Site Profile: Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility

Port Granby Water Project Aariel PG site map

When you drive along Lakeshore Road in Clarington, there is not a lot of activity on most days. It’s a fairly quiet portion of the Municipality of Clarington. The Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility site is certainly the most active part of the hamlet of Port Granby these days. So what is going on there? Why the flurry of activity? In order to answer those questions, one has to go back in time.

In 2001 an agreement was signed between the Government of Canada and the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington, which launched the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI). As part of the PHAI,  the Port Granby Project began. The Port Granby Project involves the relocation of approximately 450,000 cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste and contaminated soil from the original dump site on the south side of Lakeshore Road, to a new site one kilometre inland. The new site is being constructed to store historic low-level radioactive waste and contaminated soil in an above ground, engineered mound that will safely contain the waste for hundred of years to come. A new waste water treatment plant has been built to treat all water generated by project activities, and an internal waste haul road has been constructed to ensure that none of the contaminated soil is transported on public roads. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is implementing the project on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation.

What does the future hold for this land? Only 95 hectares of the 270 hectares owned by the federal government are under the control of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. The future use of the remaining 175 hectares is still to be determined. The hope is that the land will be used for agricultural purposes or be converted into parklands as part of the Port Granby Nature Reserve.

On Saturday, come to the Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility to learn more about this fascinating project. Your experience at the site will begin at the intersection of Nicholls Road and Lakeshore Road. Make sure that you come early, as the site will be accepting it’s last guests at 2:30pm.

More information about the history of the project is available at THIS LINK.

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The Newtonville plane crash that changed Canadian history

Hon. Norman Rogers, PC (1894-1940)


The plane, an RCAF Lockheed Hudson bomber, crashed on a foggy Monday, June 10, 1940 at 12:15 p.m.

It had spent a few minutes circling above the village of Newtonville, probably looking for a place to land. Newtonville’s Lloyd Moore, Ray Lott and Charles Ross said an engine “exploded” and the plane flipped over in the air before suddenly crashing into the swamp northeast of Elliott’s Garage.

Quickly, men and boys from the village and nearby farms and homes ran over, but it was too late. The fuel from the plane had started a number of small fires and the smashed RCAF bomber was also on fire. Near the plane, they found a body pinned between two trees. It turned out to be Norman Rogers, Canada’s minister of defence at the time. They also found the bodies of Flying Officer John J. Cotter of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Aircraftman Oscar David Brownfield of Big River, Saskatchewan and Aircraftman James Edward Nesbitt of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King soon made an emotional announcement in the House of Commons. Mr. King was a close friend of Mr. Rogers, who had been his secretary of Privy Council affairs in 1927 and in 1935 became the minister oflLabour. In 1940, Mr. Rogers was the minister of defence and that very same day, June 10, Canada had declared war on Italy.

For some reason, Mr. Rogers did not want to make the trip to Toronto to speak at the Empire and Canadian Clubs. However, Mr. King insisted that he should make the trip.

The RCAF investigation concluded “pilot error” and appears to have disregarded the fact that several local citizens saw the engine explode prior to the crash. A few months later another RCAF Lockheed Hudson crashed, this time in Newfoundland. The co-discoverer of insulin, Sir Frederick Banting, died as a result of injuries he received in the crash.

History was changed that day in Newtonville. Mr. King was grooming Mr. Rogers to be the next prime minister. Mr. King remained as prime minister until 1948 and was replaced by Louis St. Laurent.

Come to Newtonville on June 9th and take the FREE horse drawn wagon ride to learn more about this accident. For more information on Doors Open Clarington, like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter (@DOClarington).

The Lost Port of Port Granby

Written with articles from the Toronto Telegraph Saturday August 15, 1936. Photo credit and thanks to the Newcastle Village District Historical Society for providing us with a copy of the Telegraph article.

If you asked most people that live in Clarington where Port Granby is, they would not be able to tell you. That’s understandable given its present population and location.

Port Granby is located in the southeastern corner of the Municipality of Clarington along the shores of Lake Ontario. It feels cut off from the rest of the Municipality by Highway 401 and the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks, but it is easily accessible by travelling along picturesque Lakeshore Road. In its present size, it’s the type of hamlet that you can blink and miss. However this was not always the case. This hamlet packs a lot of history into its small footprint.

Port Granby once had a population of 250, three grain elevators, a gristmill, a sawmill, a distillery, a malthouse, a schoolhouse, a Methodist church, two taverns, and thirty or forty happy families in the village.

Port Granby’s recorded story begins in 1841 when it is mentioned in some Upper Canada (now Ontario) legislative papers where it is referred to as the “Village of Granby”. In 1846, Granby makes another appearance in these papers when William Rowe along with his associates, requested the government’s permission to incorporate the Granby Harbor Company. In 1848, an act was passed to officially name the village “Port Granby”.

From 1848 until the turn of the 20th century, Port Granby was an integral part of the local economy. Providing access to Lake Ontario and the world, many goods were shipped from Port Granby.

In 1866, Port Granby shipped out 95,000 bushels of Durham County barley in one season, besides a quantity of wheat and rye, a little lumber, more shingles, thousands of cords of hardwood, and hundreds of long masts from the pine ridges of Clarke and Hope townships to the north.

It was all wood and grain going out and money coming in, in those days; the export trade was over $200,000 a year (over $3 Million in 2018 dollars). Port Granby imported little – sometimes a schooner brought in a load of apple trees or nursery stock, or settlers’ effects, but the area was self-sustaining.

So what happened? Where did everything go? By the 1920’s, most of the prominent landmarks of Port Granby had disappeared. The Canadian Hydrographic Survey chart of Lake Ontario from 1923 shows no sign of it. By 1936, there was a village that consisted of four year-round families and ten families that summered there. The Post Office was one of the only signs of what was once there.

Today, there are approximately ten dwellings that remain of Port Granby. We invite you to come check out three of those on Doors Open Clarington. The Old March Cottage, the March Hotel and Hilltop Farm will all be open for you to see. Port Granby is now most famous for what is happening just to the east of the hamlet, but we will talk about that in another post. Stay tuned!

For the latest on Doors Open Clarington, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@DOClarington).

Remaining Doors Open Clarington Sites Revealed

DOC Air NewtonvilleWe are pleased to announce the rest of our Doors Open Clarington sites that will be open for tours on Saturday June 9th, 2018 from 10am-4pm.

The newly added sites include the following:

  • British American Station / Stapleton Auction Centre
  • Doctor’s House
  • Grist Mill Auctions
  • Lakeview Cemetery
  • The March Cottage
  • Newtonville School House SS#4
  • Newtonville Village Tour
  • Stapleton Home
  • Skelding’s Texaco Gas Station

These sites are in addition to the following previously announced sites.

Those sites are the following:

  • Hilltop Farm
  • Newtonville Hall
  • Newtonville Cenotaph
  • The Old March Hotel
  • Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility

We look forward to welcoming you to Newtonville and Port Granby to discover this corner of Clarington in just over four weeks!

For the latest on Doors Open Clarington, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@DOClarington).

Giddy up! Free Horse Drawn Wagon Rides During Doors Open Clarington

Doors Open Clarington is just six weeks away and our volunteers are busy working to make the 2018 edition of Doors Open Clarington one you can’t miss. We are pleased to announce that you will have the opportunity to take a FREE horse drawn wagon ride (yes, you read that right) through Newtonville, one of our two villages featured in Doors Open Clarington 2018.

This will be a great opportunity for you to bring your family out to the country and see some of Clarington’s historical villages. Best of all, it’s free! What better way is there to see a historical village than to do it via a horse drawn wagon? We can’t think of one. Check back to our website, as we provide more details about this exciting development.

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Newtonville and Port Granby selected as host villages for Doors Open Clarington

Doors Open Clarington volunteers are busy putting together another great event for our 9th annual Doors Open event in Clarington. For 2018, we have selected the villages of Newtonville and Port Granby as our host villages. Newtonville will be making it’s second appearance on Doors Open Clarington, the first since 2011. Port Granby will be a host village for the first time!

We are seeking help gathering history, stories, pictures or video of either village from the past. If you have any information and would like to share please email

Our sites list is coming soon!

For more information on Doors Open Clarington, please like us on Facebook ( or follow us on twitter (@DOClarington).

Thank You for Another Great Day!

IMG_6552Another Doors Open Clarington is in the books! We were fortunate to get nice weather in a spring that was rather rainy. The crowds made the drive out to Kendal to see the wonderful sites that we had on display and meet the people that make these sites what they are. The numbers are still being tallied but we are very pleased to report that we had another successful Doors Open event.

Our thanks go out to our generous sponsors, who without them this event would not be possible. Please take the time to see them all on our sponsors page here. Thank you to our amazing group of extremely dedicated volunteers. It’s nice to see all of the Doors Open people that you have not seen since the previous year. Thank you to the people that opened up their businesses, farms, and homes for all of us to check out. Lastly, thanks to our visitors! You are the reason that we go through it all and we thank you for your support year after year.

Planning is already underway for the 2018 edition of Doors Open Clarington and we can’t wait to share with you where we are taking the event next year!

Southwinds – Historic Marr Home Through the Eyes of a Former Owner

As you travel east from the busy highway 35/115 and head for the quiet village of Kendal, a farm house with a unique red steel roof on the south side of the road greets over as you drive over the hill. This is the Southwinds – Historic Marr Home.

Former owner, Martha Rutherford Conrad, has collected much of the history of the farm and farm house and given us the opportunity to share that information with you.

Samuel LaRue and his wife Jane Dixon were the first residents on this property.  He was a French Huegenot who had emigrated to the area from the States as Loyalists.  His sister Rebecca LaRue was the wife of Nathanial Powers.  Nathaniel and Rebecca had married in 1809 in New York State.  They emigrated to Canada in 1818 settling near Brockville. In 1832 they journeyed along the old Kingston Road to the present site of Newcastle.  Rebecca and their seven sons and three daughters remained in Newcastle with Nathaniel’s brother Thomas while Nathanial journeyed north passing through a small settlement (Orono) until he stopped in present day Kirby and began to build his dwelling.  This was June 19, 1832.  Around the same time that Rebecca arrived in the area, her brother Criness LaRue arrived too.  Rebecca and Criness’ father was Hendrik LaRue a revolutionary soldier on the British side. Samuel LaRue was a son of Criness.  Arriving around 1832, Samuel and his wife Jane lived in a log cabin that stood on the west side of the existing old well with its still working pump.  This is located in the pasture that is southeast of the stone house and right next to an old soft maple tree. There was an old stone fireplace at the east end of the house and the door faced to the south to catch the warm sun rays. 

By 1840, the LaRues had left the property and Alexander Marr along with his wife had arrived on the land.  They employed a stone mason most likely brought from Scotland to aid in the building of the Rideau Canal.  After the canal was finished some of the stone masons preferred to remain behind in Canada rather than return to Scotland.  They worked their way westward building stone houses for settlers who wanted to replace their log cabin.  The stone was usually collected from the fields surrounding the houses. The Marrs moved into their new stone house circa 1845.  The front of the house and the eastern side of the house that face the laneway greeting visitors is all finely cut stone in order to present the best view of the house.  There are limestone mantels and lintels surrounding the door and the windows. These were ship ballast on schooners from the Kingston area and were intended to reinforce the window casements and door portal plus also as decorative pieces.  One of the windows is missing its limestone casement on the southside.  Family lore indicates that these blocks of limestone were brought to the house by horse and wagon from Kingston and that one of the blocks broke in the process which is why the window is missing its south casement.  If you walk around the house to the west side, you will notice that the stone is no longer cut neatly.  This was the back of the house and while it was built to be sturdy and strong, asthetics were less necessary as people did not usually view the house from that side…no need to waste time making it look pretty. The old summer kitchen which is the part of the hosue on the south side with the large stone fireplace in it was built first.  The family then lived in the summer kitchen while the remainder of the house was built.  This summer kitchen was initially a kitchen with two bedrooms on the west wall.  There are two windows there and each bedroom had one window.  There was a second floor (loft) and today you can see the small door where you could pass from the second floor of the the main house into the loft of the summer kitchen.  While standing in the summer kitchen looking toward the main house, there were three doorways.  The first doorway on the left led into the hallway of the main house. The next doorway led down stairs into the basement below. Today, that is the doorway into the kitchen and you can see on the floor, the ‘newer’ floorboards that were put in place to cover up the hole in the floor where the staircase down to the basement used to be.  When this access was closed, a trap door was cut into the floor of the hallway and that became the access point into the basement. In 2010, a basement was dug out below the old summer kitchen and a full staircase leading down into the new basement was put in on the west side of the summer kitchen.  A new doorway and staircase to the outside was built on the southside of the house. A doorway was also cut through the old stone foundation to allow access into the basement below the main house.  At this time the trap door was sealed although its fixtures were left in place representing the history of the house. Down in the basement under the main house there was a large cistern where the laundry is located.  It had a crack in it so never operated properly and eventually just became a storage bin for potatoes. Finally the third doorway on the far right of the summer kitchen led into the kitchen in the main part of the house.  Today that is a false door just to represent what used to be there. The wainscoting on the walls in the summer kitchen were handhewn out of old growth wood.  The large stone fireplace was not original to this room and was added by the Rutherfords in the 1950’s.  Originally there would have been a large cookstove for both cooking and heating purposes. This part of the house would have been closed off in the wintertime and the family would  have lived in the main part of the house only.

There was a second door into the basement from the outside of the house.  It was located on the north side of the sunporch on the east side of the house.  It would have been used to take produce directly into the basement from the harvest.  It has of course been completely covered up.  There was also an outside cistern on this side of the house too.

Alexander Marr and his wife emigrated from Fifeshire, Scotland.  They had two daughters Jessie and Allie Marr who attended Kirby Schoolhouse.

After Alexander Marr and his wife passed away, Allie and Jessie continued to live in the stone house together.  There are stories from their time in the house as sisters.  At one time, they got into a huge fight and one of them locked herself in her bedroom which is the current downstairs washroom in the summer kitchen.  She refused to come out of her room until the other sister set fire to her bedroom door.  When this part of the house was being renovated by the Rutherfords charred marks were found upon the door to this room. Jessie eventually married the gentleman who owned the taxi service in Orono and they lived where the Orono Cafe is now located.  In 1945, the sisters sold the farm to Sid Rutherford who had bought it as a birthday present for his wife Mary as she had always admired the old stone house and used to peak into its windows from the neighbouring property where she and Sid and their two children Paul and JoAnn resided with Sid’s parents upon their return from Sid’s teaching position in northern Ontario (Nakina).  The farm remained in the Rutherford family until 2012 when it was sold to the current owners.

Other notable features of the farm is a line of old locust trees that runs from the back of the pasture where the original log cabin stood to the woodlot.  These are a species of locust trees originating from Scotland.  They were brought to Canada by the Marr family.  While this was a common practise at that time, very few of these trees remain today on other land settled by Scottish settlers  It was very important to our family to protect these locusts trees.  

There is an old shed behind where the log cabin once stood.  I am not sure of the date of this shed but I had always understood that the oldest barn was in fact the sill barn.  It was torn down in 2013 I believe.  It was a very old rare barn in the area.  It stood on the north end of the newer stone foundation barn and ran east from that barn.  The Mennonites had inspected it in 2000 and remarked that the sway beam that ran the entire length of this barn was the longest sway beam they had ever encountered.  Sill barns are the original barns erected by the settlers and there are very few left. They are built flush to the ground typically and do not have much of a floor in them unlike the more common bank barn.  Because they are flush to the ground, they are more susceptible to rot.  I am not sure if any of the pieces from this barn were kept or are remaining but if so they are very old representations of the earliest barns built by the settlers in Kirby.  The old smaller shed in the pasture might date back to the same period as the sill barn did but we never did get confirmation on that and the Mennonites seemed to feel that the sill barn had more historical implications.

The current owners, the Lawrence Family, invite you to come see their home, the Southwinds – Historic Marr Home, during Doors Open Clarington on Saturday June 10th.

For the latest information on Doors Open Clarington, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@DOClarington)

Take me out to the Ball Game!

14942-illustrated-silhouette-of-a-man-swinging-a-baseball-bat-pvTomorrow is the big day and the weather is forecasted to be fantastic for not only Doors Open but for some baseball!

Save the drive to the Rogers Centre and come check out some baseball the way it was meant to be played. Doors Open Clarington invites you to visit the Harvey Jackson Memorial Park in Kendal to see the Clarington Orioles take on the Kanata Cubs. The first pitch flies at 1:30pm.

Can’t catch the game? No problem! There will be other baseball played throughout the day as well as baseball and historical artifacts to come and enjoy.

Do you think that you are the champion of baseball trivia? Come test out your knowledge with Doors Open Clarington’s champion of baseball trivia, Bill Humber. Bill Humber is a sports historian and Seneca College Professor and Director, and would be happy to go to bat with you over baseball trivia!

Lastly, you can get your fix for some stadium food favourites and support a great cause at the same time! The Pathfinders are having a fundraising BBQ throughout the day at the Harvey Jackson Memorial Park, serving up fresh hotdogs right off the grill.

Hotdogs, sunshine, trivia and baseball…what more could you ask for on a Saturday in June. Let’s play ball!

For the latest information on Doors Open Clarington, like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter (@DOClarington).

Where to Find Food during Doors Open Clarington

Hungry? Doors Open Clarington has you covered!

Tyrone Mills

Doors Open volunteer at Tyrone Mills with some fresh bread. (DOC 2015)

Many of our sites have food available for purchase. As Doors Open Clarington is free admission, many of our sites are run by volunteers and the food that they are selling is a way to fundraise to keep these sites open to the public.

Any support that we can give them is very much appreciated.

Here is a list of the sites that have food and what will be available for 2017:


  • Sandwich, salad, cookie and coffee or tea – $8
  • Proceeds go to the Kendal Community Centre Board


  • Watch a baseball game and enjoy some barbecued hot dogs!
  • Proceeds from purchased BBQ go to the Pathfinders


  • Homemade pizza slices for sale and pizza tasting


  • Muffins and beverages for sale


  • Bottled water for sale


  • Open from 12:00pm – 11:00 pm on June 10th
  • Various ribs and BBQ products for sale
  • We recommend that you check it out on your way home from Doors Open Clarington!
  • Also open on Friday June 9th from 12pm – 11pm and Sunday June 11th from 8am – 9pm
  • More information at this LINK