March 13, 2023
Main Street, Victoria Road
By Guy Scott
The small hamlet of Victoria Road is located just north of Highway #48 east of Kirkfield. The hamlet grew up at the point where the Toronto-Nipissing Railway crossed the Victoria Colonization Road. The village was located on the corner of three townships: Bexley, Eldon and Carden. The Victoria Colonization Road was part of the colonization roads settlement scheme of the 1860s. The Bobcaygeon Colonization Road (which ran through Kinmount) was so successful, communities all over the area attempted to replicate its success in their own corners of the Ottawa-Huron Tract. The Victoria Colonization Road started between Lindsay and Oakwood and ran straight north to an unresolved terminus somewhere in Northern Ontario. Several dreamers in the area wanted to extend the Victoria Road all the way to Manitoba.
The arrival of the Railway brought a boom to Victoria Road. The village became the centre for a surrounding district as business gravitated to the rail station. Within a decade the village contained 5 General Stores, 3 Hotels, 3 Livery Stables/Blacksmiths, a huge grist mill, several sawmills, 2 churches and several other service shops including an undertaker and a doctor. It also featured an Orange Lodge, Masonic Lodge and a Carnegie Library. Victoria Road was actually larger than either Kirkfield or Coboconk in the 1800s. It boated a fine Town Hall and was home of the North Victoria Agricultural Fair. Victoria Road was considered to be the most prosperous town in the northern half of Victoria County! After the decline of lumbering, Cattle ranching became the #1 industry. The Carden Plains is a flat alvar with a thin covering of soil over limestone that produced fine grazing grass. Victoria Road was the shipping depot for local ranchers.
The Railway was abandoned and Victoria Road became a village “off the beaten track.” Victoria Road settled into a long decline until the hamlet approached ghost-town status. Today all the businesses are gone, with one exception and only a few residents remain in what was once the ‘hub’ of North Victoria.