Famous Caledonians

Constable Bill Stotts

Known around town as a gentle, kind policeman, Bill was the last constable to live in the housing quarters of the town hall. He was well-known for being around for all occasions around town, directing traffic in bad weather and for funeral processions, delivering babies in a pinch, and good-naturedly disciplining rowdy town boys. He also doubled as the town dog-catcher, selling licenses and rounding up stray dogs and cats.

Eva Marlene Heddle

Born in Caledonia in 1933, Marlene was crowned at the age of 3. It was the headline in all the local papers at the time as well as across Canada. The Toronto Star sponsored a contest for 3-7 year olds and her grandmother entered her picture, secretly. It was one of 11, 734 entries from across Canada. The prize awarded to the young girl was $500 or $250 dollars, a portrait painted of her and a trip to Callander Ontario to see the Dionne Quintuplets. The portrait was painted and it hangs now in the Caledonia museum. After she died on September 25, 2009, it was presented to the museum by her family; they wanted it returned to Caledonia.

Jones Bakery

Albert Jones trained at Seldon's Bakery in the late 1800s and then opened his own bakery in April of 1904. Jones' soon became the largest bakery in Haldimand County and the first outside of Hamilton to install a breach machine. Horses and bread wagons and later a fleet of 15 bread trucks delivered to stores as far away as Brantford and to rural areas as well as to cottages in Port Dover and along Lake Erie. Mr. Dietz continued to deliver bread by horse and wagon long after the bread trucks arrived. Jones' purchased Seldon's bakery and were the sole bread makers in the area. They had 25 employees. Albert's son Harold took over the business in 1933 and in 1946 the established family business was sold to Canada Bread. The two businesses extended their market to larger grocery stores. Harold and his wife Jean managed the bakery until Harold passed away in 1968. Harold's son Hugh was trained as a baker and kept the family business alive. His mother, Jean, continued to display artifacts and pictures throughout the shop. She passed away in 1983. Today Hugh and his wife Debbie manage the family business with their children working with them. A catering service has been added to the store.

Ranald McKinnon

Ranald McKinnon arrived on the scene in 1835 - he settles the North side of the Grand River in a little hamlet called Bryant's Corners - just two houses and a tavern where Argyle and Caithness Streets intersect today. McKinnon received the contract to build the dam at Oneida (Little Caledonia), the current one, in 1835. He profited from it, but acquiring prime land on the north side of the river to build mills - he had a woolen mill and a saw mill by the 1840s and he received the contract to build the plank road through the town as well. His home at 232 Caithness St. W. still stands. He was a wealthy and leading citizen - as such he decided to enter politics. He ran for the MP in 1851 against William Lyon Mackenzie - he lost so he settled for local politics, becoming the towns first reeve, or mayor, in 1853 when the town was incorporated. He had a very large family; he was widely known as "Squire McKinnon".

Sir Edmund Byron Walker

Born in Seneca Township October 14, 1848. At the age of 13, he went to work for his uncle in Hamilton who owned a private bank. He had many jobs, but he became adept at recognizing counterfeit bills. He went on to work for other financial institutions in Canada and the USA. In 1868, he joined the newly formed Canadian Bank of Commerce and became manager by 1886. In 1907, he was named president of the bank. Walker changed the Canadian banking system by revising the Canada Banking Act and implementing a centralized banking system. He became well-known for founding the Canadian Bankers Association and Vice President of the American Bankers Association. He was invited to the USA to draft their Federal Reserve Legislation. He held positions in both American and British financial institutions. Byron had many interests in politics and education especially the University of Toronto and the arts. He helped found the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Museum of Ontario. He was instrumental in saving art pictures of World War I which eventually became part of the War Museum in Ottawa. He was a member of the Canadian War Memorials Fund. In 1910, he was knighted by King George V. Walker opposed free trade with the USA. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier proposed this legislation and the agreement was defeated and eventually the government. He died March 27th, 1924 and the "Globe and Mail" wrote "possibly no more versatile Canadian existed in his day and age: probably few others have done so much for Canada".

Etta Fleming

Etta Fleming was the creator of English Pink Ointment. This miracle product was a most sought after item and needed no advertising. Patented in 1931, it was an old family recipe handed down for generations from Etta's husband's family. Etta was responsible for its making and distribution. She ordered the ingredients and the small 1oz tin containers and labels from Boose's Drug Store. Etta would then prepare the ointment, put it in the tins, affix the label and then take it back to Boose's Drug Store to be sold. Pharmacist Stan Parke remarked "that it is faster acting then Mecca or Zambuk ointment". Frankie Szabo, her son-in-law, said she didn't make much money but kept making the ointment for her customers who wouldn't be without it. It sold for 50 cents a tin. The ointment was used for all manner of conditions and was suitable for people, horses and domestic animals.

Jessie MacGregor and her Concert Bureau

Jessie MacGregor ran the premier entertainment business in town that had a reputation across Ontario during the 1930s and 1940s. She studied music and piano in Toronto and Boston at the finest schools and under some of the best masters of her day. She encountered many musical acts through her studies and connections and she decided to start a business bringing those acts to Caledonia She was an agent who had a reputation for finding the best acts for the best prices for any occasion one could desire. She herself was no small talent, getting rave reviews wherever she performed.

Peter Robertson

Robertson was born in 1879. His family of six had a farm in Seneca Township. His father died in the Yukon Gold Rush. Peter was a handyman but eventually got a job as a salesman for a Philadelphia tool company. His district was Eastern Canada. One day, he was demonstrating a single slot screw driver when it slipped and cut his hand. This prompted him to work on a non-slip driver and screw and he was successful. However, he was unable to manufacture his invention in either Britain or the USA because his design was hard to produce. He decided to produce it himself and devised an ingenious way to punch a square into cold metal. He set up his own efficient factory in Hamilton called "PL Robertson Manufacturing" in 1907. In 1908, he moved the factory to Milton. In 1909, he patented his screw driver and screw. One of his first customers was Henry Ford. He was producing cars on an assembly line and time meant money. The Model T car used over 700 screws and this new screwdriver saved him over two hours per car to build because it didn't slip. Ford wanted an exclusive license for use and manufacture of the screw and driver in the USA, but Robertson turned him down because it was not in his best interests. Ford found another screw and driver inventor in the USA whose product was not as good but had no reservations about the deal. His name was Henry Phillips who invented the "star" shaped screw and driver. The USA does not sell Robertson screws and drivers. At one time Robertson shipped 20 tons of screws to England. His screw and driver is most popular in Canada where it is used extensively in the boat building industry. It doesn't slip and damage the boat material and it can be used with one hand. It is also easier to remove and replace after weathering.

Sir Arthur Meighen

Arthur Meighen taught at Caledonia High School from 1897-99, it was his first job out of university. He was here for just two years before going to Winnipeg to study law. He got involved in politics and eventually became Prime Minister of Canada in 1920. He held a soft spot for the town his whole life, coming back frequently for visits. He was present at the 1927 Diamond Jubilee town celebrations (Canada 60 years old). And he was here for the 100th anniversary of Haldimand County in 1950.



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