Tay Valley Township contains a wealth of historical farms, buildings and landscapes as well as numerous cultural activities and attractions. The history of our Township is unique and represents a story to be explored and discovered.
History of Tay Valley Township
Tay Valley Township was formerly three separate townships: North Burgess, South Sherbrooke, and Bathurst. The first Township to be settled was North Burgess.
Township of North Burgess
The former Township of North Burgess was settled by a group of Scottish and Irish immigrants and soldiers from the War of 1812-14. The first residents established homes and farms along the first stretch of cleared land, which would later become known as the Scotch Line. North Burgess was named for Rev. Thomas Burgess in 1794, an important religious leader who later became Bishop of Salisbury.
Within the former township is the historical hamlet of Stanleyville, originally called Micaville, whose first residents were Irish Catholic immigrants. It thrived on the business of the Silver Queen Mica mine, now located in Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. Before mica, lumber was an important trade and the Black Creek lumber yard was a vital part of this industry.
Murphys Point Provincial Park celebrates the area’s rich history. For thousands of years, Native peoples hunted and gathered along the Rideau. The area that is now Murphys Point was surveyed in 1812 and European settlement followed on the site of the restored McParlan House and Burgess Mill ruins. The saw mill (circa 1820 to 1870) was one of the earliest on Big Rideau Lake. The land along the Rideau Canal system has evolved into a recreational playground and in 2007 the Rideau Canal was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Township of Bathurst
The Township of Bathurst was surveyed in 1816 for settlement by both British emigrants and ex 1812-1814 War soldiers and seamen. The Township was then settled by Irish and Scottish immigrants, most of whom were farmers or military personnel. It was named for Henry Bathurst, the third Earl of Bathurst, who served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1812 to 1827.
The villages and hamlets of Bathurst include Glen Tay with its three mills, Dewitt’s Corners, Balderson known for cheese production, Fallbrook home to four mills and two hotels, Playfairville, Harper home to artisan potters, Wemyss and Armstrongs Corners.
Township of South Sherbrooke
South Sherbrooke was surveyed in 1819 with its name was adopted from Sir John Coape Sherbooke, who served in the British Army for 30 years and then became Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1811 to 1816. General Sherbrooke also served as Governor General of British North America from 1816-1818.
At the time of survey, South Sherbrooke was one of many townships within the District of Bathurst. Like much of the surrounding area, South Sherbrooke was settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants. For many years after settlement in 1821, farmers struggled and persevered with the harsh terrain of the Canadian Shield.
The hamlets and villages of South Sherbrooke include: Maberly with five milling operations, five stores, two churches, a hotel and the area’s own telephone company, Bolingbrooke with four mills, a store and a lumbering trade employing hundreds was a regional center of business in the colonial period , Althorpe, and Rokeby, which was the first settlement of this township.
Tay Valley Township
The Bathurst, Burgess & Sherbrooke Township was created in 1998 with the amalgamation of the former townships of Bathurst, North Burgess and South Sherbrooke. It was renamed Tay Valley Township in 2002, in recognition of the river that meanders across our landscape continuing its historic role of linking communities.