Historical Plaques of
York County

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Location: Islington Ave. North of #7

CIRCA 1830
The lands located on the east half of lots 9, 10 and 11 of concession 7 were first patented to David Thompson on May 20, 1801. By 1830, Pine Grove was a well settled community.

John Smith (Schmidt), a farmer from Edgeley, came to Pine Grove where he erected a Grist Mill and Saw Mill in 1828. In 1831 he built a store. In 1840 John Smith sold the Mill to John W. Gamble who later became the first Reeve of Vaughan Township. The Mill was sold to Gooderham and Worts in 1860.

By the time of Confederation, Pine Grove was home to a Flour Mill, Churches, three Hotels, a Blacksmith Shop, Harness Shops, a Spool factory, one common school and a large General Store with a Post Office. A stage coach ran daily to Weston.

On October 15, 1954, Pine Grove was hit by Hurricane Hazel. The flooding of the village along Islington destroyed several buildings and the Mill Dam.

Today the Flour Mill, the last on the Humber, is still being operated by the Hayhoe Family who purchased the Mill from Fred Hicks on June 1, 1935.


Location: Jane Street, just north of Highway #7

The first inhabitants of the Edgeley area came from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, circa 1800. Early family names were Smith, Stong, Shunk, Hoover, Burkholder, Snider, Brown and Dalziel. A Mennonite church built by logs in 1824 on the north half of lot #7, concession #4, was one of the first churches built in Vaughan Township.
A steam powered shingle mill stood on the northwest corner of highway #7 and Jane Street. a hotel was located on the northeast corner and a general store on the southeast corner. The store contained the Edgeley post-office from 1872-1960.
Just south of the store, Samuel Snider operated a horse powered cider mill. Later his son-in-law, Abraham Winger and his brother Henry took over and put up a new steam powered mill and produced cider, apple butter and apple jelly until the early 1900's.
The area was also served by a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a casket maker, a dressmaking establishment, a chopping mill, a woodworking shop, which supplied wagons and buggies, two slaughter houses and a community hall.
The Edgeley farmers club was organized in 1917 and for years the farmers in the area obtained their supplies of coal, binder twine, salt and other necessities through the club. The club's annual oyster supper was one of the community's social highlights.

Erected in 1977 by the Town of Vaughan in co-operation with the
Vaughan Township Historical Society.


Location: Just south of Kleinberg on Islington Ave.

The Toronto Carrying Place had its beginnings as an Indian Portage Trail connecting the Humber River which flowed into Lake Ontario, and the Holland River which flowed into Lake Simcoe, and then via the Severn River into Georgian Bay. Later during the fur trade era, it was used by both the French and the English traders.
The trail splits at Woodbridge, with one fork crossing the east branch of the Humber and going up the west side of the branch, following roughly the line of Islington Avenue to the vicinity of Kleinberg where it re-crossed the river. This trail was probably used during the seasons when the water was low enough to ford. The other fork stayed on the east side and angled across the country to King Creek, joining the other fork before crossing the river.

Erected by the Town of Vaughan in co-operation with the Vaughan Township Historical Society-1982.


Location: Weston Road, North of Rutherford Rd., Vaughan

City of Vaughan


Vellore received its name in 1864, when the community received its first post-office. The Vellore School House and Township Hall are all that remain of the Hamlet site.

Being the geographical center of Vaughan, Vellore was an appropiate site for the Township Hall. The hall was constructed in 1845 and served as such until 1943. The neighbouring school was constructed in 1868, and finally closed its doors in 1964. In 1989, these buildings were restored to their 1920's appearance and remain today an integral part of Vaughan's built heritage.



In 1832 Jesse Lloyd, a Quaker who had come from Pennsylvania to Upper Canada about 1812, purchased 60 acres of land in this vicinity. During the following years he sold portions of his property to incoming settlers. The erection of a grist-mill, saw mill and woolen mill, two tanneries, stores and a number of pioneer industries hastened Lloydtown's growth. By 1851 the community contained a post-office and two churches and had a population of about 350 persons. Jesse Lloyd, the founder of the village, had played a significant role in the rebellion of 1837. He raised and trained a local force, but following MacKenzie's defeat Lloyd was forced to flea to the United States where he died in exile.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic sites Board,
Archives of Ontario


Location: The Holland Landing, Highway #400

The Holland Marsh consists of 7,000 acres of reclaimed land in the Schomberg River Valley. Named after an early provincial official, this fertile area was drained between 1925 and 1930. John Snor, Canadian represenative of the Netherlands Emigration Foundation, visited the sparsely settled marsh and proposed the relocation here of recent Dutch immigrants in Ontario. Assisted by grants from the Netherlands, Canada and Ontario, fifteen Dutch families many from Friesland and Gronigen originally, settled on the marsh in 1934 and formed the nucleus of the community of Ansnorvelot. Later, Dutch farmers settled throughout the marsh , through skilled farming practice and co-operative management, the Dutch were the first group successfully to develop the marsh as one of Ontario's most important vegetable growing districts.

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

The next plaque was sent in by Greg and Pat McCabe. Most of the people buried in this cemetery are
ancestors or relatives of Greg and Pat. Patrick and Catherine Trainor (nee Cranney) who are mentioned
in the plaque are their gr. gr. granparents.


Location: Nobleton

Following the 1847 famine numerous Irish left their homeland hoping to establish a better livelihood in Canada and elsewhere. Settling in thousands of new communities on continents far away from Ireland, many came to dwell in this area. Also true to their deep religious heritage they soon built St. Mary's, the first Roman Catholic Church in King Township, on the 10th Line on an acre of land donated by Patrick and Catherine Trainor. The wood frame church was formally opened on Sunday, September 23, 1855. Towards the end of the 19th century the exterior was bricked and over the years the interior has been gradually modified. On Sunday, July 13, 1913 the original wooden horse and carriage shed was destroyed by fire during Mass. It was replaced the following year by the present cement and steel structure. St. Mary's has always been in continuous use as a mission church of the following parishes: Tuam 1855 - 1859, Wildfield 1860 -1863, Colgan 1863 - 1876 and Schomberg since 1876. St. Mary's remains typical of the small, rural church supported by the dedication of its devoted people. This plaque was blessed and dedicated by The Most Rev. Robert B. Clune D.D. Auxillary Bishop of Toronto on Sunday, September 29, 1985

An Historical Plaque of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto


Location: Corner of Keele St. & Major Mackenzie, Maple Dr.

One of the Commonwealth's best-known publishers, politicians and philanthropists, William Maxwell Aiken was born in Maple. The son of the Reverand William Aiken, a Presbyterian minister, he was educated in Newcastle, New Brunswick to which his family moved in 1880. After a highly successful career in Canada as financier he entered the British House of Commons in 1910 as a strong advocate of Imperial Preference and was raised to the peerage in 1917 as Lord Beaverbrook. He later became the principal British publisher of mass-circulation newspapers. During the Second World War Lord Beaverbrook was a member of the British War Cabinet and is best remembered as the Minister of Aircraft Production who organized the production of the fighter aircraft which won the Battle of Britain.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: Major Mackenzie Dr., West of Bathurst Street


The early settlers, Peter Frank, John Velie, William Rumble, William Graham and others from England.

About 1855, Patterson and Brothers, who had patented a fanning mill came from New York State. They built a plant on the east part of Lot 21, Con 2 and manufactured agricultural implements such as reapers, mowers, scufflers and plows. They also constructed a sawmill, gristmill, foundry, machine shop, blacksmith shop, storage warehouse, lumber yard, office buildings and houses for their men. In 1871, the population was 200. There was a post office open from 1865 to 1888, a school from 1872 to 1964 and a Methodist church that was burnt in the early 1900's.

Four teams of heavy horses were kept busy hauling the implements to the railway station in Richmond Hill. Since they were unable to obtain a spur line from the railroad, the plant was moved to Woodstock in 1891.

Peter Patterson was a J.P., M.P., Reeve of Vaughan and a Warden of York County. Gradually many of the buildings were moved away or taken down. Peter's son, John D. Patterson who died in 1939, acquired more property and called it Don Head Farms.

1850 - 1970
Erected in 1974 by the Town of Vaughan
in co-operation with
Vaughan Township Historical Society

The next plaque was sent in by David Buckhorn


Location: Kettleby, this plaque is erected at the bridge,
beside the river that flows through the bottom of town.

In 1825, Jacob Tool purchased 100 acres and in 1840 built a sawmill in the river valley. On this site, in 1843, an enterprising Englishman, Septimus Tyrwhitt constructed a large flour mill which operated continuously until destroyed by fire in 1950. By the mid 1800's a growing industrial community developed with woollen, oat and grist mills, a distillery, and cooperage. In 1851, the Kettleby Post Office opened, Jacob Walton, a prominent businessman, stated a Blacksmith shop in 1845, operated a general store, and was postmaster from 1853-1891. A chapter of the Sons of Temperance was organized by 1855 and remained active thoughout the century. By 1870 Kettleby's population was 100, but with local timber exhausted and the Ontario Simcoe and Huron Railway by-passing the village, Kettleby declined as an industrial centre to become a rural hamlet.

Erected by the King Township Historical Society.

The next plaque was sent in by Mark & Mary Brumwell


Location: On the east side of Yonge St. just south of Oak Ridges in York County


In the fall of 1798 some 40 exiled French Royalists under the leadership of Joseph-Genevieve, Comte de Puisaye (1754-1827), emmigrated from England to Upper Canada. The following year they were given rations and agricultural implements and settled along Yonge Street in the townships of Markham and Vaughan. However, these members of the nobility and their servants were unable to adapt themselves to a pioneer existence and by 1806 their settlement, known as Windham, was abandoned. De Puisaye lived for a time on an estate near Niagara, but returned to England in 1802.

1958, Ontario Archeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Wesley Brooks Memorial Park, Water & Main St., Newmarket

MAZO DE LA ROCHE 1879 - 1961
Born Mazo Louise Roche in Newmarket, this celebrated Canadian writer attended the Ontario School of Art and the University of Toronto. She established an international literary reputation when her book "Jalna" won the Alantic Monthly competition of 1927. It was the first of 16 novels narrating the history of the Whiteoak family and set in the Clarkson, Ontario, area. The books provide a comprehensive picture of life in the province from the mid 19th to mid 20th century. Adapted from two of these novels, the play "Whiteoaks" opened for a run of nearly three years in London, in 1936. The author of many short stories, plays and poems, Mazo de la Roche is buried in St. George's churchyard, Jackson's Point, Ontario.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Archives of Ontario


Location: Wesley Brooks Memorial Park, Water & Main St., Newmarket

In 1801 Joseph Hill, attracted by the water-power potential of the Holland River, built a grist-mill on the site of present day Newmarket and opened a general store. The settlement here in 1803-1804 of Elisha Beman, a major local landowner and entrepreneur, provided a strong stimulus for the community's growth and within a few years the village had emerged as the market-centre for the rich surrounding agricultural region. The arrival of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad in 1853 strengthened this position, contributing to Newmarket's incorporation as a village four years later. Because of its success in attracting financial investment the village prospered and in 1880 Newmarket, withover 2000 inhabitants, was incorporated as a town by an act of the provincial legislature.

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


Location: Wesley Brooks Memorial Park, Water & Main St., Newmarket

WESLEY BROOKS 1890 - 1963
Born in Mount Albert, and educated at Albert College, Belleville, Wes Brooks first moved to Newmarket in 1909, joining the staff of the Office Specialty Co., and with the exception of four years of service overseas with the 127th Battalion in Worl War l, and a short term in Lindsay, Ont., he remained here to become one of Newmarket's outstanding citizens. Appointed clerk-treasurer of the town in 1945, he served the community faithfully in the capacity for 17 years.
As secretary-treasurer of the Holland Valley Conservation Authority from its inception in 1951 to 1965, he actively promoted the cause for conservation in this area, and in particular this Fairy Lake reclamation project. A modest person, he was an active member of many municipal and charitable organizations throughtout his lifetime, and in 1962 he was voted "Man of the Year" by the townspeople. In grateful memory to a fine public servant and citizen these lands have been dedicated.


Location: At the Meeting House, Yonge St., Newmarket

In 1800 an extensive grant of land in this vicinity was made to Timothy Rogers and Samuel Lundy who, with other members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), settled here in 1801 - 1803. Originally under the religious jurisdiction of the Philadelphia and New York Yearly Meetings, the settlers were organized in 1806 as the Yonge Street Monthly Meeting of Friends. In 1807 Asa Rogers deeded two acres of land for a burial ground and three years later William Doan made a similar grant for a meeting house. This simple frame building, begun in 1810, was the first permanent place of worship to be erected in the area north of Toronto. The Society of Friends still continues to worship here.

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


Location: At the Railway Station, Wellington St., Aurora

On May 16, 1853, the Ontario Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad Company operated the first steam train in Canada West from Toronto to Machell's Corners (Aurora). The train, consisting of four passenger and freight cars was drawn by the steam engine "Toronto", the first locomotive constructed in what is now Ontario. The arrival of the railway accelerated the development of this community, which was incorporated as a village in 1863 and a town in 1888. With the opening of this section of the railway one third of the proposed line was completed. Begun in 1851 and completed in 1855 the railroad was built to connect Lakes Ontario and Huron from Toronto to Collingwood.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: 22 Church St., Aurora

Constructed in 1886, the Aurora Public School is one of the finest remaining examples in Ontario of a public school designed in the High Victorian manner. The building features a picturesque or irregular silhouette, a mixture of styles and an abundance of decoration. Its prominent architectural details include a belvedere atop a hipped roof, parapet gables with bold finials and an ornamented belfry. These elements are enhanced by the use of elaborate brickwork for the relieving arches and textured panels. Although the school's interior has been altered over the years, the exterior retains its original elegance and is indicative of the importance placed upon education here and throughout the province in the late nineteenth century.

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


Location: Aurora

In 1818, Methodists began worshipping here in a log meeting house on land acquired from William Tyler. In 1855, this building was replaced by a more substantial frame structure. It was damaged by fire and replaced in 1878 by the present church, designed by Henry Langley and built of bricks made in the valley two blocks west of this site. In 1893, the church's spires were destroyed by a cyclone. Additions have included a west wing in 1909, narthex in 1957, and north wing in 1987. In 1925, the Aurora Methodist Church became the Aurora United Church.

Erected 1993 by the Town of Aurora Heritage Committee (LACAC)


Location: Yonge St., Aurora

Yonge Street was opened between 1794 and 1796 under the direction of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe. Settlement along Yonge was encouraged as settlers were responsible for road maintenance. In 1797, the first patents, or Crown deeds, were granted in this area. One of the three deeds was for a 200-acre lot across Yonge Street from this plaque. East of Yonge, a log house a few metres from this site was one of about fourteen in the settlement by 1801. The hamlet was divided by Yonge Street until Aurora was incorporated as a village, straddling the highway, in 1863.

Town of Aurora 1985 Aurora Heritage Committee


Location: Wellington St., Aurora

One block west of this site, the creek provided water and a source of power for mills and other industries which contributed to the early growth and prosperity of this community. Flour and grist mills were established here c. 1827 and were operated in turn by the Tyler, Hollingshead, Irwin, and Baldwin families until destroyed by fire in 1920. East of the creek was the Fleury foundry (1859-1941) which made and sold ploughs and other farm implements for use across Canada. The north side of Wellington Street was the site of a woollen mill and the Wilkinson foundry.

Erected 1992 by the Town of Aurora Heritage Committee (LACAC)


Location: At the Post Office, 7751 Yonge St., Thornhill

Settlement began here after the opening of Yonge Street in the mid-1790s and by 1802 a grist-mill and sawmill were operating on the Don River. The community developed slowly until 1829 when Benjamin Thorne built a large flour mill, tannery and store. Within a year the village also contained a post-office named "Thornhill", a church, school and tavern. Thornhill's growth as a milling and agricultural centre suffered after 1846 when the loss of British markets drove Thorne out of business. Further decline occurred when the Northern Railway bypassed the community in 1853. Recovery began with the flow of grain southward during the American Civil War and by 1867 about 700 residents were recorded. From 1931 to 1971 Thornhill was an incorporated Police Village.

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


Location: Yonge St., Thornhill

Holy Trinity Church was built on the west side of Yonge Street at Royal Orchard Boulevard in 1830 by a congregation that had worshipped since 1815 at nearby Cober schoolhouse.

The entire building was dismantled and rebuilt on this site in 1950. It is the oldest original church building in continuous use in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.

Memorial windows in the church commemorate William Parsons and Benjamin Thorne who jointly donated the land on which the Church first stood.

The first Rector, the Reverend George Mortimer officiated at the funeral of Colonel Moodie, the first victim of the Rebellion of 1837. The mourners came armed with guns and pitchforks fearing a rebel attack. None occurred.

For over 150 years, Holy Trinity met the challenges of faith in times of rebellion, flood, pestilence, poverty and plenty. This heritage points to a promising future.

Erected by the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill
and the Thornhill Recycling Association with the assistance of the
Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation. 1982.


Location: Yonge St., Thornhill

Thornhill's first official cemetery was in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church built on this site in 1830 and moved to Brooke Street in 1950. The Parish Hall was added in 1928 and serves a Baptist congregation. The historic burying ground remains to serve parishoners who have settled here since the early 1800's.

The oldest headstone, dated 1804, commemorates Rebecca Willson who fled New Jersey with her family as Loyalist refugees in 1793. Other headstones record the drama of immigration and rugged settlement, War in 1812, Rebellion in 1837, fire, flood, epidemic and of greater wars.

The reality of daily life is dominant. These men, women and children lived by the seasons, working with their hands and minds to create our community.


Erected by the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill and Holy Trinity Anglican Church, with the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation. 1983.


Location: Yonge St., Thornhill

The thriving hamlet scrambled north from the valley-plank cabins in forest clearings, frame loyalist buildings, snake fences and a few brick houses of prosperity. Thorne's Hill overlooked the great mills-the source of village trade, Thorne's wealth, and the site of his untimely death in 1845.

These properties on Yonge Street survive from the "original" village:

No. 8000 - Mortimer House built in 1834 for the first Pastor of Holy Trinity Church.

No. 8038 - Soules Inn, hosting travellers since 1830, later a Temperance Inn and stagecoach depot.

Nos. 8046, 8054, 8064 - Old houses from the picturesque village; one refreshed the rebels of 1837, another was a rectory for 100 years.

No. 8201 - Langstaff School, the fourth on this site dedicated to education since 1811.

Other 'survivors' from this historic time are Cricklewood, Sunnyside Manor, Holy Trinity Church and the Methodist Church on Centre Street.


Location: In front of Fire Hall, Richmond Hill

Shortly after the year 1800, Adam Rupert and John Line came to Sherwood from Pennsylvania. They began farming at this corner which was at the time all bush. By 1812, Jacob Keffer had built one of the earliest sawmills on the Don River 3/4 miles to the south.
Sherwood became a flourishing little community in the first half of the nineteenth century with a hotel on the corner, where lilac trees now grow, a general store two blacksmith shops and a woodworking and paint shop where wagons were made.
The land for the community's first cemetery and Methodist Church was donated by Peter Rupert which was utilized by the Methodists from 1840 to 1870. From 1885 to 1925 it was used by the congregation of the Church of Christ (Disciples).
The first post office opened on October 1st, 1879 with Jacob Henry Snider as Postmaster. Arthur Fry, his successor, remained with the post office for the last twenty five years of its existence. The introduction of rural postal delivery from Maple resulted in the closure of the post office on January 30th, 1926.
Northward development accompanied the building of the Northern Railway of 1853 and the Richmond Hill Station in Maple. The widening of Keele Street to four lanes in 1965 virtually resulted in the disappearance of the community of Sherwood.

1850 - 1970

Erected in 1975 by the Town of Vaughanin co-operation withVaughan Township Historical Society


Location: East side of Yonge St. at Trayborne Dr., Richmond Hill

On December 4, 1837, Robert Moodie and two companions set out from his house, which stood near here, to warn the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, at Toronto, that armed rebels were advancing towards the city. In an attempt to pass William Lyon Mackenzie's men who were blocking Yonge Street at Montgomery's Tavern (near the present Eglinton Avenue), Moodie was shot and fatally wounded. A native of Scotland, he had served as an officer of the British army during the Napoleonic wars and in Canada during the War of 1812, participating in the battles at Lundy's Lane, Fort Erie and Sackett's Harbour. He settled at Richmond Hill in 1835, and is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Thornhill.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Town Hall, Yonge St., Richmond Hill

Settlers came to this district about 1794 after the construction of Yonge Street north from York (Toronto). The settlement prospered as a way station for travellers. Known as Mount Pleasant, the community was renamed, following a visit in 1819 by the Governor-in-Chief of British North America, the Duke of Richmond. Mills along the Don River preceded the establishment of tanneries and carriage works. The first church, erected by Presbyterians, opened in 1821, the post office in 1836. By 1853 a railway station was located nearby. A County By-law, passed in 1872, incorporated Richmond Hill as a village and its council first met in 1873. Town status was achieved in 1957 and its boundaries were greatly extended in 1970.

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


Location: At the Church, Keele St., just south of Maple

In December, 1806, a group of German settlers from Berlin, Pennsylvania, led by Jacob and Michael Keffer, arrived in Vaughan Township, where they formed one of Upper Canada's earliest Lutheran congregations. Their first services were conducted by the Keffers, who served as lay readers, and by pastors from the nearby German settlement in Markham Township. While the parish records date from 1807, it was not until 1819 that the congregation commenced its first log church under the direction of the first regular pastor, the Rev. Johan D. Petersen. It was replaced by the present building in 1860. The following year this was the site of the founding of the Canada Synod of the Lutheran Church.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: 9860 Keele St., Maple

A superb example of "carpenters Gothic" architecture, this building was constructed to serve a Church of Scotland congregation organized about 1829. It was built during the rectorship of the Rev. Donald Ross by John McDonald, a local contractor, and opened for service on November 11, 1862. St. Andrew's tall, pointed openings and central, projecting tower demonstrate how strongly its design was influenced by early Victorian architecture of the Gothic Revival. It is distinguished by its refined composition and excellent joinery, and many elements, such as the buttresses, are very slender because they are executed in wood. The tower is surmounted by a handsome, octagonal spire of more solid form. St. Andrew's had been twice extended, and in 1946 its interior was extensively renovated.

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


Location: On the grounds of the museum, Sibbald Point Prov. Park,
N.E. of Sutton

One of the oldest structures in the area, this interesting house was the first Canadian residence of Susan Mein Sibbald (1783-1866), a gentlewoman pioneer whose memoirs were published posthumously in 1926. The building was erected in stages and revealed much about the changing needs and aspirations of its various owners. Initally a small Regency style cottage, it was begun in 1830 by William Kingdom Rains, an early settler, and acquired around 1835 by Susan Sibbald. Named Eildon Hall after her family home in Scotland, it was expanded and transformed into an extensive rural manner. The estate remained in the Sibbald family until 1952. Renovated and reduced in size since then, Eildon Hall is open to the public as the Sibbald Memorial Museum.

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


Location: St. George's Anglican Church,
Sibbald Point Provincial Park Road & Lakeshore Rd., 5 kms NE of Sutton

This internationally-known author and humorist is buried in the churchyard. Born in Swanmore, Hampshire, England, Leacock came with his family to this township in 1876. Graduating from the University of Toronto in 1891, he taught at Upper Canada College and, in 1901, began lecturing in political science at McGill University, heading that department, 1908-1936. Though Leacock wrote extensively on political science, economics and history, he achieved his greatest distinction as a humorist. Some of his best work, essentially Canadian in character and spirit, may be found in "Literary Lapses", "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town" and "Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich". Leacock's many humorous books, in English and in translation, have won world-wide recognition.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: At the Temple, Leslie St., Sharon, North of Newmarket

Erected 1825-32, its architecture symbolizes the religious beliefs of its builder David Willson born in New York State 1778. Disowned by the Society of Friends (Quakers) he established hereabouts the Children of Peace (Davidites) in 1812 a small sect which retained some Quaker mysticism while placing great emphasis on ceremony, music and practical education. Most Davidites were strong political reformers and several joined Mackenzie's force in the Rebellion of 1837. Following Willson's death 1866 the strength of the sect diminished and its last service was held here 1886.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: At the Temple, Leslie St., Sharon, North of Newmarket

This elegant structure stands as testament to the faith and good works of the Children of Peace. In 1825 - 1832 master carpenters Ebenezer and John Doan constructed it to the plans of religious leader David Willson who was inspired by Biblical descriptions of Solomon's Temple and the New Jerusalem. The square plan symbolized the sect's egalitarian beliefs and cooperative principals. Once a month and on holidays the Temple was the scene of music filled ceremonies. Its rescue from demolition in 1918 by the York Pioneer and Historical Society is an early example of historic conservation in Canada.

Cet élégant édifice témoigne de la foit et des oeuvres des Enfants de la Paix. Les maîtres charpentiers Ebenezer et John Doan le construisirent entre 1825 et 1832 selon des plans du chef spirituel David Willson, inspiré des descriptions bibliques du temple de Salomon et de la Jérusalem nouvelle. Sa forme carrée symbolisait les croyances égalitaires et les principes coopératifs de la secte. Une fois par mois et les jours de fête, il était le lieu de cérémonies remplies de musique. Son sauvetage, en 1918, par la York Pioneer and Historical Society fut l'un des premiers actes de conservation d'un bâtiment historique au Canada.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: Markham District Historical Society, H-Way 48, Markham

The earliest settlers in this part of Markham Township, including several "Pennsylvania Dutch", arrived on the Rouge River shortly after 1800. Within ten years Nicholas Miller had erected mills around which a community known as Markham Mills had developed by about 1820. A village plot (Reesorville) was laid out north of the mills in 1826 by Joseph Reesor. Two years later a post office named Markham was opened. By 1850 the village had a population of 650 and contained such industries as a woollen mill, a foundry and a distillery. Markham was incorporated as a village under a by-law of November 20, 1872, some eighteen months after the arrival of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Archives of Ontario


Location: Bethesda Lutheran Cemetery, Kennedy Rd., Unionville

In November, 1794, William von Moll Berczy (1744-1813), colonizer, road builder, architect and painter, brought the first settlers to Markham Township. This group had originally emigrated from Germany to New York State, but moved to Upper Canada in 1794 and acquired extensive lands in this area. In 1795-96 sickness and famine reduced their numbers, but those who remained or returned to their holdings laid the foundation for the rapid development of Markham Township after 1800. Berczy, having exhausting his resources on the settlement, went to Montreal in 1805 where he achieved some success as a portrait painter.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Bethesda Lutheran Cemetery, Kennedy Rd., Unionville

When the first German settlers led by William Berczy arrived in this area in 1794, they were accompanied by the Rev. S. Liebrich who established here one of Upper Canada's earliest Lutheran congregations. Services were held at first in the house of Phillip Eckardt, but under the guidance of the Rev. Johan D. Petersen, who was pastor 1819-29, a church named St. Phillip's was constructed on this site in 1820. Eckardt donated the land for the church and burying ground, and this log structure, later renamed Bethesda, was used by the congregation until it was replaced by a brick building in 1862. The latter was moved to Unionville in 1910.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Kennedy Rd., Unionville

Born in Sheffield, England, having studied art there and in Antwerp, Belgium, Varley, persuaded by his friend Arthur Lismer, came to Canada in 1912. Commissioned a war artist in 1918, he won acclaim for graphic scenes of battlefields in France. In 1920 Varley and Lismer helped found the Group of Seven, artists committed to a "Canadian" style of landscape painting, - as Varley said, "to Nature [that] is here in all its greatness." His studies of many distinguished Canadians proclaim Varley as also a talented portraitist. A mysticism perceived in his work may result from his studies in Sung dynasty Oriental painting and philosophy. From 1957 until his death, he lived here with Donald and Kathleen McKay (great-grandaughter of Andrew Eckardt, builder of the house). A motto depicted on a sign he kept in his studio read, "Artist awake or be forever fallen."

Erected with the assistance of the Ontario Heritage Foundation


Location: Kennedy Rd., Unionville

circa 1840 - 1983
In 1840 William Eakin built the original planing mill on this site. In 1872 it was leased to Robert Harrington and then purchased by him in 1881. A working mill for 140 years supplying lumber, sash, doors, frames and other carpentry for the many barns and houses, schools and churches in the area. The mill was severely damaged in 1978 and destroyed by fire in 1983.

Presented by Metric Properties Limited
Developer of the New Unionville Planing Mill
Opened in May 1987

The next 2 plaques were sent in by Don Holmes & Marilyn Mills


Location: on Yonge Street, Oak Ridges, in front
of the Summit Golf and Country Club

This highway was planned by the first governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, as a military and commercial route between Lakes Ontario and Huron. Begun in 1795 by rhe Queen's Rangers it was cut through to Lake Simcoe in 1796, reached Georgian Bay in the first quarter of the next century, and was later extended into Muskoka. A main line of transport before the railway, it opened lands for settlements and carried trade to Toronto. With the development of automotive transport in the twentieth century, it became the highway to northern recreational areas and vast new resources.

Le premier gouverneur du Haut-Canada, John Graves Simcoe, voulut faire de cette grande route une voie militaire et commerciale entre les lacs Ontario et Huron. Commencée en 1795 par les Queen's Rangers, elle atteignit le lac Simcoe en 1796, parvint à la baie Georgienne durant le premier quart du siècle et fut plus tard prolongée jusqu'à Muskoka. Voie principale de transport avant le chemin de fer, elle favorisa le défrichement des terres et développa le commerce à Toronto. Avec l'avènement de l'automobile, elle donna accès aux régions de villégiature et aux vastes ressources nouvelles du Nord.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: Yonge Street, Oak Ridges, in front of the Summit Golf and Country Club a garden setting with stone ruins set in it and the following plaque:

These stones are from the main arched portal of this historic and distinctive building.

Through those portal hundreds of thousands - most of them volunteers - marched to serve this country. Many thousands gave their lives.

This edifice was demoilshed to provide a site for a court house.

Donated by Col. G. W. Beecroft

Thanks to Diane Donley for sending me the location of the following plaque


Location: Lloydtown



EST 1842


The next plaque was sent in by Karen Parker


Location: 18 John Street, Thornhill

Richard Frizzell, a Tory Loyalist, active during the Rebellion of 1837 was disdainful of the rebel's cause. On October 18, 1837, he removed a "Liberty or Death" flag from Gibson House and wove it into the tail of the rebels' horses outside. On December 4th, noticing rebel movement on Yonge Street, Frizzell approached Benjamin Thorn, Thornhill's founder, for assistance. Thorne was reluctant to lend a horse as his mill workers were mostly rebels, but he offered encouragement. After warning Sir Francis Bond Head at York (Toronto), Frizzell took part in the ensuing skirmishes, but he refused to betray the location of his rebel friend, Samuel Lount who was captured and hanged for treason.

    Erected by the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill with the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation and the Thornhill Recyling Association

The next 2 plaques were sent in by Buddy Andres,
General Manager for Parks Canada,
Niagara, Hamilton & Toronto Region


Location: at the McMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg


1882 - 1974

Born in Montreal, A.Y. Jackson studied painting there and in Paris before moving to Toronto in 1913. After serving overseas in World War l he returned to paint in Toronto and in other regions of Canada. He was a member of the Group of Seven from its founding in 1920 to its demise in 1933. This radically different school of painters rapidly grew to prominence. Jackson's simple, rounded forms in his wilderness landscapes provide a powerful image of Canada. He greatly influenced a generation of Canadian artists and remains one of this country's best known painters. He is buried here at Kleinburg.

Jackson naquit à Montréal. Il étudia la peinture dans cette ville ainsi qu'à Paris, puis s'établit à Toronto en 1913. Après avoir servi outre-mer lors de la Grande Guerre, il revint peindre à Toronto et dans d'autres régions du pays. De 1920 à 1933, il fut membre du Groupe des Sept, une école de peinture innovatrice qui prit rapidement de l'importance. Une image impressionnante du pays se dégage des formes simples et harmonieuses des natures sauvages de Jackson. Il a influencé une génération d'artistes canadiens et demeure l'un des peintres canadiens les plus connus. Il est enterré à Kleinburg.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: on Highway 11, Aurora



This house was built in 1861-62 for Dr. Walter B. Geikie, a prominent medical teacher, who lived here from 1862 to 1869. Although altered by subsequent owners in 1869 and 1888, it remains one of the best and most complete examples of Picturesque Gothic known to exist in Ontario. This style popular in the mid-nineteenth century, is here characterised by the ornamental bargeboarding and the repeated use of the pointed gothic arch in the verandah, gable window and first floor window traceries.

Cette maison fut construite en 1861-1862 pour le docteur Walter B. Geikie, éminent professeur de médecine , qui y habita de 1862 à 1869. Modifée par ses propriétaires ultérieurs en 1869 et en 1888, elle demeure néanmoins en Ontario un des meilleurs exemples du style néo-gothique pittoresque. En vogue au milieu dy XIXe siècle, ce style est ici illustré par la bordure décorative du pignon, la répétition de l'arc en ogive de la véranda, la lucarne et les croisées des fenêtres du rez-dechaussée.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: at McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg

Coming together in Toronto, Frank Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and F.H. Varley set out to give Canada a truly national form of painting. Spurrred on by an association with Tom Thomson (1877-1917), these artists sought inspiration initally in the rugged northern Ontario landscape. They later expanded their horizons, making all of Canada their territory. Their first exhibition as a group, in 1920, was controversial, but their bold style attracted attention to Canadian painting and eventually won an enthusiastic following.


S'étant liés d'amitié à Toronto, Frank Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald et F.H. Varley décident de définir un style de peinture réellement canadien. Sous l'influence de Tom Thomson (1877-1917), ces artistes trouvent d'abord leur inspiration dans les paysages sauvages du nord de l'Ontario, pour ensuite puiser à l'ensemble du territoire canadien. À leur première exposition de groupe en 1920, ils soulèvent la controverse. Mais leur style audacieux attire l'attention sur la peinture canadiennne et leur gagne de fervents adeptes.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada

The next plaque was sent in by Dave Tompsett


Location: Rutherford Road; north side; 2 mi. west of Hwy 27

Elder's Mills built by James Gibb Thompson on the main branch of the Humber, were owned and operated consecutively by Thompson, McLeoad, and Wm. Taylor. In 1869 the mills were purchased by Taylor's nephews, David and James Elder, who operated a grist mill, sawmill, and carding mill. In the spring, farmers used the mill pond for washing sheep. James Elder sold out to his brother David, whose family ran the mills until 1916, when the grist mill was moved to Toronto by David's son George. The early settlement, sparsely built along a crooked narrow road for half a mile, consisted of the mills, a schoolhouse of log (1843 - 1872) replaced by brick 1872 - 1967; Knox (Vaughan) Presbyterian frame church (1854 - 1883) followed by a brick church of gothic architecture built in 1883 and closed in 1961, with a burying ground nearby; a Post Office established in 1874 - 1918 and named Elder's Mills after the early millers with Wm. Irvine as postmaster, and a blacksmith shop run by Duncan McGeachy. The Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway ran through in 1870. A flag station named "ELDER" was erected in 1913.

Early settlers: Birkholder, Burton, Devins, Elliott, Fleming, Jeffery, Kink, Lawrie, McClure, McGillivary, McKinnon, Nattress, Playter, Richardson, Smith, Sommerville, Steele, Stevenson, Thistle, Webster, Weir, Wood

Erected in 1974 by the Town of Vaughan in co-operation with
Vaughan Township Historical Society

The next plaque was sent in by Dorothy Dahm


Location: in front of the Holland Landing library (19513 Yonge Street)



A martyr of the Rebellion of 1837, Pennsylvania-born Samuel Lount farmed and operated a smithy near Holland Landing. He was generous with help and advice to new settlers, and from 1834 to 1836 sat as a reformer in the Legislative Assembly. Hoping to expedite social and political change, Lount agreed to command forces in William Lyon Mackenzie's uprising against the government. When the rebels were soundly defeated on December 7, 1837, Lount attempted to flee the country. He was captured weeks later and convicted of treason along with another prominent rebel, Peter Matthews. Disregarding petitions for pardon bearing thousands of signatures, the authorities hanged the two men at Toronto on April 12, 1838.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
an agency of the Government of Ontario

The next plaque was sent in by Ken Taylor


Location: 25 Elgin St., Thornhill

    The first congregation was founded in 1803, by a saddlebag preacher,
    Nathan Bangs, from the New York Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
    Church of the United States. They worshipped at Ben Hoshel’s farmhouse in
    the area of Bayview Ave., and Hwy. 7 until 1813, and then moved to the
    Langstaff Schoolhouse on Yonge St. In 1828 they joined the Canadian
    Methodist Church, which became the Wesleyan Methodist Church
    in 1838, the Methodist Church of Canada in 1874, and, with church union, the
    United Church of Canada, in 1925.
    In 1838 they built the first church on present day Normack Dr., and
    this building was moved in 1852 to Center St., where it served the congregation
    until 1958, when the current church was built at a cost of $246,000. The Centre
    St. church burned in a fire on the night of June 19, 1983. Earlier, the bell from
    the bell tower had been salvaged and placed in a commemorative cairn outside
    the church, symbolic of a church with an enduring past and a promising future.

Erected by the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill, on the
occasion of the Bicentennial of Thornhill United Church, 2003 A.D.


Location: On the north side of Main Street (York Road 14) just east of Freel Lane,
5 blocks east of 9th Line (York Road 69), STOUFFVILLE

In 1805-06 Abraham Stouffer (1780-1851), a Pennsylvania Mennonite, acquired 400 acres of land in this area. By 1824 he had built a saw and grist-mill on Duffin's Creek, near which a hamlet developed, and in 1832 a post-office named Stouffville was established. The community grew steadily and in 1852 a village plot was laid out. By 1864 Stouffville, with a population of about 700 inhabitants, contained several prosperous industries, including carriage-works, harness-works, and the mills of Edward Wheler, a prominent merchant. The construction of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, completed in 1871, and growing agricultural prosperity stimulated the community's growth as an important milling and commercial centre. Stouffville was incorporated as a Village by a County by-law of 1876.

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


Location: In Thornhill in front of Oakbank Pond Park, on the north side of Centre Street
at Oakbank Road, 3 blocks west of Yonge Street

J. E. H. MACDONALD 1873-1932
MacDonald, one of Canada's outstanding artists, lived here 1913-1932. Born in Durham, England, of Canadian parents, he came with his family to Hamilton in 1887. Though his formal art training was limited, he became one of the founders of the "Group of Seven" and participated in most of its exhibitions. MacDonald's impressive painting, "A Tangled Garden", shown in the 1916 Ontario Society of Artists exhibition, strongly indicated the development of his later style. In 1929 he was appointed Principal of the Ontario College of Art, a position he held until his death. His extraordinary sense of colour and design vividly interpreted the Canadian landscape in such outstanding paintings as "The Elements", "The Solemn Land" and "Mountain Snowfall, Lake Oesa".

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


Location: On the north side of Queen Street between the railway overpass
and the Holland River Bridge, Newmarket

One of the earliest reinforced concrete arches in Canada the Newmarket radial railway arch was built in 1909 by the Toronto and York Radial Railway Company. It was designed by Barber and Young an innovative civil engineering firm, and supported part of a trestel bridge spanning the Holland River and Grand Trunk Railway tracks. An outstanding example of modern functional bridge design, this graceful parabolic arch had a clear span of 15 metres and a rise of 7 metres. Earth fill was used to build up the grade. After the railway discontinued operations in 1930 the trestle bridge was demolished. One of few of its kind, the rail way arch was preserved in 1979 by the Town of Newmarket and the South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: In front of a church on Turner Street just north of Bouchier Street,
2 blocks west of the intersection of Metro Road North (York Road 78)
and Bouchier Street, 2.8 km north of Old Homestead Road (York Road 79)

A prominent Ontario businessman and philanthropist, Laidlaw, who is buried here, was born in Barrie and raised and educated in Toronto. He joined his father's firm, the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company Limited following his graduation in 1908, and during a long and successful business career, served it and other important Canadian corporations. Laidlaw is best remembered, however, for his philanthropic work. He made major contributions to leading health care, educational and cultural institutions, including the Hospital for Sick Children, Upper Canada College, the University of Toronto, the National Ballet School and the National Ballet of Canada, and was revered for his generosity. In 1949, Laidlaw, a quiet, modest man despite his many accomplishments, helped establish the Laidlaw Foundation, thus ensuring the continuation of his philanthropic efforts.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: In front of the church on the north side of Vivian Road (York Road 74),
mid-way between Warden Avenue (York Road 65) and Woodbine Avenue (York Road 8)

Among the early settlers locating in this area were a number of Quakers, including Samuel Lundy who provided land for the construction of a Meeting House in 1814. Formely part of the Yonge Street Meeting, the Whitchurch Quakers were granted the right to hold their own meetings two years later. A schism in the Society of friends occurred in 1828 and this building completed in 1830, was used by the Hicksite faction of the Society. By 1900 the various Whitchurch Quaker groups had come together to form the Pine Orchard Union Church. Both buildings continued in use until the earlier Meeting House was moved to Aurora in 1944. A year later the Society of Friends sold this building to the Pine Orchard Union Church.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: North of Holland Landing, just off Queensville Sideroad (Road 77) .5 km west of Yonge Street
(Road 51) at the south end of Soldier Bay at the east end of the bridge over the Holland River, East Gwillimbury

The Royal Navy Depot Holland Landing, constructed during the War of 1812, stood just north of this site on the east bank of Soldiers' Bay. Its buildings and other facilities served as an administrative and transshipment centre within a network of roads, waterways, portages and posts that connected Lake Ontario to the upper Great Lakes. To avoid American forces in the Niagara-Lake Erie-Detroit River corridor, British authorities moved vital supplies from York (Toronto) through this depot to Georgian Bay to support the successful war effort on the upper lakes. In addition, they distributed gifts to Aboriginal allies in the region from this site. After the return of peace in 1815, officials gradually concentrated most local military operations at Penetanguishene, which led to the decline and abandonment of the depot in the 1830s. Afterwards, travellers occasionally used it for shelter until it was transferred to private ownership in the 1860s.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: At the southwest corner of Larmont Street and Mosley Street 3 blocks
east of Yonge Street, one block south of Wellington Street, Aurora

Built in 1874 as a drill shed for the 12th Battalion of Infantry or York Rangers, the Aurora Armoury was part of a network of defence training facilities for citizen soldiers. It evokes the larger stories and traditions of the province's militia regiments, recruited regionally, and possessing close affiliations with their communities of origin. The armoury was also the site of Edward Blake's famous "Aurora speech" of 1874, in which the prominent politician and former Ontario premier called upon the federal government of Liberal Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie to implement nationalistic and electoral reforms. The speech exemplifies how drill halls and armouries fulfil civic roles in the lives of their communities. The oldest purpose-built armoury still used by the military in Ontario, the Aurora drill shed is home to elements of The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC).

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario