Did you know that the Town of Innisfil will be Celebrating its 200th Anniversary in 2020? Innisfil was first surveyed in 1820, and there’s lots of information about its early history on Wikipedia.
But did you know that the Innisfil Historical Society, a wonderful local organization of individuals keenly interested in all our local stories, is working on a publication to celebrate that event?
And that the Innisfil Historical Society is Inviting local individuals and organizations to contribute?
Our law firm has been a part of Innisfil history for some 44 years. We had great fun reminiscing about our early days! Here’s Part I of our proposed contribution!
The law firm of Anderson Adams traces its beginning to 1973. George Gibson, who had practised law for three years before immigrating from England, articled at the Bradford firm of Evans & Evans to requalify for practice in Ontario. He often had to head north up Yonge Street from Bradford to Barrie to attend at the Registry Office to search titles and close real estate deals: all of which was of course done in person in those days. And driving through Stroud he saw his opportunity to set up a practice in the bustling little hamlet of what was then the Township of Innisfil.
Shortly after his call to the bar in April 1974, he opened the doors of his sole proprietorship in the Stroud Plaza right next to the liquor store. Mike Adams joined him in 1976 for a year as an employee and then became a partner in the newly formed Gibson & Adams in 1977. Together Mike and George could offer a broad array of legal services to the people of Innisfil and neighbouring communities.
In 1978 they began acquiring land on the west side of Yonge Street in Stroud and early in 1989 moved into a new building at 8000 Yonge Street. The two houses that were formerly located on the site were moved to two lots on Wallace Avenue on the 9th Concession. The day those houses were moved was a dramatic day for Innisfil, and the Innisfil Historical Society was out to record the occasion. Hydro and phone wires had to be taken down so that the houses could be moved down Yonge Street, along the 9th Concession to Wallace and then around Wallace to the ultimate sites where new foundations had already been put in place.
George Gibson ended a lengthy law career in December, 2011 and the firm sold its 8000 Yonge Street building. The new firm, Anderson Adams, leased back its offices from the purchaser until May, 2015 when space became available at the PACE Credit Union. Since then, Anderson Adams has operated in what used to be the head office of the Peoples Credit Union at 8034 Yonge Street. That move from 8000 to 8034 Yonge Street in 2015 was much less dramatic than the 1989 move: much of it was accomplished by a law student moving various items and books half a block up the street in a small wagon over a period of several weeks – and no, the “wagon train” wasn’t recorded by the Innisfil Historical Society photographer!
Although in 44 years the firm has moved only about a block among its three locations, buildings are of course only a part of the history of the firm. Truly it’s our people who have made the biggest contribution to Innisfil.
In the beginning, the staff initially consisted of George and his secretary Anna Szalay joined shortly thereafter by assistant Nicole Faye. By the time Mike arrived in 1976, there was another recent hire: Heather Kennington. Anna, Nicole and Heather were loyal, lively and immensely popular with our clients. We owe much of our successful beginning to their hard work. And they all went on to enjoy successful careers after leaving the law firm. Anna became a fitness instructor training the world class Mariposa figure skating team. Nicole, a francophone, used her language and other skills to become the executive assistant to the president of Radio Shack. Heather moved from an entry level position with the Innisfil Credit Union to the CEO of the Peoples Credit Union and later President of PACE, following the merger of Peoples with PACE. Their success in their subsequent pursuits demonstrated what was absolutely clear to a fledgling law firm– each of them was an outstanding and valuable performer. And PACE President Heather was certainly instrumental in helping us transition, in 2015, into our beautiful new offices: modern, airy and bright with private offices for each of our clerks.
End of Part 1: Read Part 2 here.
How about you? Do you have a story to share with the Innisfil Historical Society to help us celebrate Innisfil’s 200th anniversary? Learn more and get intouch with the Historical Society here.