Chesley, Ontario

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Chesley (originally Sconeville) is a community in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, located within the municipality of Arran-Elderslie.[1][2] Its town slogan is "The Nicest Town Around."[3] Chesley is located north of both Walkerton on Bruce Road 19 and Hanover on County Road 10.

The town was named after Solomon Chesley, a former official in the Indian Department in Canada West. It is now an example of a typical rural Ontario community.

Chesley originally developed around mills built on the Saugeen River around 1858.[4] It expanded further when it was connected to the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1881. A great fire destroyed most of the original downtown core in 1888, and the destroyed wood buildings were replaced by brick and stone.

From 1877 to 2004, the town had a weekly newspaper called The Chesley Enterprise.[4][5]

The town's major source of employment is commercial manufacturing. From 1886 to 1987, the Krug family operated the Krug Bros. furniture manufacturing business. Currently Crate Designs, a locally owned furniture manufacturing factory, is the only surviving furniture factory, following the recent downsizing of Durham Furniture (2007).

Chesley had a high school called the Chesley District High School, a community public school called Kinghurst Community School, an arena and community centre, and several small local stores. The schools were combined into a Junior Kindergarten - Grade 12 school called the Chesley District Community School in 2014.[6][7]

A number of franchises also exist in the town, including New Orleans Pizza, Rona, Home Hardware, and Rexall Drugs.

The town is known for the statue of a giant bull on the north end of town, which is affectionately known as "Big Bruce."

Recently the town has begun to create a network of walking trails that encompasses much of the town's existing infrastructure of walking paths. Known as the heritage trail, it spans a large part of the town, and its waterside parks.

In 2005, Chesley was able to open a Heritage and Woodworking Museum due to a Trillium Foundation grant.[8] The Museum was housed in the Dawson House on 1st Avenue, formerly the home of town doctors Stewart and Dawson.[9][10] The building had been left to the town for public use in the 1970s; in 2013, Chesley put Dawson House up for sale.[9]


Famous residents[edit]

  • Tommy Burns (boxer), World Heavyweight Champion 1906–1908
  • Paul MacDermid, NHL player 1981–1995
  • Ryan MacDonald, former OHL hockey star and current member of the Lausitzer Füchse
  • Mickey MacKay, Hockey Hall of Fame, played 1914–1930
  • Jim McDonald, medalist in the Special Olympics
  • Victoria Pratt, actress
  • LIGHTS, a Juno Award-winning Canadian singer and songwriter
  • Keith Benninger- Last baby born in Chesley. Legendary member of the 1990 Championship Volleyball Team

Coordinates: 44°18′N 81°06′W / 44.300°N 81.100°W / 44.300; -81.100