Historical Plaques of
Simcoe County

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Location: Highway #26, West of Barrie

At the forks of the Nottawasaga River, Lt.-Col. Robert McDouall, Glengarry Light Infantry, built the flotilla of boats with which he effected the relief of the British garrison at Fort Michilimackinac, in May 1814. He then organized a second expedition which, on the 19th of July, captured Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi.

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


Location: Bradford

Professor of Physics at O.A.C. Guelph, whose foresight and energy were principal factors in the development of the Holland Marsh Gardens. He came to Bradford in 1924 and harvested his first crop in 1928. He died suddenly while at work in his garden on July 5th, 1938.

Erected jointly by the County of Simcoe, Townships of West Gwillimbury and King and Village of Bradford 1955.


Location: West Gwillimbury

This cross-roads Pioneer Hamlet half a mile east of here, was settled about 1840. It was the site of Collins' Toll Gate when the old plank road was built in 1851. By 1866 there was a stage coach stop,Thomas Armstrong's Bay Horse Inn, C. Heasting's Crown Inn, a blacksmith, grocer, mason, carpenter, dressmaker, shoemaker and a school. Lieut.-Col. Richard Tyrwhitt, M.P. from 1882 to 1896, a commander in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, was a distinguished resident. The Village declined as transportation improved.

Erected by Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury Historical Society, Assisted by the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.


Location: In front of the church, on the north side of 6th line,
west of 10th Sideroad, street number 3380

In 1815 some 140 Highland Scots from Lord Selkirk's Red River Settlement, disheartened by crop failures and the opposition of the North West Company, moved to Upper Canada. Transported in the Nor 'Westers' canoes, they disembarked at Holland Landing in September. They found temporary employment in the Yonge Street settlements but in 1819 many took up land in West Gwillimbury. In 1823 Presbyterian services were held in a building on this site which was replaced by a frame church in 1827. The present structure was completed in 1869.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: On the SE corner of St. Paul St. and Huron St. (Highway 26), Collingwood

A non-political international women's organization, the Associated Country Women of the World was formed largely through the efforts of Margaret Watt, a Collingwood native. Mrs. Watt was a member of the Women's Institute, a Canadian association dedicated to the concerns of rural women, and she introduced that organization to Great Britain during World War 1 to help and work to counteract food shortages. With the expansion of the Women's Institute movement to Commonwealth and European countries after the war, Mrs. Watt began to advocate the establishment of an international alliance. Finally in 1933, in Stockholm, Sweden, rural women's organizations including the Women's Institute, united to form the Associated Country Women of the World. Mrs. Watt, by then a Member of the British Empire, was elected the body's first president.

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


Location: Collingwood

In the 1640's Jesuit Fathers worked among the Petun Indians in the Collingwood area, the western limit of their Huronia mission field.

From the 1850's Priests fron Penetanguishene said Mass occasionally in communities near the southern shore of Georgian Bay, in 1855 with the coming of the railway from Barrie, Priests served Collingwood more regualarly.

On March 14, 1858 Bishop Armand de Charbonnel of Toronto blessed the first Catholic Church in Collingwood - on Pine Street originally served from Barrie, it became part of the new Parish of Nottawasaga, in 1871. In 1886, the Pastor, Rev. Edward J. Kiernan, moved from Stayner to Collingwood and began the present church. The cornerstone was laid May 24, 1888, by Bishop T.J. Dowling of Peterborough. The church was blessed December 16, 1888, by Very Rev. R.A. O'Connor, Dean of Barrie.

Just east of this church, a catholic school was built in 1907, which served until 1970 when a new school opened on Findlay Drive. Joined to the church Fr.Ellard Center, blessed January 25, 1981 by Bishop M. Pearce Lacey, Auxillary Bishop of Toronto.

This Plaque was blessed and dedicated by his Eminence, G. Emmett Cardinal Carter, Archbishop of Toronto, on May 15, 1983.

An Historical Plaque of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto


Location: In front of the library, on the west side of King St.
just north of Elizabeth St., Midland

In 1871 a group of the principal shareholders of the Midland Railway, headed by Adolph Hugel, selected this location as the northern terminus of their line which then ran from Port Hope to Beaverton. Known at the time as Mundy's Bay, the region was sparsely inhabited, but the interest aroused by their action resulted in the survey of a Town site in 1872-73. Most of the lots were owned by the Midland Land Company which was controlled by the railway. The line, which soon attracted settlers to the area, was completed in 1879. The new community, named Midland, achieved its early growth through shipping and the lumber and grain trade.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Highway #12, Port McNicoll, Township of Tay

Spanning the waters of Hog Bay, a great wooden trestle bridge was built in 1908 to carry the Canadian Pacific Railroad from grain elevators at Port McNicoll.

2,141 feet long and 50 feet high, it was one of the longest wooden structures on the continent. The pine timbers were 8" by 16" and pilings of B.C. fir were 65 feet long. The builder was Mike McPeake of Port McNicoll.

Patrolled by armed guards in both world wars, this unique and handsome bridge was last used in 1971 and demolished in 1978.

Erected by Simcoe County Historical Association 1981


Location: Historic Nancy Island, Wasaga Beach

To read on how Nancy Island was formed please read Nancy Island-a piece of history
and many thanks to Marilyn Beecroft of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park for allowing me to reprint it.

After being buried for
112 years, the Hull of H.M.S. Nancy
was recovered at this spot in the
year 1927.

In the last and final war
between two neighbouring and
friendly peoples the Nancy was
destroyed by fire 14th August, 1814.


Location: Historic Nancy Island, Wasaga Beach

Here lies a British Soldier of the war of 1812 - 1814. His remains were uncovered July 23, 1949 on the bank of the Nottawasaga River two miles from the river mouth.

Known only unto God

Dedicated to Service Veterans

Past - Present - Future


Location: Wasaga Beach, Historic Nancy Island

On August 8, 1934 J.R. Ayling and L.G. Reid, flying "The Trail of the Caribou" a twin-engined bi-plane, the De Haviland "Dragon", took off from the hard sands of Wasaga Beach headed for Baghdad. An icing problem led to a bent control rod and a throttle stuck wide open. This, in turn, increased fuel consumption by 70 per cent above that estimated and resulted in termination of the flight at Heston Airfield, London, England after 3700 miles and 30 hours, 55 minutes of flying time. Despite failure in their main objective the aviators had accomplished the first non-stop flight from the mainland of Canada to England.
French translation not available at this time

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


Location: Barrie - This plaque is on Locomotive #1531

In memory of

William Huckett No. 1 Engineer

John Harvie No. 1 Conductor

And all railwaymen who served the
Q.S. & L.H.R.R. and its successors

1853 - 1967


Location: In the SW corner of the small park on the south side
of Dunlop St. across from Owen St., Barrie

Site of eastern terminus of an indian portage from Kempenfeldt Bay to Willow Creek and thence by the Nottawasaga River to Georgian Bay. In the winter of 1813-14, a force under Lieut-Colonel Robert McDouall followed it on the way to relieve the isolated British garrison at Michilimackinac. That summer it was developed as a rough wagon road and till about 1830 was in frequent use for transport of supplies to Penetanguishene and the western military and fur trading posts.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Barrie

HEWITT BERNARD 1825 - 1893
Born in Jamaica, Bernard immigrated to Canada and settled in Barrie, where in 1856 he established a law practice. He was chief clerk, 1858-66, in the office of the attorney-general for Canada West, John A. MacDonald, and later became his brother-in-law, Bernard accompanied MacDonald to the Charlottetown Conference (1864) and was the secretary of the Quebec (1864) and London (1866-67) Conferences, at which the groundwork was laid for Confederation. A Lieutenant-Colonel in the militia, he served as aide-de-camp to two governors-general, Viscount Monck and Baron Stanley of Preston. He also served as deputy minister of justice, 1868-76. Bernard died at Montreal in 1893 and is buried at Ottawa.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

Water Fountain #15

Location: Barrie


to the citizens

of Barrie and District


The Bank of Toronto

June - 1891


Centennial year 1953


Location: In a small park just west of the
Schooner Town Bridge, Wasaga Beach

The Nottawasaga River formed part of a transportation link between Lake Ontario and the Upper Great Lakes wbich became a vitally important supply route to British Western posts during the war of 1812. The base of operations for the Royal Navy's vessels on Lake Huron was located here at the foot of navigation on the River from 1815 to 1817. Buildings to house the base were erected in October 1815 by the ship's company of H.M. Schooner "Confiance". Within two years orders were issued transferring the naval establishment to Penetanguishene, where superior anchorage was available and in late 1817 the naval base at "Schooner Town" was abandoned. In 1976 management of the site became the responsibility of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.

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


Location: Coldwater, Coldwater Canadiana Museum


Restored by
Coldwater Canadiana, Medonte Twp.

Built by
Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Woodrow
from Scotland about 1840.

Stage coaches from the Narrows
drove past, forded the river and met the steamer, Gore, at Sturgeon Bay.

Erected by

Simcoe County
Tourist and


Location: Coldwater, Coldwater Museum


ART GRAY 1922 - 1996

Geologist/Curator/Historian/Tour Guide

over 25 years of dedicated service

to Coldwater Canadiana Museum

Mamie Gray - Mother


Location: Coldwater

This fire bell served the Village of Coldwater for 40 years and hung in top of the hose tower, that was situated nearby. It is one of the remaining links of the past in this community.


Location: On Line 10 Road just east of County Road 27,
street number 4306, Newton Robinson


1894 - 1984

A veteran parliamentarian who subsequently served as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, Rowe was born in Hull, Iowa and raised in Simcoe County. He early exhibited an interest in politics and in 1923 was elected to the provincial legislature as the Conservative member for Simcoe South. Two years later Rowe contested and won the federal seat for Dufferin-Simcoe, embarking upon a career in the House of Commons which, with the exception of one interruption during the late 1930's, spanned almost four decades. For his lengthy and dedicated service, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario in 1963. Upon leaving public life five years later, Rowe retired here to his farm where he had long operated a successful horse breeding and harness racing business.

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


Location: On the west side of County Road 27 just south of
County Road 88, street number 2892, Bond Head


1849 - 1919

This famous physician and author, son of the Reverend Featherstone Osler, was born July 12, 1849, in the Anglican rectory near Bond Head. Here he lived until 1857. He taught medicine at some of the greatest schools of his day including McGill, Johns Hopkins, and Oxford. His lectures and writing revolutionized methods of medical instruction and measures to protect public health. Gaining world renown, he became known as the father of clinical medicine.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: On the west side of County Road 27 just south of
County Road 88, street number 2892, Bond Head


1843 - 1944

William Mullock was born in Bond Head where his father practised medicine. He graduated from the University of Toronto 1863 and was called to the Bar in 1867. A strong proponent of university federation. Mullock served his Alma Matu successfuly as Senator and Vice-Chancellor 1873-1900 and became Chancellor in 1924. First elected to the House of Commons in 1882, he was Postmaster General in the Laurier cabinet 1896-1905. There he introduced imperial penney postage, the trans-Pacific cable and far-reaching labour legislation, Knighted in 1902, Sir William was Chief Justice of Ontario 1923-1926.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Just west of the traffic lights, Cookstown


1873 - 1973

Honouring three consecutive generations
of the Henry Coleman family, who have
faithfully served as postmasters in the
Cookstown community

Appointed postmaster:

Henry Coleman, Sept. 1873 - Feb. 1912
Frank Coleman, Feb. 1912 - July 1942
Henry Albert (Bert) Coleman 1942 - 1973

This post office is one of two in Canada
which has been continously served
by one family for over a century

Erected by
Simcoe County
Historical Association



Location: Cookstown

EMILY MURPHY ("Janey Canuck")

1868 - 1933

Emily (Ferguson) Murphy born on a nearby farm, was raised in Cookstown. In 1887 she married Rev. Arthur Murphy, whose work took them to many Ontario towns and to England. Later they moved west, settling in Edmonton in 1907.
A successful author, she wrote "Janey Canuck in the West" and other books and articles. A pioneer feminist, she fought daringly and stubbornly for women's rights.
In 1916 she became the first woman Police Magistrate in the British Empire and Judge of the Alberta Juvenile Court. She was first President of Federated Women's Institutes of Canada 1919-21. She led the movement for recognition in 1929 of women as persons eligible for appointment to the Senate.
Her character was warm, happy, determined and compassionate. "Janey Canuck" was an outstanding citizen, a great person.

Erected by
Simcoe County
Historical Asociation



Location: Brentwood




1871 - 1976

" I will walk among you, and be your God
and you will be my people"

Leviticus 26:12


Location: Minesing, Grenfel Rd. & Portage Trail

During the War of 1812 the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfeldt Bay to Willow Creek formed part of the vital route , via Yonge Street, Lake Simcoe, the Nottawasaga River and Georgian Bay which linked Upper Canada with the British posts on the upper Great Lakes. Here, beside the Minesing Swamp and one mile from the landing on Willow Creek, were stored the hundreds of tons of military supplies and trade goods that maintained the western posts during 1814-15 and the years immediately following. The depot ultimately included some eight log structures built by the military authorities or fur trading companies, and was surrounded by a palisade measuring roughly 280 by 190 feet.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Midland, #12 Highway



The course of this road from Kempenfeldt Bay to the site of Penetanguishene was first surveyed by Samuel Wilmot in 1811. Dr. William (Tiger) Dunlop supervised its construction in the fall of 1814 and although frequently impassible for heavy loads, it served for many years as a supply route to the garrison at Penetanguishene. Under a system of free grants, most of the land immediately adjacent to the road was settled 1819 - 1830.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Highway #12, Township of Tay

To learn more about Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, please visit their website Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons


1639 - 1649

Founded by the Jesuits in 1639, Sainte-Marie was designed as a central residence for the mission to the Wendat (Huron) peoples. For a decade Sainte-Marie was a major French community, the earliest in what is now Ontario. Prolonged daily contact between native people and Europeans profoundly affected both groups. By the winter of 1648-49, Huronia was so ravaged by disease and conflict that the Jesuits abandoned and burned Sainte-Marie and with some Wendat followers moved to Christian Island. The following year the Jesuits and Hurons withdrew to Quebec.

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


Location: Port McNicoll

Although Port McNicoll was not founded until 1912 as the eastern terminous of the C.P.R. Upper Lakes steamships, its limestone was quarried in 1630 for Ste. Marie 1, western terminous of the 800 mile fur trade route from Quebec. Transported by water three miles along the shore of Georgian Bay and up the Wye River, the limestone was used in bastion walls, fireplaces and the altar base by French master mason Pierre Tourmente.


Location: Coldwater



In 1830 Indians of the surrounding region were gathered on a reserve along a newly opened road connecting The Narrows (Orillia) and Coldwater. The superintendent, Capt. Thomas Gummersal Anderson and a band of of Ojibwa under Chief Aisance, settled in Coldwater. Land-hungry settlers influenced the government to move the Indians to Rama and Beausoleil Island 1838-39. This grist-mill, financed with Indian funds, was constructed by Stephen Chapman, JACOB GILL and others in 1833. The mill was sold to George Copeland in 1849 and has been in operation for over 125 years

Erected by Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board.


Location: Angus

In 1827, the magnificent stands of virgin pine growing on the surrounding plains began providing masts and spars for His Majesty's Navy. Charles Rankin surveyed Sunnidale Road to the area in 1833. The Northern Railroad was extended to Angus in 1854-55, shortly after which Jonas Tar Bush assisted by W. Proudfoot, laid out the townsite, first called Pine River, then Angus after Angus Morrison, M.P. It became a thriving lumber and shipping center with a population over 2,000. Establishment of Camp Borden in 1916, and the Forestry seed tree plant in 1923, helped Angus regain its economy after the lumber era.

Erected in 1987 by the Essa Historical Society with the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture


Location: In front of the Simcoe County Administration Center, at Midhurst

Simcoe County was named for John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (1791 - 1796), and was initially administered as part of the "Home District" of Upper Canada. Surveys of the townships commenced just prior to 1820 and business for the district was directed from Holland Landing from 1821 until 1843.

Simcoe County was proclaimed a separated district by order of the Lt.-Gov. on January 11, 1843 at the first sitting of District Council in the newly-completed court house at Barrie. The first warden was Jacob Aemilius Irving. Simcoe Distict was abolished in 1850 in favour of the County of Simcoe.

Simcoe County was responsible for a number of years for the adminstration of the Districts of Muskoka and Parry Sound. The Townships of Mona and Mulmur were separated in 1880, while Rama and Mara joined the county in 1974.

The 150th anniversary of the founding of Simcoe County, was marked by the unveiling of this plaque on September 19, 1993.

Erected by
The Simcoe County Historical Association in co-operation with Simcoe County Council

S.C.H.A. Motto " Preserving the past in the present for the future"


Location: On the NW corner of Line 2 South and Church St., 1 block south
of County Road 20, Shanty Bay

This church is one of the few surviving structures in Ontario built of "rammed earth". This method of construction utilized wet clay mixed with chopped straw, compacted into forms and covered, when dry, with plaster or siding for protection against weather. Built in a plain, somewhat Romanesque style, the church was begun in 1838 and largely completed by 1841, although not officially opened until February 27, 1842. Lt.-Col. Edward O'Brien, leading member of the Shanty Bay settlement, donated the church site and clergyman's residence, and directed the construction of the church. He and his wife, Mary Sophia, are buried in the adjacent cemetery. The Rev. S. A. Ardagh served as rector from 1842 to 1867.

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


Location: On the west side of Main Street, across from Beck Blvd., Penetanguishene

The Attignawantan ("Bear Nation") of the Huron confederacy occupied the Penetanguishene peninsula prior to their dispersal in 1649 by the Iroquois. In 1793 Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe chose Penetanguishene as the terminus of a military route from Toronto. Construction of a naval base began in 1814. British troops were transferred here in 1828 when Drummond Island was returned to the United States. With them came families of French Canadian voyageurs and Metis. George Gordon, Dedin Revol and Dr. David Mitchell were among the first settlers to build homes at Penetanguishene. The military and naval establishments stimulated the community's early economic growth; later, fishing and lumbering became important industries. In 1882 Penetanguishene was incorporated as a town.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation


Location: Penetanguishene

In this historic heart of heroic Huronia. Champlain in 1612 here inaugurated the concept of a Canada reaching from Penetanguishene to the old city of Quebec. Brebeuf and his companions sanctified it with their blood. No man may violate it.


1615 1921



Presented by

Gerald F. Lahey

The next plaque was sent in by Marybeth Brown, Nanaimo, BC. Rance Saunders was her granduncle.
James Durham was her granduncle by marriage to Harriett Saunders


Location: Orillia

The Portage
In 1856 Thompson Smith and James Durham, timber merchants, planning to bring logs from the Black River to their mills on Lake Simcoe, dug a canal from the river to Lake St. John (Sinjun) and built a steampowered "tramway" at this site to carry the logs over to Lake Couchiching.

The large house built here in 1869 as a boarding house for forty lumbermen was run by Rance Saunders, overseer, and his wife Mary Whitney.

Erected by
Simcoe County
Historical Association 1974.

The next plaque was sent in by R.O. Wayne Hall, grandson of "Jake" Gaudaur


Location: Orillia

"JAKE" GAUDAUR, 1858 - 1937
One of the world's greatest oarsmen, Jacob Gill Gaudaur was born and lived in Orillia. With Hosmer of the United States he won the world's championship in the double sculls on Lake Couchiching in 1892. He established a world's record for three miles with a turn at Austin, Texas, in 1843 and improved his own time for that event the following year. In 1896 he won the world's single sculls championship on the Thames, England, and in 1898 successfully defended that title at Vancouver. Following the loss of the singles championship to George Towns at Rat Portage (Kenora) in 1901, Gaudaur, at the age of 43, retired from competition.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historical Sites Board


Location: On the NW corner of Mississauga St. W.
and West St. N., Orillia

The Founding of Orillia
In 1820 the government surveyed Orillia Township and a decade later located Chief William Yellowhead's Ojibwa band on lands near the "Narrows". By 1839, when the government laid out the Orillia town plot, these Indians had been moved across Lake Couchiching to Rama. The first white settlers arrived about 1832 and by the 1850's the community had become an agricultural and lumbering center with two churches and a population of some 200. Advantageous transportation links with Toronto and Georgian Bay stimulated Orillia's development as a commercial center and summer resort. In November, 1866, with a population of over 750, Orillia was incorporated by Simcoe County as a village. Its elected council first met in 1867.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Orillia

On March 25th, 1902, the Town of Orillia became the first municipality in Ontario to have built its own hydro-electric plant with long distance transmission lines. It was on this date that James B. Tudhope, the mayor, closed a switch that started the flow of electricity over 19 miles of transmission lines from the 1000 h.p. generating plant at Ragged Rapids, on the Severn River.
This plaque is a tribute to those farsighted people of Orillia who early recognized the benefits of a publicly-owned power system.
Erected by Ontario Hydro
July, 1967


Location: Alliston


The Fletcher Homestead was built in 1849 by Alliston's first settlers, William and Sarah Fletcher. This cross-shaped frame house was built from the virgin pine to replace their original log shanty on the south bank of the Boyne River. Alliston was named for the Fletcher's native home in Yorkshire, England.
Between this site and the river, Fletcher, with the help of his two sons, John and George, erected a water-powered sawmill in 1847, Alliston's first industry. By 1853 they had built two more mills on the Boyne.
This homestead became a cultural center and visiting Indians were welcomed. It survived two fires which destroyed much of downtown Alliston, one in the winter of 1877, the second in 1891.
It also housed the first Post Office, and William's second son, George, was appointed postmaster in 1867.


Location: Just east of Alliston

In 1858 John Nicol (1820 - 1893) built a mill on this site. It served as a grist and feed mill for area farmers until 1900 when it was burned and it provided the nucleus around which a small community grew. This settlement, called Nicolston, contained a post office, store, school, woollen mill, blacksmith shop, hotel and Presbyterian Church. The present structure erected in 1907, was operated as a feed mill until 1967 by Trent Nicol, grandson of John Nicol. It was the last working water-powered mill in South Simcoe.

Erected in 1984 by the Essa Historical Society
with the assistance of the
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture


Location: Alliston

Birthplace of
Frederick Grant Banting,
discoverer of insulin, was born
Nov. 14, 1891 on the original Banting
homestead immediately behind this cairn.

In this quiet rural environment he
gained a deep understanding of the ways
of nature. From his parents he learned
inquisitivness, resourcefulness, persistence,
sincerity and true godliness.

Always fond of dogs during his boyhood,
Dr. Banting was later to experiment
with these animals in the discovery of
insulin. Life and hope resulted for
diabetics around the world.

Died Feb. 21, 1941, in Newfoundland

Erected with the assistance of
Essa Township

    Simcoe County


Location: Duntroon
This plaque stands at the center of seventy-nine five-acre lots laid out by the government in 1833 for the use of needy immigrants. Pioneer familes, Islay Scotch, some Irish and German, settled here but soon found these "free" lots too small and moved to larger farms. Many of them and their descendants are buried in this cemetery.

The road which passes to the south was part of the Sydenham Trail or Old Mail Road from Bowmore (Duntroon) to Owen Sound.

    Erected by
    Simcoe County
    Historical Association


Location: Keenansville Rd., Keenansville

Named after Robert Keenan, active in Township and County politics 1846 - 1858, a thriving centre developed with Post Office established 1855, followed by Saw Mill, Woollen Mill, General Store, Blacksmith's Shop, Hotel, Undertaker's Shop, Township Offices, Hall and Fair Grounds.

County Court was established in 1852, with Squire McManus presiding, 1865 - 1881, George Hughes published weekly newspaper, South Simcoe Observer, later Cordwall Sentinel. A public school served this area 1850 - 1912.

Decline began after 1877, when Hamilton North Western Railroad was built through Tottenham and Beeton area. By mid-20th century, Keenansville had become one of many ghost towns thus created in Simcoe County.


Location: Ivy
The first white settlers in this area were William and James Miller, who settled just west of here (W 1/2 Lot 20 Conc. 8 Essa) in 1842. Over the next few years they were followed by other pioneer families - John T. Fletcher, William and James Beckerton, George Davis, Thomas Parker, Hugh Speers, James Arnold, James McQuay, John Lennox, James Lennox and their families. The community of Ivy developed at the four corners to provide services and a community centre for the area. A log school, built about 1850, was replaced by a frame building in 1865 and a brick schoolhouse in 1899. The first church and lodge services were held in George Davis' home around 1852. The first Anglican church was erected in 1862. A Methodist church was built in 1859. The first Presbyterian service was held in the log school in 1865. The Presbyterians then moved to the frame school until their church was completed in 1868.

Erected by the Essa Historical Society in 1997
with assistance from the Ontario Heritage Foundation


Location: Colgan

In the 1820's many settlers from Ireland began to pioneer in the Colgan area where a church was soon built to meet the pastoral needs of the increasing number of catholics. Bishop Alexander MacDonell of Kingston in 1830 raised the church at Colgan to parish status in union with St. Patrick's Church, Wildfield, which served as the principal residence of the founding pastor, Father Edward John Gordon. During the 1830's the catholic population around Colgan continued to grow so that after mid-1833 it was assigned a resident priest and became a parish in its own right.
St. James Colgan is the 4th parish to be established in the Toronto Archdiocese and is the mother church of all the parishes established in South Simcoe County and far beyond from King City in the south-east to Owen Sound in the north-west. Along with the neighbouring area in Adjala and Tecumseth townships Colgan became one of the largest concentrations of Irish catholics in the rural parts of the archdiocese and a great source of priestly and religious vocations over the years.

This plaque was blessed and dedicated on Sunday, September 14, 1980 by Most Rev. M. Pearse Lacey, D.D. auxillary Bishop of Toronto.

An Historical Plaque of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto


Location: In the park, Beeton


1836 - 1910

World renowned breeder of bees and pioneer of the North American beekeeping industry, he came in 1867 to Clarksville which, in 1874, was renamed Beetown (now Beeton). Jones searched the Old World for species of bees, and brought queens for isolated breeding to the islands of Georgian Bay. First President in 1881 of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, and in 1885 founding editor of the Canadain Bee Journal. Jones was Canada's first major commercial honey producer.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: in the park, Beeton


1891 - 1971

Born and raised in Beeton, at age
sixteen she started teaching in
Saskatchewan, then in Adjala, Ontario.
After marriage operated Sunnybank
Farm, Beeton. Led junior choir in
Beeton Presbyterian Church, helped
organize Beeton Women's Institute,
first president 1920. Director of
Women's Activities, Canadian National
Exhibition, fourteen years. Successful
radio broadcaster and newspaper
columnist, writer and lecturer on
homemaking, world traveller, author
of "Never a Day so Bright" about
life in Beeton, "Mrs. A." had a wide
audience across the country.

Erected by
Simcoe County
Historical Association


Location: Dunkerron

This Quaker cemetery, 1834, site of the Tecumseth Preparitive Meeting House, 1846 - c.1900, recalls the historic role of early settlers. The Quakers, experienced pioneers, and their Irish Methodist neighbours established a harmonious community. The Quaker belief in religious tolerance encouraged the first catholic families to settle nearby.

Peter Doyle who came in 1825, gave the Quaker land. Across the highway John Davis, 1820, gave land for the Methodist cemetery, church and Union School No. 1, West Gwillimbury, 1853 - 1945. The present church was built in 1884.

    Erected 1984Assisted by
    Tecumseth & West Gwillimbury
    The Ministry of
    Historical SocietyCitizenship and Culture


Location: Bond Head


1851 - 1858

The first plank road in Simcoe
County, from Bond Head to Holland
Landing, built in 1851, was one wagon
wide, made of three-inch planks laid
on stringers. Cost was #4.782 2s. 10d.
Toll gates were at Middleton, Holland
Landing and later Bradford. An important
stage coach and wheat hauling
route, it connected with the Northern
Railway after the latter reached Bradford
in 1853. Increasing costs of
upkeep led to removal of planks in
    Erected by
    Simcoe County Historical


Location: east of Bond Head, just west of 5th S.R.


1780 - 1858

William Armson native of Nottingham,
England, who following a distinguished
army career, settled on Lot 5, concession
7, West Gwillimbury Township. Elected
as the township's first councillor in
1843. Appointed Warden in 1846 and
the first elected Warden of Simcoe
County in 1847. He served in this
position until 1852.
    Erected by
    Simcoe County
    Historical Association


Location: Bond Head


1808 - 1892

Gave this site for the first Presbyterian church, and was minister of Bond Head Church from 1835 - 1892, Clerk of the Synod and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Erected by
Simcoe County Tourist Industrial Committee and
Bond Head United Church


Location: Cookstown


7/21/1906 - 2/26/1994

A native of Cookstown, Kenneth E. Kidd was one of the founders of the discipline of Canadian anthropology. A University of Toronto graduate, he joined the staff of the Royal Ontario Museum where he worked 30 years in the Department of Ethnology, latterly as curator. He gained national and international recognition for his research on the Blackfoot of Alberta and on Native trade goods. He excavated Sainte Marie Among the Hurons and Ossossane Ossuary in Simcoe County, supervised the Serpent Mounds excavations and initiated the recording of Native Rock Art.

In 1964 he joined the faculty of Trent University where he founded the departments of Anthropology and the Native studies. After his retirement in 1972, he continued his research and received many awards for his contributions to Canadian anthropology and Native education.

This plaque marks the homestead settled by James and Judith Kidd in 1825, where Kenneth Kidd grew up. He came home to rest at St. John's Anglican Church Cemetery, Cookstown.

Erected by the Simcoe County Historical Association with the assistance of the Town of Innisfil and the County of Simcoe.


Location: Wilson's Hill Cemetery, 3 miles south of Cookstown

A bequest from the late Miss Mae Sutherland has made possible the erection of this plaque in memory of Neil J. McBride who died October 29th, 1984. Neil laboured with dedication to restore this cemetery into a condition of respectability befitting the final resting-place of so many pioneers whose heritage we now enjoy. By his example and leadership many have been inspired to help with this task. Hopefully, others will be forthcoming now to fill the void created by his passing. May future generations be motivated by what he commenced, to provide the continuity of maintenace necessary to develop this property into the place of beauty which Neil invisioned:

Dedicated to his memory 1985


Location: Wilson's Hill Cemetery, 3 miles south of Cookstown


was donated by
James & Mary Wilson
to the
United Presbyterian
Congregation of Essa
June 26, 1858

The original Trustees
according to the
property deed were
Richard McKee
Robert McMahon
Thomas Arnold the Elder
James Speers
Thomas Duff the Elder


Location: Barrie



The Penetanguishene Road, surveyed by Samuel Wilmot, was cut through from Kempenfelt to Georgian Bay during the war of 1812, under supervision of "Tiger" Dunlop. Settlement along the road began in 1819. The Government reserved 300 acres here at its south end for a town. Known as the Village of Kempenfelt, it had a boat landing, log barracks, stores, tavern, brewery and brickyard.

In 1831 a petition was sent to Lieut.-Gov. Sir John Colborne, asking that Kempenfelt be chosen as the County town. But two years later the Government purchased land at the present site of Barrie, which became the County Town in 1837.

    Erected by
    Simcoe County
    Historical Association


Location: On the SE corner of Mulcaster St. and Collier St., Barrie


1863 - 1940

This distinguished historian and archaeologist was born in Innisfil Township, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1889 and was editor of the Barrie Examiner 1889-95. His extensive exploration of archaeological sites throughout Huronia stimulated public interest in the history of that area. He supplied much valuable information for Thwaites' 73 volume edition of the "Jesuit Relations". Hunter was Secretary of the Ontario Historical Society 1913 - 1931 and wrote many scholarly articles. His "History of Simcoe County", published in 1909, was one of Ontario's earliest and best regional histories.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Up on the hill on Mulcaster St. across from McDonald St., Barrie

In 1837 the Simcoe District was established and authority was given for erecting a district court-house and gaol at Barrie. The gaol was begun in 1840, the court-house a year later, and both were completed in 1842. An important county judicial and administrative center, the court-house was enlarged in 1877 and demolished in 1976. The gaol, designed by Thomas Young of Toronto and constructed of Lake Couchiching limestone by Charles Thompson, a builder and steamboat owner, is one of the few in Ontario based on the nineteenth century radial design concept. In 1862 the east wing and outer walls were constructed, and the present roof and lantern replaced a portion of the originally castellated central section. The gaoler's residence was added in 1902.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: Bell Ewart Park, Bell Ewart

Bell Ewart began as a steamboat landing and railway station after the railroad reached Allandale in 1853. A spur line was built from Lefroy, and the village named after landowner Jas. Bell Ewart, grew rapidly, it was for a time, the main shipping centre on Lake Simcoe. A large sawmill was built employing 200 men, and Bell Ewart prospered in the lumbering era. After a decline in the late 1860's, the village again flourished with the ice industry. About 1870 - 1942, ice was cut from the lake and shipped to Toronto and other Canadian and U.S. cities in the largest operation of its kind, until electrical refrigeration brought it to an end.

    Erected by


Location: Bell Ewart Park, Bell Ewart

Built by Hugh Chisholm for Capt. Issac May and named after his daughter this side-wheeler was launched at Bell Ewart in 1861. The largest steamer ever to sail on Lake Simcoe, she was 144 ft. long and could carry 400 passengers. The Northern Railway purchased her in 1874 and changed her name to "Lady of the Lakes", but railroads replaced the steamers, and she was abandoned here in 1883.

    Erected by


Location: Oro Twp., Old Barrie Rd., between 7th & 8th lines.

A descendant of one of this area's pioneer families, Drury was born on this farm in 1878. His father, the Hon. Charles Drury had served ( 1888 - 1890 ) as Ontario's first minister of agriculture. A graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College. E. C. Drury was appointed secretary of the Canadian Council of Agriculture in 1909, and became first president of the United Farmers of Ontario in 1914. The U.F.O. formed a political party in 1918, and with support from labour, won the general election of 1919. Returned as member for Halton, Drury became Ontario's eight prime minister. Following his party's defeat in 1923 he retired from provincial politics, but later held various public offices in Simcoe County.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Midhurst

Erected to mark the first saw and grist mill on Willow Creek built about 1825. Also located here were four other mills, a soap factory, a distillery and two hydro plants, which supplied Barrie in 1888.

Oliver's Mills, later renamed Midhurst, added a community hall in 1854 and a church in 1881. S.S. No. 6 dates from 1866. This bell is from a second building, used from 1887 until 1962.

    Historic Sites


Location: Dalston

Pioneer farmer and religious leader, a native of Cornwall, England, who settld on lot 26, concessioon 1, Vespra in 1819 (which location became known as White's Corners, later Dalston).

As a Methodist lay preacher, he conducted the first protesant service north of Lake Simcoe. The first log meeting house was erected on this lot in 1825.

He was appointed municipal clerk for the area on January 2, 1837. He died January 29, 1876 in his 90th year, and rests in this cemetery (which is part of the original White homestead).

"Let me die the death of the righteous
and let my last end be like this"

Erected by
Simcoe County
Tourist and


Location: On H/Way #12 where North River crosses H/Way, north of Prices Corners



This highway follows much the same route as the ancient Indian portage from the Narrows (Orillia) to Coldwater, the major east-west trail between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. Prehistoric Indians, fishing at the Narrows as long as 4,000 years ago, may have come this way.

Over this trail in 1615 Champlain travelled with the Hurons to winter at Cahiague (near Warminster). Hurons and Ojibways, French and British used it as a fur-trading route. Later it served pioneer traffic to mills, stores and a steamboat landing.

The modern road was cleared in 1830 under Indian Agent T.G. Anderson, for the Coldwater and Narrows Indian Reserve, situated here 1830 - 38.

    Erected by
    Simcoe County
    Historical Association


Location: At Sir Samuel Steele Memorial building, 30 Peter St., Orillia

Born near Orillia, in 1851, an original member of the N.W.M.P., 1873, Superintendent 1885 - 1903, Steele played an important role in establishing order in Western Canada, holding commands throughout the Territories. He led the Cavalry, Alberta Field Force, in the North-West Rebellion, 1885 and, as commander of N.W.M.P. in Yukon and B.C. 1898-99, preserved order at the height of the Yukon gold rush. He raised and commanded Strathcona's Horse in the South African War, trained and commanded 2nd Division, World War 1. Major-General Steele K.C.M.G. C.B. died in London, England in 1919.

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


Location: Couchiching Beach Park, Orillia

Born about 1769, Yellowhead (Musquakle) served with the British during the war of 1812. Named Chief of the Deer tribe of the Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians in 1816, he settled with his band at the site of Orillia in 1830 in accordance with Lieutenant-Governor Colborne's plan for gathering nomadic tribes on reserves. Pressure from white settlers forced the Indians to relinquish their land and Yellowhead's band moved to Rama in 1838-39. It is believed that the Muskoka District, which embraced his hunting grounds, was named after this greatly respected chief who died in 1864 and was buried in St. James' churchyard, Orillia.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Couchiching Beach Park, Orillia

By treaties made in 1798, 1815 and 1818, the Indian tribes surrendered the ancient country of the Hurons lying north and west of Lake Simcoe. From this area grants were made, in fullfillment of earlier pledges to Militia veterans, to children of Loyalists, and to many retired officers and discharged soldiers and seamem.

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

Monument #68

Location: Couchiching Beach Park, Orillia

1615 - 1915
Erected to commemorate the advent into Ontario of the white race under the leadership of Samuel De Champlain the intrepid French explorer and colonizer, who with fifteen companions arrived in these parts in the summer of 1615 and spent the following winter with the Indians. Making his headquarters at Cahiague, the chief village of the Hurons, which was near this place.
A symbol of good will
between the French and English
speaking people of Canada


Location: The Leacock House, Orillia


1869 - 1944

Born in England, Leacock was educated at Upper Canada College and at the Universities of Toronto and Chicago. He spent the greater part of his career at McGill, teaching and publishing in the fields of history and political science. It is, however, as a hunorist that he is chiefly known and among a considerable volume of writings, Sunshine Skecthes of a Little Town (1912) is the work that assured him reputation throughout the English speaking world. The peculiar charm of his work lies in the evocation, through exaggeration and the indentification of incongruities , of the houmour of ordinary people in commonplace situations.

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


Location: The Leacock House, Orillia

This property on Lake Couchiching, which Stephen Leacock purchased in 1908 and named "The Old Brewery Bay", was a source of creativity and happiness for Canada's most celebrated hunorist. Here, he absorbed the impression which inspired his masterpiece Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, and indulged his passions for fishing, sailing, mixed farming and hosting family and friends. His personality and his status as a world renowned author and academic are reflected in the present residence, whose construction in 1928 recycled components of a previous cottage which stood closer to the lake.

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


Location: WYEVALE, County Rd. 6 south and MacKenzie St.

1880 WYEVALE 1980
This was the site of the Wyevale Station of the North Simcoe Railway, which began operations between Penetanguishene and Allandale in 1879. The shipment of lumber from nearby mills stimulated the growth of a hamlet, and in 1880 a village-plan was registered. Wyevale soon contained stores, churches, a cobbler's and blacksmith shops, and a hotel.

Erected by

the Wyevale Centennial Committee, 1980


Location: Midhurst

On June 4, 1888, James L. Burton, George Ball and Samuel Lount formed a partnership to supply the Town of Barrie with electric light. Electricity produced by the water of Willow Creek, was carried from a mill-race and generator near this site, to a station at the south end of Bayfield Street in Barrie, providing 2,000 candle power at a price of 25 cents per night. In August 1888, amid great rejoicing, seventeen lights were turned on in downtown Barrie, the first successful attempt to transmit water-powered electricity to a municipality in Simcoe County.

    Erected by
    Simcoe County Historical


Location: Midhurst

In grateful memory of the life and work



A man of vision and action and a leader in all aspects of life in the community. He was the initiator and developer of a nature trail beside Willow Creek and in 1986 in his honour this was named

"The Hunter Russell Nature Trail"

"He extended himself for the well-being of
his fellow man"


Location: Midhurst

1845 - 1910

Principal owners

1 - Amos Cummings

2 ----- David Garvin

3 - Alexander Finlay

First mill equipped

with a circular saw


Location: Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene


1795 - 1885

Born in England, Bayfield joined the Royal Navy at the age of eleven and served in many parts of the world. While stationed at Kingston, Upper Canada in 1817, he was put in charge of the Great Lakes survey. Over the next eight years he charted the costal waters of lakes Erie, Huron and Superior. For much of this period Penetanguishene was his base of operations. Bayfield later surveyed the shorelines of the lower St. Lawrence River, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. His charts provided the first reliable guides for thousands of ships navigating Canadian inland waters in the nineteenth century. Nautical surveyors still refer to them today.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture, Tourisim and Recreation


Location: Church St., Penetanguishene



This garrison church was erected 1836-38 on the Penetanguishene military reserve. It was also attended by military pensioners and civilians since, until the 1870's, it housed the only Protesant congregation in the vicinity. Building funds were obtained largely through the exertions of the local naval commandant, Captain John Moberly, R.N. The first rector Reverend Geo. Hallen, held the post for thirty-six years. Many of the communities pioneers and military leaders are buried in its cemetery.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Penetanguishene

In 1859 the government of Canada established a reformatory for boys as an alternative to inprisoning young offenders alongside adult criminals. The first young inmates were housed temporarily in an abandoned military barracks nearby and were put to work quarrying stone for their new quarters under supervision. They erected this building in four phases between 1861 and 1880. In 1904 the government of Ontario passed an order-in-council abolishing the reformatory for boys. The vacated facility became the Penetanguishene Asylum for the insane on August 15, 1904. It served as an active treatment centre until 1972 and now houses the administrative offices of the mental health centre.

Erected with the assistance of the Ontario Heritage Foundation


Location: Huronia Park, Penetanguishene

In September, 1814, seamen of the Royal Navy under Lieutenant Miller Worsley, after a memorable voyage in an open boat from Nottawasaga Bay to Mackinac, aided by soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment commanded by Lieutenants Armstrong, Bulger, and Radenhurst, captured the United States ships of war TIGRESS and SCORPION, in compliance with the Rush-Bagot agreement these ships were sunk in Penetanguishene Bay.

En septembre, 1814, les marins de la marine royale sous lieutenant Miller Worsley, aprčs qu'un voyage mémorable dans un bateau ouvert de compartiment de Nottawasaga ŕ Mackinac, facilité par des soldats du régiment royal de Terre-Neuve commandé par lieutenants Armstrong, Bulger, et Radenhurst, ont capturé les bateaux des Etats-Unis de la guerre TIGRESS et SCORPION, conformément au Précipitent-Bagot l'accord que ces bateaux ont été descendus dans le compartiment de Penetanguishene.

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


Location: H-Way #93 & Mill St., Wyebridge


1888 - 1949

This was the home and studio, 1940-48, of the noted Canadian painter Francis Hans (Franz) Johnston. Born in Toronto, he studied there and in the United States, and at first worked as a commercial artist. An official war artist, 1917-18, he participated in the first exhibition of the Group of Seven in 1920. With others of the Group, he captured on canvas the lonely grandeur of the Canadian northland, thus ending Canadian dependence on Europe for artistic inspiration and inaugurating our first national art movement. Johnston, who was principal of the Winnipeg School of Art, 1921-24, also taught in Toronto, 1927-29, and from then until 1940 conducted summer classes on Georgian Bay.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: H-Way #93 north of Hillsdale

This cairn marks the site of the
Hamilton Inn where the first
meeting of the Flos Township
council was held on June 4, 1854.

This was a stage-coach hostelry
on the old Penetanguishene Road,
being one of the original 37
wayside taverns situated between
Barrie and Penetanguishene on
this road.


The Simcoe County
Tourist and

August 1968


Location: Phil Marchildon Memorial Park, Penetanguishene



1940-42 Philadelphia Athletics
1943-45 R.C.A.F.
1945-50 Philadelphia Athletics/Boston Red Sox

Major League Record 68 - 75
Member Canadian Sports Hall of Fame 1976
Member Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame 1983
Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame 1987

Dedicated in Babe's memory April 26, 1997
by the Penentanguishene Sports Hall of Fame
and the Town of Penetanguishene


Location: On a large boulder in Huronia Park, Penetanguishene


Covering a buried war hatchet
this memorial marks the peace
made here August 3rd, 1921
between the Huron
and the Iroquois
erected by
J.T. Payette
Mayor of Penetanguishene


Location: NE corner of Rama Rd. & Monck Rd., Orillia
This road was named to honour Charles Stanley Monck, Governor-in-Chief of the Canadian provinces from 1861. Lord Monck presided with distinction over confederation and became first Governor-General of Canada 1867-68.

The road was built to open up land for settlement and as a military road. Fear of American power and Fenian threats in the 1860's gave urgency to plans for an inland route from the upper Great Lakes to the Ottawa River, an alternative to the St. Lawrence route which was vulnerable to American attack.

From Lake Couchiching, surveys for this road were began in 1864, building in 1866. Completed in 1873, the road extended 100 miles east to the Hastings Road (Bancroft) where it joined other roads to Ottawa.

Erected by
Simcoe County
Historical Association

The next 2 plaques were sent in by Mary Crandall


Location: The Sixth Line Cemetery, Innisfil twp., Simcoe Co., hwy 11 and 6th line Road

To honor the memory of Thomas and Sarah McConkey who settled in Innisfil in 1828 and established the McConkey family in America.

This tablet is erected by their descendents.
1828 - 1928.


Location: The Sixth Line Cemetery, Innisfil twp., Simcoe Co., hwy 11 and 6th line Road

To the memory of John and Elizabeth Todd and their sons Hugh, Charles, Davidson and Ebenezer who came from Glasgow, Scotland. Settled as pioneers in the Township of Innisfil along with the Dalhousie Settlers from Lanark County, Ontario, A.D. 1831.

Erected by their descendents, A.D. 1931

The next 2 plaques were sent in by John-Paul Johnson


Location: Corner of Old Barrie Road West and Line 3 North - Oro-Medonte

African Methodist Episcopal Church
Between 1830 and 1850 some 24 Negro families who had fled to freedom in Canada were settled in Oro, mostly on the Concession running north of Shanty Bay, known as Wilberforce Street.

In 1849 they acquired this piece of land for a burying ground and built here this African Episcopal Church.

The next Monument was sent in by R.O. Wayne Hall


Location: in Cooper's Falls

To view a photo of The Bell & Monument click the Thumbnail


The next plaque was sent in by Deborah McCallum-Tracy


Location: in front of the Hawkestone Fire Hall East on Concession #11
in Oro Township, Hawkestone

Historic Hawkestone
(Hodges' Landing)
First Nations Indians had long established encampments and trails on the bank of the creek, the Ridge Road, and throughout the Township. In the 1830s Richard Hodges established a landing for settlers, mainly from the British Isles, who after arriving by lake steamer followed these trails to their settlement in search of independence and land ownership.

Hodges' wharf, where the steamers docked, and his large house called St. Helen's (1844) were the focus of activity. There remains evidence of two underground tunnels from the lake to Hodges' cellar and a hidden staircase from the cellar to the top floor. Some children who died on route to their parents' settlement were buried on the property. In 1940, the property was sold by Hodges' granddaughter for $2500 to the Canadian Council for Girl Guides.

A thriving community of a tavern (T), hotel (H), a store (S) and the first post office (P), was located near the lake east of the creek. The first postmaster was Charles Bell. Two dams (D) and 3 mills sawed logs (SM) and ground grain. It is thought that the first mill was established by John Williamson (WM) who subsequently built the large brick house, on the N-E corner of the Ridge Raod and Line #11. In 1856 a new wharf was constructed and the name was changed from Hodges' Landing to Hawkstone.

During 1871 the railroad reached Hawkestone. An extensive "station" evolved with a freight shed (FR), stockyards (ST), and a massive water tower (WT) to supply the requirements of steam engines. Many types of products were shipped out, and supplies shipped in. The last CN train passed through in September 1996. In 1998 the railway land through the Township was acquired by Council for a shared-use recreational trail.

After the railway went through Hawkestone the village developed north of the station. It was made up of numerous taverns, hotels, stores (including Priddle's Store (PS) and T.A. Stone's Store (SS) which survives today as the Hawkestone General Store), gas stations, ice houses, weigh scales, 2 banks (BK), a firehall (F) also known as Metcalfe's Hall, and a complement of trades - tailor (TA), harness maker (HS), and blacksmith (B).

Note how the "centre" of Hawkestone shifted as transportation changed from steamer to rail.

The Township of Oro-Medonte
Ian Beard, Mayor
July 1, 2001 A Millennium Project
With the generous participation of the Simcoe County Council, and Historical Association


Location: Main & Oak Sts., Stayner

Settlement on this site began with the arrival in 1854, of the Toronto, Simcoe and Lake Huron Union Railroad (later the Northern Railway). Edward Shortiss and Charles Lount acquired land here, divided it into village lots and the first settler, Andrew Coleman, opened a hotel. He was followed by Gideon Phillips, who established a sawmill. First called Nottawasaga Station and later Stayner after a prominent local land owner. The community flourished as an agricultural and lumbering centre. A post office was opened in 1855 and a school and churches were established. On June 26, 1872, a Simcoe County by-law incorporated Stayner as a village and in 1888 it became a Town.
Restoration of Fountain
completed by
Stayner Kinsmen & Supported by Stayner Heritage Society

June 2000

The next plaque was sent in by Jerry Szuch


Location: Just off a gravel road, street number 2982, about .5 km north of County Road 32,
just west of the Black River bridge, 3 km east of County Road 44, Ramara

Completed in 1914, after several municipalities on the eastern shore of Lake Simcoe had requested a supply of electric power, this was the first generating station constructed by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The natural formation of solid granite provided an excellent foundation for the development. The Wasdell plant operated as a separate unit serving the northern portion of Ontario County and the western portion of Victoria until 1924, when it became part of the Georgian Bay System. Displaced by much larger developments, it ceased operation in 1955, but provides visual evidence of the beginnings of one of the world's leading public power systems.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: On the north side of County Road 20, 3 km west of Line 2 South,
The Township of Oro-Medonte

The only government-sponsored Black settlement in Upper Canada, the Oro community was established in 1819 to help secure the defence of the province's northern frontier. Black veterans of the War of 1812 who could be enlisted to meet hostile forces advancing from Georgian Bay were offered land grants here. By 1831, nine had taken up residence along this road, called Wilberforce Street after the renowned British abolitionist. Bolstered by other Black settlers who had been attracted to the area, the community soon numbered about 100. The settlement eventually declined, however, as farmers discouraged by the poor soil and harsh climate gradually drifted away. Today only the African Episcopal church erected near Edgar in 1849 remains as a testament to this early Black community.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry Citizenship and Culture


Location: In front of a museum at the western end of Burke Street, Penetanguishene

The C. Beck Manufacturing Co. Ltd. operated from 1875 to 1969 with its centre of operations in Penetanguishene. The company sold wholesale lumber, shingles, lath, box shooks, pails, tubs and woodenware to firms in Ontario, Quebec, western Canada and the northern United States. It produced the special wooden tubs, boxes, barrels and pails that carried early 20th century Ontario food products to markets across Canada and throughout the British Empire. It was a family business whose founder, German immigrant Charles Beck (1838-1915), built a large lumber manufacturing business through aggressive marketing, shrewd diversification and technological investment. The C. Beck Manufacturing Co. was supported by an extensive array of Georgian Bay area lumber camps, specialty shingle, lath and lumber mills, two general stores, and three box, pail and woodenware factories in Penetanguishene and Toronto.

Ontario Heritage Trust, a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the SW corner of Ortona Road and Falaise Road, Canadian Forces Base Borden

Camp Borden was established during the First World War as a major training centre of Canadian Expeditionary Force battalions. The Camp (including this structure) was officially opened by Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, on July 11, 1916, after two months of intensive building. This military reserve, comprising over 50 square km, was soon occupied by some 32,000 troops. Training facilities were expanded in 1917 with the institution of an air training program under the Royal Flying Corps, Canada, and the construction of the first Canadian military aerodrome, regarded as the finest military aviation camp in North America. Following the armistice Camp Borden continued as an important army and air force centre and became one of the largest armed forces bases in Canada.

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


Location: In the paid admission area of Discovery Harbour, on the left side at the far end of the
pathway behind a split rail fence, Penetanguishene

c.1786 - 1849
A sergeant in the Royal Artillery, Irish-born James Keating served with distinction during the War of 1812. His skilfull handling of a British field gun forced the Americans to surrender Fort Shelby on the upper Mississippi in July 1814. Two months later, his well-aimed firing of the same artillery piece routed advancing troops down-river at Rock Island Rapids. For his actions, Keating was promoted lieutenant. At the war's end, he was appointed fort adjutant at St. Joseph's Island, a position he continued to hold when the garrison was moved here in 1828. A model soldier and citizen, Keating was a prominent figure in community life at Penetanguishene.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the north side of Mississauga Street West, just west of West Street North, Orillia

An outstanding Canadian artist, Carmichael was born at Orillia, and studied at the Ontario College of Art and L'Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts at Antwerp. He had worked with Lismer and Varley in commercial art, and upon returning to Toronto in 1914, shared a studio with Tom Thomson. One of the founders of the "Group of Seven" and its youngest member, Carmichael participated in all the Group's exhibitions. His graphic style and sense of design led to a distinguished and influential career as an artist, industrial designer and teacher. Among his best known works are, "Autumn Woods", "Lake Superior", "Northern Tundra", and the illustrations for Grace Campbell's novel, "Thorn-Apple Tree". His paintings are represented in major Canadian galleries.

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


Location: Beside a wooden lookout at the top of a hill at the Martyrs' Shrine on the north side of Highway 12
just east of the Wye River bridge, Midland

From this lookout may be seen the bay which, during the first half of the 17th century, formed the western terminus of the 800 mile route connecting New France with the Huron settlements. Heavily laden canoes ascended the Ottawa, surmounted the rapids of the Mattawa and French Rivers, crossed Lake Nipissing and traversed the island-studded channels of Georgian Bay. Over these waters passed Recollet and Jesuit missionaries, Etienne Brule, Samuel de Champlain and other heroic figures of the French regime.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: At the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs National Historic Site of Canada,
just south of the east end of the Atherley Narrows bridge

In the adjacent Narrows joining Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching are the remains of Indian fish weirs. They were noted by Samuel de Champlain when he passed here on September 1, 1605, with a Huron war party en route to attack the Iroquois south of Lake Ontario. The weirs consisted of large numbers of stakes driven into the bottom of the Narrows, with openings at which nets were placed to catch fish. These weirs (claies) caused Lake Simcoe to be named Lac aux Claies during the French regime. Their remains were noted by archaeologists as early as 1887, and their location was partially charted in 1955.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: On the west side of County Road 44, street number 5896,
6 km north of Highway 12

In 1830 Sir John Colborne, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (1828-1836), settled several nomadic bands of Indians on a reserve stretching along the portage between the Atherley Narrows and Georgian Bay. They were placed under the superintendency of Captain Thomas Gummersall Anderson. The Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe led by Chief William Yellowhead (Musquakie) were located at the Atherley Narrows. Pressure on the government by land-hungry white settlers forced the Indians, in 1836, to relinquish their holdings, and Yellowhead's band was moved to Rama in 1838-9, where they purchased 1600 acres. By 1846 they had 300 acres under cultivation and their settlement contained twenty houses, four barns and a school house.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: On 2nd Line, east of 20th Sideroad, The Town of Innisfil

Born in Haldimand County, Walker joined the new Canadian Bank of Commerce at an early age, transforming it into one of Canada's leading financial institutions. He helped to author the Bank Act, cornerstone of Canada's national banking system. By 1907, he was president of the Bank of Commerce, a position he held until 1924. Walker was also a generous patron of the arts, helping to found and nurture many of Canada's cultural and educational institutions, including the University of Toronto, National Gallery of Canada, Champlain Society, Appleby School, Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum. In 1910, King George V knighted Walker for his contributions to business and the arts. Walker assembled land in Innisfil Township for a family retreat that his wife Mary named "Innisfree" and built Innisfree Farm in 1913.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: Near the breakwater at the west end of the park on Lakeshore Drive,
just west of Mulcaster Street, Barrie

The "Sir John Colborne", launched in 1832, was the first of many steamboats on Lake Simcoe. A link in the land-water transportation route connecting the Upper and Lower Great Lakes, steamboats opened lands around Lake Simcoe to settlement. They carried passengers, freight and mail to developing ports and catered to tourists and excursionists as the region prospered. Steam tugs were used by the lumber trade to tow log booms across the lake. By 1887, railways encircled the lake and thereafter monopolized freight and passenger traffic. Steamboats continued to run pleasure cruises until the popularity of private motorboats brought Lake Simcoe's steam era to an end in the 1920s.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the SE corner of St. Paul Street and Huron Street (Highway 26)

In May, 1853, The Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad Company ran the first steam train in this province, from Toronto to Aurora. By January, 1855, the company had completed its 95-mile "portage line" from Toronto to Collingwood. The line was renamed "The Northern Railway Company of Canada" in 1858. Companies closely affiliated with the Northern built connecting lines to Meaford, Penetanguishene and Gravenhurst. Though the Northern sought traffic moving between the upper lakes and Lake Ontario and Atlantic ports, mainly grain from the U.S. Mid-West, much of its freight was firewood, farm produce and timber from along its own lines. In 1888 the Northern was absorbed by The Grand Trunk Railway Company.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: In Queens Park on the south side of Ross Street, east of Highway 400, across the street
from Victoria Village, the former site of Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie

A master surgeon and teacher, Gallie was born in Barrie and educated at the University of Toronto. In 1906, after serving internships in Toronto and New York hospitals, he joined the staff of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. There Gallie conducted extensive clinical research on tendon fixation, the repair of bone and the transplantation of tissue as 'living sutures', devising and perfecting revolutionary techniques now used all over the world. As Professor of Surgery (1929-47) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1936-46) at the University of Toronto, he developed the first systematic training program for surgeons in Canada and produced many graduates who later gained renown. Well-regarded by his peers, Gallie received numerous honours for his outstanding contributions to medical science.

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


Location: On Old Barrie Road West at 3 Line North, 4.4 km east of Highway 93,
The Township of Oro-Medonte

Built in 1849, this church is the last vestige of one of the oldest African-Canadian settlements in Upper Canada. Here at Oro, former members of the Loyalist militia from the War of 1812 established the only Black community sponsored by the government. Free Blacks from the northern United States later joined them. Located in the heart of a strategic and vulnerable region, the community guarded against an American invasion via Georgian Bay. This church is a testament to the contribution of African Canadians to the settlement and defence of Canada in the 19th century.

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


Location: In Awenda Provincial Park near the beach at the northern end of
Awenda Park Road 5.6 km north of the park entrance, Tiny Township

(c. 1592 - c. 1633)
Étienne Brűlé was the first of a long line of adventurous young Canadiens who adopted Indian ways, thereby forming a tenuous link between the two cultures. He had probably been in Canada two years when he was sent by Champlain to live with the Algonkin chief Iroquet in 1610. Most of Brűlé's adult life was spent among the Hurons. He often acted as an interpreter and go-between for French officials and missionaries, and roamed over much of the Great Lakes basin. An undisciplined and turbulent man, he eventually alienated members of the Attignaouantan tribe of the Hurons, who killed him about 1633

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


Location: In front of the Allandale Recreation Centre at the
southwest corner of Little Avenue and Bayview Drive, Barrie

Shortly after her birth in Russia, Fanny Rosenfeld's family immigrated to Canada, settling in Barrie. An all-round athlete, she excelled in hockey, basketball, tennis and softball. She held several long-standing Canadian track and field records and the world record for the 100 metres. 'Bobbie' led the Canadian women's team to victory at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics with a gold and silver medal. Arthritis ended her athletic career in 1933, after which she became a prominent Toronto sports columnist. In 1949 she was chosen Canada's outstanding female athlete of the half-century.

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


Location: In Lafontaine, on the north side of Lafontaine Road
(the main east-west road through the village), near the LCBO, Tiny Township

French explorers first arrived in the Lafontaine area around 1610. An intermittent French presence of fur traders, soldiers and missionaries continued until 1650 when the sojourns ended after the Huron-Iroquois wars. Eventually a group of former French Canadian and Métis voyageurs from Drummond Island settled here in 1830 followed by successive waves of immigrants from Quebec, the three main groups originating from Batiscan, Joliette and the counties of Soulanges and Vaudreuil. The church and parish of Sainte-Croix were established in 1856 and the village was named after the French-Canadian statesman Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. A high concentration of Francophones, a strong sense of community and vigorous institutions have nurtured Lafontaine's vibrant Franco-Ontarian culture.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On a cairn at the entrance to Nancy Island Historic Site
on Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach

On the opposite bank stood a blockhouse built in August 1814 by Lieutenant Miller Worsley, R.N., to protect the NANCY, the only British ship remaining on Lake Huron. Worsley's small band of sailors and a few Indians gallantly defended their post against three enemy vessels, three companies of infantry, and numerous guns. The blockhouse was blown up and the NANCY burned to the waterline on 14 August. Worsley and his men escaped upriver, made their way to Michilimackinac in open boats, evading the American blockade, and afterwards captured the two blockading vessels.

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


Location: At the north end of Hanger Street near this hanger near the runway, Base Borden

The Royal Flying Corps hangars at Camp Borden are the oldest examples of this type of construction in existence in Canada. These hangars, which are an essential element of the first Canadian military aerodrome, were erected as temporary facilities in 1917, and housed various air training schools. They witnessed the birth of Canada's national air force, the Canadian Air Force in 1920, which became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924.

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


Location: On Christian Island, on the south side of Kate Kegwin Street .7 km east of the ferry dock

In the wake of the destructive Iroquois raids of early 1649 the Jesuits abandoned the mission of Sainte-Marie and joined several hundred Huron refugees here on Christian Island, which the Hurons called Gahoendoe and the French Ile-Saint-Joseph. They erected a second, fortified, Sainte-Marie in the summer of 1649. Severe famine and pestilence followed, and when Iroquois raiders reappeared in 1650 the Hurons were unable to resist. At the urging of the chiefs the mission was abandoned on 10 June 1650, and some 300 Hurons made their way with Father Paul Ragueneau to Quebéc.

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


Location: Off Granny White Sideroad, 3.3 km from the intersection of Highway 12 and Park Street
in Victoria Harbour via Highway 12 and Granny White Sideroad, Tay Township

Saint-Louis was the name given by the Jesuits to the stockaded village of the Ataronchronon tribe of the Wendat, or Huron Confederacy, which stood here in the 1640's. On the morning of 16 March 1649 a large Iroquois war party stormed the neighbouring village of Taenhatentaron (Saint-Ignace), then fell on Saint-Louis. Among those captured and carried off to be put to death amid the ruins of Saint-Ignace were Fathers Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalement, who had been conducting a mission at Saint-Louis. Within a year the Iroquois raids had devastated Huronia and dispersed its once numerous population.

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


Location: At the end of this laneway at the Stevenson Farms B&B street number 5923,
north of Alliston on Country Road 15 (King Street) 4.8 km north of Highway 89

T.P. Loblaw was born in Elmgrove, Ontario to William James Loblaw and Isabella Stevenson. Orphaned in his teens, he was raised by his Scottish-born grandparents, William and Elizabeth Stevenson, who lived in the farmhouse on this property. At age 17 he moved to Toronto with twenty dollars and a dream. In 1897, Loblaw married Isabella Adam and in 1900 purchased his first grocery store on College Street with partner J. Milton Cook. Loblaw pioneered the concept of self-service grocery stores that provided all types of food products under one roof and opened the first Loblaw Groceteria in 1919. His innovative merchandising methods fundamentally changed the way people shopped for food in Canada. He donated generously to the Toronto Western Hospital, the Toronto Kiwanis Club and Alliston's Stevenson Memorial Hospital. Loblaw is buried at the Alliston Union Cemetery. He was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1999.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario