Haliburton History

B. Napier Simpson, Jr. 1925-1978

Location: In Maple Lake, 1213 St. Peter’s Road, 2 km north of Highway 118, 5 km east of Highway 35

Text from the Plaque:
A prominent Ontario architect, Simpson was born and educated in Toronto. After graduating from university in 1951, he established a thriving private practice and soon became involved in public restoration projects. An expert in this field, Simpson undertook commissions throughout the province, playing a significant role in the development of Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto and Century Village near Peterborough. Through his work with various heritage groups and his efforts to preserve individual structures such as St. Peter’s Church where he is buried, he helped heighten public awareness of the value of heritage conservation. Widely recognized for his achievements, Simpson was appointed to the Ontario Heritage Foundation and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, remaining active in these organizations until his death.

Bobcaygeon Road

Location: In Dorset, in a picnic area on the east side of Highway 35 north of Highway 117 just north of the Lake of Bays bridge

Text from the Plaque:
This colonization road was designed to open up the districts lying inland from the settled townships. Construction began in 1856 from Bobcaygeon running northward to the interior of Haliburton. In 1858 Richard Hughes was appointed government land agent at Bobcaygeon and directed the progress of settlement. Free grants of land along its route were made to persons fulfilling the required settlement duties. By 1863 the road, sections of which follow the boundaries between Victoria and Peterborough and Muskoka and Haliburton, was completed to the Oxtongue River in Franklin Township. The southern section, between Bobcaygeon and Minden, is still in use.

The Victoria Railway

Location: In Haliburton, in a park on the north side of York Street beside the old railway station

Text from the Plaque:
The opening of the Haliburton district to organized settlement in the early 1860s encouraged promoters to consider the construction of railway lines into the area and to regions further north. One of the few lines actually built was the Victoria Railway. Begun at Lindsay in 1874 under the direction of George Laidlaw, an experienced railway entrepreneur, the line was completed to Kinmount in 1877 and reached the newly-constructed station at Haliburton in 1878. Although the Victoria Railway never extended any further, it became an important regional timber and mineral carrier with a link to other systems at Lindsay. In the mid-1880s it was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway and later became part of the Canadian National Railway system.

Gull River and The Clercy House

Location: In Minden, on the south side of Water Street about midway between Bobcaygeon Road and Highway 35

Text from the Plaque:
This site was an early Indian camping ground, the Gull River watershed being the hunting territory of bands living around Lake Simcoe who came by way of the Balsam Lake portage and Gull River waters. Before the days of the settlers, lumbering companies moved large quantities of white pine from the area and it is probable that they erected this building about 1870. In 1899 it was acquired by the Anglican Diocese of Toronto and during the early years of this century, served as headquarters for itinerant missionaries who travelled extensively throughout the surrounding district.

St. Paul’s Church

Location: In Minden, In front of the church on the north side of Invergordon Avenue just east of Bobcaygeon Road

Text from the Plaque:
In 1865, in response to a proposal of the Canadian Land and Emigration Company, the Church of England in Canada established the Minden Mission. The Company, which had purchased ten townships in the district, agreed to assist in supporting a missionary and that same year the Reverend Frederick Burt was appointed. A native of England, Burt had earlier served as missionary in Montreal and in Huntingdon, Quebec. At the village of Minden, which soon became the centre of his mission, Burt first conducted services in a schoolhouse, but about 1868 construction was begun on this simple frame church. It was designed in the Gothic style and remained largely unaltered until 1947 when the tower and the parish hall were added.