The Georgina Historical Society, as a not-for-profit organization, collects, preserves, promotes and interprets the rich history and heritage of all communities now known as the Town of Georgina.

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President’s Message

Welcome to the June, 2021 Georgina Historical Society Newsletter. A quote from an Ann Murray song is appropriate here; “a little good news today”, as we are entering into stage 2 of reopening from the Covid lockdown restrictions in Ontario.

The GHS directors held an outdoor board meeting on June 22 at the Pioneer Village, a time to update and plan (as best we can) for the future. Jodi Pridham reported on repairs and improvements in the Village. Work on the school house is to begin soon, Rich has been busy working on the foundation of the Smallwood cabin, painting and creating a display area around the log barn. Interpretive signs have been placed outside the buildings in the Village. The signs were one of the projects of the prior year summer students. Thank you to Jodi, Melissa, Shawn and Rich for their planning, and contributions to the maintenance and improvements in the Village.

I would like to thank Paul Brady and Wayne Phillips for the time spent on the rehabilitation of the caboose. To date over 134 volunteer hours have been spent on this project. Thank you gentlemen for your enthusiasm and hard work.
We are hoping to hold our much postponed 2020 Annual meeting on August 3rd in the Pioneer Village. Time, agenda, reports, etc. will be sent out shortly when details are finalized.

Thank you for all your support during this past year.

Tom Glover
GHS President

The Red Barn Theatre by Tom Glover

The photo featured for the month of June on the 2020 Georgina Historical Society calendar was the silo from the Red Barn Theatre which was destroyed by fire 2009. The silo is all that remains of the oldest, continuously operating professional summer theatre in Ontario.
In the spring of 1949, Jack Sibbald leased the barn to Alfred Mulock for several years and gave his permission for it to be converted into a theatre. Seating came from two sources, 120 seats from an old movie theatre in Guelph that was closing and the father of actor Lloyd Bochner is said to have supplied the rest, creating a total 290 seat capacity.

Opening night, July 1, 1949 featured the play “The Little Foxes.” Other shows in the first season were Room Service, Voice of the Turtle, Glass Menagerie and Night Must Fall.

The Red Barn became a very popular theatre venue and over its 60 year history featured many well-known theatre artists.

Don Harron, William Shatner, Timothy Findley, Hal Jackman, Tom Kneebone, Nonnie Griffin, Martha Henry, Jackie Burroughs and Barbara Hamilton are just a few of the many notable actors and actresses who performed there. The Red Barn Theatre an important part of the history of Jacksons Point and Georgina.

Historical Roads in Georgina

By Robert Holden

Catering Road – This road began as an early pioneer trail and provided a more or less direct route to the village of Sutton from Queensville and other communities to the south. Maps as early as the 1830s show this route’s path with a slight diversion towards Baldwin enroute. Like many early trails, it was organic and provided a route for settlers to their new lands often following old Indian paths. These didn’t follow the neat survey grid that most of our rural roads line up with today.

Early road building was a part of settlement duties; pioneers were required to clear a pathway along the surveyed frontage of their new lands. Other than trails that meandered through the primeval forest, there were no roads as we know them. The road grid of today is a direct result of the road work by these early pioneers.

Country Mile Road – This road was once part of the main stage coach route from Keswick that went north on the Queensway to Old Homestead and on into Belhaven. From just north of the village the route travelled east to Country Mile Road and on to join the Catering Road where it turned north into Sutton. Earl William who drove one of these stagecoaches resided in the village of Belhaven and was listed as a stage proprietor in the Dominion Directory of 1871.

Grew Boulevard – This roadway lies on the old roadbed and right of way of the Lake Simcoe Junction Railway as it proceeds north into Jackson’s Point from just north of the Black River Road to Lake Drive East. From there the rails right of way continued north through what is now Lorne Park and on to the Jackson’s Point Harbour

Metro Road – This is another road that was built upon the abandoned right of way of a railway, in this case the Toronto and York Metropolitan Railway. Early maps of roads show a much different pattern from today as they were not as direct from Keswick into Jackson’s Point and in many cases only a dotted line shows the intended path of uncompleted rights of way where lands were not yet taken up.

This was an electric line also known affectionately as the “Trolley from Toronto” that ran north along Yonge Street from Toronto into Newmarket. From there the route travelled northward on its own right of way into Keswick. Using Google maps, some sections of the line may still be traced on their satellite imagery from the electric poles that lined its route, though recently those between Sharon and Queensville have been removed.

Small shelters like the image to the right served as stops for most of the route that passed through Georgina, though Keswick and Jackson’s Point had proper stations and an old railway car was used at the Boyers Road Stop.

At Jackson’s Point, there was a turning wye before the line turned south to Sutton parallel on the east side of Dalton Road

News and Events

Right – Your Board after their meeting on June 22nd with our newly painted caboose at the Pioneer Village (see below). 

Below – The image below reveals the results of many volunteer hours from Paul Brady, Wayne Phillips and Tom Glover.

Director Paul Brady donated the sign on the right to the Georgina Historical Society for use at our events and functions. The sign was designed and printed by Andy Dubraski of Pepperwood Design in Jacksons Point and the frame made by Paul Brady. Great Job!!! Thanks Paul and Andy!!

With Sadness
A memorial has been erected at Black River and Park roads to remember the lost children of residential schools and show support for the “Every Child Matters” movement.

SIGNS!
We have new signage in the village!! Come to the village and see the work that’s been done to improve our Pioneer Village.

In Town Too

Collaborative efforts are underway to restore the St. James Parish Hall so it can once again be a vital and vibrant community space serving residents of all ages. For information on how you can help save the Parish Hall please contact:

parish@parishofgeorgina.org (905) 722-3726

Demo Job!

It’s sad to see the demolition of the Cedarbrae School in the Village. The building was deemed unsafe and the Town of Georgina has budgeted to replace it with a replica built on proper footings, with useful electricals, and a restored bell tower on top. This will make the building much safer and much more functional for displays and the many events that take place in the village.

Finally, the GHS board is meeting on Monday, July 5 at 2: pm in the Village to plan our 2020 Annual Meeting to be held on August 3, 2021 in the Village.   Due to COVID we’ve not been able to hold this meeting and must do so to conform with our constitution.   Members will be advised of the details for the August meeting later this month.

Where In Georgina? A New Mystery Location

No-one seems to know the location of our last mystery photo…we’ll save it for another time. Where is this image located? Hint…it is approaching the water!

We Need Your Help!

Our picture in the GHS calendar for the month of March, the last images of this building in our newsletter showed its demolition.  We are happy to announce that the adaptive reconstruction is almost complete and that the new schoolhouse is expected to be open to the public once the Georgina Pioneer Village resumes operations again this June.  What is wanted for the opening is images of its interior back in the day (if possible) and class pictures (there’s only six in the archives and they’re either poor quality or copies).  Also, a bit more historical information on the schoolhouse would be nice.  If you can help us, please contact Melissa Matt at the Village (905-476-4301 ext. 2284), Tom Glover, or Bob Holden.