Corbyville began when a Mr. Henry Corby immigrated to Canada. Mr. Corby had been a baker back in England and when he arrived in Belleville in 1832, set up a small food shop. After serving in the Rebellion of 1837 he bought a St. Lawrence steamer named the "Queen" which he operated for four years.
It was customary for farmers to set aside a portion of their inferior grain to be made into whisky, and as Henry Corby was already making whisky for the locals, it's no wonder that he became interested in the distilling process. In 1857, Corby built a dam and established a grist-mill on the bank of the Moira-River. In 1859 he built a distillery which became more important than the mill.
Ten years after building his first mill, Henry decided to try his hand at politics and was elected mayor in 1867. The following year he served as a member of the Provincial Parliament for the Liberals.
Henry died on October 25, 1881 at which time his son, Harry, took over the business. Harry began to sell the whisky by the bottle rather than the barrel, seeing it a better business opportunity. In 1905 the company was named the H. Corby Distillery.
Harry was a philanthropist and gave back to the community through his work. He purchased the land containin the Merchants Bank of Canada, renovated it to become a library and presented it to the city in 1908. On January 20, 1908 the Corby Public Library opened for business. Harry also donated public baths and pavilion at Victoria Park and developed the pleasure park as Massassaga Point.
In 1914 the distillery stopped operations due to the war but their success was far from over. By 1921, they were selling 50,000 gallons of whiskey a month. The business remained successful right up through the 1950's.
The plant closed in 1991 and 179 workers were out of a job. A bookstore now occupies Henry's old bakery and grocery store.Corbyville is north of Belleville. Take Canifton road until it divides.
On Sunday April 5, 2009 the old Corby Distillery in Corbyville burned down. Only one building and the silo remains on the site.
The red brick building is no more leaving only the grey brick building and silo.