Location Owner:clay70 Creation Date: 6/9/2009 Last Updated: 7/21/2011
Uphill is located at City Rd 45 and Victoria Rd in the City of Kawartha Lakes. It was once a thriving village in the late 1800's at the crossroads of the Monck Colonization Road (which connected Bancroft to Orillia) and at the Victoria Colonization Rd . It can be considered a semi-ghost town due to the fact that its population is a bit less than it once was and there is no longer any business conducted here. The Victoria Rd. today only extends a bit north of Uphill; but in the 1800's it extended through swampy, rocky terrain up to the Peterson Colonization Rd. in Muskoka at Vankoughnet. Most of this section of the road fell into disuse in the late 1800s.
In the late 1800s it had over 50 people and was located near the south end of the Digby and Dalton Township boundary. At that time, it was long made famous by its tavern keeper, John Calhoun of the North Star Hotel. It stood on the east side of Victoria Rd. a few properties south of the 4 corners next to the blacksmith and the school (became a town hall after 1943, since removed). There was also a post office run by Nelson Tallman, a church at the NW side (removed in 1941) and two stores (one run by John McRae).
The main industry in the early days was the Longford Lumber Comp. which operated at the NE side of the 4 corners. Lumber was brought down the old Victoria Rd. (see the "Legendary Road Swallowed Whole" for more details). A saw mill and shingle mill were erected to the south on the Head River. After the lumber ran out the 4 corners village lost a major employer.
There were other villages in the area of (Victoria County) that made their claims in the logging/farming business and became ghost settlements. These include: Ragged Rapids, Dartmoor, Cooper's Falls (in Rama Township), Horncastle (just south of Uphill in Carden Township) and Lewisham (in Ryde Township, well to the north). All had been rural post offices at one time or another.
Early settlers to the area included: Montgomery's, Thompson's and Gardiners.
The Digby fire tower and the old Victoria Rd. alignment (now gone):
The 100 foot tall Digby fire lookout tower (erected 1957) once stood directly north of Uphill until it was de-commissioned in the late 1960s. It had been the site of an earlier wooden fire lookout built in 1922. Two local brothers manned the tower, named Walter and Fred Muir. They had property in Uphill on the east side of the Victoria Rd. north of the 4 corners. They walked the trail each day to man the tower. The tower was located on a trail that was once the Victoria Colonization Rd., but that road has now completely vanished and has been taken over by marsh and trees at the point where the modern Victoria Rd. ends (check "Legendary Road Swallowed Whole" on here for more info on this colonization road). The original tower cabin was moved from this site during the winter in the 1970's and placed on Uley Lake and used to this day as someone's cabin.
The only way to get to the tower hill location is to wait until winter when the swamp has frozen over, and then snowshoe in. My ex and I did this once and it was perhaps my fondest memory ever-- and a lot of hard work as well.
* In the middle of the 1900's other ghost towns had a Department of Lands and Forests fire tower lookout on a nearby hill. Many of Ontario's ghost towns listed on here had fire towers located in or near them, such as: Pakesley, Key Junction, Dufferin Bridge, Pickerel Landing, Lost Channel, Byng Inlet, Cheddar, Germania, Ormsby, Uphill, Biscostasing, Milnet, Armstrong, Metagama, Cheminis, Wavell and Pineal Lake.