Linwood, located in the northwest quadrant of Wellesley Township, was settled predominantly by the Irish, who were followed later by a mix of nationalities, principally of German and Pennsylvania-German heritage.
Some families settled on the land immediately, while others lived in other parts of the province and cleared their holdings for a few summers, before bringing their families and animals to their new homes.
There were many Roman Catholics in the Linwood area, but Lutherans, Wesleyan Methodists and Presbyterians arrived and eventually built churches. The Catholics first attended church in St. Clements but in 1907, built their own church and school in Linwood. The small villages of Dorking and Macton grew along the northern boundary and a Roman Catholic Church was built on the Perth Township side in Macton.
Crown lands in the Linwood area were first surveyed in the early 1840s. The Linwood village plan was laid out in 1857, the same year that Linwood’s post office was established. According to Parsel’s Atlas of 1881, Linwood boasted a population of 600, several mills, a pump factory, hotels, a post office, a public school, and a shoe maker. The shoe maker and pump maker eventually expanded, and established 2 general stores there.
The village also had a hockey team and a band. In 1870 the Linwood Horse Show began and was held annually until 1968. By 1906, the City of Guelph had built a railway line, leased to the CPR that went via Linwood to Goderich, ensuring Linwood’s continued role as the central market town in the northern part of Wellesley Township.
A spur, which connected Listowel to Linwood was closed in 1939.
The population of Linwood was 759 in 2016, a slight decline (-2.1%) from that recorded in the previous census in 2011.
Source: Wellesleyhistory.org and waterlooregionmuseum.ca