Sign at the old plant©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Corbyville, located just north of Belleville, began around 1790 as a small milling centre. In 1855, Henry Corby, a former baker and grain merchant, purchased the mill and set up a small distillery as a sideline business. Henry quickly developed a reputation as a superb whiskey maker and within a few short years, the distillery had grown to eclipse the mill.
A small company town, known as Corby's Mills, began to grow around the distillery. At first it consisted of a general store and a few houses. A post office, under the name Corbyville, was opened in 1882.
The village continued to thrive and boasted a carpenter, blacksmith, cabinetmaker, shoemaker and a hotel. A school, Methodist church and customs building were also added. Later industries included a flour mill and cheese factory. At its height, Corbyville boasted a population of around 200.
The H. Corby Distillery Company continues to remain prosperous. Unfortunately for Corbyville, changing times led to the closure of the old distillery in 1991. Production was shifted to newer facilities and the head office, moved to Toronto.
In the early 21st century, a number of the old plant buildings still stood. However the area is now being infiltrated by new housing developments, so the future of these buildings is very uncertain.