| 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
John Madon was town clerk of
Vittoria at that time, and William Doyle was chief constable. The list
professional men included Dr. McInnes and
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
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.
Dr. Wm. Kennedy
R. Y. Mabee
James H. McCall
A. D. Teeple
R. B. Tucker
Copyright 2013 John Cardiff