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170   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

The Canada Company, through Thomas Mercer Jones, claimed non-liability. The statute of the day, it appears, attached liability only to "enclosed lands," and as the Canada Company's lands were not "enclosed," and, in fact, had no improvements on them, exemption was claimed. Thus the actual settler, who was living on and making more valuable the hundred acres held by him, was liable for trees falling from his place blocking the highway. A great corporation, that held thousands of acres which were being made more valuable by the labour of others, claimed exemption from the same liability because its property was not enclosed. It is not surprising that the Canada Company was even more unpopular in the early days of Western Ontario than some other corporations operating have been since then.

The Crown and Anchor Hotel in which Colborne's first municipal government was formed disappeared long since. The village of Gairbraid itself, like many other hamlets of pioneer times, has also disappeared, and for about half a century a one-time scene of hustling activity has been part of a plowed field.


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