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.

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.

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 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.

Grandma-and-ladies-in-Brooklin

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