From Welbeck to Toronto
Although the land at Lot 9 in Concession 3 of Asphodel Township would eventually be called Welbeck, it was first, on 29 March 1824, a grant to William Owston. A retired Royal Navy captain, he had been in service during the Peninsular Wars. Within a few years he sold up his Asphodel holdings to move elsewhere.
In 1829, combined with Lot 10, the two sections of land were leased to Thomas Walker.
Having come from the town of Cobourg in Northumberland County, Thomas was soon to be known as Squire Walker. His title was unusual since he did not own land.
In the small river that ran across these lots, Thomas saw the potential for a mill. Within a year, Walker’s Saw Mill was built and operating, using the waters of the Ouse River to turn the great wheel.
A grist mill was soon built next to the saw mill. Before long, the site became known as Walker’s Mills. Thomas became a Justice of the Peace for the area as well as operating his mill for some years.