Gillies Hill


Photo of schoolhouse
The former schoolhouse, now demolished
©Jeri Danyleyko

Gillies Hill was a small crossroads hamlet in Bruce County first settled in the early 1850s. Named for John Gillies, an early settler and career politician, this tiny hamlet in addition went on to play an important role in early local politics.

By far the most important institution was the town hall, opened in 1874. They used the building for township council meetings and also for storing township papers. Similarly important were the school and a Presbyterian Church. Finally there were a number of service-based businesses. Accordingly, these included a store with a post office, blacksmith, and a number of small farm-based operations.

In addition to its role as the seat of township government, Gillies Hill also managed to produce two career politicians, John Gillies and Duncan Marshall.

Despite its early prominence, Gillies Hill never grew beyond a tiny crossroads hamlet. Its average population hovered around 50. Over time it gradually faded away, piece by piece. By the early 21st century, the schoolhouse was in rough shape. The owner eventually demolished the building in 2002, replacing it with a modern home. The church is only partially standing. Across from the church, on the site of the old town hall, stands a cairn, dedicated to the early pioneers, and a plaque dedicated to Duncan Marshall. Learn more

How to get there

Gillies Hill is located in Bruce County northwest of the town of Durham, about 8 kilometres from Paisley. Travel north from Chesley on County Road 10 to Concession Road 6. Then go west another 5 kilometres

View Ontario Ghost Town Map in a larger map

Nearby centres: Paisley, 8 kilometres and Chesley 10 kilometres

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