Not long ago, the town of Fleming, Saskatchewan laid a claim that its 1895 grain elevator was "Canada's Oldest Grain Elevator". Unfortunately, while in the process of restoring the elevator, in 2010, the historic structure burned to the ground.
Not long after the destruction of the Fleming elevator, the small town of Elva, Manitoba stepped up to claim the title. The small grain elevator in Elva was estimated to have been constructed somewhere
between 1892 and 1899.
Fact is - both of the those western town's were mistaken. Quite simply, Port Perry has "Canada's Oldest Grain Elevator".
Records available during research revealed no information that would dispute the fact, that the Currie Elevator is the granddaddy of Canada's grain elevators. Built in 1874, George Currie's Port Perry
elevator is 20 years older than any similar structure remaining. This fact alone should strengthen the resolve of the local residents and government to get behind saving this cultural prize. George Currie's elevator should be designated as a building of historical significance, or perhaps even be protected as a National Historical Site.
To put these suggestions in perspective, let's look west to Inglis, Manitoba, where a row of five grain elevators have already been designated a National Historical Site in Canada. Recognizing how quickly grain elevators were disappearing from the prairies, a decision was made to have them protected. The Inglis elevators were built in 1922, making them 47 years the junior of Port Perry's elevator, but they have been saved.
Not unlike the western provinces, Ontario's grain elevators are disappearing. With the recent demolition of the Stouffville grain elevator (May 2015), there are few wood crib grain elevators to be found in the province. Estimates range from four to a dozen elevators are all that remain. Some of these are located in Unionville, Gormley, Nashville, Pontypool, Shomberg and Claremont.
Of all these, the Port Perry elevator is the largest, oldest and most significant wood bin elevator in Canada.
J. Peter Hvidsten