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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Archives > Lady Sarah Maitland and Tiny, Tay, and Flos

Lady Sarah Maitland and Tiny, Tay, and Flos

​​As we enter the dog days of summer, staff at the Archives are exploring the surprising canine connection to the name origins of the Township of Tiny, the Township of Tay, and the historic T​ownship of Flos (now Springwater).

​​​Lady Sarah Maitland, née Lennox (1792-1873), was the second wife of Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. She met Sir Maitland at a ball, and though the two wanted to marry, her father, the Duke of Richmond, refused to consent due to Sir Maitland’s lower status. With this refusal, Lady Maitland waited for her father to leave town and then immediately married Sir Maitland. Upon his arrival home, the Duke could only accept the marriage. Though most records focus on her husband, it is said Lady Maitland was referred to as “the lovely Lennox.” However, in Simcoe County, Lady Maitland is perhaps best known for her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs.

A portrait of Lady Sarah Maitland by Mrs. Ince Lady Sarah Maitland, by Mrs. Ince.  Source: Henry James Morgan, ed., Types of Canadian Women and of women who are or have been connected to Canada (Toronto: William Briggs, 1903), 228. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their gentle and loving nature. Their namesake, King Charles I and his son Charles II, were said to be particularly fond of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to the point where diarist Samuel Pepys claimed Charles II seemed more interested in breeding the dogs than ruling Britain. With silky, wavy fur and only weighing between 13-18 pounds, these spaniels made perfect lapdogs, and their pretty looks made them popular in aristocratic society. Hence, it is no surprise that Lady Maitland had three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Tiny, Tay, and Flos. 

Lady Sarah Maitland, painted by Elizabeth A. Birnie pre-1914 Lady Sarah Maitland, painted by Elizabeth A. Birnie, pre-1914  Source: Courtesy of Simcoe County Museum 

These names may seem familiar, as each have been a township in Simcoe County (Flos now amalgamated into Springwater Township). Because of her husband’s title of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Lady Maitland was given the opportunity to name three townships as Simcoe County began to develop, all of which she named after her spaniels. To this day, no one is sure why she decided to do this, if she was being endearing or foolish. Over the years, it has been said that changing the names of these townships would not be unjustified, but the names remained. 

Hogg’s Map of Tiny, Tay, and Flos from 1871

967-143 Hogg’s Map of Tiny, Tay, and Flos, 1871 

Simcoe County Archives Atlas Collection 

Strange as this may be, Tiny, Tay and Flos are not the only places in Simcoe County named after animals. While many places were named after family or hometowns back in Europe, Beeton was named after David Allanson Jones’ apiary. The village was originally named Clarksville, but after Jones became widely popular for being the first commercial beekeeper in Canada, the village opted to change its name to honour Jones and his bees. 

Cover of The Canadian Bee Journal from 1889 2004-04 Cover of The Canadian Bee Journal, Vol. IV No. 44, 1889 

In more current times, Tiny, Tay and Flos Townships have been known for their historic sites, events, and picturesque scenery. These dog-named townships are the perfect place for you and your furry friend to explore as summer winds to an end. 

Aerial photo of Ross Usher’s property, Flos, Concession 7 north half Lot 11 2015-08 Aerial photo of Ross Usher’s property, Flos, Con 7 N ½ Lot 11, after 1920 


The Martyr's Shrine in Midland, Tay Township, 19262005-40 Martyrs’ Shrine, Tay Township, ca. 1926 

Balm Beach in Tiny Township around 1977 989-41 Balm Beach, Tiny Township, ca. 1977 

Huronia Tourist Association collection 


Works Consulted 

  • American Kennel Club. “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog.” American Kennel Club. 2022. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel/ 
  • Elizabeth A. Birnie, Lady Maitland, pre-1914, oil painting, 4 x 5’, Simcoe County Museum. 
  • Gardiner, Herbert Fairbairn. Nothing but Names: An inquiry into the origin of the names of the counties and townships of Ontario. Toronto: George N. Morang and Company, Limited, 1899, 230-231. 
  • Moore, W.F. “Indian Place Names.” In Papers and Records of the Wentworth Historical Society Volume Six, edited by Wentworth Historical Society, 17-24. Hamilton: The Griffin & Richmond Co. Ltd. Printers, 1915. 
  • Morgan, Henry James, ed. Types of Canadian Women and of women who are or have been connected to Canada. Toronto: William Briggs, 1903. 
  • Read, D.B. The Lieutenant-Governors of Upper Canada and Ontario 1792-1899. Toronto: William Briggs, 1900. 
  • Township of Tiny. “About Tiny: Historical Information.” Township of Tiny. 2022. https://www.tiny.ca/about-tiny ​