Durie Road in Streetsville has an indirect connection to the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.
But we have to follow the thread a bit to knit the story together.
Alexander Durie was born in Toronto in 1866, and in 1886 he married Mary (Minnie) Armstrong. In 1896, they moved to Clarkson along with their one year old son Wesley Ernest.
The family grew to include William Arthur (1889), Lawrence Nelson (1891), Etta Frances (1896), Lottie Alberta (1899) and Elva Alexandra (1901). In 1908 Alexander leased a store in Clarkson and opened a grocery business. Alex became known locally as “Dad Durie”.
The eldest son, Wesley Ernest Durie (1887-1963), married Marjorie Drennan of Streetsville in 1915, and they would have four children: Leona, Lyle, Wesley and Dorothy.
In 1920 Ernest purchased the Drennan farm in Streetsville from his father-in-law, Joseph Drennan.
In 1929 Ernest sold part of the farm, but continued to cultivate 70 acres along the Credit River, focusing mainly on fruits and vegetables. Ernest had a new house built in 1928 – it survives today as a private family home along what is now Drenkelly Court – and this new house became a focal point for Durie family gatherings.
The home was called “Cedar Bank”. Durie Road was also created around this time as a farm access road to connect the subdivided farm properties on the former Dren-Kelly farm (named after Joseph Drennan and his wife Leona Kelly).
In 1929 Ernest opened a plumbing and heating business. His son Wes followed his father in the trades, and was a well-known plumber and electrician in Streetsville.
But back to the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Ernest Durie’s younger brother, William Arthur Durie was born in Clarkson in 1889.
He enlisted with the 126th Battalion on January 14, 1916. He was listed as a grocer by profession, working with his father Alex (“Dad Durie”) and brother Nelson at the family grocery store in Clarkson.
Private Durie went overseas in August of 1916. Once in Europe, he served with the 20th Battalion.
During the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, Arthur was engaged as a stretcher bearer and prisoner guard. He was slightly wounded at Vimy, but was treated at the Casualty Clearing Station and returned to duty.
It was during the quiet hours before the attack on Vimy Ridge that Arthur had time to carve some chalk symbols from the underground chalk mines in the Vimy vicinity, which he sent home to his father.
Alex proudly displayed the carvings in his store. Arthur also sent to his father a captured German helmet and gas mask.
Arthur served in the First World War alongside his first cousins from Toronto, William and Leonard Durie.
Arthur survived the war and retuned to Clarkson, where he worked at the family store on Clarkson Road.
He was discharged from service on May 26, 1919. In 1926 he married Mina Drusilla Chamberlain, and for a time they lived in Detroit.
Arthur, a veteran of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the brother of the namesake for Durie Road in Streetsville, passed away in 1972 and is buried at Springcreek Cemetery in Clarkson.
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