Port Maitland On the Grand Historical Association: Treasured old sign at Port Maitland replaced with new replica

The following article appeared in The Sachem, Sun., Oct. 30, 2022.

By Bill Warnick

The weather broke just in time for a gathering of about 60 local Port Maitlandens — or is it Maitlandites? — to witness the unveiling of a sparkling new sign, replacing one that has marked the entrance of the port for many years.

It is not known when the first sign was placed at the corner of the three roads: King Row Road, Port Maitland Road and Dover Road.

There is a 1996 photo of the late Fred Moyer and another unknown person standing beside the current sign as it was being installed. The sign shows the population of Port Maitland in 1967 as 112. Fred, it is said, remembered the original sign as a young child and really liked it. There is some speculation the original sign was put up for Canada’s centennial, thus the 1967 date; however, Fred was born in 1949, which means he was 18 at the time — not a child. We wait patiently for some very old-timer to set us straight.

All morning, it looked like our outdoor event was going to be a washout, but around 11 a.m., the rain moved on, giving way to a cloudy and rather windy day.

After a few words from yours truly thanking Wendy Strong, Bill Moyer and others who did the legwork, the sign was unveiled to a small but clear gasp from some in the crowd. I think the gasp was due to the fact we recreated the sign so like what they had seen for years and they were a bit amazed. If only we could take the credit for its design.

We did change some information. The population unofficially today is 97, down a few from 1967. The date of establishment is now May 8, 1828 rather than 1820. It was on May 8, 1828 that William Hamilton Merritt named the village after Sir Peregrine Maitland, as Maitland had supported him regarding financing and other matters relating to the creation of the Welland Canal.

A bit more clarity was added to some of the information, but essentially the originators had it correct. Timbits and coffee were available at the invitation of Stephen Beauchamp to those brave enough and strong enough to hold on to their hats as the wind just got stronger by the minute.

If you think you would be interested in joining Port Maitland On the Grand Historical Association as a member or part of our executive, please contact me at wwarnick@cogeco.ca. I would be pleased to talk with you. Our annual general meeting will be held on Nov. 10 at the Dunnville library at 7 p.m.

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