East Garafraxa celebrates sesquicentennial

EAST GARAFRAXA – This year the Township of East Garafraxa celebrates 150 years since its incorporation.

Surveyed and named in 1821, the township was originally part of the larger Township of Garrafraxa.

In 1869, the township, now spelled with only one “r”, was split into East and West at the 9th Concession. In 1874, East Garafraxa became part of Dufferin, which became a county in 1881.

“Actually, the voters from East Garafraxa helped carry the vote for the separation from Wellington, which ultimately led to the creation of Dufferin, the youngest county in Ontario,” said Krista Taylor, local historian and co-author of East Garafraxa: A History.

Predominantly settled by Irish Protestant immigrants beginning in the 1830s, the township was home to British descendants into the early 20th century.

Following the Second World War, the township became a new home for many Dutch immigrant families who bought farms. While the township never had any town within its municipal boundaries, it had several postal villages and hamlets. With the exception of Marsville, Orton and The Maples, others are just historical markers along the roads.

An anniversary party is planned in Orton on Aug. 24 at 2:30pm at Orton Park. Residents past and present, friends and neighbours are invited to join the festivities.

Events planned include historical displays, a book signing of the local history book (copies available for sale), a historic bus tour (led by past Dufferin County Museum and Archives director Wayne Townsend), a barbecue chicken dinner, antique tractor show, fireworks and more.

Advance tickets are required for both the bus tour and dinner. To make arrangements for tickets, contact Debra Halls at 519-943-2044 or Lenora Banfield at 519-939-3009.