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Welcome to the Beaver Valley

The Beaver Valley is Ontario’s best 4 season playground making it the greatest getaway in the province. In the spring and summer paddle on the gorgeous Beaver River, hike the trails to great Grey County Waterfalls Hogg’s FallsEugenia Falls, spend a day at Lake Eugenia, and cycle the scenic roads. In the fall, the Beaver Valley is the best place in Ontario to see the fall colours. Hike up Old Baldy Conservation area for the best view in the world! In the winter downhill ski and snowboard at the Beaver Valley Ski Club, x-country ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and more. Add in the amazing local businesses and restaurants that create a great culinary destination, plus all of the art inspired by the scenery, and you’ve got the best retreat in Ontario! Come visit the Beaver Valley today!

Welcome to the Beaver Valley, a United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO,) designated area in the Province of Ontario, Canada.  Its un-paralleled beauty begins on the South Shores of Georgian Bay and Hosts sections of the Municipalities of The Blue Mountains, Meaford and Grey Highlands.

A Natural Beauty

One of the things the Beaver Valley is most known for, and that draws people to it the most, is its natural biodiversity and splendor. Home to several conservation areas, hiking trails, rivers, and waterfalls, it offers natural beauty that in turn brings many opportunities for outdoor recreation. A perfect example of this is the 113km section of the Bruce Trail referred to as the Beaver Valley Section. Starting in Blantyre and ending in Craigleith this hiking trail is a prime example of the Beaver Valley’s beauty.  Taking you through one of the most famous and easily spotted points of interest, the Old Baldy Conservation area offers spectacular views of the Niagara Escarpment into the Beaver Valley.  It is truly a wonder to behold, especially in the fall.

Where to see it all

There is nowhere better to view this amazing transformation of colour!  Other beautiful areas great for hiking and appreciating nature include Eugenia Falls, Hogg’s falls, and Webwood Falls, along with many local lookouts such as the Famous John Muir Lookout at the top of the Epping Heights.The Beaver River that winds through the valley is also a draw for kayakers, canoers, and fishermen alike.  Speaking of fishing, Lake Eugenia offers great fishing, boating and swimming. There is lots of fun to be had on the water in the Beaver Valley!  The valley is also a hub for great cycling for its diverse terrain and surrounding scenery.  There are several popular cycling roots that run through the Beaver Valley. Without a doubt, if you love to be outdoors and active you will never be at a loss of activities in the valley.

Winter in the Valley

The winter is also a great time of year in the valley. The Beaver Valley Ski Club provides members and guests with great skiing and snowboarding and is best known for its ski run “Avalanche”, one of the steepest groomed runs in all of Ontario! There is plenty more than just downhill skiing and boarding though. The Beaver Valley Nordic Ski Club provides great cross-country skiing at the top of the Valley in partner with the Beaver Valley Ski Club. Snowshoeing is also very popular in the valley with several popular trails in the area that offer great terrain and allow snowshoers to experience the vast nature that surrounds them in the Beaver Valley.  No matter the time of year, outdoor enthusiasts and recreationalists alike will always find something to do here!

Local Amenities

A very short drive to amenities such as grocery stores, banks, post offices, and a hospital, the Beaver Valley also offers lots of convenience. There are plenty of small businesses such as bakeries, restaurants, cafes and shops that dot the valley offering great local foods and products. With such a variety of locally grown foods, the Beaver Valley offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy local cuisine and even delve into cooking yourself! Also close to larger centres such as Collingwood and the Blue Mountains with more stores, boutiques, department stores, large supermarkets, cinemas, and fine dining. The Beaver Valley is the perfect option to enjoy country living and the country lifestyle without sacrificing any convenience.

Art in the Valley

Being surrounded by natural beauty, eclectic and welcoming residents in the valley, it is no wonder that artists flourish in the area.  Local residents and even artists far and wide have been inspired by the Beaver Valley’s splendour creating beautiful masterpieces that everyone can appreciate.  Types of art include glasswork, woodwork, textile handiwork,  paintings done in oil and acrylic, glass beading, and a wide spectrum of photography.

There are lots of boutiques, art studios, and exhibits in the Beaver Valley and surrounding area that awe and inspire all who stop in.

Come and visit!

With such a variety of activities and points of interest, from all season recreation, to art in the area there is so much to do in the Beaver Valley. Add in the amazing beauty that surrounds you in nature and it is clear to see why the Beaver Valley draws people in from near and far to visit and live in!  And it’s only a 2 hour drive from the GTA and 1.5 hours from Kitchener/Waterloo.

Beaver Valley Community Profile

Population
9,804
+ 3%
882
Sq. Km
Land Area
Median Age
48
+ 2 Yrs
Full Time Residents
3,904
74%
+ 3%
Second Residents
1,395
26%
– 3%
Home Owners
3,305
85%
Renters
595
15%
Age Distribution

August Real Estate Market Report

Beaver Valley Amenities

Local Schools

North end of Beaver Valley:
Beaver Valley Community School – Thornbury
Georgian Bay Community School – Meaford

South end of Beaver Valley:
École MacPhail Memorial Elementary School – Flesherton
Beavercrest Community School – Markdale
École Grey Highlands Secondary School – Flesherton

Local Library

Kimberley Library – Kimberley

Nearest Hospital

North end of Beaver Valley:
Grey Bruce Health Services – Meaford

South end of Beaver Valley:
Grey Bruce Health Services – Markdale

History of the Beaver Valley

Kimberley was named after the First Earl of Kimberley, a British Liberal politician by the name of John Wodehouse. The first settlers to Kimberley began in the mid 1850’s. Right from the early settling days, the ‘Cuckoo Valley’, Kimberley, enjoyed a blessed and multitude of industrial and commercial activities. In 1861, John Hurlburt erected a sawmill which was followed by the (current ‘Grist Mill’) Mill House Store in 1864 owned by William Purdy.

They say life comes full circle and this seems true for the current ‘hamlet’ of Kimberley. In 1916 residents of Kimberley petitioned to take Kimberley from a ‘hamlet’ to a ‘police village’. The petition was passed on November 26th 1916. Today, we are once again known as a ‘hamlet’.

Some of the first families who settled here were named Hurd, Hurlburt, McLean and Magee. The next settlers were the Wicken’s family, who moved from Thornbury via team and wagon to Williamstown (today known as Heathcote). Williamstown was the oldest settlement of the area, with 2 stores, 2 hotels and a post office. From Williamstown, the Wicken’s family continued the journey to their new home by Indian canoe up the Beaver River. The voyage to purchase provisions was always done on foot. The late 1850’s brought more families to the valley. The Burritt’s, Carruthers, Ellis’s, Fawcett’s, Lawrence’s, McConnell’s, Merrick’s, Perry’s, Purdy’s, Stafford’s, Stuart’s, Thurston’s and Ward’s sought to plant ‘roots’ in this area thereby contributing to a thriving community.

Churches & School Houses in the Early Days


The log school was very small and the children had to sit on planks. By 1872 the seventy pupils needed a larger school and so a frame building, sheathed with white clapboard was erected on the opposite side of the street, west of the 3rd school now known as Peter & Mary Ferguson’s residence, which was erected in 1910. Cost of the new school was $6,000.00. The new school housed classrooms up to, and including, the first two years of secondary school. The schoolhouse was closed around 1956, when at this time the children were bussed to Flesherton.

As for churches in the early days Wesleyan Methodists and Episcopal Methodists were most prominent. Later Presbyterian churches started to appear in the valley. The very first church in Kimberley was a Union church, with any denomination being allowed to worship. It later became a Methodist Church. Changing social and demographic conditions brought about diminishing church support. In the seventies the church was sold and became a private residence.

The First Kimberley Post Office

A post office first came to Kimberley in 1868. William Purdy was the first postmaster. The post office was moved when Mr. Purdy’s health was ailing and moved to Alexander McLean’s home in 1872. In 1894 the post office was once again moved to the newly built Hammond store, where Mr. M.R. Hammond (former school teacher) was postmaster until his death in 1917. The Hammond family continued to operate the post office until 1925, at which time there were a number of changes and locations until its final closing in late 1989. Today the building is a private residence (Grey Rd 13, (main street) of Kimberley, almost directly across the Kimberley Community Hall).

Industrial & Commercial Activities

Right from the early settling days, the ‘Cuckoo Valley’, Kimberley, enjoyed a blessed and multitude of industrial and commercial activities. In 1861, John Hurlburt erected a sawmill which was followed by the (current ‘Grist Mill’) Mill House Store in 1864 owned by William Purdy. In 1872 John & William Plewes took over the Purdy house and gristmill and operated an apiary and quality production of honey for local customers. It suffered a destructive fire in May of 1875. Another mill was erected, but it too fell prey to fire in December 1876. The Plewes bought the burnt-out site and constructed the present day mill in 1877. Later that same year saw the digging of the millrace pond, which still stands beautifully today. The pond was first powered by an overshot water wheel and later replaced with a turbine wheel, which powered the mill until the mid fifties. The Plewes mill ground grain and made flour and oatmeal. Other operators of this mill were John McGowan, Amos Bell and George Walters. In its last years of operation the mill was an alfalfa meal operation. The final owners (present day owner excepted) ran a Mill House Store out of this historic building which stands majestic in our new millennium.

In its ‘heyday’ Kimberley thrived with commerce. William Purdy ran a small store and post office. We had a brickstore, and a butcher shop, which delivered meat by a specially built wagon, fitted with ice trays.  Mrs. Curry, the butcher’s wife tended to the store which had cured and salted meats, as well as tallow sold in large cakes for waterproofing leather boots and shoes. Later a grocery store came along, which also featured a barbershop.
The lyrics “Shave and a haircut, 10 cents” were true to form back then. For a time, Kimberley even boasted two butcher shops. Later, circa 1903 a bank was opened and later was taken over by the Bank of Montreal (until 1923). At a later date Kimberley has a gas station and a creamery.
With further growth came two hotels, three blacksmith’s and still standing is The Beild Place, north of the Kimberley bridge, right beside the river on the east side. Two woodworking shops (creating beautiful carriages, farm sleighs and wagons) and numerous other businesses including a restaurant (known as the Kimberley Grille), a shoe store, a tailor and a dressmaker. One of the hotels was a temperance hotel known as Traveller’s Lodge. The hotels were located at opposite ends of the street. Eventually a strong Temperance Organization was instrumental in stopping the sale of beer and liquor at Condy’s hotel.

1903 Kimberley Residents Piping Water in Their Homes

In 1903 residents of Kimberley began discussing piping water in their homes. The source would be the strong springs near the base of the east mountain. Ten shareholders supplied money and labour to construct a concrete water tank near the spring and lay pipes in a hand dug trench to the village. The spring was located on Mrs. Matthew Ferguson’s farm, thereby awarding her one share in return for the use of her land. By 1910 the project was completed and ten families in Kimberley enjoyed the luxury of fresh spring water running into their homes. In 1912 water was offered on a yearly rental basis of $8.00. Three renters came on board. Thus began a cooperative effort, which we enjoy to this day.

The Growth of Kimberley

They say life comes full circle and this seems true for the current ‘hamlet’ of Kimberley. In 1916 residents of Kimberley
petitioned to take Kimberley from a ‘hamlet’ to a ‘police village’. The petition was passed on November 26th 1916. Today, we are once again known as a ‘hamlet’. In 1920 another petition was passed to erect a new community hall. The hall was completed in 1922 and today it’s known as the Kimberley Community Hall and Library. This historical building can be attributed to the tireless efforts of residents and the on-going support of The Women’s Institute and Department of Agriculture. This hall was dedicated to the young men who had given their lives in the war of 1914-1918.

Hudson Motor Company Comes to The Valley

Progress came to Kimberley in the latter part of the 20’s in the form of Hudson Motor Company. They utilized the steep hills on either side of the Valley to test the power and endurance of their automobiles (much like today’s valley ‘test’ drivers; wow, life does come full circle!!!) Every summer professional drivers and engineers brought their machines to the area for the grueling tests until the depression put an end to these exercises.

Sea & Ski’s Building History

The building which today houses Sea & Ski Realty once housed the Kimberley District Co-operative. It operated from 1946 to 1973 (operating at a loss) when it was sold to Gay Lea who bought their ‘Milk Quota’ and subsequently sold again when the government offered a $50,000 incentive for it to close. Much later, Bud Hoffman purchased the building and operated a ski shop and restaurant. It was sold on and off to various owners, some who also ran a restaurant. Finally, from approximately 1990 to 2000 it was put up for sale until the time Sea & Ski purchased it in mid summer of 2000.