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Paris is located at the spot where the Nith River empties into the Grand River. The town was established in 1850 by George and William Chaffey, who named it after Paris, France. It became a major railway junction with lines running north-south to Guelph and east-west to Stratford (via Woodstock) as well as other communities along those routes. In 1869, an extension of these railways led to further development of Paris when it became a stop on what would become known as Canada's first transcontinental railway: Canadian Pacific Railway's "International" line from Montreal through Toronto/Guelph/London/Sarnia ending in Windsor (and later extending westward).