All Roads Lead To Dufferin

When I was a kid every couple of weeks we would go to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Shelburne.  They were the last house on Hwy 89 on the west side of town.  My Grandpa had sold the farm, but didn't want to live 'in town' so they bought the last house.  There were fields beside, behind and in front, I guess they just liked open was the like the farm, without the farm work.

As we would drive to Shelburne we stopped at the lights in Primrose.  We would stare at the light waiting for it to turn green, and I would often see the other signs indicating north for Hwy 10 and West Hwy 89.  I could never figure out why they pointed the same direction.  Who would do such a thing?  I imagined it was a practical joke to purposely get people lost.  Sometimes I wished we were those people and wouldn't make it to Grandma's house and have to eat potatoes.  But every Sunday somehow my Dad didn't forget the directions.

When it came to designing some of the new shirts I wanted to depict our local routes.  I messed around with a few ideas but loved the simplicity of the road sign and reminded me of driving in the car as a kid.  Now as an adult I see the routes for their historical value.

Hwy 10 was the original road settlers took to claim their land.  New Irish, English and Scottish immigrants arrived at Fort York and got their paperwork for free land and headed north.  Many of them walked taking them 9+ days to get to Dufferin.  They climbed the hill in Caledon carrying everything they owned.  By the mid 1850s stagecoaches travelled the same stretch of road out of the City of York and into the hills stopping from time to time to water the horses.  They may have reached Dufferin quicker but it was not a comfortable ride.  There is a story of the Silk family from Hornings Mills making the trip down to York and back to get provisions.  They purchased a barrel of salt to bring back with them, but this added an extra 400lbs to their cart.  When they got to the Caledon hill it was too heavy and the road was in poor condition their horse couldn't pull them and the salt up the hill.  Mr. and Mrs. Silk rolled the barrel up every hill along present day Hwy 10, all the way back to Hornings Mills.  Heaven forbid they slipped...the road was originally set out to connect Lake Ontario to Lake Huron, hence the reason it is called Hurontario Street in some parts.

Hwy 89 is just as important connecting communities together.  It often is the back bone of a hamlet or Main Street of a town.  It takes us well beyond Dufferin in the west all the way over to Hwy 400 in the east through gorgeous farm country.  I appreciate Hwy 89 and still associate it with Grandma's house.  It's no longer the last house on the west side of Shelburne, but it's still the road that leads me to potatoes.

Jeanette McFarlane