Water Power

Half Moon Valley Trail

Water Power

Oakville, Ontario L6M, Canada

Created By: Bronte Creek Provincial Park



The water of Bronte Creek played an important role in the establishment of early industries. Brick makers needed water near by as did the forest operations. Having a mature forest close to a water source to float product to the shipping ports of Oakville or to power sawmills made this area a desirable timber resource.

Between 1826 and 1835 before the demand for sawn lumber reached this area, the timber of the area was marketed in four major forms.

• White Oak was being used for barrel staves and schooner building.

• Trees were felled and burned to produce ash – for potash an early fertilizer

• Timber was burned in covered earthen piles to produce charcoal, which supplied factories and blacksmiths in Hamilton

• The other form of export was that of squared timber- used for masts for sailing ships

William Crooks and sons operated two sawmills along Bronte Creek between 1827 and 1850. Two more lumber merchants William Bates (1833) and James White (1850) each owned a sawmill which indicates that the park area was involved in the lumber boom of the 1850’s. In 1840 Oakville exported 555, 501 feet of pineboard, while just 10 years later the number jumped to 4, 518,000 feet.

When this area (where you are now standing) was bought by James White it was reportedly covered by as fine a pine forest as there was on the continent. Pine trees stood clear and straight, 60 and 70 feet before the first limb and stood together so thick that the sun could hardly shine through. In 1861 the water powered mill produced 300, 000 feet of board and employed 5 sawyers at $18.00 per month.

Imagine you are standing here during the lumber boom

The trees around you are White Pine; tall, straight, and towering into the air. Shouts of “Timber!” echo off the valley walls as these giant trees crash to the ground. The smell of smoke from a nearby fire floated on the cool, heavy air. Teams of horses hooked up to fallen logs and their braces snapped tight as they begin their long trip to the mill.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Half Moon Valley Trail


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to changerequest@pocketsights.com.