Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ayr, Ontario

Christ Anglican Church, Ayr, OntarioAyr, Ontario is on the Nith River in the Township of North Dumfries (2006 pop. 9,063).   Shown right is Christ Anglican Church, Ayr established in 1917.

Ayr's earliest industry and settlement, Mudge's Mills, was established in 1824.   In 1884, along with Jedburgh (est. 1832 in the east) and Nithvale (est. 1837 in the west) the three settlements were incorporated as the village of Ayr.   In 1868, John Watson, a Scottish immigrant, purchased the Abel Mudge property and built the Dam.

Location of Ayr, OntarioIn 1865 the John Watson Manufacturing Company (1884) transferred its water rights to the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Village of Ayr, in an overall program of beautification and water conservation. Watson's dam represents one of the important historic features for which the Grand River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1994.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bayfield, Ontario

Bayfield, OntarioBayfield, Ontario is a community in the Municipality of Bluewater (2006 pop. 7,120) on the shore of Lake Huron, at the mouth of Bayfield River.

In 1832 Carel Lodewijk, Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken, a Dutch nobleman, purchased large holdings from the Canada Company including 388 acres here. He named the settlement after his friend, Henry Wolsey Bayfield, the British nautical surveyor.

During the next decade an extensive town plot was laid out, grist and saw mills were erected and a community was established. The settlement developed as a centre for the surrounding agricultural community. By 1851 the hamlet contained a wagon and ploughmaking works, two blacksmiths shops, an ashery, a distillery, two tanneries, a brickyard and about 125 residents.

Location of Bayfield, OntarioThe construction of a harbour during the 1870's spurred further growth, and in 1876, with a population of over 800, Bayfield was incorporated as a village.   Bayfield languished until after World War II when it became a popular vacation and retirement community.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brussels, Ontario

Anglican Church, Brussels, OntarioBrussels, Ontario is a community in the Municipality of Huron East (2006 pop. 9,310) on the Middle Branch of the Maitland River.

In 1854 William Ainley purchased two hundred acres of land. The following year he laid out a village plot which he named Ainleyville. A post office named Dingle was opened in 1856. The community flourished and by 1863 contained a sawmill, a grist-mill, blacksmith shops, a woollen mill and several other small industries. In anticipation of the rapid growth that the expected construction of a branch of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway would bring, Ainleyville, with a population of 780, was incorporated as a village and renamed Brussels on December 24, 1872. Within a decade the population had increased to about 1800.

location of Brussels, OntarioSt John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Brussels, Ontario was built in 1947. It is similar in design to the previous church building destroyed by fire and constructed in 1876. The parish had been established in 1860.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Creemore, Ontario

Creemore Springs Brewery, Creemore, OntarioCreemore, Ontario is a community in the Township of Clearview (2006 pop. 14,088). It lies on the spillway of the Mad River, 20 minutes south of Georgian Bay.

Creemore developed after 1845 when William Nutley and Edward Webster built a mill on the Mad River.   Webster divided his land into town lots which he sold to new arrivals.   In 1889, there were 753 inhabitants.

Location of Creemore, OntarioA local attraction as well as a thriving business is the Creemore Springs Brewery which as a retail store in the the former May Hardware sbuilding.   The brewery produces its beer in small batches in open-fired kettles.   It obtains fresh water from a spring just outside of town.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dresden, Ontario

Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, Dresden, OntarioDresden, Ontario is a community in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent (2006 pop. 108,177) located on the Sydenham River.

In 1846 Daniel van Allen, a Chatham merchant, laid out a town plot on land purchased from Jared Lindsley, the first settler (1825) on the site of Dresden. By 1849 the erection of a steam sawmill, and the operation of a grist-mill in the neighbouring Dawn Institute Settlement founded by Josiah Henson, provided the basis for a thriving community in this area. A post office named "Dresden" was opened in 1854. The regions timber resources and the navigation facilities afforded by the Sydenham River fostered industrial growth. A county by-law of 1871 incorporated Dresden as a village with a population of about 750. Ten years later it became a town.

Location of Dresden, OntarioThe main tourist attraction is Uncle Tom's Cabin historic site operated by the province.   The 5-acre site includes an interpretive centre, 3 historic buildings, including Josiah Henson's house, barn (shown), 2 cemeteries, extensive artifacts and a gift shop.