It’s a Gas!

On June 25, 1995, the Consumers Gas Company in Whitby, along with their authorized dealer, Advantage Air Care in Brooklin, was pleased to inform Maureen and Gord Stevens that they were the winners of the draw for a brand new furnace installation to the value of $3,500.00. The arrival of natural gas to Brooklin was announced on July 20, 1995, at the lighting of the torch ceremony in front of the Luther Vipond arena, where Maureen was given the honour of “throwing” the switch. Mayor Tom Edwards attended the ceremony, along with Consumers Regional General Manager, Paddy Davis. Because Maureen and Gord were one of the first 100 natural gas customers in Brooklin, the happy couple also received a coupon from Uxbridge Nurseries Ltd. for a free 2 ft Spruce Tree. This tree was planted in the back yard of their house on Queen Street and is now a 30 ft beauty! Maureen and Gord were sorry they couldn’t take the tree with them when they moved to Kimberly Drive.

About the Cows

Posted by Charlton
September 4, 2013

These wonderful cow paintings have become a huge part of the cafe culture. Trevor spotted them outside Pot Of Gold Antiques on Old Wooler Road which is where we’d bought some chairs and little vintage dessert plates. Mary Postar, the proprietor of the shop didn’t know much about the cow paintings other than that they were salvaged from a barn somewhere around Oshawa. Friends urged me to take a pass on my original intent to have rotating art exhibitions and buy these big beauties for the cafe instead. So, the day before opening they were delivered, and yes, they were perfect.

They’ve been very popular and real conversation starters. Within a few days of opening, a local farmer approached me and said that he believed they could be from a farm in Brooklin, Ontario that he believed was demolished to make way for a new subdivision and the 407 highway. Since then several customers have recognized the paintings and indeed its been confirmed that they were originally hung on the barn exterior of Roybrook Farms in Brooklin, owned by renowned Holstein breeder Roy Ormiston . Indeed the first gent to shed some light on their provenance brought me a copy of ‘The Chosen Breed’ which holds plenty of information on Roy Ormiston and his cows including his legendary ‘white cow’.

Another local farmer has told me he thinks he knows who painted these wonderful beasts and I’m hoping he’ll return with the artist’s name so we can give credit where due! ( My dad would like to have brass plaques made and mounted on the ‘frames’ of each painting, giving names to the cows, to their home and to the artist!)

Now, one final thing – the bull on the right has horns which seems okay, but so does the cow on the left and people are asking if that’s ‘correct’. So, I’m wondering – can you tell this city girl!? And I’d also welcome any more information on the story of these paintings and their subjects! Use the email link on the left to contact me or go to our facebook page and share your comments!

Brooklin’s First Pharmacy

By Jennifer Bailey Hudgins

Russell (Russ) Short graduated from the University of Toronto School of Pharmacy and his first place of employment was with Jury and Lovell in Oshawa. In the late 40’s he moved to Toronto to work for Hoopers Drug Store at Bloor and Sherbourne where he partnered with Bill Burgess, son of the owner. 

1950’s saw the introduction of discount retail making retailing by the smaller service providers more challenging, so Russ made the decision to relocate to a town that could support a Pharmacy.  This was at a time when Brooklin was growing with a new residential subdivision and the community supported a medical centre as well as doctors offices.

Russ purchased 65 Baldwin Street and moved with his wife Bernice and sons Bob, Jim and Gary to Queen Street in Brooklin. Construction of Short’s Pharmacy commenced in 1959 with the grand opening in May 1960. Brooklin’s first Pharmacy! The family then purchased a home on North Street.

In the early days the store was open 7 days a week with extended hours on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. ( 9 to 9 ) and new jobs were brought into the village when Russ employed locals. The pharmacy served an area well beyond Brooklin, as flyers were regularly distributed to residents as far as Locust Hill in the west, Hampton to the east  and Greenbank to the north.
In 1971 Russ was joined by Bill Burgess who re-located from Toronto to live in Ashburn.  In 1980 Russ suffered a stroke and was not able to return to the Pharmacy. His partner Bill Burgess continued on with the business, and at his retirement, Bill’s daughter Peggy Frankovich took over. Russ passed away in 1984 and is buried in his home town of Bowmanville.

The ‘Nip and Tuck’, Railroad

By Kim C. Bailey

It was long gone before I was born, let alone aware.

Brooklin once had a railroad and perhaps, to our town, it became a legend. I first became aware of it when crossing its old bed with my older brothers and sisters to reach a meadow that we played in, part of the farm across the road from where we lived. Later, when I was older, we used some of its old railway ties to build forts and, up closer to where the old bed crossed the 7th concession, apple trees grew wild.

This was the PW&PP Railway, (Port Whitby and Port Perry,) as it was first known as and then later, unofficially branded by the locals as the ‘Nip and Tuck’ line. Conceived as a possible rival for the ports in Toronto, allowing goods and farm produce from the expanse of the now Durham and Kawartha Lakes area to be shipped directly out of the Whitby piers, it ran from just about dockside in Port Whitby, up to Port Perry and, initially, had stations in Whitby, Brooklin, Myrtle, Manchester, Prince Albert and finally Port Perry, the last three developing towns being locked in an intense rivalry of politics and business aspirations. Later, after it had been extended all the way up to Lindsay, it became known as the WPP&L Railway. (Whitby, Port Perry and Lindsay.) With that extension, more stations were added; Seagrave, Sonya and a station for Manilla Junction which was actually located just north of the little town of Cresswell, where the line turned sharply east, forging its way towards its terminal station in Lindsay. Later, a further shunt line was built, heading southwest, to connect to the newer T&N line immediately east of Blackwater.

The sod turning ceremony took place on the 6th of October, 1869 and was conducted by Prince Arthur. The southern portion, although slowed by a bankruptcy and an unplanned railway gauge conversion, was completed on the 31st of August, 1870. The first train arrived in Port Perry in the spring of 1872.

There are two unconfirmed sources as to how the railroad got its nickname:
One says it was called ‘nip and tuck’ because it was operated ‘by the seat of its pants’ and the other because it was questionable whether or not the train, on any given day, could actually power its way through a tricky, high grade section of track that wound up through the Oak Ridges Moraine, between Myrtle and Manchester. From the various stories that have circulated over the years about its operation, both seem to fit remarkably well!

The section from Port Perry to Manilla Junction was abandoned in 1937 as the traffic from Lindsay was directed west to the newer T&N line. Sadly, the rest of the south running line was pulled up in 1941, with its steel going into the war effort.

Ironically, the last working section of the WPP&L line was used to run freight from Lindsay, down to the T&N line and from there to Toronto.

The line is gone but in the old-timers of Brooklin, the legend remains.

Images courtesy of Charles Cooper Railway Pages

The Booth, an old time concession stand

By Jennifer Bailey Hudgins

In 1936 my Grandmother, Hattie Bailey opened a concession stand in the orchard between her house at 149 Baldwin Street, N and my Grandfather Jerry’s Sunoco service station at 157.

Baileys Sunoco with Gene Bailey and friends.

This stand was referred to as “the Booth” and it was from here that Hattie sold sandwiches, beverages, baked goods, candy, cigarettes, ice cream and paintings by local artist Cliff Delong.

Grandma Baileys booth 2

Grandma Baileys booth

It was here that Verna Sonley Hodson began to work at the age of twelve in the summers before her marriage to Ray. A neighbour, Mrs Pengally baked pies Hattie sold by the slice and local women brought flowers from their gardens. Members of Rebecca Lodge had their tea parties in the orchard and the UCW held quilting bees.


Before closing “the Booth” in 1953, Hattie also operated a concession stand for many years at the Brooklin Spring Fair.