By Myno Van Dyke
The small village of Newtonville, east of Newcastle, Ontario is an interesting community. It was first established in 1834 on the old Kingston Road, later called Highway 2. At that time there were about 130 residents and a variety of businesses. It was originally called Clarke and Newton but by 1848 it was called Newtonville. In the 1860’s and 1870’s hundreds of residents left Clarke and many went to Western Canada. The timber from the Ganaraska Forest was depleted and land was very cheap in the West. In later years, the village was always busy due to the traffic on Highway Two. When Highway 401 was built through southern Ontario, businesses catering to the travelling public, in communities like Newtonville, were affected. Today, Newtonville is a pleasant village with several interesting businesses. The 2016 population of Newtonville was 576 people.
The Doors Open Clarington has some very interesting places to visit in the Village of Newtonville.
The Lakeview Cemetery is located on the appropriately named, Hill Street. The gravestones date back to the mid 1800’s and the view of Lake Ontario to the south is spectacular from here. The Love Hotel is at 4510 Regional Highway 2. It was a Belleville to York stagecoach stop that was constructed in 1856. It still has the original push button lighting and pine floors.
Going east you will come to the Stapleton Home at 4526 Regional Highway 2. This was owned by George Hancock (1845-1919) who ran a harness business there. This wonderful restored home has brick that was re-used from a fire in Newcastle. The former Newtonville School is at the north side of the Stapleton Home and was built around 1840. It was moved from the Township into the village and used as George Hancock’s harness and repair shop. Across the street from the school on Mill Street is the Grist Mill Auction and the original 1900’s blacksmith shop. Several fires damaged it and it was rebuilt in 1948 using old munitions buildings in Ajax. Later it became H.W. Stapleton’s feed store and inside is a rare vintage 1930’s Ruston & Hornby diesel engine that you won’t want to miss.
Next door to the east is the restored B/A Station and Stapleton’s Auction House. This former British American service station dates back to the 1950’s. This is considered one of the finest examples of the Art Deco styled B/A service stations left in Ontario. Every owner of a vintage car wants to photograph their car in front of this station. The Newtonville Cenotaph is located at 4498 Regional Highway 2. It was constructed in 1902 and dedicated to the memory of a local soldier, Captain P.K. Milligan. The original monument was much closer to the roadway and was seriously damaged by a motor vehicle collision in 1943. It was restored in 1980 and also moved farther away from the roadway.
The Newtonville Hall at 21 Church Lane was built as a Royal Templars Lodge in 1854. This was one of the many “Temperance” Halls located in communities where alcohol was generally forbidden. The building was restored in 1979 as the local Community Hall.
Port Granby is a small hamlet located on the Lakeshore Road, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, southeast of the Village of Newtonville. This community was first settled around 1796. The community was first referred to in 1841 as the “Village of Granby” and was named after John Manners, the “Marquis of Granby. In 1848, the name of the community was officially “Port Granby”.
By 1857, the population is listed as 50 people and in 1869 it was 60. The harbor was quite busy with mostly wood and grain being shipped out. In 1863, there were three grain elevators, a gristmill, sawmill, and distillery. But by 1890, the once vibrant village was just a shadow of its former self.
The little hamlet along the Lakeshore Road remained relatively unknown until 1954 when Eldorado Nuclear Mining and Refining from Port Hope purchased land east of the village to bury nuclear waste from their refinery. In 2012, that about 450,000 cubic tons of this waste would be excavated and moved to a new location approximately a kilometer north of the present location.
You can visit the Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility at Concession 1 and Elliott Rd and see how they are moving the low level radioactive waste away from Lake Ontario. The Hilltop Farm at 4652 Lake Shore Road has been in the Elliott family since 1834 and the old barn and house are must visits. The March Cottage is across the road at 4665 Lakeshore Road. This cottage dates back to 1850 with several more recent additions. The old March Hotel next door is located on the site of the old Port Granby Wharf. This was converted to a private residence.
So, make sure you “Unlock Your History” on Saturday June 9thin Newtonville and Port Granby.
Myno Van Dyke is a Doors Open Clarington volunteer and a local historian. He is a member of the Newcastle Village District Historical Society and a recent winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award.