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.

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