Tom Villemaire, Special to Postmedia Network


A good example of what a first shelter looked like for most early settlers in the county. A dirt floor and rudimentary fireplace inside where the wind would blow through the loose-fitted logs made for a drafty home. George White drew this place not far from his Oro Township home in Shanty Bay. You can see where the place gets its name.

HISTORY: Promise wasn't for everyone

By 1826, many people were interested in taking advantage of the potential Canada offered, and there was a lot of vacant land - but how to get that land into the hands of the settlers?

Eureka Villa in Belle Ewart was a popular spot on Lake Simcoe, catering to road, rail and steamer traffic and slaking the thirsts of travellers.

Simcoe County history

One of the main commercial developments during settlement in Simcoe County — or anywhere in Upper Canada in the 19th century — was the tavern and hotel.

A vintage handbill advertises recruits wanted for a lancer regiment headed by Arthur Rankin to fight in the U.S. Civil War.

Man of action, questionable results

Upper Canada, Canada West and Ontario — different names for the same place. It was built by a wide range of characters: surveyors, soldiers, politicians, miners, entrepreneurs, scrappers and showmen.

The battle of Fort Oswego in upper New York state, was a success for the Royal Navy, thanks in part to the actions of Miller Worsley.

Navy hero remembered locally

Miller Worsley was not some cast-off from the Royal Navy, sent off to Canada to fulfill some half-hearted commitment to the defence of British North America when the United States declared war in 1812.

The dam at Swift Current on the Severn River was built as a replacement to the poorly sited Ragged Rapids facility and had the advantage of being built with more federal funds and being part of the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Simcoe County history

On March 22, 1902, Orillia council met to secretly plan the takeover of the Ragged Rapids generating station on the Severn River, north of the town.

Thomas Taylor later in life, after he retired from his legal profession in Manitoba.

Simcoe County history

Sir Thomas Wardlaw Taylor became one of the country’s leading legal lights, as Canada grew from provinces scattered across the top of the continent to a single united nation.

W.A. Boys

Simcoe County history

The Boys family from Barrie had quite an impact on not just Simcoe County, but also the rest of the province.

The Coldwater mill was originally built to serve the First Nations people living in the area.

Simcoe County history

As Simcoe County was evolving and growing, individuals often left their marks on the region.

The original site for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Lizzie Creighton played a key role with other women in creating the hospital.

Blazing a trail for women

For such a lightly populated, rural county, as Simcoe County was in the 1800s, it seemed to have an undue influence on the development and governing of the country.

John Franklin, describing his arrival at Point Humphreys, used George Back's illustration of the same event.

An early portrait of Canada

When George Back walked through what would soon be Barrie, mid-spring of 1825, he'd already lived an extraordinary life full of adventure and historic acts.

Barrie resident Agnes Bernard married the man who would become Canada's first prime minister, propelling her to the forefront of Canadian high society.

Simcoe County history

For a place with such a small population, Simcoe County made an incredible contribution to the formation of Canada and Confederation. This column highlights just four of those people.

Angus Morrison

Simcoe County history

One of Simcoe County’s early politicians was a fireplug of a man, gifted athlete and admired lawyer.

William Beatty Jr. built an empire of shipping and logging linking Collingwood and Simcoe County with communities along Georgian Bay to the north, especially Parry Sound, which he co-founded.

HISTORY: Georgian Bay formed tight-knit community

Georgian Bay, despite being a far flung area, was a tightly knit neighbourhood. And Collingwood, as a solid and speedy link south from Georgian Bay through Collingwood and Simcoe County, played a prominent role in building and linking that community.

George Millward McDougall

Simcoe County history

A man who did much to keep Canada together grew up on a farm just outside of Barrie and later honed his skills as a negotiator and religious leader in northern Simcoe County – especially in the area of Rama and Orillia.