Downtown Kleinberg Ontario Canada

A Brief History of Kleinburg

Kleinburg is comprised of a narrow section of hilly landscape situated between two branches of the Humber river. The historic village is bounded by Highway 27 on the west and Stegman’s Mill Road to the east.


Early Settlement

The settlement of many early villages in Ontario was directly related to the establishment of a local industry. Kleinburg, like many riverside villages developed around the existence of numerous mills.

In 1848, John Nicholas Kline bought 83 acres of Lot 24 in Concession 8, west of Islington Avenue. On this land, John N. Kline built a sawmill and a gristmill. Land plans from 1848 show Lot 24 in Concession 8 divided into smaller, individual, one-quarter acre lots, thus encouraging the establishment of a village core. The Kline mills not only served the local farming community, but became the impetus for a growing commercial centre.

Kleinburg has had variations to the spelling of its name: Klineburg and Kleinburg. It is assumed that Kleinburg was named after John N. Kline, however, its present spelling was derived from a combination of two German words: Klein, translating as “little or small” and “berg” meaning “mountain”. The name “small mountain” perfectly describes the topography and the environmental setting of Kleinburg.

Old Mape of Kleinberg Ontario

Kline Family

John N. Kline, a man involved in the local community, operated his business with the help of his son John Kline Jr. (born 1823). John Kline Sr. appears in the 1850  directory as a justice of the peace. He was also a member of the Home District (pre-Vaughan Township) Council in the 1840s and was responsible for petitioning for the first school in Kleinburg.

The Klines remained in Kleinburg until 1851. Though their stay was relatively brief, their contribution to the village would change its future course of growth and development.

John N. Kline sold his property, including his mills, to James Mitchell, who shortly thereafter, in 1852, sold it to the Howland brothers: William Pearce, Fred and Henry Stark Howland. The Howland brothers owned successful mills at Lambton, Waterdown and St. Catherines.


Howland Family

The Howland family was one of Ontario’s most successful families in both private business and public politics. William Pearce Howland held numerous prestigious positions in his lifetime: a minister in the first Dominion cabinet of Canada; the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1868 to 1873, and Postmaster General of Canada in 1867.

Henry Stark Howland was equally successful as his brother. His positions included: the first post-master of Kleinburg; reeve of Vaughan Township from 1859 to 1860; warden of York County; vice-president in 1867 of the Canadian Bank of Commerce and first president of the Imperial Bank of Canada in 1875. William Pearce’s sons held the position of mayor in Toronto; William Holmes held the position from 1886 to 1887 and Oliver A. from 1901 to 1902.

The mills owned by the Howland family, however, were not the only mills responsible for the growth of the community. A second sawmill was established on the east side of the Humber River, across from the original Kline mills. By 1850, George Stegman is listed as the proprietor of this second sawmill located on the east side of the Village off of what is today Stegman’s Mill Road. George’s father, John Stegman was a German mercenary soldier who was paid by the British to fight the colonists in the American Revolution. John Stegman was compensated for his services with free land in Canada. In 1790, John Stegman was deputy-surveyor of Upper Canada.


Growth of Community

By 1860, the community that grew from the establishment of the mills included : a tanner, a tailor, a boot and shoemaker, a carriage maker, a doctor, a saddler and harness maker, an undertaker, two hotels, a church and a school. By 1870, a chemist (druggist), a cabinet maker, an insurance agent, a butcher, a milliner and a tinsmith, were added to the directory of local businessmen.

The mills built by John N. Kline were the largest between Toronto and Barrie. Kleinburg also became popular as a resting stop for farmers or merchants on their way to, or from Toronto. The original Humber (Indian) Trail used by the early traders remained the most efficient route to Toronto. The Humber Trail in Vaughan, runs along what is today Islington Avenue and extends down to Dundas Street in the City of Toronto.

Kleinburg Binder Twine Festival Program

Binder Twine Festival 

Kleinburg is home to the Binder Twine Festival, held yearly in the month of September. The tradition of the Binder Twine Festival originated with Charles Shaw Jr. who, in the 1890′s, began the distribution of binder twine to the local farmers. Binder twine was used to tie together sheaves of wheat. The farmers would purchase from Charles Shaw Jr. their yearly supply of binder twine. Legend states that the Shaws gave their binder twine customers a dinner in appreciation of their business. The modest dinner eventually became a large community festival complete with games, refreshments and entertainment. The Binder Twine Festival was held once a year until 1930 and was subsequently revived in 1967.


McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Directly south of the village core is found the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Originally the home of Robert and Signe McMichael this 40-acre site and log home called “Tapawingo” was donated to the Province of Ontario by the McMichaels. Since its opening in 1966, the art gallery boasts one of the finest collections of the Canadian “Group of Seven” artists, as well as numerous examples of the artwork of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.


McMichael Gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection offers its visitors a unique and truly Canadian experience. From the art within its walls, to the surrounding landscape, the McMichael Gallery is the perfect gallery for a proper introduction to Canada’s art, its people, their cultures and history. The McMichael Gallery’s permanent collection consists of nearly 6,000 pieces of art created by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to the development of Canadian art. Through a network of outdoor paths and hiking trails, visitors can explore the newly installed Sculpture Garden as well as the unique McMichael Cemetery where six Group of Seven members and gallery founders Robert and Signe McMichael have been laid to rest.


Kortright Centre

The Kortright Centre for Conservation is Ontario’s premier environmental and renewable energy education and demonstration centre. Since 1982, the Kortright Centre has been a centre of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. The sustainable technology education programs are anchored around The Power Trip Trail, a 1.6 km trail which links a variety of demonstrations on renewable energy, energy efficiency, wastewater treatment and sustainable building design. The centre hosts nearly 135,000 visitors annually and offers over 50 environmental education programs for schools and 30 sustainable technology workshops for public, trades and professionals.


Copper Creek Golf Club

Designed by renowned Canadian Architect Doug Carrick, Copper Creek has been voted the best public golf course in the GTA and is currently ranked the 36th best course in all of Canada. Set amid the rolling hills and forests of the Humber River Valley, Copper Creek has a 40,000 square foot clubhouse, featuring event seating for up to 550 people. The clubhouse and grounds feature glorious gardens, an expansive terrace and gazebo, as well as lavish outdoor seating.


Humber River Trails

The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, also known as the Humber Portage, was a major portage route in Ontario, linking Lake Ontario with Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes. The name comes from the Mohawk term Toron-ten, which means, “the place where the trees grow over the water”.
The Toronto end of the trail runs up the eastern bank of the Humber River and splits in Woodbridge, with one fork crossing the east branch of the Humber and going up the west side of the river to the vicinity of Kleinburg where it re-crosses the river. The other fork stays on the east side of the river and is angled cross-country to King Creek, joining the other fork before crossing the river near Nobelton. From there it runs north over the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Holland River, and from there it runs northeast into Lake Simcoe. Once into Lake Simcoe, the trail continues north through straights on the north end of the lake into Lake Couchiching. From there, the trail follows the Severn River into Georgian Bay. Many of the First Nations tribes lived in the area around and to the north of Lake Simcoe, which were easily reachable via the many rivers leading to the lake. A second arm of the trail runs from the Holland River to the southeast, eventually into the Rouge River Valley, then Lake Ontario from there|.



Real estate in Kleinburg is in demand. As densely populated Vaughan continues its sprawl, affluent residents are moving to Kleinburg for more spacious lots and a sought after lifestyle. Kleinburg is located in a narrow section of hilly landscape situated between two branches of the Humber river. The historic village is bounded by Highway 27 on the west and Stegman’s Mill Road to the east. With easy access to major highways and Go Transit, it’s no wonder that real estate in Kleinburg is in demand.

Kleinburg has always been a small, quiet town, attracting affluent visitors and residents. It is characterized by larger homes and more spacious lots than typically found in Vaughan. Homes inn Kleinburg typically sell for more than a million dollars. Older, larger and more established properties are valued more than this, while homes built near conservation areas and the Humber River are by far the most expensive.


Kleinburg Hills

Surrounded by lush landscape and gently rolling terrain, Kleinburg Hills is envisioned to be an upscale and memorable family orientated community that provides a relaxed, yet sophisticated rural feel where art and nature live together in serene harmony.

Kleinburg Hills features a fine collection of single family homes including architecture with traditional and classical proportions and details in order to promote social and visual diversity while the variations in building sizes provide for a broader range of family life styles.

Discover New Homes in Kleinburg  with Designs of spacious homes with stunning exterior elevations and gorgeous street appeal! The jewel in our crown of charming, upscale communities, set within the scenic village of Kleinburg, with detailed landscaping and picturesque ravine settings.  These homes have added elegance, sophistication and style to this community . A series of creeks and streams gently meander through the adjacent rolling hills and lush landscape. In the town, you’ll discover many art galleries, gift shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The famous McMichael Art Gallery and a number of championship golf courses are also close by.

Want to know more about Kleinberg and the real estate market there?  Contact me today for a full market report on Kleinberg, Ontario.