Historical Plaques of
Prince Edward County

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The next 4 plaques were sent in by Mike Blamire


Location: Court House, Union St., Picton



An Act of the legislature of Upper Canada in 1831 named Prince Edward County a separate judicial district. Land for a court-house in Picton was given by the Rev. William Macauley and construction began late in 1832. Two years later in this fine structure built in the Greek Revival style, the first courts of quarter session of the new District were held. John A. Macdonald, later a father of confederation and Canada’s first prime minister, practised in this court-room and successfully defended himself against an indictment for assault occasioned by a practical joke. Additions were made in 1861, but its main block is one of the province’s oldest remaining public buildings.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: St. Mary Magdalene, Union & Church St., Picton


1794 - 1874

In 1803 William Macauley, son of a United Empire Loyalist, received a crown grant of some 400 acres of land in this vicinity. Born in Kingston, Macauley was educated under the Rev. John Strachan and at Oxford University. Ordained in 1818, he used his own funds to finance the construction of this church, St. Mary Magdalene, which began in 1825. Macauley also donated land for the District court-house and gaol. The resultant settlement, which through his influence was named Picton, after Sir Thomas Picton, a distinguished British soldier, was incorporated with the adjacent community of Hallowell in 1837. Macauley is buried in this churchyard.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Church St., south of St. Mary Magdalene Church, Picton

The old church of St. Mary Magdalene and its rectory were built by the Rev. William Macauley on Land he received as a crown grant. When the congregation moved to a new building, they continued to maintain the old church until deeding it to the County of Prince Edward for a county museum which was established in 1973.
After Macauley’s death in 1874, the old rectory and the farm land surrounding it were owned in turn by several well known county families.
Recognizing the historic and architectural value of the Macauley house, the County of Prince Edward acquired the property in 1974 thus recreating for all time the old relationship between the church and rectory.
The acquisition and restoration of the Macauley House was achieved through the generosity of the people of this county, assisted by grants from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation from the proceeds of Wintario and from the Ontario heritage Foundation.



Location: Picton United Church, Chapel & Mary St., Picton

In 1824, the first Methodist "Canada Conference", which resulted in the separation of the Canadian and U.S. churches, was held in a recently completed frame chapel that originally stood on this site. Built by a congregation that had been established in 1793 by Darius Dunham, an itinerant preacher from the U.S. and led by a local settler, Andrew Johnson, it was also the site for a meeting in 1831 that settled the location of a Methodist "Seminary of Learning" at Cobourg. Named the "Upper Canada Academy", this institution later developed into the present Victoria University. The present church erected in 1898, is the third to stand on this site.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

The following 7 plaques were sent in by Mike Blamire


Location: Queen Elizabeth Park, Hill St. Bay St.
(north of Loyalist Pkwy & east of Hwy. 49), Picton

Here on a secure harbour at the head of Picton Bay, several roads converged during the 1790’s, including a portage to Lake Ontario. It thus became a natural shipping and distribution centre for the peninsula and by 1811 a small community had been well established. This settlement, named "Hallowell", after a Loyalist from Massachusetts, grew rapidly after 1818 when the use of steamers made the harbour more accessible. In 1823-25 the Reverend William Macauley laid out an adjacent village site which he named "Picton". The latter became the judicial and administrative center of the District of Prince Edward in 1831. The two communities amalgamated in 1837 and were incorporated as the Town of Picton.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: North of Loyalist Pkwy, on the west
side of Hwy. 49 in the fairgrounds, Picton


BUILT c. 1887

In 1851, an exhibition opened in London, England at Hyde Park in celebration of the world’s new technological age. The centre piece of this exhibition was an enormous building designed by Lord Joseph Paxton constructed of iron and glass and covering nineteen acres. The structure was appropriately named the Crystal Palace. The concept of the Crystal Palace was readily embraced by North Americans following 1851 and smaller hybrid replicas became common additions to agricultural fairs throughout both Canada and the United States. Constructed in 1887 by Frank T. Wright, a local building contractor, the Crystal Palace located on this site is, today, the only original structure of its kind remaining on the continent. This unique, historically and architecturally significant building was carefully restored over a six year period from 1990 thru 1996 with the assistance of the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the County of Prince Edward and donations from members of the community.

Officially re-opened by the Honourable Hilary M. Weston
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on June 15th, 1997.


Location: At the church, about 3 Km north of Hwy. 33
(the Loyalist Pkwy, Picton), just east of Hwy. 49



This church, formerly known as the "Old Chapel", was built on land donated by Stephen Conger, a Loyalist from New Jersey, who had settled with his family in Hallowell Township in 1787. Commenced in 1809, it was the first Methodist church in Prince Edward County and one of the earliest in Upper Canada. Built by William Moore and financed by Public subscription, it has been maintained as a place of worship for a longer period than any other church of Methodist origin in Ontario.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: The north side of Hwy. 33, the Loyalist Pkwy,
between Picton and Bloomfield near Mallory Rd

Built before 1839, this home, a fine example of "Loyalist Neo-Classical" architecture, was the main building of the West Lake Boarding School between 1841 and 1865. The first seminary in Canada of the Society of Friends, this institution was opened as a girls’ school in 1841 and, with the completion of a frame structure for boys to the east, the school was in full operation in 1842. Thomas Clarke, a local Quaker, assisted by his wife, was the first Superintendent. By 1854 the school had a total registration of 110 pupils of whom 47 were girls and 63 boys. The school ceased operations in 1865 and was sold in 1869.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: On the South side of Hwy. 33 (Loyalist Pkwy.),
east of the park in Wellington and next to a church

According to tradition, Daniel Reynolds, a fur trader and trapper from upstate New York, was the first white settler in this area. In 1795, when he received the crown land grant on which present day Wellington is situated, he may already have been a squatter here. Reynolds befriended local Indians and with their help erected a stone house by the lake. Built in stages, the existing structure dates from the early 19th century and shows evidence of pre-Revolutionary Hudson Valley Dutch design.



Location: West of Hwy. 33, the Loyalist Pkwy, in a
park on Co. Rd. 29, south-east part of Consecon

In 1668 Claude Trouvé and François de Fénelon, Sulpician priests from France, established this mission to serve Iroquois Indians on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Kenté, the Cayuga Village which had requested the missionaries, became the mission’s centre. Buildings were erected at this village, which was probably located in the Consecon area, and livestock was brought from Ville-Marie (Montreal). Under Abbé Trouvé’s direction, various resident Sulpicians served the mission, but from 1675 their activities were largely confined to the village centre. An early outpost of French influence in the lower Great Lakes region, the mission was abandoned in 1680 as a result of the moving of the Cayugas, heavy maintenance costs, and the growth of Fort Frontenac as a major post.

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


Location: On Hwy. 49, 1 block east of Hwy. 33
(Loyalist Pkwy.), Picton




Prior to the construction of the Shire Hall in 1874 the Prince Edward County Council met in the Court House on Union Street and the administration offices were in rented space scattered throughout the Town of Picton.
The early records of County Council indicate that offices were rented from Picton’s first Mayor Philip Low and that following a dispute over the contract for rent it was decided to construct the County Offices. Over the years the building has also housed all the judicial offices of the County. The Council Chamber provides a meeting place for the County Council and since 1937 has been used by the Picton Town Council. The first addition was added in 1949 and the most recent during 1982. The latter was designed to reflect the images of its surroundings.
The County Registry Office constructed in 1871 is typical of those built in Eastern Ontario during the post-Confederation period but it is one of the best preserved. Until 1975 the building served as a depository for all legal documents affecting land in Prince Edward County. The building now serves as the County Archives.
Together the two buildings form an impressive civic grouping and dominate the historic east end of the town.

This plaque was erected in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Picton. NOVEMBER, 1978 The corporation of the County of Prince Edward

The next 2 plaques were sent in by Mike Blamire


Location: Outside the Rose House on County Road 8

Following the American Revolution, Marysburgh Township was established for the settlement of Loyalists and discharged soldiers of regular regiments. Surveyed in 1784 by the Honourable John Collins, Deputy Surveyor-General, the township was named in honour of Princess Mary, a daughter of King George III. Among its earliest settlers was a small group of disbanded German mercenaries under Baron von Reitzenstein. By October, 1784, this party, numbering about 40 persons, had settled in this vicinity and begun to clear and cultivate the land. Shortly after, they erected a log chapel just west of here, and were ministered to by Lutheran missionaries. This was one of the earliest German-speaking groups to settle in Ontario.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: At Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, Glenora, County Rd. 7

Glenora was settled by United Empire Loyalsits, British sympathizers who fled the United States after the revolution. In 1784, Major Peter VanAlstine led 200 settlers from New York City on the long and difficult journey to Lake on the Mountain. Forging a new life in the Canadian wilderness was an arduous task. For the first three years, the settlers depended on government rations for survival.
As flour was a basic staple in the pioneer diet, Glenora’s main crop was wheat. The nearest grist mills, however, were miles away and travelling was both time consuming and costly. The enterprising VanAlstine decided to harness the power of the tumbling waterfall to meet the communities pressing needs. Around 1796, he built a saw and grist mill on the mountain top. The flowing waters moved the huge water wheels, powering the heavy machinery which ground the wheat into flour and cut the wood into lumber.
The mills of Glenora attracted businesses from much of the surrounding district. They became a focal point of community social life.

Growing Community
As Glenora’s population grew, the demand for milling services increased. Around 1814, VanAlstine established another grist mill, this time at the mountain base. The mills were now producing flour not only for the local community but also for export to urban centres like Kingston and Montreal. Glenora’s abundance of water power, her excellent harbour facilities and her access to main shipping lanes soon attracted other entrepreneurs. In 1812-23, a carding operation and fulling mill were built on the mountain top. They provided wool and cloth to the growing community – essential services when most of the clothing and bedding were still made at home. By the 1850’s a woolen and plaster mill had joined the grist mill at the mountain base. The production of land plaster (gypsum) for use as fertilizer greatly improved farming in the Quinte area, raised the productivity of wheat and further increased the demand on the grist mills. Glenora’s economic fortunes changed significantly in 1875. James Wilson built a machine shop and foundry to turn out Little Giant Water Wheels or turbines. A recent development in an age where technological efficiency was the watchword of the day, turbines were revolutionizing industry. Unlike the traditional water wheel, the turbine contained ducts or vanes which were contained in a fixed shaft. Water flowing through the vanes developed into high velocity energy, creating a much more efficient source of power.
The success of Wilson’s machine shop – turbines from Glenora were shipped around the world – turned the little hamlet into a bustling community. New stores, hotels, dance halls, a post office (still standing) and a nail and horseshoe factory were all evidence of a growing prosperity. A school and church, whose steeple still serves as a landmark for Quinte sailors, were also built to meet the needs of an expanding population.

Glenora’s decline
Economic growth was relatively short-lived, Glenora’s wheat market, the economic base of the community, was on the decline. Advancing technology, steam power, the rise of railways and the centralization of industry in urban centres was gradually outstripping the little community. Further, provincial agriculture was moving towards mixed farming as the Canadian west began producing the bulk of the wheat needed for domestic and foreign markets.
Around the turn of the century, all the mills were closed. The machine shop continued to operate until the first World War when it was converted into a munitions factory. At war’s end, the turbine machinery was moved to the larger community of Belleville. The machine shop was bought by the Ontario Government and converted into a fish hatchery and later a fisheries research station. The former bustling industrial community became a quiet resort area.

The next plaque was sent in by Court Noxon, Chair, Prince Edward Heritage
Advisory Committee, Co-Chair, Loyalist Parkway Association


Location: At Picton Fairgrounds, Main St., north of Loyalist Parkway

Formed in 1831 to promote better methods of farming, the Prince Edward County Agricultural Society held its first fair in 1836. This annual event quickly developed into one of the leading county fairs in the province, attracting hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of spectators. The business and social significance of the fair justified substantial investment in buildings. The Crystal Palace (1890) is a rare surviving example of a style of exhibition hall popular in the late nineteenth century. It is apart of a well-preserved complex of fair buildings that includes the Grandstand, Fruit Building, and the Old Boys Memorial Entrance and Ticket Booth.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: At a cemetery on the SE corner of Grove St. and Prospect Ave., Picton

Born near Cobourg of Methodist parents, Letitia Youmans, née Creighton, was educated at local schools and at Burlington Ladies’ Academy. In 1849 she moved to Picton and taught briefly at a girls’ school. Deeply religious and believing that a well-ordered Christian family was fundamental to a prosperous moral society, she viewed with alarm the threat presented to this ideal by intemperance. She became active in temperance reform and in 1874 formed a “Woman’s Christian Temperance Union” in Picton. Quickly becoming a leader in women’s agitation for prohibitory legislation, she travelled extensively, organizing “unions” throughout Canada. Letitia Youmans was the first president of the W.C.T.U. of Ontario (1877-82) and of the Dominion organization (1883-89). She died at Toronto and was buried in this cemetery.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Ministry of Colleges and Universities


Location: On the north side of Main St. W. between Ross St. and Elizabeth St., Picton

John A. Macdonald (1815-1891), who became Canada’s first prime minister at Confederation, began the study of law in 1830 under George Mackenzie, a prominent Kingston lawyer. Three years later he came to Hallowell (now Picton) to manage the law practice of his cousin, Lowther P. Macpherson, who was in ill-health. During his stay here, Macdonald became the first secretary of the Prince Edward Young Men’s Society in 1834 and servd as secretary of the Prince Edward District School Board. The latter position constituted his earliest experience in the field of public administration. Macdonald returned to Kingston in the summer of 1835 where he set up his own law practice.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: On the north side of Fish Lake Road just west of Foster Road, street number 1907

Born and brought up on this property, purchased by his grandfather Levi Roblin in 1821, Rodman Roblin moved to Fort Garry (Winnipeg) in 1877. Elected as an Idependent member to the Manitoba legislature in 1888, he was defeated in 1892. Roblin was re-elected in 1896 after joining the Conservatives, and that year became their provincial leader. The Conservatives were victorious in 1899 and Roblin succeeded H. J. Macdonald in October, 1900, as premier of Manitoba. His administration, 1900-1915, promoted the western grain trade, encouraged railway construction and by adding large northern territories more than doubled the size of the province. An outstanding leader in Manitoba's formative years, Roblin was knighted in 1912.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: In Sandbanks Provincial Park at Outlet Beach near the park store
where the water from East Lake flows into Lake Ontario

Outlet Beach is regarded as one of the finest sand beaches in Canada. The beach has always been popular with local residents and today, as part of Sandbanks Provincial Park, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Outlet Beach is located on the Lake Ontario side of a large forested sandbar which separates Lake Ontario from East Lake. The sandbar is crossed by a narrow river which empties into Lake Ontario at a location residents have historically referred to as the Outlet. Over the years, the name Outlet has been applied to both the river and the beach itself. Many visitors to Outlet Beach have been intrigued by the legend of a lost barrel of gold. The gold, reportedly buried by a French gunboat captain somewhere along the Outlet River during the Seven Years War (1756-1763), has never been found. Any clues as to the whereabouts of the treasure have long been obscured by shifting sands.

Erected by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources