Welcome to the Village of Dixie:
If the nearby village of Cooksville enjoyed commercial success, Dixie reveled in its importance as a place of worship and an agricultural centre. Dixie was also home to Toronto Township’s first indoor ice rink, the Dixie Arena, and to the Dixie Cold Storage facility.
Naming the Growing Village:
The little village of Dixie has been known at various times as Fountain Hill, Fonthill, Onion Town, Irish Town, Cork Town and Sydenham. Dr. Dixie served much of Toronto Township.
Religion and Education in the Village of Dixie:
The tiny group of settlers along the Dundas Road in the early 1800s could expect a visit from a missionary or circuit rider once every other year. This dearth of religious education prompted the settlers of Dixie and Cooksville to meet at Phillip Cody’s tavern in 1808 and plan to build a chapel. During the final building process, arguments erupted over who would use the Church until finally it was agreed that the three Protestant faiths would use the chapel at different times.In 1837, the log chapel was replaced by the present stone building: The Dixie Union Chapel. The Dixie Union Chapel was built of Etobicoke River stone and was named for Dr. Beaumont Dixie, the country doctor in nearby Erindale, after he donated money for the church under the stipulation that no pew rents were to be collected. Many of Dixie’s pioneers are buried here. In 1870 the Anglican parish built their own red brick church in Dixie. In 1924, the original rectangular building burned down and, while the Parish waited for its new church to be built, the Dixie Union Chapel once again hosted Sunday service. An addition was added to the back of the church in 1954. On the southwest side of Dixie and Dundas Roads, is the old Dixie Public School building. Opened in 1923 on land purchased from St. Patrick’s Church, this four-room school was built as a replacement for the smaller log schoolhouse originally built in 1844 at the opposite corner of Dixie and Dundas, which was replaced by a two-room wooden school in 1857.
The Catholic congregation in Dixie also had their own church to attend services, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. It was built on the south west corner of Dundas Street and Dixie Road in a part of Toronto Township often called Irishtown. The old church was torn down in 1973.
The Silverthorn Family and the Cherry Hill House:
The original Cherry Hill House, a simple log cabin, was built in 1807 by 20-year-old Joseph Silverthorn, across the street from Cody’s Tavern. That same year, family patriarch William Kennedy built the Atlantic Hotel and General Store on the southwest corner of his property, by then the centre of the village of Dixie. The hotel cost 750 pounds to build and was constructed of handmade bricks from George Tolman’s brickyard, a short distance north of Dixie in the hamlet of Burnhamthorpe.
The Atlantic Hotel was the unofficial Tory stronghold in the area and the Pacific Hotel on the south side of Dundas used to be the meeting place for Grits.