Norfolk County, Ontario: Wikis


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Norfolk County
—  Municipality  —
Lighthouse and docks in Port Rowan.
Motto: History · Heritage · Diversity
Coordinates: 42°51′N 80°16′W / 42.85°N 80.267°W / 42.85; -80.267
Country Canada Flag of Canada.svg
Province Ontario Flag of Ontario.svg
Established 1792 (County)
Amalgamated 1974 (Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk)
Reestablished 2001 (Single-tier municipality)
 - Mayor Dennis Travale
 - Governing Body The Council of The Corporation of Norfolk County
 - MPs Diane Finley (Con)
 - MPPs Toby Barrett (Con)
 - Total 1,606.95 km2 (620.4 sq mi)
Elevation 200 m (656 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 62,563
 Density 38.9/km2 (100.8/sq mi)
  Ranked 80th in Canada
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code span N0A, N0E, N3Y, N4B
Website Norfolk County Website
According to Canada 2006 Census

Norfolk County (pronounced /ˈnɔrfoʊk/) is a rural city-status single-tier municipality on the north shore of Lake Erie in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. The county seat is Simcoe. The population in 2006 was 62,563.



Norfolk's history has been closely associated with that of the neighbouring Haldimand County. Norfolk was first created as a county in 1792. In 1800, Haldimand was formed from a portion of Norfolk. The two counties remained separate until 1974, when they were reunited as the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk.

In 2001, Haldimand and Norfolk were separated again in a round of municipal restructuring based on a report by provincially appointed special advisor Milt Farrow. Although both Haldimand and Norfolk use the name "county" for historical reasons, each is governed as a single municipality, with no lower-tier constituent municipalities, and thus neither is a true county. As part of the restructuring in 2001 Norfolk County was named the "Town of Norfolk." The newly formed municipality's first by-law was to change the name to Norfolk County[1].

In January 2005, the county unveiled a new coat of arms which included natural symbols associated with the county: hooded warblers, a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and an eastern dogwood flower.

The first mayor of the county, Rita Kalmbach, was succeeded in 2007 by Dennis Travale.


Surrounding its many small communities is some of the most fertile land in Ontario. With a mild climate and lengthy growing season, the region has long been the centre of the Ontario tobacco belt. However, many farmers have begun the process of diversifying their crop selections to include lavender, ginseng, hazelnuts, and wolfberries[2] as tobacco consumption continues to decrease. The area also has an active greenhouse industry. Despite this, farmers have asked governments to reduce the financial losses of moving away from profitable tobacco operations.

In 2004 the documentary film Tobacco's Last Stand was released which highlighted the effect on tobacco production on the region[3].

A significant natural feature of Norfolk is Long Point, a 40 kilometre (25 mi) spit of land projecting into Lake Erie. It plays an important part in eastern North American bird migration, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986. Long Point Provincial Park is located on the point.

Norfolk County promotes itself as "Ontario's South Coast" and publishes the annual Ontario's South Coast Experience Guide. Recently, Elgin County to the west and Haldimand County to the east joined Norfolk in expanding the "Ontario's South Coast" tourist destination region along Lake


The county comprises the communities of Atherton, Bill's Corners, Booth's Harbour, Bealton, Blayney, Bloomsburg, Boston, Carholme, Clear Creek, Courtland, Cultus, Delhi, Fairground, Fernlea, Fishers Glen, Forestville, Frogmore, Gilbertville, Glenshee, Glen Meyer, Green's Corners, Halfway House Corners, Hartford, Hemlock, Hillcrest, Houghton Centre, King Lake, Langton, La Salette, Long Point, Lynedoch, Lynnville, Nixon, Normandale, Pine Grove, Port Dover, Port Rowan, Port Royal, Port Ryerse, Powells Corners, Rattlesnake Harbour, Renton, Rhineland, Silver Hill, Simcoe, South Middleton, St. Williams, Teeterville, Turkey Point, Vanessa, Villa Nova, Vittoria, Walsh, Walsingham, Waterford, Wilsonville, Windham Centre and Wyecombe.



Delhi (pronounced DEL-High), originally 'Fredericksburg', is located off of the junction of Hwy 59 and 3 and is known as the Heart of Tobacco Country[4]. Until 2001, Delhi was located within the Township of Delhi, a municipal government within the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. Prior to the amalgamation of Norfolk County, the population of the former Township of Delhi was 16,365 in the Canada 2001 Census[5]

Part of the agricultural heritage of Delhi included tobacco[4] cultivation. The town has a tobacco museum to commemorate this part of its history. Local farms rely in part upon Jamaican and Mexican workers, who usually arrive around mid-to late April and return to their homelands around early-to-mid November.

Delhi is a multicultural community, though the majority of those cultures are of European descent. Community halls exist for those of Belgian, German, Polish and Hungarian background. The population also includes those of Dutch, Portuguese, Greek, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and British background.

The local high school, Delhi District Secondary School has faced the threat of closure in the past, but the local school board has committed to keeping the school open for the indefinite future[6]. The local elementary school, Delhi Public School, serves children from nearby hamlets like nearby La Salette. Saint Frances Cabrini Catholic School is also located in Delhi and is part of the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board.

Delhi is home to the Delhi Travellers, a junior hockey team that plays in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Port Dover

In 1670, French missionaries François Dollier de Casson and René Bréhant de Galinée became the first Europeans to winter at what is now modern day Port Dover. Earthen remains and a plaque mark the spot near the fork of the Lynn River (Patterson's Creek to many older Port Doverites) and Black Creek where they and seven Frenchmen built a hut and chapel.

By 1794 the first settlers, a group of United Empire Loyalists, had established a hamlet known as Dover Mills (named for the English port of Dover) which was razed to the ground by the Americans in the War of 1812. Subsequent reconstruction took place closer to the mouth of the Lynn River, where a harbour had been in use since the early 1800s. In 1835, merchant Israel Wood Powell registered a village plan for Port Dover. Improvement to the harbour during the next fifteen years made Port Dover a principal Lake Erie port. Shipyards, tanneries, and Andrew Thompson's woollen-mill contributed substantially to local economic growth. In 1879, Port Dover became an incorporated village with a population of 1,100.

Port Dover in the 20th century became a fishing village and tourist destination. Port Dover's fishing industry at one time hosted the largest freshwater fishing fleet in the world that employed many of the town’s citizens and continues to be important to the community. From 1906 to 1993, the town was home to Thomas A. Ivey and Sons, one of Canada's largest wholesale florists and rose-growers, and Port Dover's largest employer. In 1974, Port Dover was incorporated as Ward 2 of the former city of Nanticoke.

Willie's Restaurant in Port Dover on Friday, August 13, 2004.

In the summer, Port Dover is busy with thousands of tourists who come to swim in Lake Erie and enjoy the town and surrounding area. Port Dover’s business district is dominated by small shops that cater to the tourist trade with many bars and restaurants that depend largely on the increased traffic during the summer months.

The Port Dover Yacht Club has occupied land purchased from W.F. Kolbe and Co. at the fork of the Lynn River and Black Creek since September 1938. The P.D.Y.C. welcomes visitors every summer from around the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Port Dover has celebrated Canada Day with a parade every year since July 1867. The day starts off with the annual Soap-box Derby, the Boat Parade at the harbour, a Calithumpian Parade down Main Street and a fireworks display after dark.

Since 1981, there has been a tradition of motorcycle enthusiasts gathering in the town for Friday the 13th. Chris Simons and approximately 25 friends, through word of mouth, got together at the old Commercial Hotel. It was in November and it was Friday the 13th. They decided they should do it every Friday the 13th. On June 13, 2008 an estimated 150,000 bikers and spectators converged on Port Dover for Friday the 13th.

Port Rowan

Port Rowan holds an annual Bayfest every Labour Day; this used to be known as "Tomato Fest" but was renamed a few years ago. Local sports include angling and boating in the Long Point Inner Bay and golfing at Stark's Golf Course at the edge of town. Bird Studies Canada is based at Port Rowan. Port Rowan's future growth is currently at capacity with its water treatment system, which threatens future growth in the town and its burgeoning retirement community.


Simcoe is the administrative centre of Norfolk County, with a population of 16,000 making it Norfolk's largest community. Simcoe is located at the junction of Highway 3, at Highway 24, due south of Brantford, Ontario, and accessible to Hamilton by nearby Highway 6. The town is northwest of Nanticoke in Haldimand County.

Simcoe was founded in 1795 by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe.[7] The town hosts a Friendship Festival, the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show, and a Christmas Panorama of Lights.[7]

From the 19th century to early 2000, Simcoe had its own town council and mayor.


Walsh, formerly known as Charlotteville Centre, is a medium-sized hamlet in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada that is home to a public school and a Roman Catholic elementary school called St. Michael's. Graduating students go primarily to Simcoe Composite School and also Delhi District Secondary School, Valley Heights Secondary School or Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Students also have the choice of Port Dover Composite School for secondary education. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a wholesaler was once stationed here.


Waterford sits on the old Canada Southern Railroad, preceding various other rail company takeovers, the latest of which was by CN/CP. The now idle line passes through Ontario between Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan. Norfolk FS (formerly known as the Norfolk Co-Operative) also holds a major base of operations here, which provide chemicals, dangerous goods, and feed to local farmers.

The area surrounding the town is primarily agricultural land, with tomatoes, tobacco and corn among the chief crops. Other natural health and organic crops are being explored, such as ginseng, but area farmers are generally suffering from the decline of the tobacco industry. In 1979, a freak tornado swept through Waterford, devastating trees, homes, and public property. The tornado also caused blackouts which lasted for hours throughout most of Norfolk County.

Historic townships

Map of Norfolk County from 1877, showing historical townships.

Prior to its amalgamation with Haldimand in 1974, Norfolk consisted of eight townships. Walsingham was originally one township, but had been split into North and South Walsingham in 1881. Although no longer political entities, the historical townships are still used informally and in some government maps as convenient geographical divisions.

Township Township seat
Charlotteville Vittoria
Houghton Fairground
Middleton Delhi
North Walsingham Langton
South Walsingham Port Rowan
Townsend Waterford
Windham Windham Centre
Woodhouse Port Dover



Norfolk County's primary tourist attractions are the ports, towns and villages along Lake Erie, which the municipality promotes as "Ontario's South Coast". These towns include Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point. Fishing is another key attraction for tourist, as well as birding, hiking, camping and cycling. Main festivals include the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show (October), Waterford Pumpkin Festival (October), PD13 (the Port Dover motorcycle enthusiasts' event every Friday the 13th) and Simcoe Christmas Panorama (December). Agri-tourism is another expanding attraction for tourists coming to Norfolk County, with a few wineries in development and numerous farmgate retailers, now featured on the Norfolk County agriculture website.


The library system has branches in Delhi, Port Dover, Port Rowan, Simcoe and Waterford. The Simcoe branch, an Ontario Historic Site, was created in 1884 on Peel Street after a mechanics' institute was closed and its property donated for the creation of a free public library. The original building was used until 1912, when it was replaced with a new library building constructed as a one of the Carnegie libraries[8].

Delhi’s Backstage Capitol Theatre, with its superior acoustics and intimate setting, attracts audiences and performers alike from all over North America. Open year round, the theatre not only plays host to live performances and concerts, it is also a sought after venue for private functions with it’s European courtyard setting. Thousands of people looking for a unique venue have walked through the doors of the Theatre. Re-opened in 2008 the theatre has quickly become one of Norfolk's most popular destinations.

The Lighthouse Festival Theatre Company has produced live theatre at Port Dover's old town hall (under the clock tower) since 1981. The Theatre is open year round and provides a variety of events, including concerts, public meetings, community fund raisers, dance recitals, workshops, band rehearsals and classes. Annually, more than 36,000 people now attend events at Lighthouse Theatre. In addition to enriching the cultural fabric of Norfolk and beyond, Lighthouse bolsters the local economy, drawing tourists from out of town who then dine, shop and stay over in the community.

VanGo Adventure Farm is located just south of Waterford. It was featured briefly on the Dragons' Den television show in 2006 when VanGo Adventure Farm owner Mark VanGoethem appeared on the show in a suit made to look like he was riding a giant chicken. The VanGo Adventure Farm was not chosen for investment.


The Port Dover Harbour Museum, housed in an original fisherman's net shanty, commemorates Port Dover's fishing industry. The galleries present exhibits on the days of commercial sail as well as Lake Erie shipwrecks, ship building, Long Point, the War of 1812 and other aspects of lakeside life in this community. The museum is also active in the preservation and presentation of local folklore and living traditions, particularly in the areas of fishing and lakeside history. Since 2002, the museum has been the home to a collection of artifacts from the 1852 wreck of the steamer Atlantic.

The Eva Brook Donly Museum is a Victorian-period historic house museum that has been featuring displays of local history since it first opened in 1946. Located in downtown Simcoe and operated by the Norfolk Historical Society, which formed in 1900, the museum is renowned for its collections of artwork by the late William Edgar Cantelon and Eva Brook Donly. Here, you can see Dr. Troyer's infamous witch trap, Abigail Becker's gold medal presented to her for having rescued stranded sailors in 1854, an original Van Norman stove and much more. The museum also has an extensive archival collection of local genealogical historical material, including photographs, diaries, wills, legal papers, vital statistics, maps and more.

The Teeterville Pioneer Museum is a museum devoted to pioneer life in the 19th century. It includes antique farm equipment as well as home and garden tools.

The Spruce Row Museum is a historical museum that is located in Waterford. It recounts local history and also acts as a land registry. During Pumpkinfest, the museum becomes a haunted house, brought to life by the drama students of Waterford District High School.

The Delhi Tobacco Museum and Heritage Centre displays the agricultural and cultural history of the former township. Despite a province-wide smoking ban, the museum still guarantees its patrons the benefits of viewing the artistry and science of tobacco farming during the Golden Years of growing tobacco. It is located near Quances Dam. There is also a park nearby that is enjoyed by the local residents for picnics, barbecues, and for walking around with. It is closed on Sundays and major holidays.

The Backus Mill Heritage and Conservation Centre, an open air museum featuring a historic grist mill and a nature center, is a National Historic Site.


Port Dover is the location of a biker rally which takes place every Friday the 13th.

Simcoe is well known for annual community events including the Friendship Festival, Simcoe Panorama, and the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show that is held every October.

Every October the weekend of the third Friday of the month, Waterford hosts a Pumpkin Festival. This includes a fireworks display, parade, home decorating contest, pumpkin chuckin' contest, chicken chariot races, a small carnival, street vendors, pyramids of jack-o-lanterns carved by the local school children and businesses, and a spook house. The event is centered around the pumpkin harvest. Tourism reaches a peak during this time for Waterford. The Pumpkinfest was the backdrop for a national ad campaign featuring President's Choice Pumpkin Cheesecake. Pumpkinfest is consistently listed on Ontario's List of Top 50 Festivals.

The Donnybrook Fair in Walsh is an annual two-day event. The fair has been held every year from 1857 until the present, making 2007 the 150th Fair. This mid-September event involves the children of Walsh Public School and St. Michael's School entering projects and many agricultural commodities, grown locally, for prize money and ribbons. Over $1200 was paid to the elementary children in 2006. The fair has grown every year with the help of many volunteers. Fundraising events are held all year to finance the fair. These events include an annual barbecue dance, a Victoria Day brunch, food booths at every "Friday the 13th" event in Port Dover, and numerous raffles. The most popular event at each fair is the demolition derby. These were sponsored for a long time by the Horsepower Unlimited Car Club from Simcoe but are now sponsored by the Vittoria & St. Williams Fire Department Auxiliaries. 2007 was considered to be the 34th consecutive year of the demolition derbies.

Throughout the year, the fairgrounds and the Community Centre Hall are frequently used for weddings, funerals, and buck and doe events. The name "Donnybrook Fair" comes from an early settler of Walsh, who said the fair reminded him of an annual horse fair in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Port Rowan hosts an annual Bayfest.


The Norfolk IceCats of the North Eastern Hockey League and the Simcoe Storm of the Niagara & District Junior C Hockey League play at Talbot Gardens in Simcoe.

The Norfolk Harvesters RFC of the Niagara Rugby Union are a competitive rugby football club that operates both a men's and women's senior rugby teams. The Club was established in 2001 and has already won division championships in 2003, 2004, and 2007. The Club's current home is the rugby pitch at Waterford's Hellyer Memorial Park.


Public schools in Norfolk County are administered by the Grand Erie District School Board. The board maintains 16 public elementary schools and five public high schools in Norfolk:

The board also administers Sprucedale Secondary School, a facility for young offenders.

Separate schools

Separate schools are administered by the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, which maintains seven elementary schools and one high school:


These ten elementary schools once taught residents of Norfolk County. Many of these school closed down between the 1950s to the early 2000s as a result of changing municipal and provincial policies towards the funding of education:



Simcoe has its own radio station, CHCD-FM, And the area is otherwise served by media in Erie, Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, New York, and some radio stations from Toronto are also often receivable.


Famous people

Famous people from the Norfolk County area include musician Rick Danko from The Band, hockey players Rick Wamsley, Rob Blake, Jassen Cullimore, Dwayne Roloson, and hall of famer Red Kelly.

Former Minister of Agriculture and Liberal MP Bob Speller lives with his family in the community of Villa Nova, just east of Waterford.


(according to Statistics Canada 2006 census)

Population: 62,563
Area: 1606.91 km².
Pop. Density: 38.9 people per km².
Growth Rate (2001-2006): 2.8%
Total Private Dwellings: 26 527
Total private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 24 238

(according to Statistics Canada 2001 census)

Median income of persons of age 15 or older: 20,429
Average earnings of all persons with earnings: 27,805
- Protestant: 55.0%
- Catholic: 25.3%
- No religious affiliation: 16.8%
- Christian (no denomination specified): 2.0%
- (Religions with less than 1% are not listed here.)


Racial Profile


  • Lore and Legends of Long Point, Harry B. Barrett, Burns and MacEachearn 1977, ISBN 0-887168-075-5
  • Long Point: Last Port of Call, David Stone, Boston Mills Press, 1988, ISBN 0-919783-39-7
  • Waters of Repose, Dave Stone and David Frew, Erie County Historical Society 1993, ISBN 1-883658-19-5

External links

Simple English

Norfolk County is a city in Ontario, Canada that is largely agricultural. It has many primary schools and high schools and the majority of citizens are Christian. Its communities include:

The current mayor is Dennis Travale who was elected on November 13, 2006. Before he was elected to office, the position was held by populist tobacco activist Rita Kalmbach, whose husband Emil has cancer. Dennis Travale's regime of expansion has brought in crucial developments for Simcoe in the form of part-time and full-time jobs.

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