Ruthven Park’s History

Visit Ruthven Park, a unique historic estate overlooking the Grand River, and experience the mansion and the lifestyle of five generations of the Thompson family.

Ruthven Park is the former home of five generations of the Thompson family. Not the newspaper magnate or explorer, but an important family in their own right. With members of the military, actors, businessmen and politicians, the family contributed to the formative years of country and to the building of our nation up until the 1990’s. They were also active members of the Haldimand community.

David Thompson moved to the area from Wainfleet in the 1830’s. His interest in moving here was two-fold. First, he wanted to invest in the Grand River Navigation Company with funds he earned while being a contractor on the building of the first Welland Canal in the 1820’s. Secondly, he was interested in business. As a result of his move, David was instrumental in the laying out of the former 1200 acre town of Indiana. He eventually owned two sawmills, as well as a gristmill, carding mill, cooperage and several stores. Overall, Indiana supported over 30 industries and was the largest industrial town in Haldimand County in the mid nineteenth century.

David was elected to the legislative assembly after the union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841, and served as a reformer until his death in 1851.

The Greek revival mansion that David had built between 1845 and 1847 is filled with furnishings and possessions owned by five generations of the family and passed to The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. largely intact. This collection of archival records, military artifacts, furnishings, paintings and decorative arts, tools and implements, books, clothing, gate columns, and lawn sculpture dating from David Thompson I, relate the history of the Thompson family residence and contribute to the understanding of the site.

The estate was built in the English model and largely survived intact to the present day. The 1500 acres is now made up of Carolinian forests, active farm fields, wetlands, meadows, two cemeteries, nineteenth century buildings and an island.

Visitors have the opportunity to explore this unique property year round.

Winter Hours – October 10/17 to May 18/18

The Gate House: (office) open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm

The Mansion: by appointment only

Contact Us:
Phone: (905) 772-0560 
Toll-free: (877) 705-7275

Mailing Address: 
243 Haldimand Hwy. #54,
Box 610
Cayuga, ON N0A 1E0