Brief History of Highlands East

The Municipality Of Highlands East was incorporated in 2001, upon the amalgamation of the former townships of Bicroft, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Monmouth.

Wilberforce was established as "Pusey," a station on the Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa Railway (IB&O), and named for railway president Charles J. Pusey. This little railway had initially been built to carry iron ore from open pit mines in Irondale. With or without the railroad, Wilberforce was destined to become a settlement and is home to Ontario's first Red Cross Outpost.

For more about Wilberforce (and Tory Hill), go and get the book Monmouth Township 1881-1981 at your library. It is informative, amusing and a delight to read.

Highland Grove was once a thriving community that supported three stores, a cheese factory, a blacksmith shop, two schools and two churches. Beginning in 1890, the IB&O railway served the transportation, supply and communication needs of Highland Grove’s residents and businesses (the hamlet’s first telephone was installed at the railway station).

A Post Office first opened in 1897. Elmer Hughey, one of the earlier postmasters explained that Highland Grove was so named because it boasted the highest point of elevation in the County. On one side of a nearby hill, water flows in the direction of Haliburton and on the other toward Bancroft's York River.

Tory Hill is so named because, it is written, when Alexander Niven, Liberal candidate, came electioneering to the settlement -- it did him little good as he received only one vote. In exasperation, he said to John Anderson, “Jack, you get the Post Office you have wanted for a long time and you had better name it Tory Hill!” John was appointed the first postmaster, and subsequently named the village Tory Hill.

Cardiff is a former mining community, with the uranium the chief mineral being mined for several years, beginning in 1956.

Gooderham is built along Gooderham Lake, bordered on the south by the Irondale River and Pine Lake to the north, located on a now defunct railway line, the IB&O Railroad, which has been since converted into a trail network. Settled in 1873, its main industry has been logging. Today, M. W. Hunter Lumber Ltd. is the only major sawmill left operating in the County.

In the 1950’s Gooderham had 3 General Stores, a Barber Shop/Confectionary Store and Mountain View Lodge. It was also home to the famous Skyline Dance Pavilion, where, on a Saturday night, people came from all over to enjoy dancing to a live band.

The book, A Journey through Glamorgan's Past will enlighten you further on the history of Gooderham and its surrounding areas.