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.
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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