Walkerton is a quaint town situated on the banks of the Saugeen River. Known to the Ojibway as Hahskosesing meaning “Little Marsh,” Walkerton began in 1850 when Joseph Walker arrived, building a dam across the Saugeen and then erecting a saw and grist mill. Walker, who was also the proprietor of a tavern, not only gave his name to this river town, but also became its first mayor.
Walkerton, like many other Bruce County towns, fell victim to fire in 1877 when most of its downtown buildings burned. Rising from the ashes, the town boomed, setting the stage for the construction of the Victoria Jubilee Hall in 1897, certifiably one of the county’s most historic and elegant seats of government and today, home to theatre, concerts, and dance performances.
Gone today are the old wooden sidewalks and arc electric lamps. Walkerton, a modern town that has recovered from its 2000 water tragedy, is home to walking trails, a stop on the Saugeen canoe route, and many spectacular Victorian homes. If you would like Visitor Centre information in Walkerton, click here.
Walkerton is home to one of Bruce County’s first curling clubs. Started in 1870, its members curled on the ice of the millpond with stones made of blocks of wood with iron handles. The curling stones, clumsy to carry, were left on the ice after each game – until a sudden thaw carried them over the dam and down the river.