Port Dalhousie owes its existence and growth to the building of the First Welland Canal, begun in 1824 and completed in 1829. The first families to settle around the Twelve Mile Creek lakefront entrance and shoreline were the United Empire Loyalists. One such United Empire Loyalist was Captain Peter Tenbroeck who in 1796 he received over 800 acres of Crown land which Port Dalhousie was later built on. On December 28, 1821, Jacob Tenbroeck, son of Captain Peter Tenbroeck, sold to Henry Pawling, 300 acres of land now in Port Dalhousie. The settlement was called 'Dalhousie' as early as 1826. It was not yet a port and was named after the Earl of Dalhousie, who was governorgeneral of Canada from 1820-1828. Application was made to the County Council and on October 30, 1862 the bylaw to incorporate the village was passed. Members of the first council were: Reeve John Lawrie and councillors Alexander Muir, Owen McMahon, Nathan Pawling and Richard Wood. John Hindson was the village clerk. By 1872 the council had begun to collect taxes for various purposes, such as street maintenance.

The first schoolhouse, constructed of logs, was situated in the west part of the village on what used to be the Corbett farm. It was replaced by one on Dalhousie Avenue near Gertrude and then by a two room structure on Dalhousie near Elgin. In 1877 Port Dalhousie Public School was built and contained three classrooms which comprise the front rooms of the building. In 1881 an organ was acquired and the teaching of music begun. In 1920 a waterworks system was built which secured water from St. Catharines. In 1922 sewers were installed on Front, Lock and Main Streets and two years later extended to the entire village. Lock and Main Streets were the first to receive concrete pavements in 1923.

Click here to view the Port Dalhousie Municipal Records Collection RG 39 finding aid

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