Summer 2022 Newsletter Excerpts

Newcastle Community Hall turns 100!

In 1919 Chester D. Massey decided to give to the citizens of the Village of Newcastle a secular and non-institutional hall that would contain many of the facilities included in his son Vincent’s recently completed project – U. of T.’s Hart House. The same architects, contractors and skilled tradesmen were employed. From sod-turning on September 24, 1921, to opening day ceremonies on August 2, 1923, the project took 22 months to complete, and the people of the Village of Newcastle had what was, at the time, (and may still be) the grandest CommunityHall between Toronto and Montreal.

January of 1919 is the first public/official mention the NVDHS has been able to track down concerning this proposed gift to Newcastle. 

“Mr. Chester D. Massey, Toronto, has made a very generous offer to his old hometown of Newcastle. He offers to erect a modern town hall and suggests that a Memorial Library be established by the village and be given a room in the new municipal building, as a perpetual memorial to the soldiers of Newcastle and Clarke who died in the war (WWI), a suitable tablet bearing names of the heroes to be placed in the Library. This is a splendid idea, and the offer of Mr. Massey has been accepted and a Memorial Committee appointed – Reeve, Revs. J. W. Rae (Presbyterian) and Rev. J.E. Fenning (Anglican), ex-Warden A. A. Colwill, Dr. Butler, and Thomas Montague.”
~ Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, February 6, 1919

Ghost of the Grand Trunk Railway

The ghost of the Grand Trunk Railway lingers! Its footprint remains on the stretch of its original right-of-way between Newcastle and Port Hope, Ontario. That footprint must be visible in other segments along its route as well.

The Grand Trunk Railway was incorporated in late 1852 with the object of building and operating a line between Montreal and Toronto. A year later, the ambitious company expanded its charter to include a line running from the east coast of the United States in Portland, Maine through Quebec and southern Ontario to Sarnia, Ontario. From there, Chicago-bound traffic was barged across the St. Clair River to Port Huron, Michigan, travelling on to Chicago via an operating subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. A tunnel was also built under the St. Clair River in the 1890s.

Read more of the Summer 2022 NVDHS Newsletter…