Caledon Historical Tidbits

Meteor

Supposedly, in the 1920s, a meteor fell in to the Millcroft (then called Dod’s Mill) pond and made the water boil. Legend has it that for several days the pond was too hot for swimming. The meteor has never been recovered.

 

Gold Rush

There was a gold rush in Caledon in the 1800s. During the first quarter of the 19th century, word spread that there was gold in the Credit River Valley. It turned out to be fools’ gold, but another valuable commodity was found: salt. In 1820, two of the men lured to the area in search of riches, William Grant and Matthew Crooks, set out on an expedition to mine the salt, and founded a small settlement by the salt mine and named it Gleniffer. Salt mining proved to be an unprofitable venture, however, and the site was abandoned in the 1830s. It was not until the late 1850s that the settlement developed, but this time under a different name: Cataract.

 

The Alton Mill

The Alton Mill was originally three stories. When it was struck by a fire in 1908, only the first two stories survived.

 

Boston Mills

The hamlet Boston Mills was supposedly named by early settler Hiram Caslor in the 1860s in jest after the song, “The Long Road to Boston.”

 

Cheltenham

Cheltenham was named by the first settler in the area and grist mill owner, Charles Haines, after his birthplace of Cheltenham, England. Haines first arrived in the area in 1820, and by 1827 was operating a small, water-powered grist mill.

 

Boston Mills Cemetery

Richard Vale, one of Caledon’s first settlers, was killed by a falling tree. He was buried on a slope overlooking the Credit River, in a coffin made of the bark from the tree that killed him. When it came time for the community to choose a location for a cemetery, Richard Vale’s burial placed was chosen. This cemetery is now known as Boston Mills Cemetery.

 

Palgrave

A painting of Palgrave is owned by the National Gallery of Canada. David Milne, the famous Canadian landscape painter, lived in Palgrave in the 1930s. He painted a number of scenes that depicted Palgrave, one which is now held in the National Gallery of Canada.

 

Inglewood Quarries

Inglewood had a bustling quarry industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Stone from these quarries was used to construct such notable buildings as Old Toronto City Hall, Casa Loma, and the provincial legislative buildings in Toronto’s Queen’s Park.

 

Inglewood

Unlike many of Caledon’s early villages, which were established either near waterways to harness the waterpower, or at rural crossroads to function as agricultural service centres, Inglewood was established as the direct result of the arrival of two railways in the late 1870s.

 

Caledon East

Five of the first property owners in Caledon East were women: Mary Heward, Mary Mulloy, Mary Horman, Rebecca Greer, and Elizabeth Tarbox, the latter for whom the town was originally named (Tarbox Corners).

 

Caledon East

The area around Centre Creek was originally a large swamp. We know this because when Airport Road was being excavated for paving in 1962, large logs were unearthed from dark bog soil ten feet from the surface—the remains of a corduroy road, the only means of crossing the swamp.

 

Caledon East

A creek teeming with fish once ran along Airport Road, up until 1907 when a pipe was installed to contain the river until it emptied into Centre Creek.

 

Caledon East

Cranston Drive is named after the Cranston family, who settled in Caledon East in the 1850s. They were active in the community, holding the roles of hotelkeeper, general store merchant, and postmaster, among others. They were also involved in the running of the sawmill, foundry, and brickyard.

 

Caledon East

Many of the village’s late 19th century buildings were constructed of brick made at the local brickworks, located east of the village just south of the railroad crossing on Innis Lake Road. What made these bricks distinctive was their yellow colour, caused by the hue of the local clay. At the time, red brick was more common, as that was the colour of the majority of Ontario clay; yellow brick, because of its rarity, was more expensive to buy and was generally reserved for decorative accents such as lintels or banding. But in Caledon East, as the local clay was yellow, the most common bricks were yellow! These brick were shipped as far away as Hamilton.

 

Caledon East

During the excavation of one of the sewer trenches in Caledon East on Larry Street west of Airport Road, a wooden case of six one-quart empty whiskey bottles were discovered around twenty feet below the surface. Some believe that they were placed in the well behind the store once owned by William Stone—perhaps to evade detection when Caledon East was a “dry” village.

 

Cataract

Cataract became renowned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the work of local inventor, John Deagle. Deagle converted the village’s former grist mill to a hydro-electric power plant in the late 1890s, and his Cataract Electric Co. was the first to provide power to the villages of Erin, Alton, and Orangeville, with later expansions of the system to other local villages and farms.

 

Boston Mills

Before being known as Boston Mills, the village had many other names, including The Credit, Boston, and Caslor’s Corners.

 

Inglewood

Inglewood has had many different names over its history, including Sligo, Sligo Junction, and Riverdale Junction.

 

John Street

Four different communities in Caledon have streets named ‘John’: Alton, Bolton, Caledon East, and Cheltenham.

 

Caledon East

In Caledon East, there are four streets named after the Proctor family, one of the settlement’s pioneer families: Jean Street, Marion Street, and Larry Street.

 

Albion/Centreville

Albion, also known as Centreville, was at one point known as “Helltown”, a moniker that referred to the friction between the area’s staunch Methodists and Irish Roman Catholics.

 

Bolton

In Bolton, Allan Drive was named for Hilliard Allan, who ran the Bolton Dairy from 1948 to 1973, and served as Bolton’s last reeve.

 

Caledon East

In Caledon East, Orsi Street and Angela Court are named after local developer Frank Orsi and his wife, Angela.

 

Post Offices

As their populations were quite small, many early communities housed their post offices in a local farmhouse or church, rather than in its own building. Such communities included Albion, Caldwell, Hunsden, Macville, Mount Wolfe, and Sligo.

 

Mono Mills

Some earlier names of Mono Mills were Market Hill and McLaughlin’s Mills.

 

Ellwood Drive

In Bolton, Ellwood Drive is named after William and James Ellwood, who were killed in World War II.

 

Caledon East

Before being known by its current name, Caledon East was known as Tarbox Corners (after Elisha and Elizabeth Tarbox, two of the first settlers in the area), Munsey’s Corners (named after James Munsie, the hamlet’s first postmaster), and Paisley.

 

Irish Settlers

Many of Caledon’s early pioneers came from the British Isles, and their Irish heritage is reflected in the names of many of the area’s settlements, including Wildfield, Tullamore, Sligo, Sleswick, Kilmanagh, and Dublin (also known as Campbell’s Cross).

 

Mills

Many of Caledon’s settlements sprang up around water-powered mills—a history which is reflected in the fact that Albion, Bolton, and Cheltenham all have roads named “Mill”.

 

Electricity

Caledon East first received electricity in the 1920s.

 

Chinguacousy

“Chinguagousy” is believed to mean “Land of the tall pines”.

 

Ploughing

Caledon Village hosted the International Ploughing Match in 1963.

 

Kilmanagh

Settled in the early 1830s, Kilhamagh is one of the few places in Caledon to retain its original name. The first resident, Hugh McTaggart, named it after his birthplace in Ireland.

 

Melville

Melville was founded in 1831 by the James Watson family. It was named after James’ wife, Anne Melville.

 

Palgrave

Palgrave was originally known as Buckstown, named after a local innkeeper. The name was changed to Palgrave when the hamlet opened a post office in 1869.

 

Caledon Village

Caledon Village was established around 1825, and was first known as Raeburn’s Corners. Its name changed to Charleston with the opening of a post office in 1838/1839, and again changed in 1853 to Caledon.

 

Alton School

The Alton schoolhouse has undergone a number of changes over its history. Originally built as a one room schoolhouse in 1875, a second, matching schoolhouse was added in 1876. The school was further remodeled under the current roofline in 1908, and a two-room continuation school (high school) was added to the rear of the building in 1928.

 

Campbell’s Cross

Two early names for Campbell’s Cross were Dublin—after the local Dublin Castle Hotel—and Jamestown, after the early settler James Campbell. It was renamed Campbell’s Cross in 1854.

 

Alloa

This crossroads hamlet was first known as Troughton’s Corners, after the local blacksmith who produced a wide-winged ditching plough called the Troughton plough. When the post office was opened in 1863, the hamlet was renamed Alloa after the Scottish birthplace of carriage maker and local landowner William Sharpe.

 

The Cheltenham Badlands

Now owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust and managed by the Bruce Trail Association, the Cheltenham badlands are the result of soil erosion caused by deforestation and livestock grazing, which has exposed the Queenston shale found along the south slopes of the Niagara Escarpment.

 

Airport Road

Airport Road was previously known as Mono Road. Originating in Etobicoke –where it is called Dixon Road—it was the pioneer route to the Township of Mono. It was also previously known as First Line, Albion, and Sixth Line East, Caledon.

 

Regional Road 50

In previous years, Regional Road 50 was known as Albion Road. It still goes by that name in Etobicoke, where it originated as the pioneer road to Albion Township.

 

Railroads

By 1879, three railways criss-crossed through Caledon: the Credit Valley Railway (now the Orangeville Brampton Railway), the Hamilton & North Western Railway (closed in the 1960s and now the Caledon Trailway), and the Toronto Grey & Bruce Railway (closed in the early 1930s).

 

Hockey

The first recorded competitive hockey game in Caledon happened in 1899, when the Bolton Hockey Team played the Toronto Old Orchards.

 

Hockey Rinks

It appears that Caledon’s first ice rink was built by J.D. Goodfellow in 1884 to be used for skating and “games of Shinny”.  The second out-of-doors ice sheet was situated behind the present United Church in Bolton, and was referred to as “Black’s” rink.  The first ‘covered’ rink was Hickman’s Arena, opened in 1914 on the north side of the Humber River in Bolton.

 

Baseball

Bolton was home to a champion baseball team. In 1885, the Bolton baseball team defeated every other team in the County of Peel and went on to claim the championships of the Peel, York, and Ontario counties.

 

Local Famous Athletes

Caledon has been home to many athletes. One of note was Caledon East’s Albert J. McCaffrey. He played football and hockey and had numerous successes, perhaps culminating in his membership on the “Toronto Saint Patricks” hockey team, now known as the Toronto Maple Leafs. He later went on to be part of the 1929-30 Stanley Cup championship team with the Montreal Canadiens.

 

Railroad Stations

In the past, Caledon had twelve railway stations within its borders: Alton, Bolton, Caledon East, Caledon Village, Cataract, Cheltenham, Forks of the Credit, Inglewood, Melville, Mono Road, Palgrave, and Terra Cotta.

 

Horseshoe Hill Road

Horseshoe Hill Road received its name from the horseshoe-shaped bend on the Toronto Grey & Bruce Railway as it rose up the Niagara Escarpment from the Peel Plain, just west of Horseshoe Hill Road south of Escarpment Sideroad. The horseshoe bend was the location of a train wreck on September 5, 1907, in which seven people were killed and 114 were injured. The road was renamed in recognition of this horrific event.

 

Albion

Albion is the oldest known name of Great Britain. Sometimes still used as a poetic reference to the Island, the name was also given to Albion Township in 1819.

 

Laurel Hill Cemetery

Laurel Hill has a rare octagonal deadhouse, which are believed to be unique to Ontario. What makes the Laurel Hill Cemetery example so interesting, however, is that it’s located outside of the small area between Toronto and Aurora where deadhouses are generally found.

 

Boston Mills Cemetery

The deadhouse located in Boston Mills cemetery—which was used to house the bodies of the deceased until the ground thawed enough for their burial—was formerly used as a one-room schoolhouse.

 

Osage Orange Hedge

Along the west side of Torbram Road, north of King Street, an osage orange hedge was planted in the 19th century as a ‘living fence’ and windbreak. Not native to the area, the dense hedge is characterized by shiny leaves, thorns, and large inedible green fruit. It was one of the first living objects provincially designated as a heritage feature.

 

Mount Wolfe

Mount Wolfe is the highest elevation in Albion Hills. The site of a prehistoric First Nations village (chosen for its topographic prominence and the presence of natural springs), Mount Wolfe offers scenic views of the Humber Vallet and the Peel Plain, and on a clear day, the city of Toronto can be seen in the distance. The best views of the surrounding landscape are from Mount Pleasant Road, north of Old Church Road.

 

Belfountain

Belfountain was briefly known as “Tubtown” during the mid-19th century. It received this name because of a large octagonal tub-shaped building in town that was erected by the local blacksmith for use as a cooperage. The hamlet officially changed its name to Belfountain in 1857.

 

Bolton Camp

Fresh country air was valued even back to the early 20th century. A group of Toronto men decided to build a camp for city children to give them a chance to enjoy the clean country air, and so bought an abandoned fishing camp in 1922. The Bolton Camp was opened in the 1920s. It was divided into four self-sustaining sections: the Sherbourine section for girls; the Rotary section for boys; the Hastings section for mothers and their babies; and the Howell section for mothers and children. Each section had its own kitchen, dining room, swimming pool, recreation room, craft house, medical unit, and playground.

 

Hardwick Road

Hardwick Road just south of the C.P Railroad tracks is named after O.J Hardwick.  He was a very popular resident of Bolton and was reeve from 1946 to 1951.  Mr. Hardwick was a very active in the community. He was coach of Bolton’s hockey team, manager on the Hickman Street arena, president of the Jamboree Committee, established the first pasteurizing plant, built the Bolton Cold Storage lockers, and operated the Bolton Casino.

 

Ann Street

Ann Street in Bolton was named for Anne Sterne, whose husband operated a distillery. She was recognized for her and her husband’s contribution of land for the first Anglican Church.

 

Bolton Streets

Nancy, Jane and Elizabeth Streets in Bolton were named after the daughters of James C. Stork, an early Bolton Councillor.

 

Dalton Street

Dr. Dalton was a highly respected physician who practiced in the Bolton area from 1860 to 1875.  Dalton Street was named in his honour.

 

Cataract

The hamlet that became known as Cataract was established in the early 1820s on the site of a salt mine. Named ‘Gleniffer’, the hamlet was abandoned when the mine failed in the 1830s. The village site was purchased in 1858 by Richard Church, a land speculator and developer from Cooksville, and renamed Church’s Falls. He proceeded to build a grist mill, saw mill, brewery, and broom factory, and in essence rebuilt the village’s industrial base from scratch. He went on to become the village’s first post master in 1865.

 

Whiskey

Whiskey was produced in Cheltenham during the mid-19th century. Called Cheltenham Wheat Whiskey, it was known for being “smooth, with no bite, and going down like molasses.”

 

Cheltenham

Electricity first came to Cheltenham in 1927, and came from a hydroelectric plant in Cataract.

 

Coulterville

The 20th century crossroads community, at Charleston Sideroad and Main Street, derives its name from the Coulter family, which had settled on the northeast corner in the 1840s.

 

Lime Kiln

The ruins of a lime-burning Hoffmann kiln lie halfway up the slope of the Niagara Escarpment at the Forks of the Credit. Hoffmann kilns were originally designed for brick making, and were comprised of a series of firing chambers along a circular or oval tunnel, with the material to be fired remaining stationary and the fire moving around the ring of the kiln. Hundreds of lime kilns were built in Ontario, but the Forks of the Credit kiln is unique as it is probably the only Hoffmann kiln used for lime burning in North America.

 

Melville

Melville played host to a number of Hollywood stars when former vaudeville star, Al Hamilton, moved in to the village. Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby, among others, came to Melville to pay Al a visit.

 

Terra Cotta

Terra Cotta was originally known as Tucker’s Mills, named after one of the hamlet’s first settlers and builder of the hamlet’s first mill, Henry Tucker. When Simon Plewes took over the mill, the hamlet’s name changed to Plewes Mills. It was again changed to Salmonville when the post office opened, named so because of the plentiful salmon found in the river. The post office was renamed Terra Cotta in 1891, though it is not certain whether the name change reflected the decrease in salmon or the area’s new industry: brick making.

 

Alton

Originally known as Williamston, Alton’s residents had to choose a new name for their post office as there already was a Williamstown in a nearby county. The residents—after considerable discussion—settled on the name Alton, as it was “easy to write.”

 

Bolton

Bolton was the first village in Albion Township. Previously known as Bolton Mills, the village’s name commemorates the Bolton family, whose members constructed the mill around which the village was founded.

 

Macville

In 1829, two McDougall (McDougald) brothers received grants in the area known as Macville. The settlement was originally named McDougall’s Corners, but was soon christened Macville because many of its residents’ names were prefixed with either “Mc” or “Mac”. The village’s name became official with the establishment of a post office in 1855.

 

Mayfield

First settled by English immigrants, Mayfield was named after the Sussex, England home town of its first settlers.