In 1878, George Chaffey left Ontario, Canada for new opportunities in California. He became the chief engineer of the new Los Angeles Electric Company. He made Los Angeles the world’s first all-electrically-lit city. Next, George and brother William went into the California desert where they built a modern irrigation system and created an 8,000-acre fruit-farming community called Ontario.
Known as the Model Irrigation Colony, Ontario had a Grand Central Avenue, innovative transportation, water systems and an agricultural college. In 1885, George left for Australia where he developed the irrigation communities of Mildura and Renmark. After returning to California, George brought water to the Imperial Valley, which led to the creation of Calexico, Mexicali, Brawley and Imperial.