History | Vittoria, circa 1875 | Back
The following article is based on an article published on page 7 of the 29 Jan 1925 Waterford Star, reprinted from The Simcoe Reformer.

Vittoria was a booming town 50 years ago

Years ago a thriving centre of trade and industry -- today numbered in the ranks of Ontario's "deserted villages" -- such is the history of a place that once was the official capital, the religious and judicial centre of the London District, and one of the earliest settled municipalities in Western Ontario.

As tourists stream each summer lakeward bound, through the quiet main street of Vittoria village, few realize, and perhaps too few of our own Norfolk people recall the fact that five decades ago this dormant little town boasted five manufacturing concerns, splendid hotels, and a lengthy list of prosperous, energetic business men.

No vestige of that former prosperity, beyond the shells of one or two dilapidated buildings, remain to tell the story; but occasionally one encounters today an elderly individual whose boyhood recollections are sufficiently vivid to provide an interesting tale of an era, when the wheels of business and industry were grinding at top speed in the now-deserted village.

Such is the memory of A.D. Teeple, now a resident of Simcoe, but for upwards of 25 years a citizen of the village of Vittoria. Born there in the year 1859, the son of Albert Teeple, as a boy he was familiar with virtually all the industrial magnates and business men of the town. Fifty years ago, as supplied by him, the list would read somewhat as follows:

Edward and John Hackett, wagon and carriage makers; 
Peter Young & sons Charles and Frank, general store; 
James H. McCall, general store; Thomas Anderson, grocery store; 
Fred Cope and Henry Lamport, general store; Wm. Duncan, drug store; Wm. Hewitt, druggist and clerk of the court; 
Wm. Ewing and John Machon, tailor shop; George Hewitt, harness shop; 
R. B. Tucker, tin shop; James Williams, shoe store; 
James Donald, shoe store; Archie Reid, furniture and undertaking; 
Albert Swayze, furniture; Richard Smith, blacksmith; 
Thomas Partridge, butcher shop; Jas. Gamble, butcher shop; 
Geo. Brown, planning mill; Thomas Hicks and Andrew Lang, millers; 
Potts & Coleman, distillery -- Franz Coleman, head distiller.
Israel Williams, tannery that employed William and David Burt, 
Geo. Oakes, Charles Steele, Anthony Balbraith* and Alf. Sutor.
Alex Teeple, tannery -- who met an untimely end when a huge stone which he was endeavoring to move, fell and crushed him.
A company comprising John Pow (manager), Wm. Dawson, Robert Mabee, Jos. McCall and others, conducted a cheese factory.
Jos. Little, Frank French, George Park and Andrew Catherwood, hotelkeepers.

John Madon was town clerk of Vittoria at that time, and William Doyle was chief constable. The list professional men included Dr. McInnes and 
Dr. Wm. Kennedy, medical men; Elders McGregor, Reddick, Cox, Sinclair and Fenton, pastors; Ira Mabee, John Tolmie, William Roach and his daughters Jennie and Kate, also Jennie Shannon, school teachers.

The village postmaster, George McCall, is perhaps the only village official of that time who is still at his post today. His father was postmaster before him.

Vittoria had a fine village band the, with Egbert Kitchen (recently deceased) as leader. Other members of the band were John Hackett, R. Y. Mabee, Albert Swayze, Bart Bezzo, and Bill Williams. Speaking of the late 
Egbert Kitchen, Mr. Teeple remarked that his father, Jos. Kitchen, was an exceptionally well educated and a very powerfully-built man. He was a leader in the religious life of the community.

Fifty years ago Vittoria had three churches -- Baptist, Anglican and Presbyterian -- all of which were in a flourishing condition. No railroad served Vittoria then and all grain and lumber. had to be transported in wagons to Port Ryerse and Port Dover, whence it was shipped by steamboat.

A man named Henry Swain ran a mail route from Simcoe to Port Rowan, making the town trip once daily.

A glance over the above list of business enterprises successfully undertaken 50 years ago in Vittoria leaves the impression that this village was enjoying then the richest period of its long history.

With the gradual growth of other villages and particularly the county town of Norfolk, and the introduction of now means and methods of transportation, vittoria has receded into the background and at present there is no indication that this once-booming village will retrieve its lost prosperity or become renowned for any thing but its historical significance.

* Balbraith is assumed to be a typo for Galbraith.

Article Index
Thos. Anderson
A. Balbraith
Bart Bezzo
George Brown
David Burt
William Burt
Andrew Catherwood
Franz Coleman
Fred Cope
Wm. Dawson
James Donald
William Doyle
Wm. Duncan
Wm. Ewing
Frank French
James Gamble
Edward Hackett
John Hackett
George Hewitt
Wm. Hewitt
Thomas Hicks
Dr. Wm. Kennedy
Egbert Kitchen
Jos. Kitchen
Henry Lamport
Andrew Lang
Jos. Little
Ira Mabee
R. Y. Mabee
Robert Mabee
John Machon
Geo. McCall
James H. McCall
Joseph McCall
Dr. McInnes
George Oakes
George Park
Thos. Partridge
Mr. Potts
John Pow
Archie Reid
William Roach
Jennie Shannon
Richard Smith
Charles Steele
Alf. Sutor
Henry Swain
Albert Swayze
A. D. Teeple
Albert Teeple
Alex Teeple
John Tolmie
R. B. Tucker
Bill Williams
Israel Williams
James Williams
Charles Young
Frank Young
Peter Young
Copyright 2013 John Cardiff