Oro-Medonte is a township in south-central Ontario, Canada on the northwestern shores of Lake Simcoe in Simcoe County.
The two neighbouring townships of Oro and Medonte were merged together in 1994, under a restructuring of Simcoe County. It is divided into lines based on the concession system implemented by the British colonial government in the mid-1700s. Currently there are 15 lines that are now streets and highway exits off Highway 11.
The township comprises the communities of Barrillia Park, Bass Lake Park, Baywood Park, Big Cedar Estates, Carley, Carthew Bay, Cedarmont Beach, Coulson, Craighurst, Creighton, Crown Hill, Eady, East Oro, Edgar, Eight Mile Point, Fair Valley, Fergus Hill Estate, Forest Home, Foxmead, Guthrie, Hawkestone, Hawkestone Beach, Hobart, Horseshoe Valley, Jarratt, Lakeview, Marchmont, Martinville, Mitchell Square, Moons Beach, Moonstone, Mount St. Louis, Oro Beach, Oro Lea Beach, Oro Park, Oro Station, Palm Beach, Parkside Beach, Prices Corners, Roberta Park, Rugby, Shanty Bay, Simcoeside, Sugar Bush, Waddington Beach and Warminster.
Carley Community Hall
Carley was named, like many other hamlets, after a local family. The Canadian Pacific Railway built a line from Toronto to Sudbury in 1907 and Carley was created. A train station, water tank and residence were built by CPR on what is now the Warminster Side Road as a refuel depot and also to serve local farm families. A stockyard was added in 1909 to accommodate the shipment of hogs and cattle.
Expansion began with the addition of a post office and an outdoor ice rink was built for winter hockey. In 1911 telephone lines appeared and the McDuff Bros. of Coulson were contracted to build a one room school house. The McDuff Bros. built the school house using their state of the art cement machine. Miss Maud Bell, a resident of Carley, was the first teacher. The doors opened in 1913 to her 20 students’ grades 1 to 8. By 1920 a general store, boarding house and brickworks were added to the community.
And so the one room school house began its history as the focal point of the community. As there was no church, the residents used the school house for religions meetings. Community picnics were also held on the school grounds at which they had races, games, a luncheon and on occasion ice cream. The school had a sports field which the resident youngsters used to play basketball and football.
1939 was an historic year for Carley as the train carrying King George VI and Queen Elizabeth(the queen mother) stopped to take on water. The area residents organized a “light” show for the royal couple by lighting bonfires and turning on their car headlights. But the lights were dimming on the hamlet of Carley. As with many rural communities, Carley diminished as members of farm families were being drawn to the city. In 1960 the rail station was closed and torn down. Better roads, more cars and ultimately diesel engines led to its demise.
The one room school house graduated its last 15 students (taught by Mr. Robert Ritchie) in 1965. Due to provincial policy of school consolidation, one room school houses were now a thing of the past.
All the focal points in the hamlet of Carley have disappeared. The one room school house is the community’s only remaining connection with its heritage to be seen today. Currently, it is being used as the community hall and residents hold craft sales, family reunions and euchre tournaments there.