Quinte, On. real estate agent: The Gunshot Treaty

The Gunshot Treaty

Carrying Place is a small town (hamlet maybe) close to Trenton. People pass through it on their way into Prince Edward County (from the highway 401, there's only 2 ways into the county), and as the expression goes "blink and you will miss it". There's a few houses, a Post Office and a small diner. The general store closed down some years ago. It is little more than a bedroom community for the larger towns of Trenton and Belleville. Certainly most people in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) would never have heard of this small place, but it is one of Ontario's oldest settled areas and it had a huge impact on the history of Ontario some years ago.

After the American Revolutionary War, refugees who remained loyal to the Crown were streaming into this area after having left the new nation of America. At the time, the Quinte area was under the signeurial system of Quebec, and the Loyalists objected to this, even though there were no French settlements. The land was inhabited by the Mississauga Peoples, and conflicts were beginning to arise between the new Loyalist settlers (squatters?) and the original inhabitants.

On October 9 1783, in the small settlement of Carrying Place, an agreement was reached between Captain William Crawford on behalf of the Crown and the Mississauga chiefs. In exchange for guns, gunpowder, 12 laced hats and some red cloth the Mississauga people would give up some land to the Crown and allow for peaceful settlement of the Loyalists.

This treaty was known as the Gunshot Treaty. The Aboriginals gave up their land rights extending north of the Great Lake within the sound of a gunshot - which came to be almost 20 kilometers. This parcel of land stretched from the Trent River (which flows into the Bay of Quinte) on the east all the way to the Humber River on the west side of what is now known as the city of Toronto.

lake Ontario

Imagine that. The land that became the heartland of Ontario's economy was sold for a pittance. The land that Toronto grew upon and became such a huge city upon was bought for some guns and 12 lace hats in the small community of Carrying Place, Ontario. Next time you happen to be driving to Prince Edward County, don't blink when you drive through Carrying Place. It played a significant role in the history of Ontario 

Comment balloon 10 commentsMalcolm Johnston • February 23 2010 05:05PM



Fascinating history....to think I lived in Trenton from grade 2 onwards and then in various regions around Quinte and Belleville up until a year ago, and I didn't know this.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 10 years ago

Jo-Anne Smith- Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Region Real Estate, Ont (Brekland Realty Group) Jo, I didn't know you were from the Quinte area. Yes it is amazing to think of all the history that lurks in even the most mundane of places, just waiting to be discovered.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 10 years ago


What a great post! That is truly fascinating. And, I knew that Jo would like it too. I see that she has already dropped by.

Keep up the good work.

Also, do you know anyone who will sell some real estate for some nice hats? I could even get some Team Canada shirts.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 10 years ago

Brian Madigan LL.B. (Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Broker) Thanks Brian. I'm not so sure that the "land for baubles" trick still works any more. Team Canada shirts are always nice though.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 10 years ago


Very interesting story and another bit of Canadian history that is little known!


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 10 years ago

I don't think I mentioned to you yet, but I grew up in Doylestown, PA.  That is Bucks County and includes the place where Washington crossed the Delaware that fateful Christmas so many years ago to turn the tide of the revolution.  I love your history tidbits and it has prompted me to do some research on various architectures in and around the Dallas area that are so interesting.  Thanks Malcolm.

Posted by Larry Lawfer, "I listen for a living." It's all about you. (YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles Unlimited®) over 10 years ago


I did not know that, and I lived in Trenton in '58-'59 as an airforce brat.

Posted by Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) over 10 years ago

Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc Hi Ty, there's a great deal of history that's just waiting to be blogged about.

Larry Lawfer (EXIT Realty Metro Dallas) That's quite the place to have grown up Larry. It's like the epicentre of North American history. I do think that it would make fantastic reading on your blog, and you'd become known as the real estate historian of Dallas. I'm sure you'd get a lot of interested readers, and not just agents, but the general public.

Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) I bet Trenton has changed a lot since those days Terry. It still is an airforce town though.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 10 years ago

Malcolm-Great history lesson. Interesting sometimes as to what it took to get land deals done in years past.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 6 years ago

The 1783 agreement that is referenced, if one can call it that, is not called the Gunshot Treaty; but rather the Crawford Purchase. The Crawford Purchase established the Trent River as its western boundary. The Gunshot Treaty came after Crawford and it took in land along the lake from the Trent River to Etobicoke, in 1787.

Posted by Dave Mowat over 4 years ago