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Vankleek Hill, Ontario
Information about the town

Vankleek Hill is a town in Champlain Township in Eastern Ontario. It has a population of 1,996. The town was named after Simeon Vankleek, a United Empire Loyalist who settled there near the end of the 18th century.

This self-declared Gingerbread Capital of Ontario has maintained an enviable stability throughout nearly 200 years of rapid industrial and social change. Now Vankleek Hill is at a crossroads, balancing the need to protect historic buildings and honour its past, with the need to manage development pressures and growth.

Vankleek Hill was named Ontario’s Gingerbread Capital in 2003. Gingerbread is the woodwork that adds architectural detail to building exteriors and interiors. The porches, windows, gables, and rooflines of over 250 homes in Vankleek Hill contain Victorian era decorative gingerbread elements. Builders ordered millwork through catalogues. By the 1890s, the new Vankleek Hill Manufacturing Company on Mill Street created and sold decorative shingles, latticework, verge boards, columns, spindles and brackets.

The backdrop for the gingerbread is red brick, a hallmark of Vankleek Hill Victorian and Edwardian period buildings. The local rich clay deposits were kilned to a distinctive soft red brick by at least three local brick factories active here in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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