Springbrook or Spring Brook? Which is it?

Spring Brook

I couldn’t believe my eyes when, upon returning to central Hastings County where I’d grown up, I discovered that the village of Springbrook had been rechristened “Spring Brook.” Or had it?

Thanks so much to all of you who weighed in on the debate over how to pronounce “Kaladar” and “Moira.” To follow it all up, we have another glimpse into placename oddities here in central Hastings County. It is: The Curious Case of Springbrook. Or is that “Spring Brook”?

When I was growing up at the Manse, Springbrook – a village about 20 miles southwest of us here in Queensborough – was Springbrook, and that was that. At least, as far as I can recall. So you might imagine my surprise when, as I began driving to work every day south to Belleville down Highway 62, I noticed that the sign pointing to Springbrook off 62 says “Spring Brook.”

And you might imagine how I was even more surprised to see that the sign pointing to it off Highway 62 when one is heading north says “Springbrook”:


Make up your minds, people!

Also weighing in on the “Spring Brook” side of this debate seem to be the folks (would that be the municipality of Centre Hastings?) behind the signs posted along the road between 62 and the village, all of which seem to have it as two words:

Spring Brook Road

But the plot thickens when one actually gets there and is welcomed to town:

Welcome to Springbrook

So which is it, do you think? Springbrook or Spring Brook? Well, I have two final weighty arguments, one for each side of this thorny issue.

By far the biggest deal in Springbrook (I am going to show my bias by spelling it the way I think it should be spelled) is McKeown Motors, a very successful car and farm-machinery dealership that’s been going for generations. Confident that McKeown’s would back me up on the “Springbrook” side of the argument, I went to their website:


Drat! Check out the address at the top!

Aha, but I have one final piece of evidence, and it weighs in my favour:

Springbrook Women's Institute

People, if you can’t trust the Women’s Institute to get it right, who can you trust?

18 thoughts on “Springbrook or Spring Brook? Which is it?

  1. So since were on the topic of Village names and how they are pronounced correctly answer me this? Some say Queensborough and others swear by Queensboro! I listen to a whole debate one evening on this subject. Of course religion and politics came into the conversation and I didn’t want to go any further. Which is it? And Why? Even to the point of which cemetery in Queensborough was the oldest, the north one or the south?

    • Indeed, “Queensborough” is the correct spelling but “Queensboro” does occasionally show up in business & government databases.

      I’m sure similar debates occur in other “boroughs” [although many insist that Scarborough is really “Scarberia” or “Scarlem” — sorry about raising this touchy subject, Scarboroughians (or is that “Scarbourites”? or “Scarberians”?)]

      So, what are residents of Queensborough called?

      Now, what about the pronunciation of “Madoc”? Is it “MAY-dock” or “Ma-DUCK”? [or how about “Maaaaaaydock”? (baahh, baahh)]

      Not sure which is oldest but the one north of town is the Catholic cemetery whereas the one to the southeast is currently non-denominational [and presumably maintained by the municipality]. However, I wonder if the latter was originally designated as Protestant or was associated with a specific church such as Anglican, Methodist, etc

      • I’ve heard Madoc pronounced “MaDUCK” once or twice, but only by people utterly unfamiliar with the place. And I soon corrected them! As for the cemeteries, yes, I am going to have to look into that. It would be interesting to know how and when Greenwood Cemetery (the Protestant one) started out, and which church it might originally have been connected with.

      • Or even “Maddock” to rhyme with “haddock” (the fish).

        The “MaDuck” pronunciation was common among American tourists in the 1980’s & 90’s. So much so that Kramp’s Sports Store sold a T-shirt embossed with a multitude of ducks along with several iterations of “Maduck” on the front & back. I would love to see one if any still exist.

    • Well now, that’s an interesting subject, mk – both the spelling of Queensborough/Queensboro and the question of the village’s two cemeteries. On the first one – well, you have given me a good idea for tonight’s blog post, so stay tuned! As for which of the cemeteries is older, that’s worth some research, while I will try to do. Thank you for good questions!

  2. The definitive answer must be “Springbrook” since the Women’s Institute says so. They are always right. I know since my wife is an Institute member of long standing.

  3. I was viewing some older news articles while doing genealogical research. In the March 6th,1964 edition of the Ottawa Journal there was an advertisement for Seagram’s V.O. It includes the name Madoc and the inhabitants as “Madocian” as a way of explaining how much the people of Madoc enjoy this product.

    • Wow, Steve-o – it would be so cool to see that ad! Why do you suppose Seagram’s thought to include tiny Madoc in its advertising? (Though of course rye – or Canadian whisky – has always been extremely popular in these parts, probably because of the local distilleries like at Corbyville.) Thanks for this information!

      • Greetings Katherine, is there an email address that i can send either the link for the advertisement or perhaps i can scan it and send it to you….I found it quite interesting that out of all of Ontario, Seagram’s chose Madoc. Perhaps you answered my question with the knowledge of a local distillery in Corbyville. cheers, steve-o in Ottawa.

  4. Did you know that Jack Baker, a maDOC RESIDENT WORKED FOR SEAGRAMS

    Did you know that Jack Baker from Madoc worked for Seagrams? He eventually rose in the organisation and sold a fine Canadian whiskey called Jack Baker’s Special. The lounge at the Kiwanis Centre (Kiwanis Centre) was called the Jack Baker Lounge. His daughter Elizabeth was in Gayle’s class in public school and was a close friend. Perhaps that is why Maydock or Madoc is so important in the history of Seagrams whiskey! (Little known fact #1224)
    I spent a long while in the UK in 1971 and with an Australian friend enjoyed a weekend in Portmadoc in Wales. (I was careful to pronounce it properly).

    • That is a very cool little-known fact, gng! (You are a boundless repository of those great facts, aren’t you?) What with Steve-o sending me the link to that vintage Seagram’s ad (which I now think, thanks you your information, Jack Baker must have had a hand in), I suspect we are on to another interesting trail…

  5. If we were in Wales, it would definitely by Mad’ock (emphasis on the first syllable). And since you’ve opened up the subject of puzzles and contradictions, how about someone solving this one for me?
    When you turn onto Hwy 62 from Vermilyea Road, a sign tells you that it’s 35 km to Madoc and 2 km to Belleville (okay, I’ll do the math: 37 km total distance). By the time you get to the junction of Hwy 62 and Ridge/Moira Roads, the distance has increased by 7 km, as the sign notes that it’s 21 km to both Madoc and Belleville. No wonder I hate the drive so much!

    • Now that’s interesting, Brenda. I will check that out and see if I can figure out any sensible answer to the puzzle. There’s something similar when one turns west onto Highway 7 off Wilson Street in Perth (like, say, when coming from Montreal): the sign at the intersection says something like “Madoc 113 kilometres,” and then when you’ve travelled a couple of kilometres west there’s another sign that says “Madoc 115 kilometres.” (The numbers may be wrong – I’m doing it from memory – but the principle’s the same: the sign closer to Madoc has a greater distance posted. Somebody in charge of signs has failed to put on his/her thinking cap!)

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