Photo of the community hall
The former community hall
©Jeri Danyleyko

Burnley was a small milling community that began with the arrival of Richard Grimshaw from England in the 1850s. Grimshaw established a small industrial community consisting of saw, grist and shingle mills, asheries, a store and tavern. R.R. Pringle added the finishing touch by subdividing his property into lots and creating a town plan. The settlement became known as Grimshawe Mills, later changed to Burnley, after Grimshaw opened a post office in 1864.

At its height Burnley included a store, two taverns, three blacksmiths, a wagon maker, along with sawyers, carpenters and other mill hands. In 1882, a Roman Catholic Church set up shop, followed by a rectory in 1887 and a separate school. A cheese factory opened in the 1880s.

Burnley’s decline began in the early 1900s, due to agricultural changes in the area. The separate school closed by 1908 and the students transferred into the public school system. There were a few bright moments such as the construction of a community hall in 1920, and a new plant for the cheese factory in 1939, but nothing could change the fact that Burnley was spiralling downwards. The mills finally closed in 1940, reducint Burnley to a mere nine buildings.

Today there almost nothing left of Burnley. The old road sign and community hall managed to make it to the 21st century but only by a whisker. Neither lasted beyond 2002. The only surviving building is the former cheese factory, now used as a private home.

How to get there

Burnley is located in Northumberland County and lies on County Rd. 29. Follow the road until you get to the end and you will be on Burnley’s main street. There used to be a blue wooden sign announcing Burnley. We’ve been told it’s now gone.

View Ontario Ghost Town Map in a larger map

Nearby centre: Roseneath, 5 kilometres

Please note: these maps are generated by Google. We have no control over the contents. Incorrect street data and/or similar problems must be reported directly to Google. For detailed information on roads, please consult a regular road map.

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