Historical Plaques of
Victoria County

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The next plaque was sent in by David Kemlo


Location: At the Library in the village of Bobcaygeon

In 1833, shortly after the settlement of this region began, Thomas Need settled here at "Bobcaygeon", the narrows between Sturgeon and Pigeon Lakes, when the government began the construction in that year of a small lock and canal, Need surveyed a village plot which was named Rokeby by Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Colborne but was still commonly called Bobcaygeon. Need later opened a store and erected a grist-mill. By 1857 the community contained only 150 inhabitants but subsequently its growth was stimulated by the construction of the Bobcaygeon Colonization Road and by the development of the large lumbering business of Mossom Boyd and his son. Bobcaygeon with a popualtion of about 1,000 was incorporated as a Village by a County By-Law of 1876.

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

The next 3 plaques were sent in by Marty Bootsman


Location: on Hwy 48 in Victoria County, in the village of Kirkfield

Born near here, MacKenzie became a successful local merchant and contractor on Ontario railways. He built this house in 1888. After 1886, with associates, he obtained major construction contracts on numerous Canadian railways and by 1895 was one of Canada's leading railway builders and financiers. In 1899 MacKenzie and Donald Mann organized the Canadian Northern Railway, which later became a transcontinental system. Knighted in 1911, MacKenzie achieved international prominence through business directorates and electric railway and power development in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. His influence declined following the Northern's nationalization in 1917, and after much dispute his Ontario power companies were acquired by the province in 1920. He died in Toronto and was buried at Kirkfield.

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


Location: at St. Thomas Anglican Church at Balsam Lake,
on the south side of Hwy 48, just east of the village of Kirkfield

An energetic railway promoter and builder, Laidlaw was born in Scotland and emigrated to Toronto in 1855. He soon prospered as a grain merchant and a wharf-owner, and after 1866 gained prominence as a convincing advocate of the commercial benefits of railways emanating from Toronto. Between 1869-1873 Laidlaw skillfully negotiated the completion of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway to Owen Sound, and the Toronto and Nipissing to Coboconk. As managing director of the Credit Valley Railway, he vigorously opposed rival railway interests and deftly marshaled regional and Toronto support to insure the line's completion in 1880 from St. Thomas, Elora and Orangeville. Dedicated to agrarian improvement, Laidlaw retired to his nearby ranch, where he raised pure-bred livestock.

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


Location: at the old railway station in the village of Kinmount

In the 1870's, economic distress prompted mass emigration from Iceland. On September 25th, 1874, 352 Icelanders, exhausted and weakened by illness arrived at the emigration sheds in Toronto. When the Victoria Railway Company offered work constructing its line from near Kinmount, the provincial government housed the Icelanders in log shanties down river from here. Poor ventilation, sanitation and diet allowed sickness to rage through their cold, over-crowded quarters. Within six weeks, 12 children and a teenager had died. By the spring of 1875, the death toll had doubled and many of the settlers scattered in search of a better life. In the fall, most regrouped in Toronto and traveled west to found the settlement of Gimli, Manitoba.

Ontario Heritage Foundation an Agency
of the Government of Ontario


Location: at the old railway station in the village of Kinmount

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Location: On Hwy 46 where it intersects Hwy 48 in Eldon township. (City of Kawartha Lakes).
This intersection has the old historical name of Biddy Young's Corners and is just east of Bolsover

This road follows the general route of the Indian portage from Lake Simcoe to Balsam Lake. The portage was first mapped by the Honourable John Collins Deputy Surveyor General of Canada when he surveyed the Trent Route from the head of the Bay of Quinte to Balsam Lake and thence by way of Lake Simcoe to Georgian Bay in 1785. The Trent route was used by Champlain and his Huron allies in their expedition against the Iroquois in 1615. Subsequently, at the time of settlement the portage was surveyed (1834 35) by John Smith and a large portion of the old trail was incorporated in what became known as the Portage Road.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board