The Caledonia Archive was started in 2008 by Ian D. Thompson.
My interest in local history started at a young age. My mother was formerly a reporter for The Grand River Sachem and in the years before I was in elementary school I accompanied her on several assignments, including visiting the Golden Horseshoe Steam Show (formerly held Civic Holiday Weekend on the Fairgrounds). In my youth I listened to my father tell spooky stories about the Caledonia Mill as we sat to watch the Canada Day fireworks. These early experiences instilled a sense of Caledonia Pride within me, and when I was at Notre Dame Elementary School I became involved as a volunteer with the Caledonia Old Mill Corporation.
I quickly developed a passion for the Mill and its long history. From this early involvement, I began to coordinate small events on the grounds of the Mill as a fundraiser for the restoration project. The most successful of these early events were the Ghost Tours. The first tours were very limited in scope, focusing mostly on the Mill. Something sparked inside me during the first two Tours and I made it my mission to become knowledgeable in Caledonia's history.
I started my own personal collection. Searching the internet, the library, the museum, and collecting information from other Caledonia historians. In 2008 I sat down for discussions with Barbara Martindale, Fred Thompson, Alf Peart, and Douglas Scott. These historians were an immense help in developing my knowledge. Within a short time I had started quite a large personal collection.
The Ghost Tours became more and more popular. After 2008 the tours became a fundraiser for the Caledonia Fair, and included a great deal more historical information and ghostly legends and folklore. Mrs. Vickie Peart is an invaluable partner in the Ghost Tours.
During my time at McKinnon Park Secondary School I was co-op student in the school library for three years with Mrs. Jane Couper and Mrs. Santosh Bhawnra (and volunteering with Mrs. Veronica Partington at Notre Dame School's Library). These three ladies were extremely helpful and I credit them for my organizational skills.
In 2008 I started work at Haldimand House and The Oasis Drive-In, learning a great deal about public relations and history from owner Chris Leosis. By 2011 I was the 'expert' on the history of the Mill and Haldimand House & Oasis.
Managing the Caledonia Ontario Facebook page, and including a large number of historical posts on it, showed me that many people were interested in Caledonia's history. In January, 2014 I began thinking about digitizing my collection, and attempting to put it online so that it would be possible for anyone with an interest in Caledonia to search and find valuable information. In March, 2014 I launched the Caledonia Archive at http://archive.creepycaledonia.org, and in December, 2014 it was moved to http://caledoniahistory.org
The following individuals have shaped me into the person that I am today, and without them this project would not be possible:
My parents: Daniel & Leila Thompson
My mentors: Vickie Peart & Chuck Roth, Barbara Martindale, Pam & Ted Aylan-Parker, Ralph Bray, Douglas Scott & Warren Cummins, Fred Thompson, Chris Leosis and many others.
My teachers and 'editors': Veronica Partington, Jane Couper, Santosh Bhawnra, Dennis Boyko, Dan Panagakos, Debbie Nesbitt, and Stacey Turcotte.
- Ian D. Thompson, U.E. (2014)