Campbellford is a small town in Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada, in the municipality of Trent Hills. Located at Coordinates: , Campbellford lies approximately midway between Toronto and Ottawa. It is situated on both the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Trans Canada Trail. It can be reached from Highway 401 by exiting at Brighton (Exit 509) and going north on County Road 30. It can be reached from Highway 7 at the Havelock exit going south (also on County Road 30). Campbellford is surrounded by prime agricultural land which is home to many farms. In recent years, some of the town's agricultural sector has diversified into non-traditional areas such as bison farming, rare breeds farming and there are many horse farms in the area. The town has a farmers' market that is open two days a week in the summer.
Campbellford traces its history back to 1834, when the first homesteaders arrived in the area. Once very wealthy, it is still known today for its many fine Victorian homes. Campbellford became a town in 1906 (Trent Hills Visitor Guide, 2009, p. 13). About 70 years earlier, "the British government gave two brothers, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Campbell and Major David Campbell, 1800 acres of land to settle in an area named for the Duke of Northumberland's wife Lady Elizabeth Seymour" (Trent Hills Visitors Guide, 2009, p. 13). The Trent River (long before it became a canal) meandered through the Campbell property and, not far from the current town centre, the river was shallow enough for crossing. The river crossing came to be known as "Campbell's Ford." In 1876 the Village of Campbellford was created and then became a town in 1906. Its centennial was celebrated in 2006. In 2001, Campbellford, Hastings and Warkworth amalgamated to form the municipality of Trent Hills.
Notable Places and People
The town is home to a brewery (Church-Key Brewing Company), a chocolate factory (Blommer Chocolate Company, previously World's Finest Chocolate Factory), a foam cup factory (Dart Container Corporation), and eastern Ontario's only remaining rural cheese factory. It is also home to Clarion Boats, a highly specialized wooden boat builder and restoration shop; Eagle Airfield Limited, a builder of airport snow and ice control equipment; and Prototype Research & Development Ltd, which builds replicas of classic cars.
Campbellford was the home to "Iron Chief Charlie" Charles W Mahoney whose small informal summertime gathering in July named Charlie's Indian Day started in 1984 and became a substantial motorcycle gathering and made Charlie somewhat of an icon in Campbellford. Each year, for the past 24 years, the small community of Trent Hills—Campbellford has played host to an eclectic gathering of motorcyclists. They gather at what continues to be a Mecca to honour one man, “Indian” Charlie Mahoney and motorcycles line the street running adjacent to the Trent River. Charlie’s reputation and personality were a powerful magnet that drew Indian motorcycle enthusiasts in particular, and motorcyclists in general, from all parts of North America and beyond. Charlie died in 2004 aged 85.
Campbellford Memorial Hospital is the largest employer in the community. Serving a catchment area of 30,000 residents, Campbellford Memorial is the only hospital located between Belleville and Peterborough, which are both approximately 60 kilometres away. It is the cornerstone of a health care campus that includes a family health team, Hillside Family Medicine, which serves over 16,000 patients and is a teaching practice affiliated with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine; a community mental health centre; and a long term care facility.
In the summer, Campbellford's population swells with tourists taking advantage of the local lakes and waterways, trails and camping areas. In the winter, snowmobiling is a popular attraction. The 1.98 km² Ferris Provincial Park is located on the Trent River a short distance south of Campbellford. To enter the park from the west walking visitors cross the Trent River on the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge. Seymour Conservation Area is accessed via County Road 30, 1 km south of Campbellford town limits.
Campbellford is a stop on the Trent-Severn Waterway, an important inland water transportation network, and is situated between the Ranney Falls Flight Lock (Locks 11 and 12) and the Campbellford Lock (13) of this system.
Campbellford has a vibrant arts community, and is particularly known for its musical scene. It is home to the Westben Arts Festival Theatre; the Lowdown Blues Band, as well as numerous other local bands and musicians; and the Aron Cinema, which shows both movies and live entertainment. Campbellford District High School's jazz band has been nationally acclaimed with several gold awards over the last ten years. Several high school musicians have also been selected to national all-star bands. The success of the school's program can be attributed to Dave Noble, the TV Ontario Teacher of the Year in 1999.
In addition to the suspension bridge, the town has a number of eclectic tourist attractions, including a 27 ft (8.2 m) high statue of a toonie (the unofficial name for Canada's two-dollar coin, which was designed by local artist Brent Townsend); the Memorial Military Museum; and the annual antique motorbike and car show, held on the first weekend of July.
- Angus, James T. A Respectable Ditch: A History of the Trent-Severn Waterway 1833–1920. McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal and Kingston, 1988.
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