Walsh, Ontario

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Walsh, Ontario
Unincorporated Hamlet in Norfolk County
Charlotteville Community Hall erected in 1868
Charlotteville Community Hall erected in 1868
Walsh, Ontario is located in Ontario
Walsh, Ontario
Walsh, Ontario
Location of Walsh in Ontario
Coordinates: 42°45′51″N 80°23′17″W / 42.76417°N 80.38806°W / 42.76417; -80.38806Coordinates: 42°45′51″N 80°23′17″W / 42.76417°N 80.38806°W / 42.76417; -80.38806
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Established 1850 as Charlotteville Centre
Amalgamated 2001 (Single-tier municipality)
Government
 • Mayor Dennis Travale
 • Governing Body The Council of The Corporation of Norfolk County
 • MPs Diane Finley (Con)
 • MPPs Toby Barrett (PC)
Elevation 224 m (735 ft)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code span N3Y 4K1
Area code(s) 519 and 226
Website www.norfolkcounty.ca

Walsh (formerly known as Charlotteville Centre) is a medium-sized hamlet in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada.

Summary[edit]

This is the Walsh General Store, owned and operated by Mr. Colwell, as seen in the 1950s.

Walsh developed as a township central crossroads gathering point on Young's Creek, in the first quarter of the 19th century. A number of service businesses have come and gone over the years, as road quality improved and practical travel distances increased. No commercial business remain, although Walsh is home to two elementary schools, two Christian churches, the township community hall that hosts an annual fall fair and the operating headquarters of a major regional transportation company.

Walsh is located near streams, valleys, conservation areas, and bays.[2] Notable attractions within a reasonable driving distance of Walsh include the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show, Turkey Point Beach, Lake Erie, and various rural cemeteries.[2] During the fall months, pumpkins become abundant in the area - especially the rare "dwarf albino" pumpkin.[2] Robins can be seen strutting through the local gardens for all 12 months of the year.[2] Maurice Danko Jr., the brother of the late musician Rick Danko, was last seen residing in the Walsh area.[3] Along the Turkey Point Road, tobacco kilns can be seen in threesomes.[2] During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a wholesaler was once stationed here. It had become a private residence by the early 1990s.

A local businessman by the name of Bruce R. Smith starting hauling dairy products out of his trucking business in Walsh starting back in 1947.[4] His son, John, took over the business in the mid-1970s and expanded the business and slowly recruited the help of 230 power units and 750 semi-trailer trucks delivering goods throughout Quebec, Ontario, and the United States over the decades.[4] Food products in addition to steel from the Stelco Lake Erie Works greenfield steel mill are delivered with the help of global positioning systems and a computerized dispatch system that allows for networking over a wide area.[4] As of 2012, there are 350 rank-and-file employees in addition to 210 professional operators and 50 operators that own their own vehicles.[4]

Education[edit]

This community is home to two elementary schools: Walsh Public School (within the Grand Erie District School Board) and St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary School (administered by the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board).[5] During the peak of local population growth in the mid-19th century, 14 one-room and two-room schools were functioning within the Township of Charletteville.

Walsh Area Public School was constructed in 1959 on an open-field site along the north side of St. John's Road, between the Turkey Point Road and Young's Creek. It opened in March 1960, a four-room school that culminated a five-year consolidation effort that merged four one- and two-room elementary schools within five miles of the village: Walsh, Tisdale, Elmwood and McKnight.[6] The guest of honour at the official opening in September 1960 was Education Minister and future Premier John Robarts. Expansion of the public school came in three phases over the next 15 years to achieve its current configuration. It also had its name shortened to Walsh Public School.

The children of Walsh Public School were involved in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of Records for reading on January 26, 2009.[7] A relaxation room (dubbed the Snoezelen Room from the Dutch words snufflen - to seek out - and doezelen - to snooze) has been installed on the premises to relax hyperactive children in addition to children on the autistic spectrum who unintentionally disrupt their classes. They often return to their classroom after a few minutes of relaxation in this sensation-filled room without having to visit the principal for disciplinary measures. Soft music is constantly played in the room while children with special needs can either touch or hear calming sensations.[8] On September 2013, Walsh Public School will provide an all-day kindergarten program.[9]

The Grand Erie Board administers four secondary schools to which Walsh graduates can advance: Simcoe Composite School, Port Dover Composite School, Delhi District Secondary School and Valley Heights Secondary School.

St. Michael's Elementary School was launched in the early 1950s, initially in the basement of St. Michael's Catholic Church next door. The current school was opened in January 1961 as a two-room school and subsequently has been expanded to the present structure. Graduates can advance preferentially to Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe.

A local bursary; known as the Charlotteville Bursary has been traditionally awarded for secondary school graduates from the Walsh area as an incentive to attend either the college or university of their choice.

Nearest communities[edit]

Walsh is located near these major communities: Simcoe - 14 kilometres (8.7 mi), Delhi - 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), Port Dover - 18 kilometres (11 mi), Tillsonburg - 35 kilometres (22 mi), Brantford - 56 kilometres (35 mi) and Woodstock - 60 kilometres (37 mi).

Mount Forest is located 54.8 kilometres or 34.1 miles to the north of this community.[2] It is an unincorporated community located on the junction of Ontario Highways 6 and 89 in the township of Wellington North.

Places of worship[edit]

The first Christian community established in Walsh was the Charlotteville Methodist Church, constructed in 1856 and located 1.3 kilometres to the south. That community thrived through the 1925 merger that created the United Church of Canada and beyond, but suffered badly from declining membership during the Great Depression and it ceased operation in the early 1940s. After being vacant for nearly 20 years, the building was demolished in 1962. A commemorative monument remains, in the northeast corner of the cemetery.

Two churches in the area continue to provide the spiritual and religious needs of the local residents: Walsh Baptist Church and St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church.

Walsh Baptist Church was established in 1876 and has served a thriving community of worshippers since that time. During the first few decades of the 20th century a close collaboration developed with the Charlotteville Methodist Church.[6] When the United Church dissolved early during the Second World War, their remaining members were welcomed into the Baptist community. The Baptist church annex including Sunday school classrooms, church hall, kitchen and washrooms was constructed during the winter of 1961-62. The Baptist cemetery is situated on a sheltered hilltop on the east side of the Turkey Point Road, 400 metres or 1,300 feet north of the main intersection. The Walsh Baptist Church is led by Pastor Marc Bertrand; who has served the region since 2003.[10][11]

St. Michael's Catholic Church was established in 1947.[6] Although it functioned as a mission church of St. Cecilia's Parish in Port Dover in earlier years, St. Michael's is now under the care of the Sacred Heart Parish in Langton.[6]

Another church that survived for about 35 years was the independent Faith Baptist Church, which officially broke away from congregation of the regular Baptist church in 1926. Located in a white frame building on the southeast corner of the main intersection, dwindling membership eventually forced the church to cease operations in the early 1960s. After several years of commercial usage, the building was demolished.

History[edit]

Pre-20th century[edit]

The Walsh area’s earliest known inhabitants, from around the year 1000 until approximately 300–350 years later, were the Algonquin nation. They were noted flint-workers and evidence of the skill in crafting arrowheads is still to be found in open worked field areas surrounding the village. The next wave of inhabitants were the Attawandaron nation, the Neutrals, who occupied the region from about 1350 until their absorption by the Iroquois 300 years later. The last significant native nation to occupy the area was the Mississaugas.

The first Caucasian settlers in Charlotteville were the United Empire Loyalist settlers from just prior to the year 1800. Charlotteville was named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, the ruling monarch at the time. Charlotteville, roughly 100 square miles was surveyed by the Walsh/Welch family, with the work completed by 1805. The township was laid out, nine miles wide, back from the nominal shoreline of Lake Erie. On a 180-chain spacing (about four kilometres) between the two town lines roads were the two quarter line roads and the centre line road, now known as the Turkey Point road, running northwards, from Turkey Point, through Charlotteville Centre and beyond. Perpendicular to the line roads was a series of twelve concession roads, spaced 70 chains apart (about 1.5 kilometres), from the Lake Erie shore, back to the north boundary. The Township of Charlotteville became an incorporated municipality within the County of Norfolk, in 1850.

Because of its convenient central location, Charlotteville Centre, now known as Walsh, was designated the administrative centre. The Township Hall building, constructed at a cost of $700 in 1868 still stands. In later years, the township seat administrative function was relocated to the larger village of Vittoria, four miles to the southeast. Walsh developed as a community centre and gathering place during the first half of the nineteenth century after Charlotteville Township was surveyed. Located at the intersection of the middle of five north-south "line roads" and the sixth of twelve west-east concession roads made it a logical central focus point for the growing township.

Railway service once provided freight and passenger service at a railway junction, three concessions to the south, known as Walsh Station (42°43′55″N 80°21′46″W / 42.732072°N 80.362844°W / 42.732072; -80.362844 (Walsh Station, Ontario)) from its inception in 1886 by the South Norfolk Railway until all service was terminated in 1962 by the Canadian National Railways. Canadian National removed the railway tracks three years later in 1965.

The proximity to Young's Creek with a water flow to power flour and lumber mills was an added advantage favouring the location. From a geographical perspective, Young's Creek originates about four kilometers northwest of the village and passes through Walsh, and then Vittoria, before discharging into Lake Erie, 11 kilometres or 6.8 miles away in Port Ryerse.[12] This creek would eventually provide water to nearby Vitorria in addition to Greens Corners, Port Ryerse, Normandale, Turkey Point, St. Williams and Port Rowan.[13]

20th century[edit]

With the escalation of gasoline consumption after the Great Depression, the number of low volume rural gasoline retailers peaked in the late 1950s. Gas prices reached 5.5 cents a litre by 1959 due to the low fuel taxes and surplus of oil from the Middle East during that era.[14] At that time, Walsh had three such businesses. Colwell, General Merchant, described more fully below, was located on the northwest corner of the main intersection and sold Supertest products. Facing them, across the road, on the northeast corner was another general store, Earle's Grocery, that sold Reliance products. Ironically, Supertest and Reliance were of the same corporate ownership but operated as separate companies. Half a block to the south of Earle's was the village's only full scope service station, Engell's Walsh Garage that sold Texaco products. At Walsh Station located five kilometers to the south, Cherwaty's Service sold Fina products[15] during the early years of his business. He would keep the business selling Petro-Canada products before passing away in 2008 at the Leisure World in Brantford.[16]

Unfortunately, the local gasoline retailers have all gone out of business.[15] The gas station at the general store belonging to the parents of local petroliana collector Alex Colwell handled Supertest products for oil and automobile gasoline.[15] Supertest was an all-Canadian company that operated until being bought out by BP Canada in the 1970s (which was bought out by Petro-Canada later in the 20th century).[17]

Natural gas production is found throughout the Walsh area; this production spreads as fast east as Vittoria and as far west as Jericho and Silver Hill.[18] More than 40,000 acres or 1.7×109 square feet of petroleum and mineral leases are within the boundaries of Walsh along with the nearby communities of Walsingham and Houghton. Approximately 85 businesses and residences are served by this company through a special agreement with Union Gas.[19]

Donnybrook Fair[edit]

An annual fair held in the hamlet called the Donnybrook Fair attracts kids and adults from the area in the middle of September.[20]

It has been held since 1857, with the fair growing in size and quality every year.[20] Children who attend school within the immediate vicinity are allowed to enter any artwork that they produced themselves in addition to their own crafts and agriculture-related artifacts.[20] They are typically between the ages of 5 and 13.[20] Homeschooled children may also enter the contests.[20] In the 2011 edition of the Donnybrook Fair, these local students have managed to win $1346 in tax-free cash.[20] This monetary award encourages children to save up for higher education opportunities like college and university. The short-term effects of the award system encourages children to work on their innovative spirit and improve their work ethics. Although the winner of the Donnybrook Fair demolition derby is no longer assured a spot in the Norfolk County Fair version of the event, the prize money keeps increasing and the event is done over a traditional dirt track.[20] Fundraising for the Donnybrook Fair involves a Victoria Day brunch, an annual spring barbecue, and numerous raffles.[20]

Typical weather at the Donnybrook Fair is 22 °C or 72 °F; people are advised to wear a jacket and cool clothing at all times.

Notable people[edit]

Climate[edit]

Walsh traditionally belongs to the humid continental climate zone; even with the recent epidemic of mild winters and extremely warm and dry summers. Like in all communities, towns, and cities throughout the world, global warming due to human industrial activity has drastically altered the climate of Walsh throughout the decades.

Should the sea levels rise by 60 metres or 200 feet in the foreseeable future, Walsh is not located close enough to salt water to be affected directly by global flooding.[21] However, it would suffer indirectly from droughts due to the displacement of available fresh water resources and would have to rely on desalinated salt water piped in from hundreds of miles away. Many major cities near salt water already pipe in their water from fresh water sources hundreds of miles away like Los Angeles; which is located in the middle of a desert.

Climate data for Walsh, Ontario
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13
(55)
19
(66)
25
(77)
26
(79)
32
(90)
33
(91)
34
(93)
35
(95)
31
(88)
27
(81)
19
(66)
19
(66)
35
(95)
Average high °C (°F) 0
(32)
3
(37)
7
(45)
13
(55)
22
(72)
25
(77)
27
(81)
23
(73)
22
(72)
16
(61)
8
(46)
2
(36)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) −8
(18)
−5
(23)
−3
(27)
2
(36)
9
(48)
13
(55)
15
(59)
14
(57)
11
(52)
5
(41)
0
(32)
−6
(21)
−8
(18)
Record low °C (°F) −25
(−13)
−23
(−9)
−22
(−8)
−6
(21)
0
(32)
0
(32)
5
(41)
5
(41)
0
(32)
−4
(25)
−14
(7)
−22
(−8)
−25
(−13)
Precipitation mm (inches) 70
(2.76)
59
(2.32)
83
(3.27)
85
(3.35)
83
(3.27)
83
(3.27)
86
(3.39)
86
(3.39)
98
(3.86)
84
(3.31)
84
(3.31)
100
(3.94)
1,010
(39.76)
Rainfall mm (inches) 37
(1.46)
30
(1.18)
62
(2.44)
80
(3.15)
84
(3.31)
83
(3.27)
86
(3.39)
86
(3.39)
98
(3.86)
84
(3.31)
91
(3.58)
58
(2.28)
877
(34.53)
Snowfall cm (inches) 33
(13)
30
(11.8)
21
(8.3)
6
(2.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.5
(0.2)
9
(3.5)
34
(13.4)
133
(52.4)
Source: Environment Canada[22]
Views of Walsh, Ontario
Walsh Baptist Church; established 1876
Walsh Baptist Church; established 1876 
Walsh Area Public School; opened March 1960 (photo taken November 2006)
Walsh Area Public School; opened March 1960 (photo taken November 2006) 
St. Michael’s Elementary School; opened January 1961
St. Michael’s Elementary School; opened January 1961 
St. Michael’s Catholic Church; established 1947
St. Michael’s Catholic Church; established 1947 
Charlotteville Methodist Church; erected 1856 and demolished 1962
Charlotteville Methodist Church; erected 1856 and demolished 1962 
Walsh Public School SS#11; opened 1908 and closed March 1960
Walsh Public School SS#11; opened 1908 and closed March 1960 
Tisdale Public School SS#12; opened 1884 and closed March 1960
Tisdale Public School SS#12; opened 1884 and closed March 1960 
Walsh Area Public School; viewed across restored Mill Pond on Young's Creek (summer of 1963)
Walsh Area Public School; viewed across restored Mill Pond on Young's Creek (summer of 1963) 
Township Board of Works five-bay service garage constructed in Walsh in 1950
Township Board of Works five-bay service garage constructed in Walsh in 1950 
Apple growing was prevalent around Walsh since the 1920s. This scene from 1946 depicts a traditional harvest.
Apple growing was prevalent around Walsh since the 1920s. This scene from 1946 depicts a traditional harvest. 
Apple harvesting by 2002 had become much more mechanized
Apple harvesting by 2002 had become much more mechanized 
Tobacco kilns, like this one in nearby Delhi, dot the local landscape after more than 60 years as a major cash crop.
Tobacco kilns, like this one in nearby Delhi, dot the local landscape after more than 60 years as a major cash crop. 
Fishing at the old mill pond on Young’s Creek; photo taken spring 1958.
Fishing at the old mill pond on Young’s Creek; photo taken spring 1958. 
Apple trees in blossom near Walsh
Apple trees in blossom near Walsh 
Corn field near Walsh after picking
Corn field near Walsh after picking 
Walsh entrance sign after re-establishment of Norfolk County in 2001.
Walsh entrance sign after re-establishment of Norfolk County in 2001. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Woodstock community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Walsh information at TravelingLuck.com, accessed 19 February 2012
  3. ^ The Band's Rick Danko at Nornet.on.ca, accessed 19 February 2012
  4. ^ a b c d About us at BRSmith.com, accessed 19 February 2012
  5. ^ St. Michael’s School section on the BHNCDSB web site, accessed 18 February 2012
  6. ^ a b c d Boughner, Elizabeth (1967). Tweedsmuir History of the Walsh Community, 1790-1965. Walsh Womens Institute. 
  7. ^ Record-setting Reading attempt at YouTube, accessed 8 May 2012
  8. ^ 'Snoezelen Room' offers place to relax at The Simcoe Reformer, accessed 23 November 2012
  9. ^ Full-day kindergarten at Ontario's Ministry of Education, accessed 18 February 2012
  10. ^ Walsh Baptist Church at Christian-Discipleship.com, accessed 18 February 2012
  11. ^ Pastor Marc Bertrand information at SermonCentral.com, accessed 18 February 2012
  12. ^ Young's Creek information at TravelingLuck.com, accessed 20 February 2012
  13. ^ "Long Point Region SPA Updated Assessment Report". Source Water. February 7, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Your money – Farm productivity benefits the average family at Farm Credit Canada
  15. ^ a b c About Alex Colwell from Walsh, Ontario at BritishAmericanOil.com, accessed 19 February 2012
  16. ^ Paul Cherwaty's death on The Simcoe Reformer's official website, accessed 23 February 2012
  17. ^ Supertest Chronology at AllCanadianCompany.com, accessed 19 February 2012
  18. ^ Natural Gas Production System at Metalore Resources Ltd., accessed 27 July 2012
  19. ^ Natural Gas Information at Metalore Resources Ltd., accessed 27 July 2012
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Donnybrook Fair information at DonnybrookFair.ca, accessed 19 February 2012
  21. ^ "Impact of global warming on the community of Walsh, Ontario". Firetree. Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  22. ^ Environment CanadaCanadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 10 July 2009