The Toronto Carrying Place Trail

Throughout 1973 and into the new year, January 1974, KTHS debated the feasibility of marking roadsides near the supposed route of the portage trail beginning at Lake Ontario and ending at the Holland River on the way to Lake Simcoe.

 

John Smithyes agreed to head the Toronto Carrying Place** Committee which immediately began checking information on the true route of the portage, finding verification difficult. Plans for engraved wood signs were discussed and a sample ordered by the Chairman, who was working with the Vaughan Historical Society to coordinate signage and route. The first sample was presented for display at the AGM in February 1975. Designed with an arrowhead border, it showed an upturned canoe over the words “Toronto Carrying Place” and dates 1615 – 1793. The public introduction was scheduled for July 1, Dominion Day at the King-Vaughan road allowance between Pine Valley Drive and Kipling Avenue. More signs were made and installed at key sites on roads adjacent to the probable route of the Carrying Place portage.

From here on the story of the commemorative marker at the terminus on Highway 9 becomes almost incredible with a succession of chairmen, differences over the wording of the text for the plaque and debate as to the placement ; finally the site owned by King Township immediately west of Holancin Road on the north side of #9, was agreed and prepared for installation of a large boulder donated by Mr and Mrs Cyril Henderson of Bradford. Sod was provided by the Brouwer Company, assistance by Frank Horlings and flags erected by Bill Poulis. The plaque duly affixed to the stone was unveiled by Mr. Alden Winter and John Smithyes, with celebratory remarks by Mayor Margaret Britnell. This ceremony took place September 9, 1979, six years after the first steps were taken!

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