Discovering Grafton, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

Grafton, Ontario, a quaint community nestled in Northumberland County, is a treasure trove of history and culture. Located in the township of Alnwick/Haldimand, Grafton is a mere 12 km east of Cobourg, Ontario. It offers easy access to Highway 401 and is situated near the geographically significant Oak Ridges Moraine at Rice Lake.

Grafton, Ontario: A Historical Overview

Originally known as Grover's Tavern until March 1832, Grafton, Ontario, is steeped in history. The original Grover's Tavern, the hamlet's namesake, still stands today as the Grafton Village Inn, a charming restaurant and B&B in the heart of the community. Early in its history, Grafton was also referred to as Haldimand, the name of the township it resides in.

Grafton is a prime example of the type of hamlets that flourished in the 19th century. It boasted a bustling port, shipping grain, barley, and other commodities to communities along the Great Lakes. The hamlet was a hub of social activity, hosting a Sons of Temperance group, an order of Freemasons, and numerous other social leagues.

Grafton, Ontario: A Snapshot of the Past

By the late 1870s, Grafton, Ontario, was a thriving community. It had a doctor, several taverns and inns, a cheese factory, a blacksmith, a public scale, and a train station on the G.T.R line. Milk and dairy products were shipped daily to both Kingston and Toronto, and regular passenger service was also available.

Grafton's success was chronicled in a weekly column in the Cobourg daily newspaper, entitled "Latest Items from Grafton", which ran from 1875 through 1877. The column detailed various social, political, and economic happenings in the area.

Grafton, Ontario: Early Settlers and Their Legacy

Benjamin Ewing and Eliakim Barnum were among the first settlers in Grafton, Ontario. Barnum, the original owner of the Barnum House on Hwy #2, was a close friend of Ewing. The Barnum House, now a museum, is a historical site in Ontario with visiting hours in the summer. Many early settlers' descendants still live in the area, and their family names are commemorated in routes, roads, and landmarks.

Grafton, Ontario: Present Day

Today, Grafton, Ontario, is a small community with a population of under one thousand. It is home to businesses and community buildings such as the Haldimand Memorial Arena, the Grafton Community Centre & Library, Grafton Public School, and the Lawless Art Gallery. Notable places include St. Annes Inn & Spa, the former home of Bob Homme ("The Friendly Giant"), the Barnum House museum, and a defunct canning factory.

Grafton, Ontario: Economy and Development

Grafton, Ontario, is currently supported by small businesses and tourism. Agriculture remains prevalent in the surrounding area, with crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, and livestock including beef, dairy, and poultry. The hamlet continues to see development and residential growth as the area expands in size.

Grafton is also the source of Kirkland Signature brand's spring water, sold in Costco stores across the province, and the RealCanadian water bottle company.

In conclusion, Grafton, Ontario, is a community that beautifully blends history and modernity. It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of its people, who have preserved its rich heritage while embracing the opportunities of the present.