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February 10, 2024

Reaboro from the Air, October 2023

By Guy Scott

Ops Township is in the township that surrounds Lindsay—that’s likely the way most local residents will remember it. In fact, the town of Lindsay so dominates Ops, there are only a couple of other hamlets in the whole township! Only Reaboro and (maybe) Mount Horeb qualify as hamlets. The rest of this township lives within Lindsay’s rainshadow or is part of hamlets in neighbouring townships such as Oakwood or Omemee. Ops is named after the Roman goddess of plenty and fertility. And the soil of Ops certainly fits the bill!

The main centre after Lindsay is the hamlet of Reaboro. The nucleus of Reaboro began as Kelly’s Crossing, a siding on the Midland Railway (1856). Francis Kelly operated the Stone Inn in the vicinity of the new railway. When a post office was established, it was named Reaboro after Colonel Thomas Rea, who first settled in the area in the early 1820s. The community grew very slowly and a surveyed townsite (of 2 streets) was not completed until 1895. It consisted of a railway station, a blacksmith shop, a grist mill/grain elevator, a school, an Orange Lodge hall, a Baptist Church and a cheese factory. There were never more than a dozen houses in the hamlet: most of the businesses came from the surrounding farms.

The Orange Lodge served as the community hall for many years until one was built in the 1930s. Anglicans, Presbyterians and Methodists all held services in the Orange Lodge in the absence of individual churches. The first modern convenience to reach Reaboro was the telephone (1908). Hydro was not available until 1934. The arrival of the first automobiles in 1917 led to gas tanks installed at the general store. A town brass band was formed in 1894 and participated at various parades, especially the 12th of July Orange parades.

Reaboro’s first road connections with its neighbours was the Slanted Road, following an old native trail that joined Lindsay (on the Scugog River) and Omemee (on the Pigeon River). Eventually, this major road was replaced by Highway 7, which actually cut the hamlet in two sections. Ops roads were notorious for their sticky mud. In 1861, the town of Lindsay was devastated by fire. Ops Township council generously sent a cheque for $1,000 for relief. Lindsay returned the cheque and asked it be used to improve the roads leading to town. Ouch!

Unlike most villages in the area, Reaboro was not located on a waterway of any type. Any mills operating in town used steam power. This meant water-powered industry was absent from the hamlet, Lindsay’s situation being more attractive. As the roads improved, business began to gravitate to Lindsay, a mere 5 miles away. The businesses closed, the post office closed and finally the school was amalgamated into Ops Central School. Reaboro became a quiet bend on Highway #7.

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