Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Collingwood's History

By 1843 settlers had arrived on the shores of Georgian Bay near what is now Collingwood. A sawmill and a flourmill were both erected by 1846 on the shores of the bay near the east side of the mouth of Pretty River. The area was first known as Hen and Chickens Harbour. In 1854 it was renamed Collingwood after Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, who was second in command to Admiral Horatio Nelson.

The arrival of the railroad cemented Collingwood’s value as a centre for shipping and shipbuilding. In 1883 the Shipyards opened with a special ceremony. The rail line provided the ability to transport goods, materials, and people easily and efficiently through the Great Lakes. When the Shipyard closed in 1986, it was a huge economic blow to Collingwood, but the town was able to recover quickly.

Click here for some postcards of some of the beautiful original historic sites in Collingwood. 

Take a look here at this video of Collingwood’s history and beauty. 

For information about Collingwood's history, check out our sources here and here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wasaga Beach's History

John Van Vlack, a commercial fisherman, purchased 69 acres of land near the Nottawasaga River, which was first occupied by the Algonquin Indians. John built a sawmill, ran a general store, and was the area’s first postmaster. In 1896, there were 70 people in the settlement, which was known as Van Vlack, after John. In the 1890’s, the settlement was divided into subdivisions, one of which was called Wasaga Beach. Wasaga Beach became an official town in 1974. Locally, Wasaga Beach was known as simply “The Beach”, and it still is today.

Wasaga Beach became a favourite spot for picnics and holidays for people in the surrounding communities, as far as Toronto, as cars were becoming more popular. Most businesses and hotels were built along the beachfront. This was the main transportation route during the busy Summer months.

In 1934 Wasaga Beach witnessed an event of national significance. August 8, 1934 is the date of the first successful overseas flight from Canada to England. Wasaga Beach was chosen for the departure because of its long, smooth, hard-packed sand. The name of plane was the “Trail of the Caribou”, which is commemorated by a stone cairn at the entrance of the Nancy Island Historic Site.

Take a look here at this video of some of the earlier days of Wasaga Beach.

For more information about Wasaga Beach's history, check out our source here.