Caledonia is a picturesque community on the banks of the Grand River apx 15 minutes south of Hamilton. The Six Nations Reserve is located on its western border. In 1784 General Frederick Haldimand rewarded Joseph Brant and the Six Nations Indians for their loyalty to the British Crown by giving land on both sides of the Grand River. The Grand River Navigation System, which ran from Lake Erie to Port Maitland to Brantford was beginning to materialize by 1830. The system’s east and west villages of Seneca and Oneida decided to almalgamate and become Caledonia. The name Caledonia was given to the town by Squire Ranald McKinnon in recognition of his country of birth. Born on the Island of Mull in Scotland in 1801, McKinnon emigrated with his family to Delaware County New York in 1805 and then to Canada in 1820. Caledonia is the poetic name for Scotland.
In 1905 Tom Longboat, an Onondaga from the Six Nations of the Grand River, ran his first race in Caledonia. Two years later he shot to international attention with a record-breaking win in the Boston Marathon. He represented Canada in the 1908 Olympics. Hailed as professional world champion the following year, Longboat went on to set world records for 15- and 20-mile races.
The only type of nine span bridge in Canada of is located here, and links the entire community. The bridge is also the first reinforced concrete bridge ever built. Be sure to visit the Old Mill, just west of the bridge, the Town Hall, now known as the Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre. Here visitors can view displays of the history of the community and the surrounding area.