Historical Plaques of
Durham County

Use this menu to check for a specific Category

Use this menu to check for a specific County


The following plaque was sent in by Ron Cushman

PLAQUE #1


Location: Cannington

ROBERT HOLMES 1861 - 1930
Robert Holmes spent a lifetime drawing and painting Canadian wildflowers, depicting many varieties in water-colours. Holmes was born in Cannington and is buried here. After studying at the Ontario School of Art and the Royal College of Art, his teaching career at Upper Canada College the Central Ontario School of Art and Design and its successor the Ontario College of Art spanned fourty years. Holmes was a president of the Ontario Society of Artists, a founding member of important Toronto art organizations and an academician of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. The collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario include notable wildflower water colours by Holmes.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

The following plaque was sent in R.O. Wayne Hall

PLAQUE #2


Location: Vroomanton


SAINT MALACHY'S - VROOMANTON
By the 1830's missionary priests occasionally visited the pioneer Irish settlers of Brock Township to administer the sacrements and to instruct the people in the Catholic faith. Around 1850 a small catholic church was built on this site. In the autumn of 1854 Father John Walsh (later archbishop of Toronto, 1889 - 1898) became the first pastor of the newly-established parish of Brock, which originally served all of the old County of Ontario from Uxbridge and Port Perry in the south to Uptergrove in the north.

The parish priests resided in the rectory built on this site in 1853. From 1909 the priests resided at St. Joseph's church, Beaverton, while still continuing to serve the churches of St. Malachy's and St. Anthony's at Virginia. In 1942 the second church, built on this site in 1901, burned. Around 1950 a third St. Malachy's church was built by Father Joseph Murphy, north of Sunderland so that mass could still be celebrated in Brock.

This plaque was blessed and dedicated on Sunday June 28, 1901, by the Most Rev. Robert B. Clune, D.D., I.C.D., auxiliary bishop of Toronto for the eastern region.


An Historical Plaque of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto

The following 3 plaques were sent in by Mary Crandall

PLAQUE #3


Location: SE corner of hwy 48 and Durham Rd 15
(just east of Beaverton), Brock twp.,

SAINT JOSEPH'S, BEAVERTON
One hundred acres of land for the first Catholic Church and cemetery in Thorah township were granted in 1835 by the government of Upper Canada for the needs of the many Scottish and Irish settlers. But it was not until New Year's Day, 1858, that the first St. Joseph's church was opened on this site. The arrival of numerous families from Ireland after the potato famine there in the late 1840's necessitated this expansion of the Brock parish which was first established at the old St. Malachy's church in Vroomanton and included St. Anthony's church in Virginia.

On January 4, 1909, the pastor, Father James Hayes, moved his residence to Beaverton and during that same year he built the present brick church there to replace the original wood-frame structure here as the regular place of worship. The present rectory beside the church in Beaverton was built in 1910. Despite these more recent changes, elsewhere this site continued to serve as the cemetery for the catholic people of the surrounding area since the 1830's. As the main centre for the parish of Brock, St. Joseph's continues to serve the spiritual needs of a wide area covering the south-east shore of Lake Simcoe and its hinterland.

The plaque was blessed and dedicated on Sunday, June 23, 1991 by the most Rev. Robert B. Clune, D.D., J.C.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto for the Eastern Region.


An historical plaque of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto

PLAQUE #4


Location: On Durham Rd. 15, a couple of hundred yards east of hwy 48

ST. ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 1840
Built by the volunteer labour of the local congregation on land granted by the Crown in 1835, and designed in the Neo-Classic manner, St. Andrew's was started in 1840 and completed by 1853. This limestone and granite structure replaced an earlier log church which stood in the vicinity. Services in St. Andrew's, which were held even before its completion, were conducted in both English and Gaelic. The Reverend David Watson D.D. inducted in 1853 as the first regular minister, served until his retirement in 1898 but continued to be associated with St. Andrew's until his death in 1903. Although a new St. Andrew's was built in Beaverton in 1879, services have been continued in the "Old Stone Church" during the summer months.

Erected by the Archeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #5


Location: On the gate to the entrance to St. Andrew's church (above)

To the glory of God and to the memory of John Gunn & John Morrison who helped in the building of this Presbyterian church in 1840.

This gate is erected by their grandson John Nisbet Gunn, D.S.O., M.D.


PLAQUE #6


Location: At the Public Library, Toronto St. South, Uxbridge

THE FOUNDING OF UXBRIDGE
The settlement of this area was stimulated by the arrival about 1806 of approximately twelve Quaker families from Pennsylvania. About 1808 Joseph Collins completed the first saw and grist-mill around which a community developed. The mill was bought in 1832 by Joseph Gould. A post office named Uxbridge was opened in 1836 with Joseph Bascom as Postmaster. In 1844, Gould, industrialist, land owner and later first member of the Parliament of Canada for Ontario North, erected a large woollen mill. The completion in 1871 of the section of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway between Scarborough and Uxbridge fostered the growth of the community. Incorporated as a village with a population of 1,367 in 1872, Uxbridge became a town in 1885.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #7


Location: Con. Rd. 6 just west of Uxbridge

UXBRIDGE QUAKER MEETING HOUSE 1820
A good example of board and batten construction, this Meeting House was erected in 1820 to replace an earlier log structure. The building stands in the midst of the original Uxbridge Quaker Settlement, a venture begun in 1805 by some twelve familes from Pennsylvania. The unaffected design of the building reflects the Quaker philosophy of plainness and restraint. The Uxbridge Settlement prospered until the mid-nineteenth century when the Quaker population declined. Closed in 1925, the Meeting House has since been re-opened for annual interdenominational religious services. In the adjoining cemetery on "Quaker Hill" are buried some of the area's earliest settlers, including Joseph Gould, a noted local industrialist and parliamentarian.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #8


Location: At Scugog Shores Historical Museum, Regional Rd. 7,
Scugog Island

JAMES LLEWELLYN FRISE
One of Canada's leading cartoonists, Jimmy Frise was born near here about 1891 and educated Scugog, Saintfield and Port Perry. Wounded at Vimy Ridge in the First World War, he went to Toronto to resume his career in illustrations, a field in which he was entirely self-taught. For the Star Weekly Frise collaborated with the noted humorous writer Gregory Clark in a weekly series. In 1921 he created a half-page cartoon, first entitled "Life's Little Comedies" and later "Birdseye Center". It was featured for a quarter of a century in what was Canada's biggest weekend newspaper. The popularity of Birdseye Center arose from Frise's gentle and humorous interpretation of the relationship between rural and urban life. He died in 1948.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #9


Location: At her former home, County Rd. 1, Leaskdale

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY
In this house the author of "Anne of Green Gables" lived for fifteen years, and here wrote eleven of her twenty-two novels, including "Anne of the Island" (1915) and "Annes House of Dreams" (1916). Born in 1874 at Clifton, Prince Edward Island, she was educated at Charlottetown and Halifax. From 1898 to 1911 she lived at Cavendish, P. E. I., and there began her career as a novelist. In 1911 she married the Rev. Ewan Macdonald, a Presbyterian minister, and came with him to Leaskdale. They moved in 1926 to Norval, and nine years later to Toronto, where she died in 1942. Mrs. Macdonald was awarded the O.B.E. by King George V in 1935.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

PLAQUE #10


Location: Beside Town Hall, 40 Temperance St., Bowmanville

LT.-COL. CHARLES ROBERT McCULLOUGH
1865-1947
An ardent Canadian and founder of the Canadian Club movement, McCullough was born in Bowmanville amd moved to Hamilton in 1888. He and four companions in December, 1892, determined to found an organization which would encourage the study of Canada's history, literature, resources and native talents. The first Canadian Club was inaugurated in Hamilton in February, 1893, and W.S. Evans, one of the originators, served as president 1893-94, while McCullough held that position 1895-96. The Canadian Club movement spread throughout the Dominion and a central association was formed in 1909.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

PLAQUE #11


Location: On the grounds of the Community Hall, King & Mill St., Newcastle

JOSEPH E. ATKINSON 1865 - 1948
One of Canada's leading publishers, Joseph Atkinson was born here in Clarke Township and, at eighteen, began his journalistic career with the Port Hope Times. He subsequently moved to Toronto where he was employed first with the World and later the Globe. Following a period with the Montreal Herald, Atkinson in 1899 became editor and manager of the Toronto Evening Star. He changed the name to the Toronto Daily Star (1900) and published it until his death. In 1910 he founded the Star Weekly, established radio station CFCA in 1922 and built The Star into Canada's largest daily newspaper with a stated policy of supporting the "little man". He died in 1948 leaving most of his considerable wealth to The Atkinson Charitable Foundation.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Ministry of College and Universities

PLAQUE #12


Location: On the grounds of the J. Anderson Smith Co.,
(a former Massey residence), H-Way 2, Newcastle

THE MASSEYS AT NEWCASTLE
One of the world's largest manufacturers of heavy farm machinery, Massey-Ferguson has its foundations in a modest family business developed in Newcastle. Established in Bond Head by Daniel Massey, the fledgling operation was moved to large quarters here in 1849. For 30 years the Newcastle Foundry and Machinery Manufactory prospered under the shrewd management of three generations of enterprising Masseys. Capitalizing on the expanding wheat market, Hart, Daniel's son, skilfully adapted American-designed implements to suit Canadian agrarian conditions. When sales were secured in Europe, marking Canada's first export of machinery overseas, continued expansion of the firm was ensured. By 1879 the operation had outgrown its Newcastle factories and the Massey Manufacturing Company, now managed by Hart's son Charles, moved to larger facilities in Toronto.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Citizenship and Culture

PLAQUE #13


Location: Near the junctions of H-Way 2 & 115, Newcastle

NEWCASTLE FISH HATCHERY 1868
On this site in 1866 Samuel Wilmot began to experiment with the artificial breeding of salmon. His success led the federal government in 1868 to enlarge Wilmot's project into Ontario's first full scale fish hatchery, one of the earliest in North America. The station and rearing ponds, built to restore Ontario's declining salmon fisheries, reached its maximum production in 1876 when 1,500,000 eggs were hatched. By this time hatcheries were in operation in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, under Wilmot's supervision. In 1876 he was appointed federal Superintendent of Fish Breeding Establishments. The Newcastle Hatchery, which had established a pattern for fish culture in many parts of the world, ceased operation in 1914.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

PLAQUE #14


Location: On the grounds of the Clark Museum, Old Kirby School Rd.
just off County Rd. 9, Kirby

SIR AMBROSE THOMAS STANTON, M.D., K.C.M.G.
1875 - 1938
A distinguished authority on tropical diseases, Stanton was born near here and educated at Trinity Medical College, Toronto. In 1907, after serving as house surgeon at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London, England, he accepted a position at the Institute for Medical Research in present day Malaysia. There, working with Henry Fraser, the institutes's director, Stanton made the revolutionary discovery that beriberi, a debilitating and fatal disease, was caused by a dietary deficiency. He also advanced anti-malaria studies and found the cure for an infectious disease contracted by rubber workers. Appointed Chief Medical Adviser in the British Colonial Office in 1926, Stanton worked tirelessly to promote awareness of medical issues among government officials. For his outstanding contributions to medical science, he was knighted in 1934.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications

PLAQUE #15


Location: At the Mclaughlin family farm near Tyrone, County Rd. 14

ROBERT McLAUGHLIN
1836 - 1921
Robert McLaughlin, a pioneer of the Canadian vehicle industry, was born in the family homestead on this property. In 1867, despite lack of technical training he built two cutters in his driving-shed which stood near this site. His business prospered and in 1869 he established the McLaughlin Carriage Works at Enniskillen. This enterprise, which expanded rapidly, was moved in 1877 to Oshawa where it became the largest carriage-works in the British Empire. In 1907 the McLaughlin Motor Car Company was formed and the following year began to assemble some of the earliest autombiles produced in Canada. The combined companies became General Motors of Canada in 1918.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

The following plaque was sent in by Jim Dawe

PLAQUE #16


Location: On the north side of 7th Concession Road just east of Brock Road (Road 1),Pickering

THISTLE HA'
This farm was acquired about 1848 by John Miller, a Scottish immigrant who became a pioneer importer and breeder of pedigreed livestock in Canada. In 1852 the Millers began importing quality stock, notably shorthorn cattle, Clydesdale horses and later Shropshire sheep from the United Kingdom. Miller's example, as well as the animals bred at Thistle Ha', played an important role in improving stockbreeding throughout North and South America in the 19th century. Succeeding generations of Millers have maintained the farm's reputation for raising fine blooded stock.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

The following 2 plaques were sent in by Gwen Cameron

PLAQUE #17


Location: "Pioneer Memorial Gardens", aka the "Bond Street Pioneer Cemetery",
between Gladstone Avenue and Arena Street, Oshawa

PIONEER MEMORIAL GARDEN
In 1847 this plot of land was conveyed to Wesleyan Methodist Church as the site of a chapel and burying ground. Here rest many of the early pioneers of this district. This memorial was erected in 1949 by Simcoe Street United Church, Oshawa, in memory of those whose names are inscribed here on and of others not so recorded who also sleep here.
"I am the resurrection and the life" saith the Lord, "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." St. John II 25:26

PLAQUE #18


Location: at Lakeview Park, Oshawa

THE HON. GORDON D. CONANT 1885 - 1953
Ontario's twelfth prime minister was born in Oshawa and educated at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall. A practising lawyer, he was a leader in civic affairs and in 1916-17 served as mayor of Oshawa. During the following years he held various municipal offices, and in 1937 was elected to the provincial legislature as Liberal member for the riding of Ontario. He was appointed attorney general that year for the administration of the Hon. Michael F. Hepburn and, on the latter's resignation in 1942, succeeded him as prime minister. Mr. Conant resigned in 1943 and became Master of the Supreme Court of Ontario.

Ontario Archaelological and Historic Sites Board

The following plaque was sent in by Mary Cook

PLAQUE #19


Location: on Hwy 7, just east of Brock Road, in the village of Brougham

PETER MATTHEWS c 1789 - 1838
Peter Matthews farmed the lands immediately northeast of here in the early nineteenth century. On December 2, 1837, neighbours asked him to lead men from the area to join an uprising against the government in Toronto planned by William Lyon Mackenzie. Matthews supported democratic reforms was popular in his community and had served in the War of 1812. He agreed to the request and played a leading role in the confused events of the Rebellion of 1837. When the rebellion failed, Matthews was captured by government militia. Authorities decided to make an example of Matthews and another prominent rebel, Samuel Lount. Convicted of treason and publicly hanged they became martyrs of the rebellion whose memory would be invoked by reformers for generations to come.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications

The following plaque was sent in by the McRae Family;
Tom, Cathy, Sarah, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander and Nick

PLAQUE #20


Location: Ajax Municipal Building, 65 Harwood Avenue South, Ajax

THE FOUNDING OF AJAX
In 1941 the Canadian Government established here a shell-filling plant operated by Defence Industries Limited. At peak production over 9,000 persons from across Canada lived and worked on this site. The community was named for H.M.S. Ajax, the British cruiser which, with H.M.S. Exeter and H.M.S Achilles, defeated the German pocket battleship "Graf Spee" in December, 1939, at the Battle of the River Plate. After the Second World War, Ajax became a temporary campus of the University of Toronto for thousands of returning veterans. Under the administration of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the community grew and new industries were attracted. It became an Improvement District in 1950 and an incorporated town in 1954.

Erected by the Archeological and Historic Sites Board,
Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #21


Location: In a small park at the junction of Kingston Road West and
Old Kingston Road, 1 block west of Church Street, Pickering

THE FOUNDING OF PICKERING
Between 1801 and 1807 a settlement developed here in Pickering Township where the Danforth Road crossed Duffin's Creek. Among the early settlers was Timothy Rogers, a prominent Quaker and colinzer who built a saw and grist-mill in 1809. A post-office was established in 1829 but the hamlet of Duffin's Creek developed slowly. The construction of the Grand Trunk Railway, completed in 1856, and growing agricultural prosperity stimulated the community's development as an important grist-milling and local commercial centre. Known as Pickering from the late 1870's, it became a police village in 1900 with about 1000 inhabitants. In 1953 it was made an incorporated Village and in 1974 amalgamated with the Town of Ajax.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation

PLAQUE #22


Location: Just inside the entrance gates to the school, on the east side of Reynolds St.
across from Gilbert St. E., 3 blocks south of Dundas St. E., Whitby

ONTARIO LADIES' COLLEGE
Opened in 1874 by the Governor-General, Lord Dufferin, the Ontario Ladies' College was established in "Trafalgar Castle", former residence of Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, Sheriff of Ontario County. Built in 1859, "Trafalgar Castle" was visited in 1869 by Prince Arthur and Sir John A. Macdonald. The college, under the jurisdiction of the Methodist Church, offered a diploma, and matriculation for university entrance. Additions to the school were named in honour of Dr. Egerton Ryerson in 1877 and Lillian Frances Massey Treble in 1895. The Rev. J.J. Hare served the college as principal from its opening until 1915. Guest lecturers at the school included Lucy Maude Montgomery and Bliss Carman. Since 1925 the college has been associated with the United Church of Canada.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Ministry of Colleges and Universities

PLAQUE #23


Location: At the SE corner of Courtice Rd. and Bloor St.
in front of a church, Courtice

THE BIBLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Perhaps the most fervent of the Methodist sects, the Bible Christian Church was formed in southwestern England in 1815 and established in Upper Canada during the 1830s. Served by itinerant preachers, its small but loyal membership increased gradually, largely among British emigrants from Devon and Cornwall who had settled in rural areas in Northumberland, Durham and Huron Counties. In 1855 the Canadian mission, noted, as was the parent English body, for its emphasis upon lay-ministerial co-operation in church government, became an independent conference and by 1870 numerous chapels, including this structure, had been built. However, inability to gain support in emerging urban centres and mounting financial difficulties arrested the sects growth. In 1884 the Bible Christian Church entered into a union with other Methodist bodies.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Citizenship and Culture

PLAQUE #24


Location: Just inside the main gates of his former home, on the west side of
Simcoe St. N. just north of Adelaide Ave. W., Oshawa

R.S. "SAM” McLAUGHLIN, C.C., 1871-1972
Born in nearby Enniskillen, McLaughlin apprenticed in his father’s Oshawa carriage-works when he was sixteen. Convinced of the potential for growth of the automobile industry, he established in 1907 the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, the first major automobile manufacturer in Canada. This company became part of General Motors in 1918 with McLaughlin as president of the Canadian company and a vice-president of the American corporation. A noted philanthropist, he provided funds to build the McLaughlin Planetarium at Toronto, erect buildings at Queen’s University, Kingston, and endow a medical foundation. His mansion, “Parkwood”, begun in 1916, was designed by the Toronto architectural firm of Darling and Pearson. This notable house and distinguished gardens were bequeathed to the Oshawa General Hospital in 1972.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation

PLAQUE #25


Location: In Newcastle, in front of a church at the SW corner of Mill Street South and
Edward Street West, 3 blocks south of King Street

BISHOP CHARLES HENRY BRENT 1862-1929
An outstanding humanitarian and churchman, Brent was born near Newcastle and ordained in Toronto in 1887. Following parochial service in Buffalo and Boston, he was elected first Episcopal Bishop of the Philippine Islands in 1901. Confronted by the devastating moral and physical effects of opium addiction, Brent became an uncompromising advocate of drug control. He urged international co-operation in eradicating drug abuse and served as president of the Opium Commission at Shanghai (1909) and the Opium Conference at The Hague (1911-12). Elected Bishop of Western New York in 1917, Brent vigorously promoted Christian unity and, in 1927, presided over the World Conference on Faith and Order. This ecumenical gathering at Lausanne, Switzerland, helped to lay the foundation of the World Council of Churches.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation

The next 12 plaques were sent in by Gord Brown and
are all located in Pickering Village (Durham)

PLAQUE #26

Location: On the corner of Hwy. 2 and Notion Rd. in front

SPINK'S MILL

In 1875 John L. Spink erected on this site a large brick four-story grist mill, measuring 50 feet by 70 feet, at a cost of $36,000. At its full capacity, using six stones driven by four waterwheels, the mill employed five millers and could produce 250 barrekls of flour daily. In 1905 the mill was enhanced by a 100 foot storage elevator built of hemlock timbers on the west side of the original structure. To service the complex, a rail spur line was constructed by the Grand Trunk Railway, which ran along the east side of Notion Road from the main line north to the mill. John Spink, born in 1845 in King Township, Ontario, settled in Pickering in 1862. He originally worked 18 hours a day in the Forest mills on the 3rd Concession for $5.00 a month plus room and board. In 1867, with his brother William, he leased the Whitevale mills from P.T. White. In 1875 he moved to Pickering Village and built his own mill, beginning construction in April and opening the mill in August. In addition, he subdivided the lots along the original portion of Elizabeth Street just east of Dufferin Creek, where several late Victorian-era homes are still standing. John Spink became one of the most successful grain merchants in Canada. He became the Treasurer and later the President of the Toronto Board of Trade. After his death in 1913, the mill was operated successfully by the Campbell Flour Milling Company and later the Maple Leaf Milling Company. Unfortunately in 1934 fire destroyed both the elevator and the mill, resulting in the loss of one of the Village's most prominent landmarks.
Erected by the Heritage Ajax Advisory Committee.
June 2003

PLAQUE #27

Location: On a forest trail pathway between Elizabeth St. and Hwy. 2

SPINK'S MILL RACE

Pickering's largest and most successful grist mill (flour mill) was opened in 1875 by John L. Spink, at the site of the present Moddie's Motel on Kingston Road. In order to provide the necessary water pressure to operate the five water wheels at the mill, a one-mile long mill race or canal was built. The canal began at Duffin's Creek east of Riverside Drive and continued to its junction with Elizabeth Street, where the water went through a culvert under the road, continued across the creek in a 1200 ft. long sluice, and flowed into the mill.

The bench near this plaque, donated by John Boddy Homes, represents one of the only remnants of the mill race that has survived to this day. It was moved from its original location on Elizabeth Street in 2003.
Plaque erected by the Heritage Ajax Advisory Committee
June 2003

PLAQUE #28

Location: On Elizabeth St.

ELIZABETH

STREET

PIONEER

CEMETERY

This old Weslayan Methodist cemetery on Elizabeth Street (formerly Mill Street) is one of Ajax's oldest burial grounds. It is also the site of one of the earliest churches in Duffins Creek (Pickering Village). The original church building, a white wooden structure built in 1843, was located at the north end of the cemetery. This church was used until 1879 when the congregation moved to a much larger brick structure on Old Kingston Road. Weslayan Methodism is a precursor of the present-day United Church of Canada.

Many of Pickering Village's prominent families and their descendants are buried in this cemetery. Reading the names on the gravestones is like reading a history book. The earliest interment in the cemetery was carried out in March 1852.

Located on the bank over looking Duffins Creek, this was a scenic location for a church and a peaceful resting place for those buried here.
Erected by Heritage Ajax June, 2000

PLAQUE #29

Location: On Old Kingston Rd. two blocks West of Church

"The Gordon House" was built as a hotel in 1881 by John Cuthbert. This impressive building displays skill and craftmanship in the highly decorative brick facade and interior striped hardwood floors. James Gordon was proprietor for several years prior to purchasing the hotel in 1893, and his family continued to operate this establishment until 1952. During this period, the dining room developed a fine reputation for its home cooked meals , prepared by Mrs. Susan Gordon. Early in the hotel's history, the east wing was occupied by the Standard Bank. The building underwent extensive renovation in 1988.

PLAQUE #30

Location: On Old Kingston Rd. one block West of Church St

DALE BLOCK

80, 82, 84 Old Kingston Road

The Dale block was the largest commercial building in Pickering Village. Originally a hotel owned by Peter Head, it became a store and residence when Edmund Wright purchased it in 1874. With its decorative brickwork and detailed parapet: it was one of the most impressive structures in the village.

Many prominent community members operated businesses generally dry goods or hardware, from here. The unique single story portion on the east end was used as a residence. The Local Independent Order of Oddfellows met in the large second floor meeting room known as Dale's Hall.

For many years Christopher Dale, who was born in Pickering Village, ran a hardware store in this building. In 1890 he purchased the east half of the building. Christopher Dale and eleven other family members are interred in the Society of Friends cemetery on Mill Street.

PLAQUE #31

Location: On Old Kingston Rd. between Church St. and Linton Ave.

THE

VILLAGE STORE

This small frame mercantile with attached residence was built here in the 1880's for Thomas Tyke,a local merchant, on what was then called King Street. The mercantile has survived largely intact, and retains much of its original detail. The recessed entrance, high windows and strong mullions give it a special charm. The attached residence, although much altered, is of a wood-frame, storey-and-a-half design.

Through the years, the building has housed a variety of businesses, and a library. Its most prominent occupants were Mr. and Mrs. Issac Wise. During the 1890's they were involved in a variety of commercial ventures, including groceries, millinery, and the jewelry business. They were long time residents of the village, and active in community affairs. They are buried nearby in the Pickering Old Methodist cemetery on Elizabeth Street.

Erected by the Ajax L.A.C.A.C. 1994

PLAQUE #32

Location: On a median separating Old Kingston Rd. and Hwy.2

THE

VILLAGE BELL

From this site, the rich vibrant tone of this bell could be heard throughout the village. For over fifty years, beginning in 1890, the village bell announced the outbreak of fire.
When the first Pickering Company of volunteer firemen was formed in 1888, money was collected from the villagers by subscription to ensure fire protection. The men rented the former Canton Presbyterian Church which then stood vacant on this site, and beside the church they built a six storey bell tower. This was considered to be a good central location.
Then the volunteer firefighters ordered a 200 pound bell from the Clinto H. Meneely Bell Company in Troy, New York. When concern was raised that the bell might not be large enough to be heard everywhere, it was returned and this 500 pound bell was cast. Whenever fire was discovered in the village, the first person to reach the firehall would ring the bell to call the volunteers to report for duty.
Besides its principal function as a fire alarm. the bell was rung four times daily by a paid bell ringer at the hours of 7, 12, 1 and 6 to announce the beginning of the work day, lunch time, the end of lunch hour and the close of the work day. On Sundays the bell called the villagers to worship at the various churches. On V-E day, May 8, 1945, the bell rang out the good news all that day and the next, that the Second World War was over.
Among those citizens who were employed as bell-ringers were: George Gilders, Richard Moore, Issac Wise, Robert Ham, George Cowan, Robert Rankin, George Elliott, and his wife, Elsie, the only woman known to have performed this duty. The Elliots were the last bell ringers.
The village fire bell, though now silent, bears quiet testimony to earlier times in the Village of Pickering.
Erected by the Ajax L.A.C.A.C. 1996

PLAQUE #33

Location: On the northwest corner of Church St.and Hwy. 2

1884

THE DUNBAR GENERAL
STORE

In 1883 J.R. Brownridge purchased a small parcel of land on this corner from Lydia Linton, the daughter of William Hartrick. She subdivided the fron portion of the Hartrick estate, initiating the commercial growth on the north side of Old Kingston Road in Pickering Village. Brownridge built this general store shortly after acquiring the property, and in 1885 sold it to William Dunbar for $1,250. The Dunbar name was prominent in the Pickering area, the Village of Dunbarton was named for William's grandfather, William Dunbar Senior. With his wife Margaret, William continued to operate this general store until 1912 when he sold it to James Richardson, a local grocer.

At the time of construction, the architectural style of this retail building was considered very modern for a small farming community such as Pickering Village. Commercial centres in larger towns and villages in southern Ontario were developing streetscapes dominated by two-storey, flat roofed stores. Devoid of windows, the adjoining side walls were built on the property line to utilize the narrow urban lot and to allow for the sharing of a common wall. The name Dunbar was once prominently painted on the front facade, and a front porch and wooden sidewalk have succumbed to an expanding Kingston Road.

Situated at this busy crossroad, the Dunbar store is a visible reminder of the commercial centre of Pickering Village before the turn of the century.

Erected by the Ajax L.A.C.A.C. 1993

PLAQUE #34

Location: On Church St. south of Hwy. 2 opposite the church

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES CATHOLIC CHURCH

Located across the street is one of Ajax's most hostorically significant and architecturally important landmarks, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

This distinctive church was designed by Henry Langley, a prominent architect of the mid-1800's who designed over 60 churches in Ontario. St. Francis de Sales is an excellent example of high Gothic church architecture.

The church features polychromatic clay brick, which is red with buff accents. Its irreplaceable stained glass windows were donated by some of Pickering Village's early founding families. The spire of the church is rooted in the original polychromatic slate tiles. An interesting feature is the trefoil rose coloured dormer windows which pierce the roof. These are unique in a village church.

Construction of the church began in 1869 and was completed in 1871. Many of the parishioners, Irish Catholics were skilled craftsmen and helped to build this church. Brick was hauled from Whitby by horse and wagon. Descendants of some of those early founding families still live in the Ajax area today.

This plaque is dedicated to St. Francis de Sales Church, which was designated as a provincial heritage building in 1999. It signifies the importance of preserving such a valuable link in the history of Ajax.

Erected by Heritage Ajax June, 2000

Designated

Heritage Property

Town of Ajax

CIRCA 1869 NO. 025


PLAQUE #35

Location: On Mill St. one block south of Hwy. 2

PICKERING FRIENDS BURIAL GROUND

This Burial Ground, owned by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), is one of the oldest in the Ajax/Pickering area. Early information is to be found in the will of Timothy Rogers, the earliest Quaker settler in Pickering, who donated the land for a Quaker Meeting House and Burial Ground in 1814. Timothy Rogers' prime concern was the establisment of Quaker settlements first a Yonge Street, Newmarket, then in Pickering. In his will dated 1829, Timothy Rogers referred to the Burial Ground in Pickering and mentioned that his wife Sarah, his daughter Sarah, his sons John Wilde and John Emsley, and others were buried there.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, graves in some Quaker Burial Grounds were not marked by gravestones. Thus, there are no markers for Timothy Rogers or any of the persons mentioned in his will.

This Burial Ground is a reminder of the Quaker heritage and roots established early in the settlement of Pickering Township.
Plaque erected by the Heritage Ajax Advisory Committee
2004


PLAQUE #36

Location: On the corner of Hwy. 2 and Mill St. and is currently a masonic hall

QUAKER MEETING HOUSE

IN 1812, TIMOTHY ROGERS (1756 - 1827), A QUAKER SETTLER ENVISIONED THE VILLAGE OF DUFFIN'S CREEK (NOW PICKERING VILLAGE) AS THE CENTRE FOR QUAKER YEARLY MEETINGS IN CANADA. QUAKER MEETINGS WERE FIRST HELD IN HIS LOG HOME. LATER, HE DONATED 2 ACRES OF HIS FARM FOR A MEETING HOUSE AND BURIAL GROUND (LOCATED ACROSS MILL STREET).

THE FIRST MEETING HOUSE WAS BUILT c1819 FOLLOWED BY A NEW 2 STOREY FRAME STRUCTURE c1833-34. THE PRESENT RED BRICK STRUCTURE WAS BUILT IN 1866-67 AT A COST OF $6,000. THIS MEETING HOUSE WAS OPENED ON JUNE 28TH 1867 WITH THE FIRST SESSION OF THE CANADA YEARLY MEETING (ORTHODOX) QUAKERS AS A CO-EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION. THE COLLEGE WAS SITUATED ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE MEETING HOUSE ON A HILL. UNFORTUNATELY THIS INSTITUTION WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE IN 1905. IT WAS RELOCATED TO NEWMARKET.

AS THE CLOSELY KNIT QUAKER RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY WAS NOT DEPENDENT ON PROFESSIONAL CLERGY, QUAKERS WERE ABLE TO FULLY ENJOY THEIR FAITH IN THE PIONEERING ERA. WORSHIP IN THE SOCIETY PF FRIENDS (QUAKERS) IS BASED ON SILENT EXPECTANT WAITING, SPEAKING ONLY WHEN MOVED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE HISTORIC QUAKER PEACE TESTIMONY, YOUNG QUAKERS PARTICIPATED IN THE FRIENDS AMBULANCE UNIT DURING AND AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE BUILDING IS NOT TYPICAL OF OTHER ONTARIO MEETING HOUSES WHICH ARE TRADITIONALLY OF SINGLE STOREY FRAME CONSTRUCTION. THE PICKERING MEETING HOUSE HAS BEEN ALTERED SINCE IT WAS BUILT. THIS STRUCTURE EXHIBITS SIMPLE AMERICAN CLASSICAL REVIVAL FEATURES AND ARCHITECTURAL PRECISENESS IN ITS SYMMETRY. THE SEMI-CIRCULAR ARCHED FRONT DOOR PROVIDES A FOCAL POINT AND ESTABLISHES THE IMPOTANCE OF THE BUILDING'S FUNCTION. A GABLE ROOF PRECEDED THE PRESENT HIP ROOF, BUT IT WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE AFTER THE BUILDING WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING IN 1908. EARLY RECORDS OF THE MEETING HOUSE AND LIBRARY WERE LOST. THE DETAILED BUT UNADORNED COMMON BOND BRICKWORK AND THE ROUND HEADED WINDOW OPENINGS SUGGEST THE RESTRAINT, THE SOLIDITY AND THE DIGNITY OF THE QUAKER WAT OF LIFE.

THIS MEETING HOUSE AND THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS) BURIAL GROUND, WHERE TIMOTHY ROGERS IS BURIED, ARE REMINDERS OF OUR QUAKER HERITAGE ESTABLISHED EARLY IN THE SETTLEMENT OF PICKERING TOWNSHIP.

PLAQUE #37

Location: On Linton Ave two blocks north of Hwy.2 in front of an Antique Sho

William Hartrick (1804 - 1874), a magistrate,

and his wife Phoebe Hartrick,

nee Haight (1810 - 1882),

built this Neo-Classical, Ontario style cottage in 1843.

One of their three children,

Lydia Linton, after whom Linton Avenue was named,

resided here for sveral years

after Williams death in 1874.


Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, 1982


PLAQUE #38

Location: In Dr. Herbert A. Bruce Community Park at the west end of Greenway Blvd,
west off Simcoe Street, Port Perry

COLONEL THE HONOURABLE
HERBERT ALEXANDER BRUCE, MD, LLD
1868-1963
Herbert Bruce was born at Blackstock in 1868, and grew up on a farm located on this Port Perry site. In 1893, he graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto. Specializing in surgery, he rose to the top of his profession, and in 1911 founded the Wellesley Hospital, Toronto. During the First World War, he was appointed Inspector-General of the Canadian Medical Services and produced the Bruce Report, a frank criticism of medical care provided to Canadian soldiers serving overseas. In 1919, Bruce married Angela Hall. Dedicated to public service, Bruce was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1932-1937) and served as the Conservative member of Parliament for Parkdale, Toronto (1940-1946). In 1934, Bruce condemned the state of Toronto's poorer neighbourhoods, and was a vocal member of the Opposition during the Second World War. Bruce championed cancer care in the 1920s, social housing in the 1930s, better health care for the military and veterans, and the introduction of contributory health insurance in the 1940s.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario

PLAQUE #39

Location: On the east side of Water Street, Port Perry just south of Queen Street

DANIEL DAVID PALMER
(1845-1913)
Raised in Port Perry, D.D. Palmer was self-educated, well read and keenly interested in spiritualism and alternative medicine. While working as a magnetic healer in the United States, his clinical observations and analysis led him to conclude that proper spinal alignment could restore 'nerve flow' and ensure good general health. Despite legal and financial setbacks, he published books on chiropractic treatment and founded and taught at several chiropractic schools. Palmer is recognized as the founder of chiropractic for his crucial role in creating and popularizing this alternative medical care in North America.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

PLAQUE #40

Location: On the southwest corner of Simcoe Street (Road 2) and Queen Street, Port Perry

FORMER PORT PERRY TOWN HALL
During the 19th century, many villages and small towns across Canada constructed municipal meeting halls which served as political and social centres for their communities. This is a particularly fine example of the type. It was completed in 1873 to celebrate the opening of a rail link to Lake Ontario, an event which appeared to herald the economic triumph of Port Perry over other nearby communities. Noteworthy for its commanding site and the quality of its design and interior finishes, this building testifies to the vision and optimism of its sponsors.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

PLAQUE #41

Location: On the east side of Durham Road 1 just south of Durham Road 13, Leaskdale

LEASKDALE MANSE
From 1911 to 1926, this Presbyterian manse was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, the world-famous author whose writing career was launched in Prince Edward Island. Here at Leaskdale she began her role as a wife and mother, and penned 11 books, including sequels to Anne of Green Gables. She also continued to chronicle her own life in candid and colourful journals which were posthumously published. The Leaskdale diary entries portray the manse as a stage for the dreams of a demanding and productive part of her life, and provide important insights into her fiction and issues of the period.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

PLAQUE #42

Location: On the south side of Durham Road 15 just east of Highway 12, Township of Brock

THE OLD STONE CHURCH
This building, constructed between 1840 and 1853 by the congregation of St. Andrew's, is remarkable for its beauty and excellent state of preservation. The aesthetic appeal of this modest Presbyterian church derives mainly from its balanced proportions, the elegant simplicity of its stonework, and its finely detailed windows. Inside, the horseshoe gallery, raised pulpit, and boxed pews have survived virtually unchanged since the 1860s. A fine example of local craftsmanship, this is one of the few intact vernacular stone churches now remaining in Canada.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

PLAQUE #43

Location: His former home on Simcoe Street North just north of Adelaide Street, Oshawa

PARKWOOD
A rare surviving example of the grand estates of the inter-war years, Parkwood consists of a richly decorated house set in 5 ha of grounds. The house, originally constructed in 1916-1917 to the designs of the Toronto firm of Darling and Pearson, was the home of Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin, President of General Motors of Canada. His wife, Adelaide, took a particular interest in the gardens designed by H.B. and L.A. Dunington-Grubb in the 1920s and in the magnificent formal garden constructed in 1935-1936 to the designs of John Lyle.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

PLAQUE #44

Location: His former home on Simcoe Street North just north of Adelaide Street, Oshawa

ROBERT SAMUEL McLAUGHLIN
(1871-1972)
A famous industrialist and philanthropist, "Colonel Sam" McLaughlin was a founder of the automotive industry in Canada. Involved in the manufacture of carriages and sleighs for his family business, he foresaw the importance of the automobile and adapted his McLaughlin Carriage Works for automotive production. He partnered with Buick Motor Company in 1907 and later with Chevrolet. In 1918, his companies were incorporated into General Motors of Canada. His shrewd business skills led to a vice-presidency at the American parent company, confirming his strong ties with this industrial giant, and his leadership of it in both countries.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

COUNTY PAGE

PLAQUE INDEX

HOME PAGE