Chesley is in many ways the prototype for the typical small rural Ontario town.
As the early settlers arrived they found abundant hardwood forests and fertile farmland (once cleared.)
They brought with them a work ethic that turned the small village and the surrounding area into a thriving community.
The Saugeen River offered a perfect locale for milling, and Chesley (originally called Sconeville) grew up around the mills that were established in the late 1850s.
In 1865 a post office was established and the community became Chesley, named after a former Indian agent, Soloman Chesley.
The Grand Trunk Railway arrived in 1881 and Chesley grew into an important industrial town and hub for the local agricultural community.
Today Chesley is a picturesque town with a netwok of walking trails that showcase the Saugeen River and its parks. It is also a popular stopping point on the Saugeen River canoe route.
It is in some ways best known for celebrating the quality of the local beef with the statue of Big Bruce that is as much an icon as Wawa’s goose or Sudbury’s Big Nickel.
The town has long been known for the quality and craftsmanship of its hardwood furniture industry which included Krug Bros. Furniture, a major employer in Chesley that closed in 1987 after 101 years of business. The Krug family has been a major supporter of Chesley, with generous bequests to many local organizations and charities. It is a heritage Chesley is proud of and continues to celebrate today.
In 1888 a huge fire destroyed much of the downtown and the wooden buildings were replaced by the brick buildings that are a fine example of early Ontario architecture, a heritage treasured by residents and visitors alike.
Chesley has always had a strong sense of community and civic pride.
Long established families value their sense of tradition and newcomers find a warm welcome and lots of amenities and opportunities for young families.
Quiet neighborhoods provide a safe environment. There is an attractive downtown with welcoming businesses and a number of popular restaurants, an active Legion and a busy community centre with activities for all ages, including a strong minor sports program.
There is a hospital, a retirement home and a long-term care facility, a thriving faith community and an elementary and secondary school.
Chesley District High School is a small, closely knit school that has for many years enjoyed a solid and envied reputation for its academic standards.
The town is also home to the head office for the Bluewater District School Board, a major employer in the town.
Chesley easily lives up to its slogan “The Nicest Town Around.”
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