Vandorf is a small hamlet situated in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario, in Canada. It is the most westerly settlement within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. With a population of approximately 722, Vandorf consists mainly of estate residential homes and farms.
Vandorf was founded in the 19th century by the Van Nostrand family. The town was originally named “Brookdale”, but the name had to be changed when postal service became available due to a conflict with another Ontario community of the same name. A town meeting was held and the name Vandorf was selected by combining “Van” (from the founding Van Nostrands) with “Dorf”, selected by the predominately Dutch residents of the day and meaning “Village” in Dutch.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area around Vandorf had a rich First Nation history, including a 17th century Huron-Wendat ancestral village overlooking Van Nostrand Lake and the “Old Indian Fort” (or Aurora) site, located at the south-east corner of Kennedy Road and Vandorf Side Road. An important north-south trail (the “Vandorf Trial”) led from the headwaters of the Rouge River to Newmarket and Holland Landing crossing the hight of land at Vandorf. “Perhaps the busiest and best documented of these routes was that which followed the Humber River valley northward … although another trail of equal importance and antiquity and used earlier than the former by the French, extended from the mouth of the Rouge River northward to the headwaters of the Little Rouge and over the drainage divide to the East Branch of the Holland River at Holland Landing.”
Downtown Vandorf is located on Woodbine Avenue, approximately 2 km north of Bloomington Road and just east of Highway 404, or via Vandorf Sideroad (2 km south of Aurora Road), which runs east / west starting at Industrial Parkway South in Aurora (westerly point) and ends at Highway 48 in Whitchurch-Stouffville (easterly point).
Vandorf has a general store, auto repair shop, community hall and a gas station. It is also home to the Vandorf Selects Pylons, a noted senior level hockey team competing in hockey tournaments throughout the province. Villagers passionately support the team, and will often attend games at home and abroad.
The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum is also located in Vandorf, part of Vandorf Park. The park is noted for hosting the Museum’s annual Antique and Classic Car Show, which is open to the general public. The show is typically held the second week in August on Sunday.
For many years Vandorf Park hosted the annual Victoria Day Fireworks display held by the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. This large fireworks display once rivaled those shown at Ontario Place / Canada’s Wonderland. The town cancelled the fireworks event in 2010 for safety concerns.
A rail line owned by Canadian National Railway runs through Vandorf; it is CN’s primary freight corridor connecting Greater Toronto to Northern Ontario and Western Canada. This line is currently being considered for future GO Transit train service expansion with a station in Vandorf and Gormley (West). Future residential growth of Vandorf however is limited by provincial Greenbelt legislation.