Events Stories of Caledon

Caledon – Where History is Alive and Well

Submitted to Just Sayin' Caledon

Submitted to JSC by Donna Davies for publication – Photo (above) credit: Patti Foley

This year Heritage Week kicks off on February 19th and runs to the 25th.  It is an opportunity to stimulate awareness of heritage resources and heritage-related issues within Caledon – to talk about the organizations and volunteers who work to protect our irreplaceable heritage.

The Caledon Heritage Foundation (CHF) has been working since 2006 to do just that. It has had charitable status since 2011 and been involved in many projects in Caledon – covering conservation, preservation, restoration and adaptive re-use of our built and cultural heritage. CHF is currently recruiting other Board Members and would welcome hearing from you if you are interested.

Researchers, students, teachers, genealogists, and those just interested in local history will find the new CHF website interesting and helpful. The website resonates with information. Especially convenient for heritage researchers and genealogists is the Communities and Ghost Hamlets Section, which features an interactive map on which the locations are marked. Just a click on the name and you are transported to a history of that community or ghost hamlet – complete with photos, important dates, and names of the local people from the past. Several of the villages have celebrated their bicentennials recently, facilitating access to their histories which have been added to the website. These take various forms, written stories, links to sources and, in one case, a complete history book. This is an ongoing project, and more community histories will be added as they are completed.

For a small Town, we surely do have incredible coverage of our history; CHF is not the only organization involved in this. There are historical societies, who work diligently to cover their local history and keep it alive for their communities – Albion/Bolton Historical Society, Belfountain Heritage Society, Caledon East & District Historical Society, Caledon Village Heritage. Contacts for all these organizations are under the Heritage Partners section of the CHF website. They would undoubtedly welcome your interest.

Heritage Caledon, a Town organization, has been involved in many heritage projects in Caledon, but its main mandate is the identification and designation of properties of significant historical value throughout the Town. Designated property-owners receive a plaque, which they can proudly display. They are also eligible for property grants and in some cases, tax rebates. With current legislation threatening some of these significant sites, the job of Heritage Caledon is so much more important and urgent. Those of us who can remember the ‘70s, do not ever want to repeat an era where wonderful historical buildings were not only torn down, but forgotten. Many advancements have been made to mark some of these important sites and, of course, the Bicentennial plaques are an important visual memorial to this history. Many villages also have plaques installed on their historical buildings, a project with which Heritage Caledon was also involved.

Other products in the arsenal to keep our history alive are historical books, pamphlets, posters, newspapers and brochures. In the Hills Magazine frequently features stories of local history and Just Sayin’ Caledon’s online publication and newsletters.

Some of the books:

Caledon, Nicola Ross, Boston Mills Press

Settling the Hills: Historical Reflections of Caledon East, Caledon East & District Historical Society  For Those Who Served, with Introductions by Ken Weber, Murray Hesp, Caledon East & District Historical Society 

Answering the Call, Diane Allengame, Town of Caledon 

The School on the Hill, Murray Hesp, School Book Committee

Historic Hills, (In the Hills Magazine) Ken Weber

Palgrave – the United Church and the Community, Palgrave United Church

The Caledon Trailway: Building the Dream, Diane Allengame, Trailway Book Committee

The Story of Caledon Then and Now, Dale O’Hara

Once Upon a River, Nancy Early

The Story of Albion, Esther Heyes, Bolton Enterprise

Belfountain – Caves, Castles and Quarries in the Caledon Hills, Berniece Trimble

Sharing Our Past…Building Our Future, Caledon East United Church

Bolton, Susanne Baillie, Alanna May, Isabelle Schmelzer

Roots and Rails, Heather Broadbent, Bolton Enterprise

Heritage Sketches, Jacques Brooksbank

Cataract and Forks of the Credit, Ralph Beaumont, Boston Mills Press

Most of these are available through the library and in local bookstores, or by enquiry to historical societies and organizations.

And of course, there are the local historians who continually search and record facts about their individual communities – to name a few, some still with us – others now a part of our history – Nathan Hiller, Ken Weber, Alex Raeburn, Fay McCrae, Peter Elms, Ann Allengame, Dan O’Reilly. Heather Broadbent, Russell Cooper, Mike Starr, Doris Porter, Murray Hesp and many others – all vital sources of Caledon history.

A feature which is important to Caledon is the Walk of Fame, located on the Caledon Trailway in Caledon East west of Airport Road. Each year a Caledon resident, who has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Caledon and has also received national and international recognition, is acknowledged. A stone bearing their name and their accomplishments is placed on the walkway, thus capturing another important part of our history. Norman Jewison, a Canadian film and television director and producer who died on January 20, 2024, was the first stone to be placed on the Caledon Walk of Fame in 1999.

One of the themes on the ‘wish list’ of most of these organizations is a museum quarters in Caledon – a place where our artifacts and other small items of important historical value to our community can be housed and displayed. Perhaps a collaboration of all concerned could make this happen!

Nor should we fail to remember that our history began circa 1820 on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples, including the Huron-Wendat, and the Haudenosaunee. It is the treaty and territorial land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, having been acquired from them by the British Crown through the Ajetance Purchase (Treaty 19) in October 1818.

Caledon’s history has been celebrated in many ways by many people. This February, join our salute to Heritage Week 2024 and the Caledon historical organizations!

Best efforts have been made to make this information accurate and to include those involved in Caledon history. For any we have omitted, we apologize.

Pictured below: Melville White Church, Belfountain (left) and Caledon Town Hall, Caledon Village (right). Both are designated properties, and examples of adaptive re-use of historical buildings.

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Just Sayin' Caledon

Just Sayin’ Caledon brings you stories about Caledon people, places and events.

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