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Belleville - Where streets have a name

Forin Street Belleville

The origin of Forin Street. Most streets in the city of Belleville for the most part named after a former citizen of high standing and contributions to the community.

Forin Street named after John Alexander Forin, born July 4, 1827, Waterford, Ireland. John, the third child, along with siblings Michael, Mary, born to parents William Forin and Abigail Hutchison Forin immigrated to Canada in 1830 and settled in Quebec. A third sibling Julia was born in Quebec.

John Forin c1852

In 1851, Forin traveled to New York and studied architecture. After studying Architecture at night and working construction by day for two years, John (Catholic) returned to Canada and eventually settled in Belleville, Ontario after marrying Jane Maclaren (Protestant) November 21, 1854. John and Jane had eight children, Agnes, Isabella, Alexander, Jane, John, Emma, Elizabeth, and Peter.

Though John Forin built many homes in the city of Belleville, he is best known for his construction of Belleville City Hall, completed 1873 at the cost of $35,000. His first known structure was the Commercial Bank c1855, which is the former Corby Library Building. Other notable buildings include the structure which Dinkels Restaurant occupies, c1870.


John bought several plots of land along Forin and Alexander from Tobias Bleeker. This property previously purchased from John Walden Meyers was part of Meyers Orchard which took up most of Alexander Street and the north side of what is now Forin Street. He constructed the family home c1864 at 2 Forin Street, where he and wife Jane made residence until her death 24, March 1915. John had also built the first three homes on Alexander Street for some of his children that stood directly behind his house and connected by a laneway. On an extended visit to his daughter Agnes, Victoria British Columbia, John suddenly became ill and died three weeks later, 29, March 1901.


The home at 2 Forin has exchanged hands several times over the years since 1915. The first person to purchase the house after the death of Jane was Peter Crawford MacLaurin, Principal of Belleville High School from 1912 and then Belleville Collegiate until 1942. Peter lived her a short time until he sold it to the Waters family in the early 1920's. David Waters sold the residence in the early 1960's to Donald and Dorothy Brown. They eventually sold the property to the Smales.

Merchant Bank c1875

Merchant Bank built by John Forin 1855 and how it looked in 1875. It later became the Corby Public Library.

City Hall c1910, built by John Forin 1872-1873



John and Jane Forin memorial stone Belleville Cemetery

John Alexander Forin - Born July 4, 1827, Watersford Ireland

Died March 29, 1901, Victoria British Columbia.

Jane MacLaren Forin - Born December 9, 1832, Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland

Died March 24, 1915, Belleville, Ontario


Agnes Campbell Forin - Born August 23, 1855, Belleville, Ontario

Died September 18, 1933, Victoria, British Columbia. Married Rev John Campbell

Isabella MacLaren Forin - Born May 24, 1857, Belleville, Ontario.

Died January 6, 1942, British Columbia. Married Rev David Barrett MacLaren

Alexander Forin - Born May 24, 1857, Belleville, Ontario.

Died January 2, 1937, Edmonton, Alberta. (Doctor)

Jane "Jennie" Templeton Forin - Born 1859 Belleville, Ontario

Died January 7, 1885, Belleville, Ontario. Married Robert Templeton

John Andrew Forin - Born July 20, 1861, Belleville, Ontario.

Died September 14, 1957, Vancouver, British Columbia. (Judge)

Emma MacLaren Forin - Born January 19, 1863, Belleville, Ontario. Died June 12, 1942, Hespler, Ontario.

Married John MacLaren.

Elizabeth Fell Forin - Born May 8, 1868, Belleville, Ontario. Died March 11, 1943, Victoria, British Columbia.

Married Thornton Fell.

Peter MacLaren Forin - Born January 28, 1869, Belleville, Ontario. Died April 19, 1915, Belleville, Ontario.

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