Discover Palmerston, Ontario: A Blend of History and Entertainment
Palmerston, Ontario, a charming community with a population of 2,599, is nestled in the southern part of the town of Minto, in the northern region of Wellington County. This unincorporated community is a treasure trove of history and entertainment, offering a unique blend of past and present for visitors and locals alike.
The Historical Journey of Palmerston, Ontario
Palmerston's history is deeply intertwined with the development of the railway system in Southwestern Ontario. Initially, the Grand Trunk and later the Canadian National Railway considered Palmerston a crucial division point, with 65 subdivisions including Owen Sound, Kincardine, Durham, Fergus, Guelph Junction, and Stratford.
Interestingly, the original plan for the railroad was to run from Guelph to Southampton, Ontario, bypassing Palmerston. However, the need to link Listowel to the railroad led to a change in the route, bending it towards Listowel and Palmerston. This decision also necessitated the construction of a yard with maintenance shops.
The station in Palmerston was named in 1870 by John McDermott, an active supporter of the railroad and Reeve of Wallace. He chose the name Palmerston in honour of Henry John Temple, the third Viscount Palmerston. The decision to build the station sparked a flurry of property purchases in the area for businesses and homes.
Another historical landmark in Palmerston is the Ontario Vaccine Farm. Opened in 1885 by Dr. Alexander Stewart, the farm produced smallpox vaccines until about 1907. After Stewart's death in 1911, the farm continued under H.B. Coleman until 1916. The University of Toronto took over the program after the farm closed.
In 1999, as part of the Progressive Conservative government's initiative to reduce the number of municipalities in Ontario, Palmerston became part of the newly formed Town of Minto, along with the towns of Harriston and Clifford, and the rural area of the former Minto Township.
Entertainment in Palmerston, Ontario: The Norgan Theatre
The Norgan Theatre, a quaint establishment on Main Street in Palmerston, is a testament to the town's commitment to leisure and entertainment. The theatre was built in 1947 by George Norgan, a successful businessman who had made his fortune in Vancouver, BC. Upon returning to Palmerston, he noticed a lack of leisure opportunities in the town and donated $50,000 for the construction of a movie theatre.
Named in his honour, the Norgan Theatre opened its doors on August 18, 1947. It underwent a renovation in 2007 and continues to operate today, run by a team of dedicated volunteers. The theatre offers affordable ticket prices, making it a popular entertainment spot for both adults and children.
In conclusion, Palmerston, Ontario, is a community that beautifully blends history and entertainment, offering a unique experience for all who visit.