Scarborough’s lakefront connections to trade and transportation reached it’s zenith when the Scarborough and Pickering Wharf Company was established in 1847 near the mouth of the Rouge by local farmer and entrepreneur William Helliwell along with partners Daniel Knowles and Will Hetherington.

Helliwell’s father, Thomas, after emigrating from Yorkshire, England, began a brewery and distillery on the banks of the Don River in 1820. This area became known as Todmorden Mills, and the brewery operation continued until the building was destroyed by fire in 1847. Helliwell then moved to the Highland Creek Valley where in 1849/50 capitalized on the active trade already taking place and built a wharf at the bottom of present day Lawrence and Port Union and storehouses at the shore that moved goods from the three townships directly on to the ships.

The little village of Port Union grew up around the wharf and storehouses near the edge of the lake. Sometimes lined up all the way up to the Kingston Road, farmers stood with their teams, waiting their turns
to load their goods, among which was grain, potash and apples into the storehouses and then on to markets beyond.

By the early 1850’s Port Union was booming. Will Hetherington opened the Union Hotel, which catered to the influx of farmers waiting to offload their goods near the wharf. During those years Hetherington and Helliwell also joined forces to build the Caledonia, probably on the beach near Port Union. It and the Northerner (1856) were among the last of the schooners built at the Scarborough shore.