Liz Driver   [email protected]         647 526-4877


  1. A few general comments about history and heritage.
  2. With reference to photographs, discuss the rural landscape as a key component of our natural and cultural heritage.
  3. Conclude with some brief thoughts about conserving our heritage.


  1. A few general comments about history and heritage.


  • One reason for valuing heritage that often has traction at Council is that heritage supports economic development. Yes, it is a pillar for economic development, most obviously for tourism, but the value of history and heritage is much more profound.
  • History denotes a time in the past, whereas heritage has the meaning of inheritance, legacy, and tradition – something from the past that has been handed down to us.
  • History and heritage give the County its particular “sense of place” and shape our identity. They make us feel attached to where we live. In this sense, heritage is as much about a feeling of well-being, as it is about economics.
  • Over the past few decades, a new idea of heritage has emerged that does not focus on preserving perfect examples of the past, like fossilized remains. The new idea of heritage is dynamic and inspiring, and provides a way of thinking about our heritage and how it can serve us over time.



  • Heritage resources might mean: a church; a town hall; a whole farm, including fields, hedgerows, house and outbuildings, or a grouping of farms along a road; a tree-lined road; a cemetery; a harbour; an old railway line; or an airport.
  • Perhaps when I mentioned some of these categories, you thought of Mount Tabor, Milford Town Hall, South Bay Cemetery, Port Milford, Millennium Trail, or Camp Picton!
  • Whether something is considered a heritage resource depends on us – what our community identifies as reflecting our values and traditions; and it’s important to acknowledge that what we value might change over time.
  • How a community values a building or landscape is not tied to who owns the property now, but often reflects who originally lived or worked in the building or shaped the landscape.
  • Very important for the County is that heritage is how people have interacted with every aspect of our environment over time.


  • This slide of the Tremaine map of 1863 shows the entire southeast part of the County – South Marysburgh – divided into farm lots, with Milford identified in green.
  • From the beginning of European settlement, in the 18th century, human beings have obviously altered the environment in many ways, by building roads and establishing farms and villages. We are lucky to retain so much of this remarkable cultural heritage from the 18th and 19th centuries, but unfortunately traces of Indigenous lives have been mostly erased.
  • We are also lucky (despite our long occupation) to still have an abundance of natural heritage, encompassing land and water.
  • A key point is that natural and cultural heritage are inseparable, even if we may sometimes think of them separately. In fact, the County’s combination of natural and cultural heritage, shaped by the interaction of people with a very particular geography, has created a rural landscape that (I believe) all of us value, if sometimes unconsciously, without thinking about the qualities that make it special.


  1. Photographs of rural landscape
  • Now, let’s look at photographs of some landscapes and consider how they are a key component of our natural and cultural heritage.
  • It was difficult to choose, but I have selected six farms, because farm lots make up most of the countryside, plus one Milford site.


  • Farms have a structure and orderly layout of buildings and lanes, which is always functional, but often you can see decisions by the farming family that have an aesthetic design intention
  • In this aerial view of the 200-acre Walmsley family farm, note:
    • Tree-lined lane (lower right) leading from Walmsley Rd to the farmhouse
    • The farm lane is like a spine, running past the house to the barn and barnyard
    • From the barnyard, this lane continues as a drive lane into the core of the farm fields.
  • The lane also creates views:

  • Beautiful sweep up to house, between mature maples.
    • The view from the public road to a farm is an important heritage feature in that it reveals the age and history of the property expressed in the architecture of the buildings and the landscape setting, and also the overall scale and land use.
  • (Different season) From the barnyard, one looks out to a dip into a small valley (the headwaters of Black Creek), then a rise to elevated land in the distance]
  • Distinct views from the farmstead core to the fields (as here) or the public road, also have heritage value because they are part of the farm’s spatial pattern



  • Photographs of the Walmsley House, representing 3 eras:
    • More than a 100 years ago, not long after the Walmsleys built the house in about 1875. James Walmsley had purchased the property in 1829 and six generations of Walmsleys lived there until 1988.
    • 1940s or 1950s?, Walmsley family members enjoying a summer day
    • 2017, repainted by current owners, Dawn Ayer and Braydon Scully, after they purchased from Dick Potter, who had purchased from Tom and Geralyn Walmsley (may be here today!)
  • The house is remarkable for so many reasons:
    • Unusually, it is set well back from the road and faces the drive lane, not the road
    • It is a double house, built for two Walmsley families, who shared a central staircase, but otherwise had separate living spaces and cisterns, and their own separate staircases at north and south.
    • It has 3 gables, which makes it one of only three triple-gabled houses in The Settlers’ Dream



  • Substantial barn, 100-feet long
  • Like many barns around the County, this one was originally smaller, then enlarged as the farming operation grew
  • Has anyone heard Ernie Margetson speak about the history of County barns? It is fascinating to learn about the evolution of barns, variety of styles, and how they are placed on the farm property, often close to the road.
  • The barn is an essential element of our rural landscape – fascinating, but these significant buildings are at risk. If they don’t have a purpose, they can fall into ruin.


  • Many farm lots in the County are long and narrow – a characteristic feature, which seems to derive from the seigneurial system in Quebec, where narrow farm lots stretch back from the St Lawrence River
  • Here is a google earth view of our farm at 940 Royal and the brick farmhouse built by Jane and Samuel Rose in 1860
  • The farm has all the same structural components as 94 Walmsley
  • Labels identify:
    • farmhouse and cluster of barn and outbuildings
    • Unlike the Walmsley House, the drive lane is offset and runs along the west boundary of the property
    • Pastures + woodlot
    • Well in the fourth field; at south end, a creek runs across the property, used to make a watering hole
    • The southern end is environmentally protected


  • View from second field back towards house: The small fields, enclosed by hedgerows, create intimate spaces.
  • Passionate letters in newspaper about keeping hedgerows, important habitat for birds and other wildlife


  • Does anyone recognize this cluster of house, driveshed and barn?
  • The property is right on the corner of 413 Murphy Rd and Cty Rd 10, facing South Bay United Church, Mariner’s Museum, and South Bay beyond, and belongs to Daphne and Orville Walsh.
  • I love the way the farming family created this assemblage of buildings on the corner, looking out on church and bay.


  • You can see views of the farm’s small fields as you travel along Murphy Rd, and a glimpse of the drive lane beyond.


  • Can you recognize the location of this farmhouse, barn and drive shed? Sarah Moran’s and Trevor Collier’s home at 1972 Cty Rd 13.
  • Every lakeside farm has a unique relationship to the water. This historic farm property started at the edge of the bay, but the magnificent house is perched on the edge of the escarpment, with an expansive view of the water.
  • If you look closely, you will see the original, humble farmhouse, with the narrow verandah, attached to the rear of the big house. Just like barns, houses also grew to accommodate a family or as the farming operation became more prosperous.


  • All the buildings that we have looked at so far are categorized as vernacular. They are not important institutional buildings designed by professional architects. Rather, they were all built by local people, using their own skills and sometimes limited resources, to suit the topography and local taste in design.
  • The humbler the vernacular building, the less important it seems, but these humble buildings often contribute significantly to the rural landscape and to our understanding of how people lived in the past.
  • The small farmhouse at1038 Royal Rd, known as the Welbanks House (current owner = Riel), was built in the 1830s, right at the roadside, where Royal meets Dainard. Under current planning laws, this house would never be allowed to be located here!
  • Yet, the house anchors the intersection, and the line of house, drive shed and barn aligning Royal also contribute to the character of the streetscape. (Barn just visible in the distance.)


  • View looking from west to east, barn in foreground: The rise towards the crossroads and the roadside trees restrict the long east view up Royal Road, so that the small scale farm complex at 1038 Royal Road is experienced as an intimate precinct. The small-scale feeling belies the fact that the farm lot has a double width (but is half the usual length).


  • This log farmhouse, at 191 Ostrander Point Rd, was built by Moses Hudgins in about 1865, and it gives us a rare glimpse into rural living for those who had to be resourceful to survive.
  • The house is even more humble than 1038 Royal, reflecting the unfertile 100 acres on which it sits. The farm reached down to the lake, allowing Moses to fish and farm.
  • It is unusual to find people building log houses as late as1865, and it’s unusual to find log houses built of cedar logs – but they were cheap and local, probably harvested from the farm itself.


  • Usually log cabins have brick cooking hearths and a massive brick chimney breast rising up from the ground floor. Instead, Moses has a bracketed chimney to take the metal pipe from his iron stove – the new way of cooking and heating. In this way, Moses was keeping up with the times!
  • This historic property was recently purchased by the Nature Conservancy of Canada for its natural heritage, near the South Shore. The NCC recognizes that the log house has significant cultural heritage value.
  • Despite appearances, the log house is structurally sound and the hope is to use the building to support nature activities on the property. What better demonstration can there be that our community values natural and cultural heritage!


  • Tree canopies over narrow roads and significant big trees are also important elements of our rural landscape
  • Here are tree canopies on Walmsley, Maypul Layn, Royal, and Crowes Rd.
  • Here is a big tree at 94 Walmsley Rd!


  • Cannot forget our rural towns, especially as we are meeting today in Milford, in South Marysburgh’s former town hall
  • Milford is one of the most beautiful towns I know. The town itself is a cultural heritage landscape and could be the subject of a whole presentation, but today I have chosen just one Milford property, Mount Tabor, because it exemplifies what history and heritage is and why we value it.
  • We have seen how farmers designed their farms to best effect. Likewise, the community exploited the topography for Mount Tabor, so-called because it sits high on a mount – making the steeple a focal point for the community, then and now. Just as dramatic is the panoramic view of the countryside to the south, when you stand on the edge of the grounds.
  • The many activities that happen at Mount Tabor all through the year – theatre, concerts, meetings, sports, parades, the fall fair – are proof of Mount Tabor’s enduring value to the community.
  • In keeping with the Faro Convention definition of heritage, Mount Tabor is “a reflection and expression of [our] constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions.” Mount Tabor is an inheritance from the past, which remains at the very centre of our community and continues to be actively used in different ways over time.


  1. Conserving our heritage
  • If we value the heritage of our rural landscapes and buildings, how can we conserve their unique and special qualities?
  • This lies partly with owners, committed to being good stewards of their properties.
  • It’s also important that collectively we believe in being good stewards of our rural heritage.
  • The Municipality also has the authority, under the Ontario Heritage Act, 2005, to designate individual properties and landscapes for protection.
  • For example, Council has designated Mount Tabor, the Walmsley House, the Moses Hudgins Log House, and our farm at 940 Royal Rd.
  • In each case, the property had to meet one of the three criteria for cultural heritage interest and value, as set out in Regulation 9/06. It had to have:
  1. Design value or physical value;
  2. Historical value or associative value; or
  3. Contextual value.
  • All of the properties that we discussed today easily meet one or more of these criteria.
  • Ultimately, as a community, we need to recognize and appreciate the unique and special qualities that make up our rural heritage, especially the landscapes and their interconnectedness.
  • Our history and heritage is part of our environment – and our natural and cultural heritage are inseparable and make up our eco-system, just like animals. Just as it’s important to protect the natural environment for animals, we need to conserve our natural and cultural heritage for the sake of our well-being as human beings.






Criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest



  1. The property has design value or physical value because it,
  2. is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method,
  3. displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit, or

          iii.  demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement.

  1. The property has historical value or associative value because it,
  2. has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community,
  3. yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of a community or culture, or

          iii.  demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of an architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to a community.

  1. The property has contextual value because it,
  2. is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area,
  3. is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings, or

          iii.  is a landmark.