Remains of a pioneer log home©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Egypt, located in Bruce County, was never an established community. Rather, it was a small area with a little cluster of farms that derived the nickname of "Egypt." There were no schools, churches, a post office or other amenities. Those could be found in nearby Riversdale or in Kinloss, both of which were a little further west.
Egypt's early landowners included Alexander and John Symon, Alex Gordon, Henry Wardrop, John Younie, H.P. O'Connor and Robert Baird. Alexander Symon had served a period of time as a councillor.
Robert Baird, who owned three parcels of land in Egypt, was not a local resident. Baird, who lived in nearby Kincardine, arrived in Bruce County in 1855, at the age of 22. After working as a merchant for a few years, he went into the grain business and began operating as a grain dealer Although Baird came from a farming background and only had basic schooling, he quickly developed into a remarkably shrewd businessman over a very short period of time. By 1864, he was paying from $250.000 to $275,000 per annum for grain alone, a huge sum in those days. He also went on to deal in lumber, wood, real estate and any other ventures he found interesting. Baird had the misfortune to lose a considerable amount of grain, when warehouses in Inverhuron were destroyed by fire in 1882.
Over time Baird became involved in local politics. He was elected by acclamation as both reeve in 1869 and warden in 1872. His efforts were instrumental in bringing the railway to Kincardine and bringing about other village improvements such as the building of a town hall, school houses and other public buildings. Baird owned several parcels of land, all in Bruce County. The parcels in Egypt were most likely farmed by tenant farmers.
An early history of Bruce County offers a couple of different versions on the origins of Egypt's unusual name. The most likely version originated from Mrs. John Reekie.
"That part of the tenth concession that lies east of the 20th side-line was named 'Egypt' through a Mr. Bell, who was perhaps the first pathmaster appointed in that section of the township. He was such a hard taskmaster that he was called 'Pharoah,' and the section over which he presided was named 'Egypt'. He was ever after known as 'the King of Egypt'. That part of the 'Tenth' between the 20th and the 15th side roads was known as the 'Wilderness and Red Sea,' as it was rough and swampy. West of the 15th sideroad it was called 'Canaan'."
Today, the area known as Egypt has reverted back to farmland. Although it seems almost unbelievable that anything would be standing after all these years, the remains of one lonely log shell, probably part of an original settlement, still stands alongside the road. At the east end, where the road ends, sits a newer dwelling that is still being used.