June, 2018:

Smiths Falls, Ontario – My Top 8 Picks

Smiths Falls, Ontario – My Top 8 Picks

Smiths Falls is a town in Eastern Ontario located fourteen miles east of Perth. The Rideau Canal waterway passes through the town, with four separate locks in three locations and a combined lift of over fifteen meters (fifty feet). The city is named after Thomas Smyth, a United Empire Loyalist who in 1786 was granted 400 acres here. In 1846, there were fifty dwellings, two grist mills (one with four run of stones), two sawmills, one carding and fulling mill, seven stores, six groceries, one axe factory, six blacksmiths, two wheelwrights, one cabinet maker, one chair-maker, three carpenters, one gunsmith, eleven shoemakers, seven tailors, one tinsmith and two taverns.

At the time of construction of the Rideau Canal a small settlement had been established around a mill operated by Abel Russell Ward, who had bought Smyth’s land. Colonel By ordered the removal of Ward’s mill to make way for the canal. The disruption of industry caused by the building of the canal was only temporary, and Smiths Falls grew rapidly following construction.

The Rideau Canal area is home to a variety of ecosystems. The land along the Rideau that was once logged is now home to deep-rooted deciduous and coniferous forests that have been maturing for over one hundred years. Where the landscape flattens, there are cedar/hardwood swamps, bogs and cattail marshes which support the healthy wildlife population.

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

110 Elmsley Street North – 2½-storey tower-like bay with pediment and fretwork; dormer

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

16 Maple Avenue – Victorian Cottage style – c. late 1890s – double bay windows, high gables decorated with detailed wood trim and finials, fretwork, voussoirs and keystones, dichromatic brickwork and banding; upper exterior porch; elegant entrance

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

40 William Street – Victorian – iron cresting around balcony above bay window; turned veranda roof supports with decorative capitals and spindles

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

Russell Street East corner of Market Street – Trinity United Church – 1886 – Queen Anne style – three non-symmetrical towers, various shaped windows, rose window, beveled dentil molding

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

84 Lombard Street – Gothic – finials and trim on gables, corner quoins, voussoirs with keystones, second floor balcony; bay window with cornice brackets; turned spindle roof supports for veranda

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

78 Brockville Street at corner of Lombard Street – built by Ogle Carss, an early mayor of the town – 1895 – Queen Anne Revival style – irregular outline, broad gables, multi-sloped roofs, a belvedere, a tower, ornamental cast iron railings on the roof; long, graceful wraparound verandah; stone voussoirs over semi-circular windows with transoms

Architectural Photos, Smiths Falls, Ontario

102 Brockville Street – Italianate – steeply pitched hip roof with dormer; cornice brackets, voussoirs; turned veranda roof supports with decorative capitals, open railing; pediment

Smiths Falls, Ontario

Bascule Bridge – located west of the Detached Locks – a rolling-lift railway bridge built in 1914, now in a permanently raised position – it works like a seesaw – on one end a hinged counter weight drops causing the other end to rise – it was the solution to the point where the railway and canal intersected

Merrickville, Ontario – My Top 16 Picks

Merrickville, Ontario – My Top 16 Picks

The United Empire Loyalists were the first non-aboriginal people to settle in the Merrickville area.  Beginning in 1783, they were forced to leave the United States after the British defeat in the American War of Independence.  Most of these settlers were farmers of Welsh, German, Dutch, Scottish and Irish descent.  By settling along the Rideau River, they had access to rich soil, a source of fresh water, and a communication lifeline as the river could keep them connected to each other and to other communities along its banks.  In 1793, William Merrick acquired a saw mill from Roger Stevens at the “Great Falls” on the Rideau River (there was a drop of fourteen feet in the river), and then began building new mills which formed the nucleus of Merricks Mills.

As industry grew, farms provided the mills with resources to process.  Lumber, corn, oats, wheat, hides, and wool kept the mills running and ensured the region’s growing prosperity.  Transporting agricultural goods and raw materials such as pig iron became even easier with the construction of the Rideau Canal.  From the 1850s to the 1890s, Merrickville was a very important manufacturing center along the Rideau corridor.

Wheels and tools to cut, saw, seed, cultivate, harvest and store agricultural crops were very important.  In the 1850s Merrickville leached wood ashes and evaporated the liquid to make potash; they produced twenty barrels, each weighing five hundred pounds, in a year.  Potash was used in fertilizers, soaps and other manufactured goods.  A cooperage in Merrickville was established in 1845; coopers produced butter churns, tubs, and barrels (for flour, salt pork, etc.).  Several brickyards offered an alternative to wood and stone for building materials.  Several tanneries were located here; they produced leather from animal skins.

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

905 St. Lawrence Street – The Aaron Merrick House – built in 1844 of local stone with refined stone window surrounds and oversized stone quoins for the son of the founder

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

806 St. Lawrence Street – Gothic, verge board trim, decorative wood-turned spindles supporting second floor balcony

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

529 St. Lawrence Street – mansard roof, dormers, corner quoins, voussoirs

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

405 St. Lawrence Street – Dr. J. O. Walker House, c. 1870 – Family Physician (1912-1946) – hip roof, dormer

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

242 St. Lawrence Street – John Mills’ Furniture Showroom and Funeral Home – c. 1868 – operated until the 1930s – corner quoins, cornice brackets

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

111 St. Lawrence Street – Jakes-McLean Block – c. 1862 – Baldachin Inn and Restaurant – dentil molding, pilasters, string courses, voussoirs

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

211 St. Lawrence Street – Windsor’s Courtyard, fine garden and home décor – dichromatic brickwork, stepped parapet

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

Main Street West – hip roof, corner quoins, voussoirs and keystones

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

223 Main Street West – Royal Canadian Legion – old Town Hall – c. 1856 – stone, corner quoins

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

205 Main Street West – Queen Anne style – corner tower, dormer with Palladian window, turned veranda roof supports, open railing

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

Block House – 1832 – could accommodate fifty men – 3.5 foot walls designed to withstand small cannon fire; pyramidal tin-sheathed roof to withstand torching; upper level overhang allowed for machicolated defense holes cut in the overhang to allow downward fire on an enemy; no military action here – served as lockmaster’s quarters, a church, and a canal maintenance building – now a museum

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

206 Main Street East – Percival House (Ardcaven) – c. 1890 – Richardsonian-Romanesque style – home of foundry-man Roger Percival – heavy stone arch around door, decorative chimney, two-storey bay window topped with open pediment, dormer, tower, stone courses

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

111 Main Street East – Pearson House – c. 1890 – Gothic Revival – former location of the Merrickville Public Library – verge board trim with finials on gables, dormer, bay window; veranda roof supports with ornate capital detailing

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

Church Street – Gothic – verge board trim on gable above bay window, dormers, pillars with decorative capitals

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

405 Elgin Street – decorative capitals on veranda supports, open spindle railing; dormer in attic

Architectural Photos, Merrickville, Ontario

212 Lewis Street East – log cabin

Brockville, Ontario – My Top 12 Picks

Brockville, Ontario – My Top 12 Picks

Brockville, formerly Elizabethtown, is a city in Eastern Ontario in the Thousand Islands region located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River opposite Morristown, New York.  It is about halfway between Cornwall to the east and Kingston to the west.  It is one of Ontario’s oldest European-Canadian communities and is named after the British General Sir Isaac Brock.

This area of Ontario was first settled by English speaking people in 1785, when thousands of American refugees arrived from the American colonies after the American Revolutionary War.  They were later called United Empire Loyalists because of their allegiance to King George III. The struggle between Britain and the 13 American colonies occurred in the years 1776 to 1783, and divided loyalties among the people.  During the 6-year war, which ended with the capitulation of the British in 1782, many colonists who remained loyal to the crown were subject to harsh reprisals and unfair dispossession of their property by their countrymen. Many Loyalists chose to flee north to the British colony of Quebec. Great Britain opened the western region of Canada (known as Upper Canada and now Ontario), purchasing land from First Nations to allocate to the Loyalists in compensation for their losses, and helping them with some supplies as they founded new settlements.  In 1785 the first Loyalist to take up land in Brockville was William Buell Senior, an ensign disbanded from the King’s Rangers from the State of New York.

In the 19th century the town developed as a local center of industry, including shipbuilding, saddleries, tanneries, tinsmiths, a foundry, a brewery, and several hotels.

In 1855, Brockville was chosen as a divisional point of the new Grand Trunk Railway between Montreal and Toronto.  At the same time, the north–south line of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway was built to join the timber trade of the Ottawa Valley with the St. Lawrence River ship route. A well-engineered tunnel for this railway was dug and blasted underneath the middle of Brockville. The Brockville Tunnel was the first railway tunnel in Canada.

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

12-14 Court House Avenue – Thomas Fuller Building – former Post Office – 1883-85 – A stone post office, blending Flemish, Queen Anne and Classical elements; a good example of the post offices erected by the Department of Public Works in smaller urban centers during Thomas Fuller’s term as Chief Dominion Architect.

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

21 Court House Avenue – Hubbell’s Building c. 1825 – Law Offices Stewart Corbett – window hoods with cornice brackets, semi-circular transom and sidelights

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

1 King Street East – Victoria Hall and East Ward Market Building – 1863 – designed to show off the success and taste of Brockville s inhabitants – built as a combination concert hall, office space and indoor market house – stone building, intricate detailing, and beautiful clock tower

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

112 King Street East – Alexander Allan House – c. 1880 -Victorian Villa in the Stick Style – irregular in shape, three bays, clapboard sided, four stories, tower, mansard roof, iron cresting, cornice brackets, window hoods, trefoil designs on house and veranda supports

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

119 King Street East – Italianate – dormer with broken pediment and decorated tympanum; hipped roof; paired cornice brackets; composite pillars supporting veranda with pediment and decorative tympanum

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

135 King Street East – Brace Terrace (131-135) – c. 1896 – two storey circular tower; dormer, dentil molding; wood turned porch supports

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

King Street East – Hip roof, dormers, second floor balcony, pediment above verandah supported by rectangular and circular pillars, rectangular bay window

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

165 King Street East – Romanesque style, tower, Palladian window in gable with cornice return, large decorative chimney, round window arch, circular window, open pediment, enclosed veranda

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

181 King Street East – Gill House – 1878 additions of roof and wings – Second Empire style, mansard roof, dormers, window hoods with keystones, iron cresting around rooftop balcony, central tower, bay windows

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

163-165 Church Street – verge board trim on gable, dormers, pediments

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

12 Victoria Avenue – Queen Anne style – tower, iron cresting; stone keystones and banding; verge board trim, finials; bay windows; veranda with Doric columns

Architectural Photos, Brockville, Ontario

10 Victoria Avenue – Queen Anne style – turret with stone lintels, corbelling and banding; 2-storey bay windows