Tag Archives: Credit River

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park has many things to offer from hiking trails to closed roads and historic ruins.  A Niagara Escarpment study in 1968 made the recommendation that a park should be created near the Forks of the Credit.  The Government of Ontario accepted the proposal and in 1985 the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park was officially opened.  Official parking is found off of Mclaren Road but it is metered and $7.50 for 4 hours or $14.00 for the full day.  We roughly followed the route marked in green on the 1877 county atlas below.

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From the parking lot, you can follow the Meadow Trail past Kettle Lake, featured below, and on until you come to a washroom facility at the junction of the Dominion Trail.  Along the way, you will pass a short trail called Kettle Trail which links to the Trans Canada Trail.  To get to the falls you will use a portion of the Bruce Trail as a link.  It is good that someone has taken the time to mark the trails with little white signs “falls” and “return to parking” to make the direct route less confusing.

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The Credit River runs through the park as does The Bruce Trail.  From the south, the Bruce Trail follows old Dominion Road north from Forks of the Credit Road through the ghost town of Brimstone until it reaches the entrance to the park.  From this point the old road becomes Dominion Trail and the road is closed.  A portion of it was washed out in 1912 and never replaced.  There are also blue Bruce Trail side trails that lead to the ruins at the cataract falls, making the park a great place to hike.

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In 1879 the Credit Valley Railway built a1,146-foot wooden trestle, 85 feet high to cross the valley.  At the time it was the longest curved trestle in Ontario but safety concerns led to much of it being filled in by dumping gravel through the trestle.  From there the line heads north through the area of the park.  It runs along the edge of the river and crosses it on the bridge shown below.

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Cataract Falls is 13 metres tall and 9 metres wide.  Like many waterfalls, it takes on a spectacular formation of ice in the winter months.  The falls appear to be much wider because there are so many cracks in the shale layers that seep water which adds to the majesty of the falls.

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A sawmill and two grist mills stood on this site before it was converted to the production of electricity.  The older parts of the mill were constructed of stone which was apparently quarried behind the waterfalls in the winter time.

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The foundations of the Cataract Electric Company stand on the crest of the falls.  This had been the site of mills since 1820 and the power company operated from 1899 until 1947 when it was deemed to be too inefficient to continue.  The frozen waterfalls can be seen to the right of the picture below.

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Cataract Lake was held behind the dam and was allowed to survive the closing of the electric power generating plant.  John Deagle was interested to increase the output of his power generating plant and so had begun to construct a tunnel from the lake to the mill wheel.  A major flood in 1912 washed out the dam and put an end to Deagles dreams of tunnelling.  A concrete dam was built as a replacement.    In 1953 the dam was destroyed by dynamite and the lake was drained.  The railway had been concerned that the lake was undermining the railway tracks.  The sluice gates remain from the old dam and are now used as abutments for the footbridge on the Ruins Trail.

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A better perspective of the old mill buildings can be gained from the footbridge.

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The Forks of the Credit Provincial Park has many trails and interesting things to see but parking fees apply.  It is perhaps better to park at the end of Dominion Road and walk in along The Bruce Trail.

Google Maps Link: Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

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Imperial Oil Lands

Saturday, March 4, 2017

J. C. Saddington Park sits between Mississauga Road and the mouth of the Credit River.  To the west of Mississauga Road, south of Lakeshore, lie the 73 acres of brown space known as the Imperial Oil Lands.  There is parking on at the end of Mississauga Road at J. C. Saddington Park, as can be seen on the Google Earth map below.  Key points from today’s exploration are also marked on the map.

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Thomas Nightingale opened a brickyard on the west side of the Credit River in the 1880’s. The addition of a stone crusher increased production to the point that by 1900 there wasn’t enough local labour to run the brickyards.  A series of bunkhouses were constructed and Italian workers were brought in to meet the demand.  The archive photo below shows the Port Credit Brickyards in their prime.

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After the First World War, the clay was becoming exhausted and the yards started operating at a loss. By 1929 the brickyards were closed.  This brick was found on the property of the old brickyards where it was made, perhaps over 100 years ago.

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In 1933 the Lloyd Refining Company purchased part of the property to build a modern refinery capable of producing 1,500 barrels a day.  The refinery changed hands a few times including 1937 and 1946.  In 1955 the property was purchased by Texaco and their Canadian subsidiary McColl-Frontenac began operating the refinery.  In 1959 the name was changed to Texaco Canada Ltd.  Petrochemicals were produced here beginning in 1978 but by 1985 it was starting to be decommissioned.  The oil tank farm was removed first and by 1987 it was fully closed.  Only one small building remains on site along with a storage shed.

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The property has sat vacant for a couple of decades now and is highly contaminated from its years as an oil refinery.  As of March 2017, Imperial Oil is selling the property to a developer who plans to develop a waterfront park, mid-rise condos and affordable housing on the site.  Today the property is home to a large selection of wildlife.  Coyote scat is everywhere and rabbits and squirrels provide food for them as well as the hawks.  A white tailed deer was casually feeding just inside the fence from Mississauga Road.

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Roadways and concrete pads mark the locations of the former tanks and buildings.  The property is marked as no trespassing because of the numerous hazards that exist throughout.  This story is presented to preserve the site as it exists at this moment in time.  Soon it will change forever and this chapter will be lost.  Choosing to explore here is solely your responsibility.  A large man-made pond covers a section of the property and may feature in redevelopment plans for a central park within the community.  The pond is currently full of pipes that have started to break apart over the years of abandonment.

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The lower corner of the pond still has the dam and flood control devices intact.  Two sluice gates could be opened by turning handwheels.  The cover photo shows a closer look at the mechanics of the system.

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Outflow from the pond was transferred to a series of settling ponds to remove solids from the water.  From here it was carried through a concrete pipe and released into the lake.

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We made our way to the end of the concrete pipe that discharged the water from the pond on the Imperial Oil Lands.  The round concrete pipe has been encased in a concrete shell to protect it from the effects of the lake.

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The Waterfront Trail takes the name Imperial Oil Trail as it passes along the lake side of the property.  We followed it west to where you are forced briefly to follow the road.  That wasn’t such a bad thing as we were treated to a broad-winged hawk sitting on a hydro wire.  These birds usually winter in the south and I wonder if this one was noticing the -20-celsius wind and wishing it hadn’t come back yet.

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Ben Machree Park has some interesting wood carvings by Jim Menkin.  Jim has converted dead tree stumps into art with his chainsaw in many parts of Ontario including Orangeville and Mississauga.  This park features three wood carvings named “Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey”.

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We returned along the Imperial Oil Trail east toward the mouth of the Credit River.  Just east of the concrete drainage pipe from the oil lands is a lengthy finger pier extending out into Lake Ontario.  This pier provides great views to the west looking toward Rattray Marsh.  To the east, you can see the Ridgetown with the city of Toronto in the background. The ship is partially sunk at the mouth of the Credit River to provide shelter for the marina.  Our post on the Ridgetown contains its fascinating history.

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In the 1940’s Port Credit ended at Lake Street, of all places!  Today it extends out into the lake in the form of J. C. Saddington Park.  This park is built on a decommissioned dump that was in use from 1949 to 1970. A pond has been created for recreation and fishing and benches positioned around for relaxation. The pond has a thin layer of ice on it from the past two days of cold weather and a light dusting of snow.  A sliver of the moon can be seen above the trees in the middle of the picture.

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Three historic buildings stand in the corner of the parking lot. Dating from 1922 to 1923 the Port Credit Waterworks pumping station was a major advancement in the infrastructure of Port Credit.

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Swans, Canada Geese and several species of ducks were all to be seen in the lake today.  Of interest was the fact that they have gone back into pairs after spending the winter in groups.  Spring must be coming soon…

A 1973 Toronto Archive Aerial photo of the oil lands can be accessed here.

Our readers selected the top 15 stories for this special feature.

Google Maps Link: J. C. Saddington Park

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Inglewood

Saturday, December 3, 2016

By the time that Inglewood was getting started a lot of small communities in Ontario had already faded from prominence, including nearby Sligo.  Inglewood got started directly from the arrival of two railways.  To investigate this area, we left one car on Chingaucousy Road just north of Boston Mills Road where the Caledon Trailway (yellow below) crosses.  A second car was taken to Ken Whillans Resource Management Area where there is free Trailway parking and access.  The hike took roughly the green trail including wandering around in what would become Inglewood.

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A short trail connects the resource area with the former Hamilton & North Western Railway (H&NW) that was built through here in 1877.  The Trailway crosses the Credit River on the same bridge that the railway once used.

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A close look at the H&NW crossing reveals several railway construction methods.  Wood pilings can still be seen in the river from the earliest crossing.  Cut limestone has been used for the abutments and a central pier that supports the current steel bridge.  The upstream side of the central pier has been given a newer concrete facing and point to act as a spring ice breaker to reduce damage to the bridge.

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The Trailway heads west from here toward Inglewood.  The railway junction was created when the Credit Valley Railway (CVR) arrived in 1878.  The historical atlas above shows the junction as well as the woolen mills but the town was yet to get started.  Early names for the community were Sligo and Sligo Junction but these name didn’t last because it had already been used in the area.  The original Sligo had a post office which was located on Thomas Bell’s property a couple of concessions north.  I’ve indicated the location on the map with an arrow.  There was also a switchback on Centre Street (marked on the map) where a community named Sligo had once housed a population of 50.  The name was changed to Riverdale but when the post office was opened a new name was needed and Inglewood was chosen.

The two railway lines crossed on the west side of the street where you will also see the old General Store.  Built in 1886 by George Merry it has an interesting and highly decorative chimney.  The rear of the store housed a bake oven that outgrew the location and, after moving, supplied bread to the local towns until it was destroyed by fire in 1940.

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South of the railway junction is the railway hotel which now serves as a general store.  It was built around 1881.  The original industry predates the town and is still to be found on Maple Lane in the form of several stone buildings.  A short laneway, lined with mature trees, leads to the mill.  In 1834 the property was purchased by Thomas Corbett who built a dam, mill race and a small frame woolen mill known as Riverside Woolen Mills.  A larger mill was built downstream a few years later so that the work of fulling and spinning the wool could be done in the mill instead of in the local farmer’s homes by their wives.  In 1871 the mill was rebuilt in stone by Corbett’s son-in-law, David Graham.  That building is seen in the photo below.

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Just four years later the building was gutted by fire and leased to Ward and Algie who rebuilt the mill.  It grew and in 1890 the Grahams returned to running the mill.  The building seen below was added by them in 1896.

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The head race carried water from the river to the mill to power the machinery.  The Riverwood Mill raceway is an obvious trench that the local farmer now cuts for a crop of hay.  The cover photo shows the raceway with the farmer’s old steel bridge allowing him access to his property on the other side.

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At the upper end of the raceway is  a section of the river that has been protected with gabion baskets filled with rock.  There are at least two phases of the gabion as a lower one is badly corroded.  There are no signs of any original dam construction here.

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Inglewood is a good place for a short walk through town to observe some of its architectural heritage.  The house below is in the correct place to be the David Graham house on the historical atlas above.  The Cultural Heritage Landscapes Inventory suggests that it could be his home.  If so, it predates the building of the village.  This five-bay, one and a half story Regency Cottage has the elaborate doorway and large ceiling to floor windows that were popular between 1810 and 1840.  If this is the original Graham house, as it appears to be, then it contains a mystery.  It faces Louise Street and not 1st line west (McLaughlin Road) as one would expect.

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This house is also on David Graham’s property  and dates to around 1870 making it contemporary with the mill and not the town.  There is a stone building behind this house that was most likely used by workers at the mill.

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The Methodist Church was built in 1889 with a grand opening in 1890.  The Graham family was a key employer in the town and was also instrumental in the construction of this church building.  In 1925 the Methodist Church merged into the United Church.  This building is interesting in that it has a weathervane instead of a cross.

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The Trailway continues west out of Inglewood to where it crosses Old Base Line. Continuing, it passes through The Caledon Golf and Country Club.  Near Chingaucousy Road you will see a series of decaying chalets that used to belong to the country club.  They have been described in greater detail in a post called Caledon Country Club Chalets.

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The historic town of Inglewood and the Caledon Trailway make a great place to explore.

Google Maps Link: Inglewood

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Lakes Aquitaine and Wabukayne

Saturday May 14, 2016

Two man-made lakes hide among the mid-1970’s planned community of Meadowvale West. Lake Aquitaine and Lake Wabukayne form a beautiful green oasis in the middle of apartment buildings and townhouses.

On April 25, 1969 Markborough Properties Limited announced their plans to develop a 3,000 acre community that would include three levels of schools, a community centre, a major retail centre and a park with a lake.  A place where people could live, work, shop and play.  The new community in the Streetsville and Meadowvale area would provide the biggest growth in the history of the new city of Mississauga.  On Dec. 14, 1970 a tree was planted to mark the beginning of construction and to remind the contractors of the city in the country theme of the development.  In 1971 Streetsville Mayor, Hazel McCallion, presided over the opening of the information centre that started to sell the community. By 1973 Fletcher Switzer’s property had been developed for townhouses but the farms south of it were still clearly visible in aerial photographs.  By 1975 Isaac Wylie’s house had been removed and the section of the 5th line west coloured in yellow on the 1877 county atlas below had been closed and abandoned.

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When the master plan was developed it was decided to include a large park with a man-made lake on it.  The former Isaac Wylie property was chosen because of the small creek that flowed just south of the apple orchards.  Excavation for the lake began in September 1976 and when completed in November 1977 a 41 acre piece of land had been transformed into a park. A 12 acre lake containing 37 million gallons of water had been created and it was surrounded by 28 acres of parkland.  A 1 acre settling pool was included to remove pollutants before local run-off water was released into the lake.  Lake Aquitaine is 460 feet wide and 1780 feet long and the depth of 14-16 feet is perfect for the 3,300 rainbow trout that were stocked in it.  Robins, Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks all have hatched their little ones around the lake.  This female Mallard has her brood of five new born ducklings and is going for a stroll along the boardwalk.

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This archive photo shows the lake during construction looking north.  A spillway was created to act as an overflow to control the level of the lake by allowing water to flow over the top if it rose too high.

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The picture below shows the Lake Aquitaine spillway as seen looking south today.  Notice how wetland grasses have taken over the sides of the lake.

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The trail continues past the spillway and along the shore of the lake.  Here, a rather sickly looking raccoon was hanging around listlessly at the water’s edge.  It is rare to see one so skinny in an urban environment where they have access to plenty of food.  This animal likely has canine distemper which is the same disease that dogs can get.

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Water flows over a small dam from the settling pond into Lake Aquitaine in the picture below.

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The residents of Meadowvale West have the luxury of a set of six exercise stations known as the Lake Aquitaine Exercise Circuit.  These stations provide sets of exercise equipment spaced along the 1.4 kilometer trail that loops around the lake.  Other residents, like a lady with a purse full of  peanuts, walk the loop daily.  This particular lady has a name for each of the local squirrels and stops to chat with them and throw them a peanut.  As a result the local population is healthy and very friendly.

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When Lake Aquitaine was nearing completion a massive landscaping project was initiated that included planting 1265 trees and over 15,000 shrubs.  130,000 square yards of sod were laid and the paved walkways were lined with benches and lanterns.  Over the last 40 years the park has taken on a more mature feel and there are places where the hillsides are covered with hundreds of small maple trees.  These will form the basis for a forest a couple of decades from now.

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The Lake Wabukayne Trail runs south from Lake Aquitaine and forms a 4.9 km loop around the second lake.  The trail was laid out in 1976 when the sewage system was set up for the new development.  Mature pine trees now line the trail along one section and the one pictured below is leaking pine resin.  This material, when collected and lit, makes an excellent candle that can burn for hours.

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The county atlas above shows that almost every farm in the area included a large orchard. Orchards are illustrated as rows of dots, usually near the larger square dot that represents the house.  Many apple trees remain in the parks and they are in blossom this weekend.

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Lake Wabukayne is named after Chief Wabukanyne of the Eagle Clan of the Mississauga Natives who lived at the Credit River.  His name appears on the “First Purchase”, the treaty of 1805 which sold much of the GTA to the British Government, and translates as White Snow.  In 1829 Henry Cook settled on Lot 6.  The farm stayed in the family with Peter being the owner at the time of the atlas above.  In the 1940’s Cecil Cook built a dam across Wabukayne Creek to create a cattle pond on the property.  When the planned community of Erin Mills was built the pond was converted to serve as flood control and was renamed after the creek that feeds it.  It has since regenerated and is home to many species of wild life.  Wabukayne Creek flows into Mullet Creek and eventually over a secret set of waterfalls before making it to the Credit River.  The picture below shows the dam that controls the water level in Lake Wabukayne.

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Lake Wabukayne includes a unique floating island.  This island provides a safe habitat for ducks and other wild life.  As well as providing protection from wind and wave erosion the roots from the floating plants also help to filter the lake.  The floating island can be seen in the picture below surrounded by a series of white buoys.

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The Meadowvale Community Centre officially opened on Jan. 23, 1982 and would have made a great place to park for a hike around the two lakes except the parking lot is not accessible at the moment.  After 3 years of planning, the 30 year old community centre was shut down in July 2014 for extensive updates and expansions.  It is scheduled to re-open on Oct. 22, 2016.  Parking is scarce in the neighbourhood but some can be found at the Meadowvale Town Centre.  This retail mall was opened on Jan. 25th 1978 to serve the planned community.

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Hermit Hollow – Hillsburgh

Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015

After having visited The Ghost Town Of Sixteen Hollow and Trout Hollow I wanted to complete the trilogy and visit the collapsed house in Hermit Hollow.  I parked off of Station Road where the old Credit Valley Railway station once stood.  I walked south on the old rail line then walked the length of the main street.

After the coming of the railway potato growing became an important part of the Hillsburgh economy.  In 1881 the first carload of 210 bags of potatoes was shipped from Hillsburgh to Toronto.  Before long up to 3,000 bags a day were being shipped.  For a few years the town even celebrated Potato Fest.  The cover photo shows a plastic button from the 1973 festival. Beside the railway station stood large potato sorting and storage sheds.  An underground potato storage facility near the railway station has been converted into a house.  Note the concrete storage entrance on the side of the house and the extensive berm for storage.  All of the windows have been reduced in height and bricked in and a doorway has been closed off where the propane storage tank stands.

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In 1821 William Howe bought lots 22 and 23 in the seventh concession of Erin township.  He built a general store and trading post on the 7th line.  His second, larger store, blew up due to careless smoking and storage of gunpowder. A third store was then built which operated into the 1970’s.  All of the old tin advertising for Coke, Black Cat Cigarettes and the Orange Crush door handle are all gone from the store front and now it survives as an office building.

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Nazareth Hill arrived a couple of years later and built a hotel on lot 25.  He surveyed his property for town lots and named the community after himself.  As Hillsburgh grew it swallowed Howville.  It was incorporated as a police village in 1899 with a population of 500.

The first school house dates to 1844 and survives today as a private residence.  A one room brick school was completed in 1864 with an addition for the juniors on the front in 1878. In 1960 six acres were purchased from the Nodwell farm and Ross R. McKay school was opened with four class rooms.  The picture below shows the old school which has served local farmers as Hillsburgh Feed since 1963.  The 1864 school room is hiding in the back beside the feed silos.

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William How is buried in the pioneer cemetery near the middle of town.  After many years of neglect the stones were gathered up and placed in a central location.

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William Nodwell came to Canada from Ireland in 1838 and settled on Lot 24.  His first log home burned down within a year.  Nodwell then sold half of the lot and constructed another log house and barns.  In 1868 the brick house shown below was built.  This view shows the front of the now abandoned house with it’s second story oriel window.  In 1895 the house at the corner of the lane was added for use by family members.  In 1926 Mungo Nodwell took over running the farm which was well known for the  potatoes he grew.  Today there is an open proposal to develop this farm for a subdivision and the electric fence that used to surround the school yard has been replaced with a row of trees.

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A second town hall was built in 1887.  The date stone is interesting because it has no “h” on the end of the town’s name.  Notice the two maple leaves above the date and the beaver below. The Beaver was the name of the town newspaper in 1887 and cost 25 cents per year, paid in advance.

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Six of Hillsburgh’s seven church buildings remain.  The first, and only missing, church was the Union Church and it stood beside the pioneer cemetery.  As each of the denominations grew they left the Union Church and got their own buildings.  From the south end of town is the Baptist Church (1862), Christian Church (1906) and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian (1869) which burned in 1965 and was rebuilt in the original walls.  Beside the river stands the United Church which was reassembled here in 1926 and the Anglican Church seen below.  It was built in the early 1890’s but closed in 1918 and served as a honey extracting plant after that.

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Hillsburgh didn’t have a fire hall until the church fire of 1965.  After that it had a two door building that stood beside the river.  When the arena was replaced it was moved to Station Road.  Today there is a semi-circle of concrete on the ground behind the arena to mark the tower where the fire hoses were hung to dry.

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The Exchange Hotel was built in 1883 and was one of three hotel buildings that remain in town. Until recently It had stables in the back for the traveler’s horses and lettering on the arch which said “Good Stabling”.  It is the only three story building in Hillsburgh.

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Church Street was home to the Methodist Church.  This was also the site of the town’s third cemetery which lies below the lawn.

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The Barbour house, dated 1889, is on Orangeville Street and is one of half a dozen houses in town which are dated in the 1880’s and 90’s on a diamond shape date stone.  These were built by Alexander Hyndman whose own 1879 house stands beside the Christian Church.

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On the south east corner of the 8th line and 27th side road lies one of the headwaters of the Credit River.  In 1906 this property belonged to the Caledon Trout Club and later was a fish hatchery.  From here the water flows through Hillsburgh’s three existing ponds and into the Credit River.  A little boat dropped in this trickle of water could eventually emerge in Lake Ontario at Port Credit beside the much larger ship The Ridgetown.

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Leaving town on the 7th line there are two large hills.  In the hollow on lot 18 stood an old shack covered with asphalt siding.  During the early 1970’s a hermit lived in this house.  It was already in a state of decay at that time and collapsed by the middle of the decade.  Today one wall remains leaning against a tree and the rest is in advanced decay on the ground.  In good hermit fashion the property is strewn with old tin cans and empty bottles.

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An old car from the 1940’s or early 1950’s lies rusting in the tall grass at the back of Hermit Hollow.

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Hillsburgh retains many historical buildings and is an interesting time capsule of rural Ontario.

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The Ridgetown – Port Credit

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It was one of those spring mornings that start off cool, at only 10 degrees, but quickly warms up.  After several recent visits along the Credit River it seemed like a good time to visit the mouth of the river.  Port Credit is an unusual town in that it didn’t grow up around a mill or a cross-roads.  It was a planned community laid out by the government to support the harbour that was being built as a back-up to the harbour in York (Toronto).  The Port Credit harbour is at the river mouth and is sheltered by a pair of break walls and The Ridgetown, a partially sunken bulk freighter which can be seen in the cover photo.  The Ridgetown was also featured in the Adamson Estate on Cooksville Creek.  There is plenty of free parking in town near the library.  We crossed Lakeshore Road where the post office sits on the corner of Stavebank Road.

The Port Credit Post Office, Customs House and Armoury was built in 1931 as part of a “make-work” program during the Depression.  The site had been reserved for government use since 1820 and when the decision was made to build a new public building in Port Credit it was ideally suited.  The Department of Public Works had specific criteria which included “good drainage, easily accessible, in a commercial district, visually prominent, and on a corner lot”.  Post Offices were also to be “fairly” close to the harbour or railway station.  31 Lakeshore Road East met all these criteria.  The building is constructed in a style known as Edwardian Classical which was popular during the reign of Edward VII (1901 – 1910).  Public works had suspended it’s building program at the start of WWII and picked it back up in 1927 with its existing building designs. This is how the Post Office building came to be 20 years out of date in its architecture.

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On the west bank of the river stands the lighthouse.  The first lighthouse in Port Credit was built in 1863 but it was separated from the mainland by a flood in 1908.  By 1918 the lighthouse had closed and it stood vacant until it burned down in 1936.  The present lighthouse was built in 1991 and is a replica of the earlier one.

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The Port Credit harbour has been active since 1834.  Between 1880 and 1910 the harbour was home to an industry called stone-hooking.   Large flat slabs of shale were raked up off of the bottom of the lake for use in the construction boom in Toronto.  At its peak there were 23 ships registered as stone-hookers in Port Credit.  Today the harbour is protected by two stone breakwalls as can be seen in the 1972 aerial photo below.  The Credit River empties into Lake Ontario where it’s mouth is protected by an angled line of rock.  Running straight out into the lake to the right of this is a second, longer, wall of rock.  We chose to climb out to the end of each of them.  In 1974 the ship The Ridgetown was added at 90 degrees to the end of the straight breakwall to shelter most of the open end of the marina.

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The first breakwall runs out from the eastern bank of the Credit River.  The Ridgetown can be seen in the distance and one of many Mute Swans is watching us in the foreground.

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Built for $475,000 in 1905 as a flagship for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company the William E Corey was shipwrecked within 3 months.  After $100,000 in repairs it was ready for service again.  In July 1963 it was placed into British registry and renamed Ridgetown.  Two years later it was sold to Upper Lakes Shipping Limited who operated it until 1969.  Between 1970 and 1973 it served as a temporary breakwall for the construction of the Ontario Hydro Power Plant at Nanticoke.  After this is was brought to Toronto where it spent the winter of 1973.  In June 1974 it was loaded with rocks and sunk to protect the mouth of the Port Credit Marina. The picture below shows the ship when it was the William E Corey.

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As we made our way out the lengthy breakwater we got some great views of The Ridgetown.

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Finally, we reached the end of the breakwater and our goal of The Ridgetown.  On the right of the ship can be seen the end of the first breakwater that we investigated.

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Looking back at the Port Credit shoreline gives you an idea of how long the breakwater is.  The hike along this breakwater is challenging.  The biggest danger comes from dozens of Canada Geese and Mute Swans that have taken to nesting along its length.  They are prepared to defend their nests and several of them got into hissing at us.  On the way back it started to feel like we were running the gauntlet.

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The Trumpeter Swan is the largest living bird that is native to North America.  At 28 pounds the largest of the males are also the largest birds capable of flight.  They can be distinguished from the more common Mute Swan by their black bill and feet.  Of all the swans in the mouth of the river and along the two break walls this is the only one we noticed that was a Trumpeter Swan. It was also the only one which was tagged, in this case with a bright yellow “K94”.  This is part of a project to reintroduce these swans which were near extinction.

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Port Credit has a cultural heritage designation and there is plenty more to be explored in the area.  J. C. Saddington Park and the Imperial Oil Lands were explored on March 4, 2017 and can be found here.

Google Maps Link: Port Credit

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Churchville

Friday April 3, 2015.

It was by far the warmest hike of the year so far at 12 degrees feeling like 18.  Before we got back to the cars we were carrying sweaters and coats.  It was Good Friday and perfectly applicable that we should go to church.  So we went to Churchville to explore the historical little village and the conservation area that separates it from Meadowvale.  We parked in the same lot as last week where the Second Line dead ends below the New Derry Road.  Crossing under the bridge we made our way north intending to make it as far as Steeles Avenue.

One of the first plants to respond to the warmer days and increased sunshine is the dogwood. Also known as Cornus Sericea they grow wild in wetlands throughout Canada.  Their bark takes on a brighter red colour before the leaves come out.

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When the Derry Road Bypass (now just Derry Road) was built in the mid 1990’s the Second Line was closed where the bypass intersected it.  After investigating a woodlot just north of the bypass we headed west back toward the Credit River.  The picture below shows the closed second line looking south toward Meadowvale.

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The Credit Valley Railway (CVR) was incorporated in 1871 with a mandate to build a railway from Toronto to Orangeville with various branches westward to Waterloo.  The railway stopped at Meadowvale where the station was at the corner of Old Creditview and Old Derry (now marked by a single old telegraph pole).  It bypassed Churchville on the east and made it’s next stop in Brampton.  By 1881 the CVR was in trouble and was incorporated into the Canadian Pacific Railway.  We crossed the old CVR tracks where some of the tie down plates are dated 1921 as seen below.

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Perhaps the first new growth of the spring are these Coltsfoot flowers that are growing along the banks of the river.  Coltsfoot are unique in that the flowers appear without the previous formation of any leaves.  After the seeds are distributed the flower disappears and the leaves grow, making at appear to be a plant without flowers.  The name comes from two Latin words which mean to act on, or cast out, a cough.  We now know that the plant has certain toxic alkaloids that destroy the liver and some countries have banned it’s medicinal use.  The plant which is the first sign of new life this spring turns out to be toxic to life, if ingested.  In the picture below it looks like a dandelion but is too early and also lacks the green leaves.

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Built in 1907 the current one lane bridge over the Credit River in Churchville replaced several earlier wooden bridges that crossed the river in the centre of town.  The bridge style is known as a steel pony truss bridge.  A truss bridge is one of the earliest designs of bridges and was very common during the 19th and early 20th century.  A truss bridge uses a design of triangles to keep the elements of the bridge stressed either through tension or compression.  Where the sides extend above the roadway but are not connected across the top it is known as a “pony truss”. This bridge is one of only two single lane bridges remaining in Brampton.  A 1911 picture of the bridge is featured in the cover photo.  It was taken at about this time of year and large slabs of ice are melting beside the bridge abutments.  Of note are the three people who are standing on the outside of the bridge railing in the historical photograph.

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Amaziah Church founded the town in 1815 when he built mills on the Credit which were at first known as Church’s Mills.  With a population of 80 it got it’s own post office and the new name of Churchville in 1831.  By the 1850’s it had peaked at over 200 people and was home to 5 mills and over 20 small businesses plus three general stores.  The crash in grain prices following the Crimean War hurt the small milling community and between 1866 and 1877 all of the mills closed.   In 1875 a fire destroyed much of the town, which was never rebuilt.  The failure of the CVR to come into town in 1877 was a final blow to ensure it wouldn’t recover from it’s decline. Of the 98 homes that once stood in the village less than 20 remain.

This building dates to 1840 and may have originally been a wagon shop belonging to Thomas Fogerty.  It served as the final general store for the community and lasted until the 1960’s when it was converted into a residence.  The original store windows have been hidden when the front porch was enclosed.

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Formerly known as the May Hotel this 1830’s structure is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Churchville.

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At one time there were three churches in town.  The Anglican and Episcopalian churches have been lost and the only one remaining is the Weslyan Methodist, built in 1856.

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The old plow in the picture below has been sitting in one place for so long that a group of small trees is growing up in the middle of the frame.

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The first burial in the Churchville cemetery was Amaziah Church in 1831.

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The town of Churchville sits on the floodplain for the Credit River and has experienced repeated flooding over the years.  When the town was recognized as a Cultural Heritage District it was decided to do something to protect the historic homes in town.  In 1989 a protective berm was built between the river and the homes along it’s east side.  Behind houses it has been built with a concrete wall and between houses the gentle slope of the berm can be seen.  The picture below is taken from beside the former volunteer fire department station.

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Tagged on the plate as a 100 year vehicle it was appropriate that we saw it entering the 1907 bridge.

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