This Ontario hamlet took the saying “throw it against the wall and see what sticks,” literally when it came to finding its identity. Terra Cotta had its name changed three times before it settled on one. It’s now a hidden gem with small yet charming local business to discover.

About an hour’s drive north west of Toronto is Terra Cotta, near Credit River and the Terra Cotta Conservation Area.

According to Visit Caledon, it was first named Tucker’s Mills back in the day before changing its name to Plewes Mills when a man by the name of Simon Plewes took over.

It then changed its name for a second time to Salmonville when its first post office opened, due to all the salmon in the river.

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“Industry began in the area with brickworks exploiting the local red clay and in 1891 the post office was renamed Terra Cotta,” shares the site.

When visiting the area, check out the Terra Cotta Inn, a fine dining Italian restaurant. Visit Caledon describes it as “one of the most spectacular dining locations in Caledon.”

You’ll also want to explore the Terra Cotta Country Store. It’s a one-stop shop for all your fashion and accessories, baked treats, coffee, tea, gourmet ice cream, and fresh fruit frozen yogurt.

And if you want a blast from the past, make your way to Mile 0 Marker of the Caledon Trailway. There’s a kiln chimney, visible to the north of the trailway, that is the last trace of the brickworks form the 1800s.

About a three-minute drive from the hamlet is the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, where you can enjoy hiking trails, bird watching, and photography.

This winter, check out its Ignite The Night festival. Enjoy the Terra Cotta Lane which is illuminated with fire and lights.

And warm up with a hot drink at the Park Store, too. You’ll also have the chance to go on a winter hike, snowshoe and/or ski. There’s also a skating rink with one-hour rentals available at the Wetland Pavilion from 6 PM to 7 PM

They recommend wearing a headlamp too.

Though it won’t take you long to explore this hamlet, it’s a charmer nonetheless and day trip worthy.