Ontario Abandoned Places will be rebranded as Ominous Abandoned Places

Altona (ghost town)

Unknown Ghost Town in Pickering, Ontario, Canada

Jun 05 2009

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Recent status Unknown
Location # 691

Altona is a ghost town located on the border between Uxbridge and Pickering Townships, in the old Ontario County. It was named after the town near Hamburg, Germany where many of Markham Township(a)s first settlers hailed from. Today, Altona is in the City of Pickering in Durham Region at Sideline 30. It is just east of Stouffville, Ontario. Its north section is in Uxbridge Township.

In 1852, the Altona Mennonite Church was erected. The building was constructed by pioneers who immigrated here from Pennsylvania in the early 1800(a)s. The bricks came from the Cherrywood brick yard. Local families included the Reesors, Widemans, Nighswanders, Hoovers and Stouffers. The first grave is dated 1835.

The 1st postmaster was J. Monkhouse in 1857. A photo of his farmstead on the west side of Altona is pictured below. He built the large grist mill just SE of the 4 corners below the mill pond. The Nighswanders built the woolen mill 1 km south of the hamlet on the west side of the road. It was converted into a cider mill that was popular throughout most of the 1900(a)s. It has been taken down in recent years, but the mill pond waterfall is still there.

In the 1800(a)s, along with the post office, grist and woolen mills there was a hotel at the main intersection(a)s NE side, built in 1858. It is located right on the Uxbridge/Pickering border. The site was used as an inn for 60 years and then as a grocery store and later in 1921 as an apartment building. A public hall existed on the NW side of the 4 corners.

Today, 2 churches, a school, 2 cemeteries, the general store/hotel, and homes remain; but more than half of the other buildings have been been boarded up by the federal government due to supposed plans to bring an airport to the area. This gives a very eerie feeling as you drive through from all four directions. As of 2010 they are being torn down one-by-one.

A web search reveals this from Ontario County records (1869):

A village in the township of Pickering, 20 miles north-west of Whitby. Population about 200.

Brown, A, hotelkeeper
Monkhouse, T., merchant
Cliff, E., carder, &c.
Mordon, G., laborer
Haggerman, L., pumpmaker, &c.
Neighswander, S., merchant miller
Hoover, J. G., laborer
Neighwander, M., farmer
Jones, A., farmer
Robertson, R., shoemaker
Key, M., carpenter
Skene, J., millright
MONKHOUSE, JOSEPH, Postmaster, &c.
Stouffer J., farmer
Wilson, J., blacksmith

Comments

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1 year ago

Visited today. Only building remaining is the Church. There was a sign out front that read "Due to Covid restrictions, this years annual gathering has been cancelled. Hope to see you next year." So until at least the last year or two the local Mennonite community has been using the building at least annually. No other buildings. There is one foundation close to the road that can be seen from Google maps, but besides that nothing is left. Very sad.

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2 years ago

SOOOO many places have asbestos. You just need to be prepared. Or as prepared as you can with safety equipment.

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2 years ago

The cemetary is still active went there the other day and there was a brand new grave. As for the old school house I would suggest being careful there is really tall grass and there could be tics in there and the building says that theres asbestos inside so I would probably stay outside.

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7 years ago

If there are old cemeteries there, then there is still lots to explore:) Why not expand Markham Airport just SW or expand Oshawa Airport just east?

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8 years ago

most of the buildings were removed for good 2 yrs ago

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8 years ago

The hubby and I went up here on Friday, and there was really nothing to explore at all. Shame really.

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9 years ago

I still have very good friends living in Altona, although many Homes, Farms, and other buildings are gone, I believe there may be about 150(ish) people still living in the area. A beautiful two story home I used to live in on the 30 Sideline (right beside clay70's cover photo house Altona Ghost Town in Progress. It burnt down from the tenant that moved in after me. :( 2 Barns, Pool, nice proper

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1 month ago

It was owned by a Mennonite family before expropriation. I lived down the hill in the old Monkhouse farmhouse in the ‘70’s, which may be still standing according to google earth photos.

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9 years ago

That hotel from what I understand, had William Lyon MacKenzie as a guest.

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9 years ago

Is the entire town abandoned?

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10 years ago

I am glad I preserved the history of this place before it was too late...I knew it was a ghost town when I 1st visited it even though Brown never wrote about it in his books

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10 years ago

The school is now gone, and the church just to the east as well. Altona has been wiped off the map.

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11 years ago

They tore down the hotel? Good Grief!!!

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11 years ago

The hotel on the NE corner is now gone :(

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12 years ago

proof again that out government people dont have much I.Q. tearing down historical sites for a G D Airport we dont need :p

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13 years ago

Anyone interested in seeing history should have a look in this area soon. The Feds are demolishing homes at an unbelievably quick rate. Many of the houses pictured here are already gone forever.