History Lane by Mark Koning
March 4, 2014
I’m not one who is much for winter. Being Canadian and having grown up here I know that it is part of life, and I’ll admit to enjoying the odd winter activity, but still, I could do without. The snow, the cold, especially this year, is just a little much. But the idea of taking a horse drawn sleigh ride, two massive Clydesdale strapped to the reigns, bundled up in winter clothing, a nice blanket wrapped around with hot chocolate in hand, it kind of sounds appealing. Although these carriage rides can be found trotting along Hedge Road, in the small town of Sutton, residing within the borders of the Township of Georgina, during both winter and summer months.
From its West corner to its East, Hedge Road (appropriately titled by the beautiful surrounding hedges) offers a variety of historical buildings and landmarks; a lot of them built between the early eighteen to nineteen hundreds. The twisting and turning road is neighbored directly beside the southern shores of Lake Simcoe, making the scenery all around rather breathtaking. If you’re not looking at a century estate or luxurious home, you are delighted by the exceptional greenery of Mother Nature or captured by the mesmerizing blue waters of the lake, once called Ouentironk (“Beautiful Water”) by the Wyandot (Huron) natives.
Starting with the famous Briar’s resort (which offers a back door to the historical landmark property of the Red Barn Theatre) you can coast along the road and lay witness to the phenomenal land of cottages and vast golf club that have been built over the years. The road is then cut down to one lane as you travel over the old Mossington Bridge which was assembled in the year 1912.
Quite a few well established homes follow the path including The Plumstead (erected in 1886 and home of the Mossington family) and Rotherwood. At the opposite end of the road where this tour begins in St. George’s Anglican Church with many elderly head stones in its cemetery, the most prominent name of those resting there being Stephen Butler Leacock, the famous Canadian writer. And even though the signs will tell you that the end of Hedge Road has been reached, a roadway that follows the same path treads on into Sibbald Point Provincial Park and stops just before Lake Simcoe brings it to an end, where you will find old Eildon Hall.
While changes have occurred and cottages have risen along Hedge Road, a commonality exists between some the oldest that have been placed in history. It is a relation to one family, (that have either lived in or helped build) the Sibbald’s. These buildings are showcased in the accompanying photo.
I have seen and talked to many a traveler, on foot or coming from horse drawn carriage, that have arrived at this destination through a getaway trip to the Briar’s resort; where History Lane begins. All are amazed at a stroll through time, just as I’m sure anyone would be.