Caledonia is a small, picturesque riverside community located on the Canadian Heritage Grand River in Haldimand County.
Population: approx 10,000 (2011)
Geographic location: 10 km south of Hamilton and 10 km north of Hagersville, at the corners of Highway 6 (Argyle St.) and Regional Road 54 (Caithness St.).
- Established as a community during the Grand River Navigation Company days (circa 1832), Caledonia was once a small strip of land between Seneca and Oneida villages. By the early 1830s the Grand River Navigation System, running between Port Maitland and Brantford, began to take shape. The system’s east and west villages of Seneca and Oneida amalgamated to become Caledonia through the entrepreneurial developments of Ronald McKinnon, considered to be Caledonia’s founder.
- Caledonia became incorporated as a village in 1844 and later as a town.
- In 1974, the town was amalgamated into the new town of Haldimand within the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk.
- In 2001, Haldimand and all other municipalities within the region were dissolved and the region was divided into two single tier municipalities with city-status but called counties. Caledonia is now an unincorporated community in Ward 3 of Haldimand County.
- In 2006, the Grand River land dispute involving First Nation land claims brought Caledonia to national attention.
Points of Interest:
The Caledonia Bridge is a nine-span bridge over the Grand River and is the only bridge of its kind in Canada. It is also known as the Grand River Bridge.
The Caledonia Mill was built between 1846 and 1853 and is the last mill of its type remaining in the Grand River Watershed. This huge frame building operated as a flour and grist mill right until the late 1960’s. It is currently under restoration.
The Caledonia Toll House is the third oldest building in Caledonia, after Haldimand House and the Caledonia Mill. The toll house is currently a private residence, and is said to be haunted.
Haldimand House, located in the heart of Caledonia, is one of the oldest and most prominent local landmarks.
The Grand River flows through Caledonia and is truly a “Grand” experience offering activities such as boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming or just relaxing. Leisurely drives along the Grand are a great way to explore the river for a day, a weekend or a week.
The Caledonia Grand Trunk Station was built in 1908. Passenger service ended in 1957 while the express parcel service continued until 1977. CNR used the station as a maintenance depot until 1988. Renovations began in September, 1996 and the station was officially reopened November 27, 1997. Today, the station is once again a busy spot accommodating the office of the Caledonia Regional Chamber of Commerce, a year-round Tourist Information Centre, meeting space for Chamber and other community activities, plus other meetings and displays.
Caledonia’s Trails and Pathways include Chippewa Trail, Kinsmen Park Walkway, Patterson Walkway, Ramsay Walkway, Rotary Riverside Trail and Thistlemoor Park Pathway. www.haldimandcounty.on.ca
The Caledonia Mill is the home to one of the largest winter light displays in Southern Ontario. The display runs from late November to early January and attracts thousands. The mill is located just downstream from the Caledonia dam.
The Caledonia County Fair is held annually in September at the Caledonia fairgrounds on Highway 54. The fair features livestock shows, home crafts, entertainment, food and the midway. www.caledoniafair.ca
Sources – Caledonia Regional Chamber of Commerce; Haldimand County websites; Wikipedia; Grand River County; photo courtesy of Lynn Adams