Grey Highlands, Ontario


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No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut
Channing Pollack

georgian explorerThe Georgian Bay Explorer - The Flemings of Craigleith

Tall, handsome and with a full beard of brownish red, Sandford Fleming was 25 when he surveyed a line from Barrie to Georgian Bay. During the next 60 years, Kircaldy-born Sandford Fleming would explore every corner of Canada, finding routes for railways from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But at a young age, he had found a place in which to plant his family's roots. ln 1854, Fleming journeyed west of his proposed terminal at Collingwood, climbing to the top of the Blue Mountains where he searched for land for sale. He found a farm in the sheltered valley of Mill Creek, a third of a mile inland from Georgian Bay. There, in 1836, John Brazier had built a shanty that became a stopping place for settlers on their way to St. Vincent Township and for mail carriers journeying over the Old Mail Road. Fleming's family had followed him to Canada, settling in Toronto in 1847. Sandford told his father of the rich stands of timber under the shade of the Blue Mountains and the possibilities of saw-milling and stone quarrying in this sparsely populated corner of Ontario. On April 17th,1855, the Flemings of Kircaldy moved to the old Brazier farm and by September, Sandford's brother Henry had built a limekiln. His other brother, David, opened a lumberyard in Collingwood on Sandford's lot on Hurontario Street from which many of the town's finer homes were built. The family flourished in Collingwood Township, giving their small shore-side community the name Craigleith, in Gaelic meaning "Rocky Bay." The Flemings also opened a limestone quarry at the water's edge, providing building material for the lmperial Lighthouse on Nottawasaga lsland, the Craigleith Schoolhouse, and the foundation of a new house in the Mill Creek Valley.Read more articles For the next three decades, Sandford Fleming would spend his holidays at Craigleith with his Scottish family. And then he would be off again, searching for a route through the Rockies or overseeing the laying of the Pacific Cable. But his heart would remain among the Blue Mountains of Collingwood Township.