Balaclava in Grey County was a small mill town, first settled around 1850. By the mid-1860s, it contained a general store, inn and tavern, wagon maker and blacksmith. A post office opened in 1890.
By the mid-1860s, Balaclava had a school and Orange hall. Methodist churches were located in the nearby communities of Johnson and Silcote. In 1919 the White family opened a new store about 3 kilometres south of the townsite. The new store, which also included a switchboard for the hamlet’s telephone system, became so popular that the hamlet gradually shifted southward to be closer to the store.
During the 30s and 40s, Balaclava boasted a Women’s Insitute, Junior Farmers Institute and several competitive sports clubs.
Unfortunately by the 1940s, Balaclava was already in a serious state of decline. After the end of World War II it was hit even harder, when the goverment closed the road and expropriated much of the land to build the Meaford army base. By the mid-1960s, most of Balaclava’s institutions had closed.
A few people still live in both the old and new sections of Balaclava. Both the old and new stores still stand and are now used as private dwellings. A number of older commercial buildings and homes are also still standing. Learn more