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July 7, 2024

Seagrave Station

By Guy Scott

Simcoe Street is an important road that straddles the boundary between Victoria County (now City of Kawartha Lakes) and Ontario County (now part of Durham Region). This boundary Road was a very early pioneer route running between Whitby harbour and the northern Townships of old Ontario County. Since it was opened early in the pioneer era (circa 1830s), many pioneer hamlets sprang up along this road with sections in both counties. Simcoe Street formed the boundary between the counties from Lake Scugog just north of Port Perry all the way north to Rama Township near Orillia.

In 1974, as a result of a series of municipal changes, Ontario County was officially dissolved. Most of its townships (Whitby, Pickering, Uxbridge, Scott, Scugog, Brock and Thorah) were amalgamated into Durham Region, while the northernmost two townships (Mara and Rama) joined Simcoe County. Seagrave, Sonya and Manilla were 3 communities that straddled the border between Mariposa and Brock Townships.

Seagrave grew up where Simcoe Street crossed the Nonquon River. The road took a bend to the west of the actual county boundary to avoid Lake Scugog and find the best site for a bridge across the Nonquon. Thus, most of the village as located on the Reach Township side of the road. The bridge was a natural spot for a village site, and settlers were present as early as 1830. The earliest structures were a hotel, a blacksmith and a general store. There was also a sawmill on the Nonquon River, but the Lindsay dam raised the water levels on Lake Scugog and made operating the sawmill difficult.

The original name for the settlement was Nonquon, after the river. When a post office was opened in 1858, the name Sonya was adopted. For some reason, the Sonya post office was moved up the road in 1861 to the current hamlet of Sonya. A new post office was acquired in 1871 and this time the name of Seagrave was adopted. Seagrave is the name of a village in Leicester, England. In 1876, Seagrave became a station on the Whitby-Port Perry-Lindsay Railway. Originally this line went only as far as Port Perry, where steamboats continued the trip on to Lindsay. But due to many factors such as weather, water levels and winter, the railway was continued north until at Manilla Junction, it turned abruptly east and went on to Lindsay. The railway continued to service the area until the 1940s. Seagrave, like many crossroads communities in Ontario, languished in the 20th century as larger centres such as Port Perry attracted businesses and commerce. But in the later decades, Seagrave has become a bedroom community. Several subdivisions have ringed the old village in both Mariposa and Reach Townships.

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