The History of Brooklin’s Post Offices

The Town of Winchester decided to have a post office, but as there was already a Winchester in Eastern Ontario, “our” Winchester wasn’t able to have one. To fix this problem the residents held a public meeting on August 11, 1847 where they decided to change the town’s name to Brooklin.Brooklin post office 1964 Hunter-Darlington House 1853 55 Baldwin St Brooklin 1860
At this time the postal service in Canada was under the control of the British government. It was assumed that Brooklin and Columbus opened co-jointly in order to make the one route profitable. Mail first reached Whitby by stage coach on a route that ran from Toronto to Kingston, which was then delivered to Brooklin’s post office three times a week by the first carrier Mr. Thomas, who was paid the princely sum of 15 pounds a year for his troubles. The charge to customers for this delivery was paid at a fixed rate as postage stamps weren’t used until 1851.
In 1847 the first Brooklin Postmaster was E.J. Ware, who was followed by Reverend Robert Darlington in 1853. The Post Office in 1854 was the Hunter-Darlington House, at 42 Cassels Rd. This building has been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and is possibly the oldest house in Brooklin. (see photo) The building housing Brooklin’s 2nd Post Office, located at 55 Baldwin St., was built in 1860
In 1881 Mr. R.T. Harrison became Postmaster, who was then followed by Mr. A. Somerville in 1888. From 1888 until 1928 it was operated in David W. MacDonald’s Store (see photo). G.W Rodd was Postmaster until 1929, followed by his son Stanley Rodd until 1968. The Goodberry store is in this location today. Roy. D. Connell in 1968, T.I. Riley until 1973, Milton E. Spears in 1973, Mrs. M. Peacock until 1974. R. Walker is the last recorded name.
On October 10, 1908, rural delivery began with A. Hannom as the first mail carrier, who was followed by M. Ross. In 1947 B. Hannam took over the route, then in 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Wilman delivered mail until 1978. By this time RR#1 Brooklin encompassed a 60 mile drive for the mail carrier who delivered to approximately 565 customers.
Brooklin’s 3rd Post Office was built in 1964 at 2 Price Street. Before Community boxes arrived residents would meet at the Post Office to chat and catch up on the news. Although Brooklin now has numerous postal codes, residents may still remember the first one, L0B 1C0.

W. J. Medland and Son Feed Store

William John Medland was a true native son of Brooklin. He was born October 24, 1900. On April 20, 1927, Bill married Etta Pearl White, a country girl born December 17, 1903. Together, they lived at 26 Queen Street, where they raised their son, John. Once grown, John, his wife Jean and eventually their children worked with Bill in the Medland family business.
Starting out as a painter, Bill was later employed by Patterson Dairy. He worked at the creamery until 1941, when he purchased the livery stable at 6 Campbell Street, beside the Brooklin Hotel. The hotel eventually became the present day Royal Canadian Legion #152. From this location, he operated W. J. Medland and Son Feed Store.
Local farmers bought their seed from Bill and homes were heated using his coal. He made a point of ensuring that families who couldn’t afford to pay did not go without heat. In 1970, Bill sold the coal business to Dixon Fuels in Oshawa. The old building was eventually demolished in 2001 to make room for a small plaza.
Bill and Etta were loved by many and highly respected in the Brooklin community. In 1948, Bill was named Master of Mount Zion Masonic Lodge #39 and was later presented with a 60 year pin. Etta herself was a Master of Contract Bridge. After 58 years of marriage Bill passed away on August 21, 1985. Etta followed shortly thereafter on May 20, 1986. The couple are buried in Groveside Cemetery.
Barb Medland won the Jody Edwards painting at our 2019 annual homecoming
/reunion we host at the Legion. Jean Medland drew the winning ticket. A perfect way to end the day!

The Brooklin Concretes softball team

The Brooklin Concretes softball team, whose successes created a sense of pride for the community of Brooklin, was to be inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame last April until COVID postponed the event for a year. A Shout-Out to Nancy Mitchell who worked hard to put together a full history to secure their nomination!
The Concretes were born in 1963 when players from the Brooklin Stevenson Motors team joined with players from Mount Zion. This new team, which played to exuberant crowds who filled the Brooklin Memorial Park stands, joined the Oshawa City and District Softball League and developed a reputation for strong performances.
In their second season, the Concretes advanced to the league semi-finals. However it was at the regional and provincial levels where the players accomplished their most outstanding achievements. Competing in the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Intermediate C division playoffs, the Concretes captured Southern Ontario titles in 1964 and 1966, earning the right to play for the All-Ontario championship. In both years, they played a team from Capreol.
The 1964 squad, coached by Dib Little, advanced through four playoff rounds to capture the Southern Ontario championship. The Concretes eliminated Elmvale, Markham, Selkirk, and Tweed, recording eight wins and just two losses. Their crackerjack pitchers were so skilled that in 10 games, the opposing teams scored just 26 runs.
The 1964 All Ontario championship was a best-of-three series with all games in Brooklin. After they dropped the ball, losing 2-1 in the opening game, the Concretes bounced back to win their first provincial title by securing the next two games with scores of 3-1 and 4-2.
Two years later, with Coach Bill Harper at the helm, the Concretes faced a tougher challenge in the OASA Intermediate C Finals: they had to win six playoff series to become the Southern Ontario Champions. They accomplished it with wins over Battersea, Bridgenorth, Fisherville, Markham, Merlin and Minden, winning 12 of 15 games and with a combined score of 127 to 28. Five of those wins were shutouts! Brooklin defeated Capreol in the provincial finals, winning 2-1 and 5-1 to capture their second All Ontario title.
Photo Courtesy of Scott McLellan.

Grand Opening of Cullen Gardens

(May 30, 1980), Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village opened. Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village was Whitby’s largest attraction from 1980-2006, featuring expansive gardens, a miniature village, restaurant, entertainment stage, gift shops and historic homes that were moved to the property to save them from demolition. What are your memories of Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village? Click below to see what happened on that day.

Sesquicentennial of Brooklin (1997)

(Excerpt from 4 SEPTEMBRE 1997 ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L_ONTARIO at about 1:30 pm)

Mr John O’Toole (Durham East): On September 6, 1997, the village of Brooklin, located in my riding of Durham East, will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its naming.

The village, located north of Whitby on Highway 12, was founded in 1840 and was previously named Winchester. When residents of the village went to apply for a post office, they discovered there was already a Winchester post office elsewhere in Ontario. On August 11, 1847, the 300 inhabitants of the village met and agreed to change the name to Brooklin. No one is certain why they chose that name, but perhaps it’s because of the little brook that trickles through the town.

Throughout the day on September 6, several events have been scheduled to commemorate the heritage of this village, with horse-drawn carriages, entertainment and self-guided tours. Visitors to Brooklin can see some of the historic buildings, such as the old Brooklin Mill, which today houses a hardware store and small engine repair shop, and a former stable currently being used by the W.J. Medland and Son Ltd business.

Like so many Ontario villages, Brooklin is no exception in its contribution to this wonderful province of Ontario. At one time, Brooklin was known as being the smallest town in the world to have a senior A lacrosse team. In 1968 the Redmen senior A lacrosse team won the esteemed Mann Cup, and again in 1969, and the team went on to win the cup again in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. The Mann Cup: Morley Kells would like to forget about this.

Recognition should also be given to community leaders such as Dr John McKinney and John Dryden.

I would like to ask the members of the Legislature to join me in congratulating the residents of Brooklin on their 150th celebration.

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.