A Rich and Colourful History

Nicolston, founded by John Nicol in 1853 was originally know as “Car-luke” which is Gaelic for “Valley surrounded by Hills”. The business is run by the 5th & 6th Generation. As with many of the settlements in the years. Nicolston started with the establishment of a saw mill which was later converted into a flour and grist mill when supplies of timber were exhausted.

The original dam and mill still stand, as well as the secondary dam which was constructed to supply power for a woollen mill. This woollen mill, owned by George Upton, was one of the first to supply the T.Eaton Company with woollen supplies for socks and underwear. Today the site serves as a recreational campground and the largest dam incorporates a fish ladder to aid in the migration of rainbow trout and salmon to their spawning ground far upstream.

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Long before Europe discovered the new world, the native people of Central Ontario were utilizing the Nottawasaga River as a transportation route. The name Nottawasaga stems from the Ojibwas words “Nahdowa-(y)” and “Saga” meaning roughly “Iroquois Outlet”. The river valley was also extensively used as a place for hunting and fishing, camping and ritual burying of the dead. Then came the explorers, fur traders. missionaries, military suppliers and soldiers.


Later, when roads were established, lumbermen settled in the area using the Nottawasaga as a source of power and as a means to ship sawn timber to market. Once the timber resources had been depleted. woollen, flour and first mills became common. Much of the river valley had been cleared and converted into rich agricultural lands. Potato and sod farms are the most popular in this day and age.



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Email- nicolstondam@gmail.com
Tel- 705-435-7946



Nicolston Dam
5140 Line 5
Essa, ON
L9R 1V2