A Thriving Village


The village had a blacksmith and harness shops, carriage works, woolen and flax mills, broom factory, ashery, bakery, brass foundry, general stores, Orange Lodge, Mechanic's Institute, and several hotels; Norval was a main stagecoach stop between Toronto and Guelph.


The Presbyterian Church had the first congregation, and built a frame church at Hillcrest Cemetery.  It was replaced by a fine Gothic church in 1878 in the village. The Methodists built a church in 1850 and replaced it with the brick one in 1889.  It became the Norval United Church.   The Anglican Church was built in 1846 on lands given by General Sir Peter Adamson.  A street was named in his honour.  All three heritage churches stand today and are still used for regular services.





The first school was a frame building near the cemetery. By the 1860's a brick school had been erected in the village.

The Norval Post Office

Norval Post Office was established in 1836 (earlier names, McNabsville or McNab's Mill). Tradition says the name Norval came from the Scottish play "Douglas", by poet John Home.


The valley of the Credit River was known to the Iroquois as "Onoront".

Road & Rail

The Guelph Plank Road was completed in 1851. The Grand Trunk Railway (later CNR) opened in July 1856, but Norval Station was over a mile north of the village. The station closed in the 1930's.

The Toronto-Guelph electric Suburban Railway (radial line) opened in 1917, with a switch into the village to serve the flour mills. The railway closed in 1931.




In the early 1920's three new bridges were built over the Credit River and the mill races, while the King's Highway No. 7 was paved. Norval was a village of bridges, at one time there were ten.





A Military Heritage

Norval had it's own militia company and drill shed. The only action they had was a trip to the Welland Canal, to protect it from an invasion of Fenians from the United States. A picnic and dance was held when they returned and the Queen was cheered.



Norval, Ontario

Norval is a small village which possesses a rich history, nestled comfortably in a deep valley on the banks of the Credit River.

Use this site to learn more about this beautiful town that L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables and past resident) was moved to write:

"Norval is so beautiful now that it takes my breath – those pine hills full of shadows – those river reaches – those bluffs of maple and smooth-trunked beech – with drifts of wild white blossom everywhere."


Significant People

James McNab, was Norval's first settler, an Empire Loyalist from Vermont arrived in 1820. He was a Lieutenant at the Battle of Queenston Heights, and the War of 1812. A historic plaque was unveiled in McNab Park in 1991.

General Sir Peter Adamson, purchased the sawmill, grist and woolen mills from James McNab in 1838. He fought in the Peninsular War against Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France 1769-1829, received seven gold medals for bravery and distinguished service and was honoured with the "Knight of the Tower and Sword".

John Wycliffe Lowes Forster, Norval born in 1850 at, Lot 10, Conc. 10 lived until 1938. Renowned portrait painter, many of his works hang in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Toronto and the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

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