Report and diary of Burleigh Road survey / performed by James W. Fitzgerald P.L.S.

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Report and diary of Burleigh Road survey / performed by James W. Fitzgerald P.L.S.

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        In 1852, William Lyon Mackenzie introduced to the Legislative Assembly a resolution asking for a survey of the Huron-Ottawa Territory. His intent was to increase settlement within the uninhabited region of Canada West, to encourage immigration from Europe, and discourage emigration from the province. This resolution, along with similar recommendations, led to the Colonization Roads policy, and ultimately to the passing of the Public Land Act in 1853 by the Legislature. This Act allowed the government "to appropriate as free grants any public land in the province to actual settlers, upon or in the vicinity of any public roads in any new settlements which shall or may be opened through the Lands of the Crown." The policy and the Act led to surveys for many new roads in the northern portion of Canada West, including the Burleigh Road in 1860-1861 by James W. Fitzgerald. The original survey indicated that the road was to extend north from Burleigh rapids through the Townships of Burleigh, Anstruther, Chandos, Cardiff, Monmouth, and Dudley and end where it intersected the Peterson Road. By 1862, 23 miles of the proposed road had been constructed, running north from Burleigh Bridge. With the survey and proposed construction of the Monck Road, it was decided not to extend the Burleigh Road as far north as the Peterson Road, but only to the Monck Road, which resulted in a total distance of 43 miles for the Burleigh Road. Due to the poor quality of the Burleigh Road, settlement of the surrounding townships was extremely slow and it never achieved the importance of some of the other Colonization Roads. The Burleigh Road no longer exists today. (Taken from: Murray, Florence B. "Muskoka and Haliburton 1915-1875: a collection of documents." Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1963. Spragge, George W. "Colonization Roads in Canada West, 1850-1867." Ontario History. Vol. XLIX, no. 1, 1957.)


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