Bowmanville, Ontario, is a town located in the Durham region, east of Toronto. With its rich history, it is no wonder that the town is studded with important landmarks, monuments, and historical events. In this article, we’ll be discussing seven significant historical events that have taken place in and around Bowmanville.
1. United Empire Loyalists - 1783
In 1783, a group of refugees called the United Empire Loyalists arrived in Ontario, including the region of Bowmanville. These men, women, and children supported the British Crown during the American Revolution and had to flee when the war ended. The United Empire Loyalists are an important part of Canadian history, and their contributions will forever be remembered.
2. The Durham County Gaol - 1864
Located on Church St. in Bowmanville, the Durham County Gaol was a historic jail that opened in 1864. It was used as a temporary holding place for prisoners until the more extensive Central Prison was completed in Toronto. The Durham County Gaol remained in use until 1975, and it currently serves as a museum, taking visitors on a tour through its spacious courtyards, winding staircases, and dark cells.
3. The American Civil War - 1861-1865
During the American Civil War, the thriving town of Bowmanville was deeply affected by the conflict. Many men from Bowmanville served in both the Union and Confederate Armies. The town was also home to a “Freedmen’s Colony,” where former slaves lived after achieving their freedom through the underground railroad. Bowmanville was a significant part of history during this time of turmoil.
4. The Clarington War Memorial - 1914-1918 & 1939-1945
The Clarington War Memorial, located in Bowmanville’s Memorial Park, stands as a permanent monument to commemorate the brave men and women of the area who gave their lives during both World War I and II. The Memorial Park hosts an annual Remembrance Day ceremony, which draws large crowds to remember and pay tribute to fallen soldiers.
5. The Subway Tragedy - 1957
One of the grisliest accidents in Canadian history occurred on Highway 2, near Bowmanville. On June 10, 1957, twenty-one Catholic school children and three nuns died when the school bus they were riding in was hit by a train. Today, a memorial stands in Bowmanville honouring the lives of those who perished in one of the most tragic events in Canadian history.
6. The Canadian Open - 1981
Golf fans worldwide would be delighted to know that Bowmanville played host to the Canadian Open in 1981. The event was held at the Glen Abbey Golf Club, and that year, the legendary golfer Tom Kite took home the trophy. The Canadian Open is one of the world’s most sought-after golfing events, and Bowmanville had the honour of hosting it.
7. Founding of Newcastle Village & Port - 1799
Newcastle is a village located in the Municipality of Clarington, of which Bowmanville is a significant part. This was one of the earliest settlements in the area that would later become Clarington. In 1799, the first European settlers to the area arrived, and by 1808, they had established a significant port. Today, Newcastle is a popular destination for tourists and is known for its beautiful harbor and historic buildings.
In conclusion, Bowmanville is a town with a rich history that has shaped and left its mark on the country as a whole. Between significant wartime events, tragic accidents, and unforgettable moments in the sporting world, Bowmanville continues to leave an indelible mark on Canadian history.
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