Visit Ghost Towns in Highlands East

Posted to Activities on Aug 18, 2010

Founded in 1871, Hotspur was located on the pioneering Monck Road which traveled from Lake Simcoe to the Hastings Boundary. The still-standing frame school house located there was built around 1900, and the settlement also had a post office and a large Hotel built by Daniel Ireland beside the Burnt River. William Less looked after the mail and would walk to Tory Hill for mail pick-up three times a week. Lumbering was a mainstay for residents, and many summer homes are named after Hotspur.

Follow Bryans Road to drive through the original settlement.

This settlement, now honoured with a road bearing the same name, was named after Mr. Joseph Hadley, who was the first settler to homestead there. Mr. Hadley operated a sawmill, store and was post master. The records indicate the population was approximately 30 families with 25 children who attended school/church. Hadlington was a lumbering settlement who transported their wares to the IB&O in Tory Hill.

Follow Hadlington Road for approximately 10km to drive through the old settlement.

South Wilberforce
Once a thriving community complete with a mill owned by Isaac Ritchie, a general store run by Lyman Dillman, a post office, school and church. You can still view the United Church, originally built in 1855 in Cardiff and moved beside the school house to land donated by Henry Coukell. In 1904, the United Church log building was replaced with the present structure. The post office and general store turned into a dairy in the 1920s and can still be viewed at #1306 South Wilberforce Road, now a blacksmithing studio. Remnants of the old mill’s rock configuration can still be seen in the river at the concrete bridge.

Follow Saunders Road/South Wilberforce Road to view this settlement.

The first settlement in the Harcourt area, Kennaway is recorded as being settled prior to 1850. A post office was established in 1876 and ran until 1923. In 1868 it was recorded that 9 settlers, 50 dependants, 15 cattle, 5 sheep, 9 hogs and 2 horses lived in this settlement. As settlers moved out west to greener pastures, the school closed in the late 1930s and the children were transferred to Harcourt. The school still stands and is now being used as a hunt club.

You will find this settlement located on Fishtail Lake Road.

Map: Highlands East's Ghost Towns

View Highlands East's Ghost Towns in a larger map.