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May 20, 2024


By Guy Scott

Along the northeast shore of Lake Simcoe in Mara Township lies the hamlet of Uptergrove. It is located between Atherley and Brechin on Highway #12. The north end of Mara Township was settled by Scots from the outer Islands. Unlike their southern kinsmen in Thorah and Brock, these new immigrants were adherents to the Roman Catholic religion. They established a “station” at Uptergrove as well as one in Orillia and Brechin. In 1855, the parish of Mara was established based upon Uptergrove.

A small frame church was soon outgrown by the congregation and the massive brick church christened St. Columbkilles was started in 1907. The church is rumoured to be haunted by a priest who pledged to deliver a certain number of sermons, but died before he attained his goal. He returned to fulfil his vow!

The community also contained a Presbyterian Church, a hotel, blacksmith shop, general store and other trappings of a pioneer community. The area contains some fine farm land, and in 1889 a cheese factory was opened in the area. Being on the Midland Railway Line, Uptergrove had its own railway station.

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