizens group for the hamlet and surrounding areas, was founded in the mid 1990s to oppose the proposed Clublink resort-recreational development, which has since added 65 homes at the King Valley Golf Club.

The name Snowball always brings a chuckle, and people want to know how Snowball got its name. According to Elizabeth McClure Gillham’s Early Settlement of King Township, the hamlet was first called Coates Corners and then Hainstock’s Corners and lastly Snowball. The colourful name arrived via a circuitous route. Gillham tells the story that in 1850 a log church was build in Vaughan; during construction the joints were so tightly pegged with snow that work on the church was delayed until the snow melted! This church was named “Snowball”. In May 1879 the church in Vaughan was destroyed by fire and subsequently re-built twice. In 1891 the reconstructed church was purchased by Methodists for $150, sawed in half and moved by horse and wagon from Vaughan to Dufferin and the 17th Sideroad. When the church was erected a sign saying “Snowball” was painted and nailed on the church. The whole area has been known by that name since.

Those of us who live in the area think that the name is fitting because there is snow on the ground in the hamlet (due to its slightly higher elevation and unique microclimate) when no where nearby has snow! Winter truly lasts longer in Snowball.

Several years ago, one of the banks had a radio spot that contrasted the raging traffic of Toronto to the “beep beep” of an old jalopy in Snowball. Sadly this is not the case. Snowball, sometimes still called Snowball Corners by longstanding residents, is at the rush-hour traffic crossroads between Newmarket-Aurora and points north and east to Highway 400.

Many of the challenges that the area faces are due to the high volumes of rush hour traffic and include speeding, noise and congestion in the mornings and afternoons and extensive littering on the roads. The countryside in Snowball is often used for illegal dumping of garbage, a problem throughout our rural areas.

Although all the neighbours keep an eye out for each other, the Snowball community established a formal Neighbourhood Watch program with the support of York Region Police. Residents also hold a spring annual trash and garbage pick up on the 17th sideroad and this year 20 people of all ages participated. The neighborhood is also known for community events such as barbeques, holiday parties and fundraising for local causes.