Heritage & Local History
Attended KCSS • 1965–1970
Born on March 10, 1951 in Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Orillia Ontario to William J. Willoughby and Doris I. Hollinshead, Paul moved to King City in 1953. His father had worked as Section Foreman in Washago for the Canadian National Railway but was made Foreman after the family moved to King. His mother grew up in Kinghorn, west of King City. She is the sixth generation of a United Empire Loyalist family to live in Ontario.
Paul attended grades 1-6 at SS #2 Public School on Keele Street North. The school was later re-named Doris M. Patton Public School. Today it is St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. He later attended Eva L. Dennis Public School for grades 7 & 8 and attended KCSS from 1965 to 1970.
In Paul’s own words, “My interest in history began in grades 7 and 8 and continued throughout high school. I won the Fred Swayze Award in grade 10 for my interest in local history. My grandmother, Mabel Hollinshead, was an avid gardener and I enjoyed my time spent with her. I picked up part-time jobs cutting grass and planting flowers etc. in the Township.”
Paul enrolled in 1970 at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph, majoring in Horticulture. He graduated in 1974 with a BSc (Agr). 1974 was the 100th year of OAC and he represented the student body on the Centennial planning committee.
“Following graduation I worked in various horticultural businesses including greenhouse and retail. I spent 33 years with the City of Etobicoke/Toronto starting as an outdoor gardener, later moving into the greenhouses as a grower. I spent 20 winters in charge of Riverlea, a unique greenhouse where residents rented allotments to grow tropical plants, beddings plants and vegetables.”
Paul continued his interest in history as a member of King Township Historical Society and The York Pioneer and Historical Society, where he served 2 terms as President. He is a founding member of the Brampton Historical Society, of which he is currently the Recording Secretary. As well he has been a member of the Brampton Heritage Board since 2003, and Co-Chair since 2009.
For the past 5 years Paul has volunteered at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) researching artifacts for the Museum Curator. He is the current President of the Sharon (ON) Burying Ground Association. “This is where my great-great-great-grandfather, George Hollinshead is buried.”
In 2013 Paul appropriately received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Honourable David C. Onley and Thomas H.B. Symons, Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
In the Fall of 2018 he was elected as an elder in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brampton.