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  • Rotary Trail Rotary Trail
  • Tiffin By the Bay Tiffin By the Bay
  • Pete Pettersen Park Pete Pettersen Park
  • Pete Pettersen Park (looking west) Pete Pettersen Park (looking west)
  • Mid Pen Link Trail (west end) Mid Pen Link Trail (west end)
  • Little Lake Park Trail middle Little Lake Park Trail middle
  • Kuchar Park (link to Aberdeen Blvd) Kuchar Park (link to Aberdeen Blvd)
  • Harbourview Road Harbourview Road
  • Rotary Trail Along Harbourside Rotary Trail Along Harbourside

​​​​History of Midland's Recreational Trails

​In 1994 Midland undertook an ambitious plan to acquire the strategically located properties of the former CN Rail line in the Harbour area, thus embarking on the implementation of the "Reclaiming the Edge" municipal waterfront plan.  These lands, melded with other municipally owned properties, created the opportunity to develop a pedestrian trail that links ​Midland to our neighbo​​urs in Penetanguishene and Tay.

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The first section of the designated Trans Canada Trail traverses through a hard wood bush, along roadways, across a manicured waterfront park hugging a shoreline trail to the water's edge through the Midland Town Dock.  The Trans Canada Trail then continues on through Harbourside Park along Bayshore Drive to the "lookout" and onto William Street.  Our sponsor, the Midland Rotary Club, has generously contributed over $250,000 in time, material and labour for the construction of this portion of the trail, 5.2 km (3.2m) which is jointly named the Rotary Waterfront Trail.  The remainder of the Trans Canada Trail, 2.4 km (1.5m) is being constructed for the municipality by the shoreline developers and will be integrated into the informal trail system, 1.4 km (0.85m), in Ste. Marie Park. The Town also has a trail that runs through picturesque Little Lake Park for your enjoyment, which the Rotary Club also contributed to. Please click on the map to enlarge the image. 

 
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Walk/Jog​Rollerblade​Bicycle


Total Trail Lengths, owned and operated by the Town of Midland

​​Aberdeen Boulevard Access  ​0.087 km ​concrete​
​BayPort   ​0.0743 km concrete
​BayPort Waterfront Trail Access​ 0.047 km concrete
​Gawley Park Trails ​0.189 kmlimestone screenings
​Harbourview Multi-Use Trail ​0.332 km asphalt
​Little Lake Park Trails ​4.484 km Paved 1.76 km/natural
​McCullough Park Trails​​0.485 km natural
​Mid / Pen Trail  ​1.788 km partially paved
​Quebec Street Access​0.089asphalt
​​Quota Park Trail  ​0.169 km​ limestone screenings
​Rotary Waterfront Trail ​ 5.856 km asphalt/ concrete
​Shewfelt  ​ 0.77 km natural
​Shewfelt Crescent Pond Trail  0.301 km​ natural
​Ste. Marie Trail  ​0.221 km asphalt
​Taylor Drive Access0.049 km​natural
​Tiffin Park Trails  ​  1.640 kmnatural
​Tiffin Trail ​ 0.987 kmnatural
​Victoria Street Access​ 0.049 kmasphalt
​Waterfall Side trail ​ 0.393 kmasphalt
​Yonge Street Access0.123 kmconcrete


Our extensive Rotary Trail, which forms a part of the Trans Canada Trail System, 

offers over three kilometers of paved trail running along the beautiful waterfront of Georgian Bay. Take a look at our trails map for more information; it encompasses the Pete Pettersen Park area, extends throughout the Town Dock and Harbourside Park area and into the Tiffin By the Bay Development.​

Please click on the map to enlarge the image.

 

1 - Tiffin Elevator

​In responding to an ever increasing domestic and foreign grain business the Grand Truck Railway decided to expand its Midland facilities between 1905 and 1912. GTR Workers increased the number of train sidings to accommodate the large number of railway cars that would be necessary to service the new Tiffin Elevator. Beginning in 1907 and divided into two stages the elevator eventually contained 3 movable unloading legs and a very large wharf area; a pump house; power plant and stack and a series of bins 36’ in diameter with 10” reinforced concrete walls 65’ in height. It had rail car loading facilities that could fill 4 rail cars every 20 minutes and a total capacity of 5 million bushels. It was the largest grain loading elevator system ever built in Midland. In 1923 the Canadian Government re-organized a number of failing Railway Companies into the Canadian National Railway Co. CN operated Tiffin Elevator until it shut down in 1990. CN abandoned the Midland Subdivision in 1993 and the elevator was demolished in 1997-98 to make way for the residential subdivision you see today. The pilings and concrete footings were used for the two condominium Towers, planned as part of Vas Kuchar’s “Tiffin by the Bay” development. It is one of Midland’s largest and most ambitious residential developments to date and is built entirely upon lands created for the operation of the two Elevators. ​

2 - Tiffin Round House

​The Grand Trunk Railway took over the Midland Railway Corporation in 1883-84 and began a very active expansion program that included rail trackage, elevator expansion and repair facilities all in an effort to handle much greater volumes of western grain destined for Europe and Eastern North American markets. The operation of such a vast fleet of railway locomotives and rolling stock required extensive repair facilities and the Tiffin Round House was the largest facility of its kind ever built in Midland. The turn table in the foreground enabled the locomotives to come in for service in one of the eight bays. Sometime later a large coal loading facility and water tower was added allowing for fast and efficient coal fired locomotives to turn around and draw long trains of grain to their destination. Over time this changed as diesel locomotives replaced most coal operated steam engines and by the early 1950’s this facility was abandoned and torn down. Only the concrete flooring and wall footings remain of this very large industrial facility. ​

3 - Aberdeen Elevator

​Constructed in 1905-06 for the E.R. Bacon Company of Chicago, Illinois, USA the Aberdeen Elevator was the smallest grain handling facility in Midland. Managed for many years by Roy Preston, it had the dubious distinction of the worst grain milling accident in Midland. At 9:45 am on Saturday morning 24 June 1942 the elevator sustained a massive explosion and fire that killed six elevator workers and badly injured a seventh. The elevator was rebuilt and continued in operation until it was dismantled in the early 1970’s. Today its foundations and dock are all that remains of the Aberdeen Elevator. The men who died were: H. Berriault, A. Crowie, I. Fry, C. Miller, A. Robins and J.W. Wheeler. All were from the area. ​

4 - International Fibre Board Plant of Midland

​This manufacturing plant was built on the same site as the John and Robert Dollar Sawmill located just east of Bay Street and Aberdeen Boulevard. It was the first such plant in Canada to manufacture Canadian Wallboard, better known as “Ten-Test”. This product had better insulating value than plain wooden boards and became a very popular building product in the 1920’s thru 1950’s. This plant was purchased by the Masonite Company of Canada, but when the plant partially burned it was not rebuilt. In 1962 Canadian Name Plate, now called Décor Metal Products built on part of this site and continued to manufacture trim and extruded metal products for the North American markets.​

5 - Midland Coal Dock Co.

​The Midland Coal Dock Co. was formed by James Playfair in 1901 as a way of keeping his shipping fleet active and profitable in the Great Lakes shipping business. The Midland Queen (1901) and Midland King (1903) carried grain to many different ports and returned with coal from several Ohio ports. Its first president was David Pratt who, in 1898, started a wood business and added coal for a few years later. The Midland Coal Dock Co. was sold in 1926 to the Canada Steamship Lines. The Coal Dock continued in active service until the mid-1960’s when fuel oil, hydro and gas began to replace it as the preferred source of heating for industrial, commercial and residential buildings.​

6 - Playfair Residence of Edgehill

​The sawmill of the H.H. Cook Lumber Company was built as Midland’s first major industry in 1871. It was reorganized and recapitalized in 1881-82 and renamed the British Canadian Lumber Company. As part of its expansion a number of improvements were made including the establishment of a large home overlooking the Mill which housed the managers Andrew Miscampbell and William Dickinson. This firm went into receivership due in part to fraudulent timber estimates and was operated by the receivers by Andrew Miscampbell and Douglas White. In 1887, James Playfair and Douglas White formed a partnership and purchased the Mill from the Merchant Bank of Canada. Ganton Dobson, a local contractor and boat builder, completely re-modeled Edgehill adding a large turret and joining the two separate homes into one stately, wellappointed mansion with servants quarters and stables. James Playfair maintained this home as his principal residence along with his wife, Charllotte (Ogilvie) Playfair. James died in 1937 and Charlotte died in 1946. They bequeathed the home and grounds to the Town of Midland to be used as a hospital but the home was not suitable for that purpose. With permission of the estate, Edgehill became the Huronia House Museum, opening to the public in 1947. Concerns over fire safety and stabilization costs convinced the Museum to move to a new museum building in 1967 as the Town’s centennial project and Edgehill was demolished. ​

7 - Midland Ship Building Co.

​Originally named the Midland Dry Dock Company Limited in 1910, the company was successfully reorganized on the 1st of June, 1917 as the Midland Ship Building Co. Ltd. D.L. White, President and James Wilkinson, Managing Director, were two important figures as were the shareholders D.S. Pratt, H.W. Richardson, J. Playfair and W.J. Sheppard of Waubaushene. In all, nearly 70 vessels were built between 1918-1930 and 1940-1953. The Company was sold in 1926 to the Canada Steamship Lines and closed down completely in 1957. In 1965, Falconbridge Co. purchased the property and built the mill and plant which today is called Unimin Canada Limited. ​

Midland Engine Works

​A good example of early secondary manufacturing in Midland is the Midland Engine Works Co. Ltd.. Started in 1896 by University of Toronto engineering graduates John Hanly and his brother Samuel Hanly, both of Midland, they built an extensive machine shop to manufacture early gasoline engines and other materials related to the marine industry. The Hanly Engine, as it became widely known, was used extensively in the small wooden boat building industry which burgeoned between 1890 and 1914. With the outbreak of World War I, the operations were converted to manufacturing shells and munitions, each being lathed by hand. The work force, which averaged twenty-five men, increased to sixty during the war and included women. The brothers operated the business until the early 1930’s when the economic conditions forced them to shut down their operations. They were closely associated with the Dobson and Gidley Boatworks as well as the Midland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., other marine applications, sawmill machinery and general repairs. ​

9 - Midland Train Station

​In November 1870, the directors of the Midland Railway Corporation of Port Hope selected this locale as the terminus of their newly acquired railroad company. In 1872, the Midland Land company was formed to develop the town site purchased from four farming families who owned the lands on which the town would develop. As a railway town, the station was to be the hub of the community. Peter Burnett, a surveyor from Orillia, created the “Midland City” town plan with the train station at the foot of Midland Avenue bordered by King and Queen Streets. Other street names in Midland were derived from the railway company personnel such as the president, Adolph von Hugel and vice president David Vindin. The railroad station operated from this site until it caught fire and burned in 1942. It was soon rebuilt and rededicated using the same cut stone that had been used to dedicate the first station. It had been found in the northwest bastion area of Sainte Marie Among the Hurons during railway construction in the 1870’s. This station was torn down in 1998 after the rail lands were purchased by the Town of Midland to make way for this beautiful pathway and park. ​

11 - Midland Waterfront

​Several major Midland industries are located in this photo. To the far right is the corner of the Uptown Elevator constructed in 1898 and used in the grain milling industry. The second is the Grand Trunk Rail lines with both passenger and freight cars dominating the waterfront area. The wharves for lumber shipment in the centre of the photo were built in 1889. In the foreground is the remains of the Midland Railway Elevator which burned on the 24th of April 1904. For many years it was used as wharfage until the complete rebuilding of the Midland waterfront in the 1930’s. In the background is the residential area of 3rd Street over to Bay Street. The large standpipe or watertower installed by James Playfair in 1903 to provide fresh water throughout the town dominates the central skyline and is still operational today.  ​

12 - Midland’s Longest Lumber Yard

​This area of Midland is a very good example of what an early manufacturing industry looked like just after the turn-of-thecentury. So much lumber was produced in Midland that it attracted smaller firms to produce a wide range of additional lumber products. Window sashes, windows, door frames, doors and decorative moldings, to name just a few, were manufactured from plants like this in Midland. But competition was fierce and despite all efforts Benson and Bray went into receivership in 1916. The Company was restructured to produce packing cases and shell casings for the munitions industry during WW I. Restructured again after the war as Midland Wood Products, the Bray family created a very successful business in lumber manufacturing and in the wholesale/retail lumber business. The lumber mills and railways are all gone now but this lumber industry continues to thrive as the biggest lumber retailer in the region. ​

13 - No Title

​This photo, taken about 1910, shows the extensive steam powered lumber mill that operated at this very site from 1875 to 1934. Buried under this mound are the main foundations. Ahead of you would have been the ladder to bring up the logs. To your right was a wooden dock where the lumber ships should load and a small boat house was located on the point. Behind you to the south were raised spur rail lines to feed the rows of piled lumber. On the other side of the rows was the Grand Trunk Railway’s sidings to take the lumber probably to the U.S. market. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1934, and underground fires of burning sawdust and lath smoldered for many years thereafter. The Mill had many owners including the British Canadian Lumber Company whose principal investor was H.H. Cook, Member of Provincial Parliament for North Simcoe; various members of the Chew family, one of Midland’s earliest residential industrial manufacturers; and the Leatherby family of Midland and Coldwater. ​

14 - Trestle and Esplanade

​This photo shows the trestle and railbeds which formed a small part of Midland’s early waterfront. Extensive wharves, rail sidings and loading areas were built between 1880 and 1900 to accommodate the burgeoining sawn lumber and milled grain trade. As many as 4 different lumber mills were operational within the waterfront core and this required extensive rail yards and sidings and deep water dockage facilities to move as much as 20 million board feet of sawn lumber each year. A year after the railway arrived in Midland, the Midland Rail Company began construction of a wooden grain elevator set on 600 yellow elm pilings driven into the lake bottom. In 1886 this facility was tripled in size by the Grand Trunk Railroad Company and in 1898 another wooden elevator was built to give Midland a storage capacity of 2 million bushels of grain. The extensive rail sidings and pilings to create and maintain the harbour was called the Esplanade. The large concrete silos in the centre of the photo were built in two stages between 1914 and 1918 and are now part of the ADM Ogilvie Milling operations. ​

15 - The Winter Berth

​Sometime in the early 1940’s, the Canadian Steamship Lines built three concrete wharves and two concrete bollards to moor their ships throughout the winter in Midland Harbour. This photograph shows the Lemoyne, Donaconna and T.R. McLagan linked together for winter storage. Ancillary buildings, hydro hookups and a road also permitted crews and workmen to maintain and repair vessels over the winter months. In the background is Sunnyside and the Simcoe Elevator. The lands were originally purchased from the Crown by the Midland Land Company Ltd., and the point was named Hugel Point after Anatole Von Barron Hugel (1854-1928), the president of the Midland Railway Corporation. James Craighead rented the property and built extensive wharves and a lumber mill on this site in 1879 which burned in 1882. Leased by the British Canadian Lumber Company, they rebuilt the mills but soon went into receivership in 1886. Leased by the Chew Brothers, then the Leatherbys, the mill operated until 1934 when it was destroyed by fire. The lands were turned over the CNR in 1969 to the Federal Department of Public Works and acquired by the Town of Midla​nd in 1997.

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