Visiting Eastbourne Park and Old Grahamsville Cemetery, Brampton, Ontario: some Wesleyan Methodist heritage roots
A little-known, historic locality
The Old Grahamsville Cemetery (1) and its pioneer cairn are situated close to Eastbourne Park, in Brampton, in Ontario's Region of Peel. Collectively the situation of the Park and the Cemetery is elongated, stretching either side of Torbram Road.
The nearest road intersection at Torbram Road by Eastbourne Park and Old Grahamsville Cemetery is with Balmoral Drive and Bramhurst Boulevard, to the south of which, at 8114 Torbram Road, the Cemetery's pioneer cairn lies.
Technically, the spot where Old Grahamsville Cemetery's pioneer cairn is erected is at the extreme western end of Walker Park, but access from the rest of the park is practically cut off because of the steep lie of the land.
Various species of deciduous and conifer trees and shrubs occur in Eastbourne Park. The southern point of Eastbourne Park marks the beginning of a series of pathways and trails which extend widely in this area of the Peel Region (2).
While today Brampton is enriched by having a large proportion of its citizens with an Asian family background, many of Brampton's early settlers were from the Bristish Isles, and in all probability, the name 'Eastbourne Park' refers to Eastbourne, East Sussex, England (3).
The pioneer cairn on the site of the Old Grahamsville Cemetery is at the location where a Wesleyan Methodist Cemetery stood; this structure is said to have survived until about 1869; part of the original complex at this site included a building known as Chinguacousy School House. The area around the former chapel and school house was sometimes known as Chinguacousy Township (4); alternatively, the name Hopkins School House was also used; for the Cemetery, the name Torbram Cemetery was also current.
Names of early, local pioneers buried in Old Grahamsville Cemetery include Burgess, Burkholder, Cunnington, Ewing, Lindsay, Merger, Ramage, Sinclair, Stoddart and Willcox. Some historical details are given on a plaque dating from 1981; researchers are also directed to further details about the Old Grahamsville Cemetery which are held at the Region of Peel Archives. Records seem to suggest that burials ceased to occur some time in the middle of the 19th century.
Please note: Pedestrians should be aware of the temporarily limited access to the eastern side of Torbram Road south of its intersection with Balmoral Drive and Bramhurst Boulevard. Pedestrians on the opposite, western side of Torbram Road, may, however, be able to photograph the pioneer cairn, particularly with a good, distance lens. There may, in fact, be a case for local citizens of Brampton liaising with the Bampton municipal authorities with a view to making this important historical site more accessible. In any case, pedestrians in the locality are advised to take extreme care.
January 10, 2014
(1) The City of Brampton's own publication, A Guide to Brampton's Trails and Pathways, prefers the spelling 'Grahamville' in reference to the Cemetery: http://www.brampton.ca/en/residents/Documents/TrailsPathways.pdf.
(2) See also: www.walkandrollpeel.ca
(3) Similarly, Eastbourne is also the name of a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand.
(4) The word 'Chinguacousy' means 'Land of the Tall Pines'; see: http://www.brampton.ca/EN/residents/parks-trails/Pages/Featured%20Trails.aspx
Also worth seeing
In Brampton itself. the Dominion Building by Thomas Fuller dates from 1889; Bovaird House is an historic residence open to the public; Ebenezer Hall is a former schoolhouse dating from 1892
Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto (distance: 16.2 kilometres) has a much visited collection of historic structures.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to 8114 Torbram Road, Brampton: 8.9 kilometres). The locality is served by Brampton Transit Route 14. Some services may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.