Portland and Newboro, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Portland and Newboro, Ontario – My Top 12 Picks

Portland is a community located in Eastern Ontario within the township of Rideau Lakes in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. It is north of Kingston and situated on Big Rideau Lake.

Portland was first settled in the early nineteenth century as one of the first settlements along the Rideau Waterway. With the completion of the Rideau Canal Waterway in 1832, steamboats and barges carried raw materials such as cordwood, maple syrup, potash, cheese, tanned hides and salt beef. Portland became a thriving village of trade with Kingston, Montreal and Ottawa.

The village of Portland took its name in 1843 from William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, a British Whig and Tory statesman, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and served as Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1783 and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1807 to 1809.

By the 1860s, the settlement had expanded considerably to require five hotels and, by the early twentieth century, cottages were built around the lake and the tourist trade began. Advances in rail and road travel and increasing tourism offset a decline in the role of agriculture in the economy of Portland. Tourism began to lead the economy and still does to this day.

An international speed skating tournament called Skate the Lake is held each winter on the Big Rideau Lake at Portland.

The settlement of the Newboro area was begun during the construction of the Rideau Canal in 1826-32. A major construction camp was located here at the Isthmus between the Rideau and Mud (Newboro) Lakes. In 1833, Benjamin Tett, owner of a nearby sawmill, opened a store and three years later a post office named Newborough was established. A small community including several stores developed as a trade center for the region’s lumbering industry and agriculture. About 1850 a tannery was established and within ten years two iron mines were opened. The ore was exported via the Rideau to smelters in the United States. A foundry and a steam sawmill stimulated growth.

In 1888, a branch of the Brockville-Westport & S.S.M. Railroad came to Newboro.  Trade and travel were now year-round. Produce of local farm and forest entered wider markets through Newboro’s cannery and mills. From Newboro Station, local scholars went to and from high school in Athens and Brockville.

Architectural Photos, Portland, Ontario

35 Colborne Street, Portland – The Gingerbread House – c. 1880s-1890s – Gothic Revival – gingerbread trim with finial on the front gable

Architectural Photos, Portland, Ontario

12 Newboro Road – Crosby Public School S.S. #2 – 1907 – now the site of Grace Varley’s Art Gallery; separate entrances for boys and girls, tin roof, bell tower, voussoirs

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

Newboro – #42 – Gothic – dichromatic voussoirs

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

Newboro – Victorian – dichromatic voussoirs, verandah pillars with ornate capitals, open railing

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

24 Drummond Street, Newboro – Italianate – Union Bank Building – cornice brackets, second floor balcony, voussoirs, string course

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

7 Drummond Street – The J.T. Gallagher House – c. 1885 – Gothic Revival style – 2½ storeys tall, 2 storey bay, extensive dripped barge board, locally quarried sandstone lintels; ornate polychromatic slate roof; tall decorative chimneys

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

#18, Newboro – hip roof with dormer, dentil molding

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

11 New Street – The John Draffin House – c. 1860 – first stone building constructed in Newboro – Italianate – corner quoins with large ashlars; cornice brackets, two round-headed doors opening onto balcony above porch; sidelights and transom – between 1895 and 1945 this was the parsonage for St. Mary’s Church

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

14 By Street – The John Poole Tett House – c. 1896 – Victorian – tall, imposing windows; bay window; cornice brackets

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

4 Main Street – The R.O. Leggett House and Shop – c. 1870 – furniture and undertaking establishment – intricate treillage work on the veranda posts of the home; large windows of business

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

5 Main Street – John Webster House – c. 1860s – Classical Revival style – entrance has a rectangular transom with sidelights to let natural light into the central hallway before there was electricity; bracketed shelf above door; Doric engaged columns flanking the sidelights; central casement window has a fanlight transom above it

Architectural Photos, Newboro, Ontario

14 Main Street – The Richard Blake House – c. 1858 – Ontario Cottage – 1½ storeys; gable window over front doorway provided light to a central hallway on the upper floor; intricate treillage work on the veranda posts, open railing