Courtice (pronounced "Curtis") is a community located in Ontario, Canada, about sixty kilometers east of Toronto, adjacent to Oshawa and west of Bowmanville in the Municipality of Clarington. Courtice Road (Durham Road 34) connects with Highway 401 at Interchange 425, providing arterial access to the community. Darlington Provincial Park is located just south of Courtice.
The area is bounded by Townline Rd. on the west, Hancock Rd. on the east, Pebblestone Rd. on the north and Highway 401 on the south. It is geographically contiguous with populated parts of the neighbouring city of Oshawa, but separated by a band of rural wilderness from other populated parts of Clarington; accordingly, in the Canada 2011 Census, Courtice was counted as part of the population centre of Oshawa rather than that of Bowmanville/Newcastle.
The area was first settled in 1795 by the James and the Trulls families. Courtice, however, takes its name from another one of the early families who settled the area. Thomas Courtice arrived in Darlington Township in 1831, followed by his brothers Christopher and James in 1833. The family emigrated from Putford Bridge, Devonshire, England. The community was centred on the Ebenezer Church/Schoolhouse which was erected in the 1850s. For a while the growing settlement was called "Ebenezer", and as it grew it would eventually encompass another hamlet called "Short's Corners". Short's Corners was located at King St. E (Highway 2) and Courtice Rd. George Short owned the blacksmith shop there where today Roy Nichols Motors sits. This became downtown Courtice. Across the street on the north side of Highway 2 was where A.F. Rundles' Market was built in 1860. Beside it on the east was James Courtice's carpenter shop, built in 1874; and on the west was the Post office run by John Walter in 1908. Just west of the Post office was the old Methodist Church. All of these buildings were torn down when Highway 2 was widened in 1988. The present NW corner of Courtice Rd. and Highway 2, where a townhouse complex sits, is where the Courtice Cheese factory and shop was located. Across the street at the present day auto body shop there used to be a wagon maker's shop.
Just to the west of Courtice was a neighbouring hamlet called Prestonvale (today part of Courtice). It was once called Black's Hill and in 1825 was the site of the first post office in Darlington Township located just east of today's Preston Pub. The postmaster was none other than Colonel James Black, the originator of the name. It was also later called Tooley's Hill after Augustus Tooley who ran the grist mill at Kingston Road where Farewell Creek crosses underneath Highway 2. Today this is the present location across the road from the Tim Horton's. The children of Prestonvale went to a school (Section #8) called Mount Carswell located on the north side of Concession 3 (now Nash Rd), just west of Trulls Rd on James Reynolds' farmstead. Alf Wilborn ran the blacksmith shop at the corner of Kingston Rd. and Prestonvale Rd. A sawmill existed on the north side of Nash Rd. just to the east of Farewell Creek, where you can see an old bridge just to the north of the present day bridge. This property was the farmstead of William Scott. Across the street from the school was the Temperance Hall located on A.V. Scott's property.
A post office with the name "Courtice" was finally established in the mid 19th century, and rail connections became available on both the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk main lines which passed south of the village closer to Lake Ontario. Courtice remained primarily a small rural village well into the 20th century, but housing developments beginning in the mid-1980s caused the community to grow rapidly. In 1988 Highway 2 was widened from its 2 lanes to its present 5 lanes. By the mid-1990s growth had slowed somewhat, although new housing developments are continuing and the area remains popular due to relatively low prices. Housing is primarily single-family detached residential, and most residents travel to Toronto or points west in Durham Region for employment. Commercial development is centred along Highway 2, with particular concentrations at the intersections with Townline Road (at the boundary with Oshawa) and Courtice Road.
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