Of all the Ontario communities
the Wayback Times has profiled, Cookstown is the only community
not located on water.
But it has certainly sailed
its way into the tourist books as an Ontario favorite among buyers
of antiques and collectibles.
The village - Hwy. 27 and Hwy.
89 cut through its downtown area - is less than an hour north
of Toronto and is dotted with Victorian homes and businesses.
(Barrie, which is a short distance
away, can easily be included in your antiquing day trip.)
Cookstown, an active community
within Simcoe County, has history.
In the 1830's, the area was
known as Perry's Corners, named after a tavern owner, and then
Dixon's Corners. In 1947, Thomas Cooke sold some of his lots
south of the village and registered the plans as Cooke's Town.
Cooke's son, Major Christopher Cooke, became warden of Simcoe
County in 1880.
The blossoming community became
a police village in 1904 and was incorporated as Cookstown in
1962, with a reeve and four councillors.
Postcard buffs are told Cookstown's
first post office opened in 1847. The postmaster was James Harper.
The village's fourth postmaster was Henry Coleman, hired in 1873,
and the job has remained in the Coleman family more than a century
In 1973, that Coleman run earned
Cookstown the honour of becoming one of only two Canadian communities
with continuous postal service by one family for 100 years.
If you have time for browsing
after shopping the numerous antiques and collectibles stores
and markets, the village has a walking tour brochure.
So park the car and absorb the
sights and history.
There are restaurants, tea rooms
and specialty stores along the way.
The Anglican Church, built in
1857, is one of three churches in the village. And a house built
by Thomas Cooke in 1830, known as Raven's Crag, still stands
as a private residence on the west side of Hwy. 27 just south
of Hwy. 89.
Cookstown has also been known
for its sports teams, including two lacrosse teams, a soccer
team, cricket, tennis, baseball etc.
If story-telling comes easy
among the locals, it comes naturally. Nina Moore Jamieson, whose
father was an early teacher here, wrote stories for the Mail
and Empire newspaper in Toronto.
The first school was built in
1877 and another early Cookstown pupil, Emily Ferguson Murphy,
went on to become the first woman magistrate in the British Empire
in 1916. Murphy was also a writer of novels under the pseudonym
of Jane Canuk.
Politicians born in the area
include Col. T.R. Ferguson, an MP in 1885, and Hon. James S.
Duff, a minister of agriculture in 1909.
Seasonal activities in Cookstown
include the Agricultural Fair on the first weekend of September,
the annual Wing Ding, on the first weekend of June, and South
Simcoe Theatre productions at the Town Hall on Hamilton St.
Lots to do and see and when
the shopping and browsing is done and you feel the need to see
water, Lake Simcoe is a short drive to the northeast.