In 1870, Lakefield was little more than the “Police Town” of “North Douro”. The Village had yet to be incorporated or named but as old log cabins and shanties were replaced with more modern and substantial buildings, the viability for business was realized. Queen Street quickly began to fill with merchants of all types including hotels, bakeries, taverns, stables, and harness and saddle shops. The business owners at the time would soon band together and call themselves the “Queen Street Merchants Association”, the first form of the president day Chamber of Commerce. It would be this unofficial Chamber, the “Queen Street Merchants Association”, with the help of the Strickland, Smith, Dinwoodie, Hilliard, Hall, Young, and Chalmer families, who would make motion to incorporate the “Police Village” into an official village with the Registrar-General’s Office in Toronto. In doing so, in 1874, the first Village Council would be elected that December with those elected taking office in January of 1875. This Village Council and the Queen Street Merchants Association would both act as Chambers of Commerce to some degree. Between 1880 and 1890, the Queen Street Merchants Assoc. Would change their name to the “Manufacturers and Traders Association which reflected the introduction of the larger manufacturers and industries forming at that time. These industries included doors, windows, stairs, furniture, shingles, Cavendish Lumber and McLean’s Grist Mill. When the “Board of Trade” was around and when it dismembered is unclear; however, the best guess is that it likely formed around 1890-1900 as a “Branch Charter” of the Peterborough Board of Trade which was established in 1889. It would operate as such until around the end of World War One and following the collapse of many industrial businesses at the time. It is around this time that the names the “Lakefield Merchants and Business Association” and the “Lakefield Businessmen’s Association” appear in newspapers. Whether these were the same association is unclear but the later of the two is more infrequently mentioned. The Lakefield Merchants and Business Association would act as the Chamber until 1946 when the Lakefield Lions Club would form. Lions Club’s were permitted to act as the Chamber of Commerce where one did not exist. The Lions were thus the acting Chamber for all of one year. In 1947, the Lakefield and District Chamber of Commerce was formed and operated under that name until 1998, From 1998-2009 the Chamber of Commerce operated as Kawartha Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Region. In 2009, the name was simplified to East Kawartha Chamber of Commerce. From 2014-2022 they operated as both a Chamber of Commerce and a Tourism Office promoting the many members in the Kawarthas that are tourism focused. During this time, they ran as Kawartha Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
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