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

Morrisburg, Ontario – My Top 11 Picks

Morrisburg, Ontario – My Top 11 Picks

In 1997, Morrisburg was amalgamated with the Village of Iroquois, Matilda and Williamsburg Townships into the Township of South Dundas, in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.  The county was named in 1792 to honor Henry Dundas, who was Lord Advocate for Scotland and Colonial Secretary at the time. Matilda and Williamsburgh were two of Upper Canada’s original eight Royal Townships.

On November 11, 1813, the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, at which a British force repelled an invading American army, took place near here.  United Empire Loyalists settled in Dundas County creating West Williamsburg; it was part of the Williamsburg Canal project. Between 1843 and 1856, canals were built on the north side of the St. Lawrence River.  West Williamsburg was renamed Morrisburg in 1851 in honor of Brockville politician, James Morris, who was the first Postmaster General of the United Provinces of Canada.  By 1860, Morrisburg had a growing manufacturing base consisting of a gristmill, a carding mill and a fanning mill.  The Grand Trunk Railroad reached Morrisburg in 1855. A hydroelectric power plant was built in 1901.

During the 1950s, portions of Morrisburg were relocated because of expected flooding which would occur with the St. Lawrence Seaway project.  Over eighty homes were moved and the entire downtown business district was demolished and relocated in a shopping plaza.  The Canadian National Railway line was moved about a kilometer north of its original location.  Much of the former rail bed was used for reconstructing Highway 2.  Buildings and other artifacts were moved and assembled to create Upper Canada Village, a tribute to the area’s pioneers.

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

22 Lakeshore Drive – Second Empire – built 1879 – mansard roof, rounded dormers, heavy cornice brackets

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

31 Lakeshore Drive – Second Empire style – projecting central tower, concave mansard roof, dormers; has eighteen stained glass windows, each with a different color scheme

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

48 Lakeshore Drive – Italianate, paired cornice brackets, decorative porch and verandah supports; transom

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

50 Lakeshore Drive – Victorian – two-storey bay windows with iron cresting above, widow’s walk balcony on rooftop with iron cresting, dormers with finials; verandah with ornate capital detailing on the support posts with spindles under the cornice

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

Lakeshore Drive – Georgian style – hipped roof, balanced façade, bay windows

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

36 First Street – Russell Manor Bed and Breakfast – Second Empire style, mansard roof, cornice brackets, patterned slate roof, bay window

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

16 First Street – Gothic Revival – built 1870s – wide, bold barge boards, central pinnacle suspended beneath the peak ending in a knob-like pendant above the third floor window; intricate cut-out patterns adorning the gable ends

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

24 High Street – Gothic Revival style – symmetrical organization, steeply pitched roof gables, tall twin window bays; dichromatic brickwork; transom windows

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

52 High Street – Neo-colonial – gambrel roof

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

19 St. Lawrence Street – Italianate Villa – built 1876 – wrought iron fence; corner tower with its tall, four-sided lantern contains four pairs of Italianate round headed windows; classic Italianate porch and front door

Architectural Photos, Morrisburg, Ontario

29 St. Lawrence Street – Second Empire – central tower directly above the front door topped with a belvedere; mansard roof with dormers

Mariatown to Maitland Ontario – My Top 8 Picks

Mariatown to Maitland Ontario – My Top 8 Picks

Mariatown and Iroquois

South Dundas is a municipality in eastern Ontario in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. It is located about sixty miles/one hundred kilometers south of Ottawa.  The township was created on January 1, 1998, by amalgamating the former townships of Matilda and Williamsburg with the villages of Iroquois and Morrisburg. (Morrisburg is big enough to be a separate book.)  Mariatown is located in the township.

The McIntosh apple was discovered and cultivated in South Dundas near Williamsburg. John McIntosh moved to Upper Canada in 1796.  In 1811 he acquired a farm in Dundela, and while clearing the land of second growth discovered several apple seedlings. He transplanted these, and one bore the superior fruit which became famous as the McIntosh Red apple. John’s son Allan established a nursery and promoted this new species extensively.

Morrisburg and Iroquois were partially flooded by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958.  Unlike the Lost Villages of Cornwall and Osnabruck Townships, the two towns were relocated to higher ground in the same area.

An artificial lake, Lake Saint Lawrence, now extends from a hydroelectric dam at Cornwall to the control structure at Iroquois, and replaces the formerly narrow and turbulent section of river that was impassable to large vessels.

Cardinal

Edwardsburgh/Cardinal is a township in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville of eastern Ontario. Edwardsburgh Township was surveyed in 1783.  The Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal was formed on January 1, 2001, through the amalgamation of Edwardsburgh Township with the Village of Cardinal.  It is a historical community with many old homes and buildings, including one-room school houses, grist mills, and churches. It is situated along the St. Lawrence River and extends back into rural hamlets. The South Nation River passes through the township.  The township’s main population centers are Cardinal, Johnstown, and Spencerville.

Ten percent of the area’s water drains into the St. Lawrence, while ninety percent drains into the South Nation River. The flow of the South Nation River through this area is very sluggish with poor drainage, due to the fact there is little drop in elevation along the river; this leads to the formation of bogs and swamps, and also makes the area prone to seasonal flooding.

Up until the 18th century, the land was covered with thick, mature, mixed forests.  The original forest was almost completely cleared throughout the years and the forest that stands today is mostly secondary growth over previously cleared land. The forests in the area presently contain numerous types of deciduous oak, birch, ash and maple trees. The common coniferous trees in the area include many types of pine and cedar as well as balsam fir and white spruce. In the darker, acidic soils around the bogs and swamps there are tamarack trees, as well as juniper and black spruce.

In 1673, the French, working with native tribes from the area, built a storehouse on Old Breeches River, now known as Johnstown Creek.  This storehouse was used to hold supplies for upriver trading posts such as Fort Frontenac (now Kingston).  In 1759, The French settlers built Fort de Levis on Chimney Island, in the St. Lawrence River just off of Johnstown, between it and Ogdensburg. The purpose of this fort was to protect the St. Lawrence River from the British.  It was captured by Major-General Jeffrey Amherst in August 1760 during the Battle of the Thousand Islands.  The island on which the fort once stood was permanently flooded during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Johnstown

Before the construction of dams and later the Seaway, Johnstown was fronted by a calm section of the St. Lawrence River located between two rapids.  By 1784, Loyalists were residing in the township and until 1790 the landing point and base camp for these settlers was at Johnstown.

Johnstown is part of the township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in eastern Ontario.  It is located at the Canadian terminus of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge.

In 1792 John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, established himself in Johnstown which then became the district’s administrative seat.  This led to the court of quarter sessions (the district’s government) alternating its meeting location between Johnstown and Cornwall, and to the construction of a courthouse and gaol. The courthouse was a log structure, which stood near the present site of the Prescott-Ogdensburg Bridge. By the late 1790s, the village was also home to a sawmill, gristmill, and an inn and tavern.  Census records indicate by 1807, there were thirty-six houses and a general store.  In 1808, the Seat of Justice was moved to Elizabethtown (now Brockville), as it was a more central location in the district.

New Wexford is located in Edwardsburgh/Cardinal Township, in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville of eastern Ontario.

Prescott

Prescott is a small town located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.  Colonel Edward Jessup remained loyal to the British during the revolutionary war.  He was granted 1,000 acres and in 1810 had building lots surveyed for the town which he named in honor of General Robert Prescott who had been Governor-in-Chief of Canada between 1797 and 1807.

Prescott was a strategic military site for the protection of the Canadian border against American and French invasions.  Fort Wellington was built in 1812 to defend the St. Lawrence River and the town.  Prescott is located at the head of the St. Lawrence rapids.  Before the completion of the canals between here and Montreal in 1847, Prescott was the eastern terminus of Great Lakes navigation.

Established in 1810, it became a center for the forwarding, or shipping, trade and an important center in Montreal’s commercial system.  One of the earliest forwarders at Prescott was Captain William Gilkison who began operations in 1811.  The population of Upper Canada increased rapidly after 1820; the trade expanded and forwarding firms, including Henderson & Hooker, and Macpherson, Crane & Co., established ship building yards, wharves, and warehouses along the waterfront.  The forwarding trade flourished before the building of railways and canals.  The railway came in 1854.

During four days in November 1838, British troops and local militia defeated an invasion force of 300 American hunters and Canadian rebels.  The Battle of the Windmill victory prevented the invasion force from capturing Fort Wellington in Prescott and cutting the St. Lawrence communications link, which would have left Upper Canada open to invasion.

By 1887, in addition to the fort, barracks, and military hospital, there were twenty-three hotels, twenty-four taverns, a distillery, two breweries, two foundries, two tanneries, two potters, a bank, a saw mill, a quarry, a brick factory, a shipyard, a grain elevator, and a farmers’ market building.

With a town of 3,000 people, smaller establishments and services were also present: a bowling alley, a theater, several newspapers, a telegraph office, bakeries, general merchants, doctors’ offices, a dentist, a library, a college, two schools, four churches, many docks and wharves with large storage buildings, and a ferry service to Ogdensburg, New York.

Maitland

Maitland is a small village in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.  It is located along the St. Lawrence River about five kilometers east of the City of Brockville.  Loyalists began to settle the area in the late 1700s and into the early 19th century by building homesteads, establishing businesses and opening small factories.  During the early part of the century, Maitland was on the opposite end of a supply route running to Merrick’s Mills, which aided in its growth; the construction of the Welland Canal and other canal systems through the St. Lawrence allowed goods to be transported to and from the village.  A wharf was used for collecting goods, and many mills were constructed.

One of Maitland’s most notable landmarks was constructed in 1828: the Longley Tower, which was originally built as a windmill along the St. Lawrence River.  The tower had a brief life as a windmill, but it did not generate enough power to sustain anything for long; it was later converted into a distillery.  Longley imported a steam engine from Europe, built a flour mill, and constructed a stone building out of which he ran a general store and post office.  Major Charles Lemon constructed two mills, a foundry, and a blacksmith shop to serve the village.

Architectural Photos, Mariatown, Ontario

Mariatown – Gothic – gable roof, voussoirs with keystones

Architectural Photos, Mariatown, Ontario

Mariatown – 2½ storeys, second floor balcony with open railing above rectangular bay window and open porch

Architectural Photos, Iroquois, Ontario

Iroquois – Victorian – decorative veranda support posts, no railing

Architectural Photos, Cardinal, Ontario

Cardinal – Gothic – stone

Architectural Photos, Cardinal, Ontario

Cardinal – 2062-2064 – Victorian style – voussoirs with keystones

Architectural Photos, Cardinal, Ontario

Cardinal – Victorian – semi-circular spindle decoration on gable above two-storey rectangular bay windows; three-storey tower with iron cresting on top; decorative veranda support posts, open railing

Architectural Photos, Prescott, Ontario

Prescott – 186-198 King Street West – Masonic Block – 1879 – building is composed of four sections three storeys high; arched windows with cornices and keystones decorated with linear designs; cornice brackets, bevelled dentil moulding; over the central bay of each section is a symbol of the Masonic Order

Architectural Photos, Maitland, Ontario

Maitland – Stone, dormer, sash windows – home of Dorothy Martha Dumbrille, novelist, poet, historian, author of ten books – During World War II she wrote a novel, All This Difference, which addressed the tensions between the French Canadian inhabitants and the early Scots living in Glengarry County. This house, her ancestral home, was the setting of a subsequent novel, Deep Doorways, published in 1947.

Cornwall, Ontario – My Top 9 Picks

Cornwall, Ontario – My Top 9 Picks

Cornwall is Ontario’s easternmost city, located on the Saint Lawrence River about one hundred kilometers southeast of Ottawa. It is named after the English Duchy of Cornwall.

In June 1784, disbanded Loyalist soldiers and their families settled at New Johnstown, the site of present day Cornwall. Native traders and French missionaries and explorers came here in the 17th and early 18th centuries. By 1805 Cornwall had a court house, a schoolhouse, two churches and many homes. The construction of the Cornwall Canal in 1834-42 accelerated its development. Mills and large factories were erected along the canal.

The Cornwall Canal, a series of locks which carried boats18.5 kilometers around the rapids, was used for over one hundred years.  Power drawn from the canal attracted textile and paper mills. The textile industry played a major role in Cornwall’s economic and cultural development. This canal was one of eight canals that connected western Canada with the ocean by way of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The Canal was an important shipping center until the completion of The St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959.

Eastern Ontario has always been a highway or corridor through which people moved, a corridor used by migration and conquest.  Prior to European colonization, the Mohawks and Six Nations Iroquois settled and raided through the St. Lawrence valley. The French and British fought over the waterway and, after the American Revolution in 1812–14, it became a battleground between Americans and Canadians. Formally founded to be a new home for refugees, it remained a home for refugees and migrants for much of its history.

Slavery was ended in the colony of Upper Canada in stages, beginning in 1793 when importing slaves was banned, and culminating in 1819 when Upper Canada Attorney-General John Robinson declared all slaves in the colony to be freed, making Upper Canada the first place in the British Empire to unequivocally move towards abolition.

The aftermath of the American Revolution resulted in the formal division of Upper and Lower Canada (later Ontario and Quebec) to accommodate Loyalists fleeing persecution in the new United States, and distribution of land throughout Southern Ontario brought major change to Eastern Ontario.

The original 516 settlers arrived with minimal supplies and faced years of hard work and possible starvation. Upon their departure from military camps in Montreal, Pointe Claire, Saint Anne, and Lachine in the fall of 1784, Loyalists were given a tent, one month’s worth of food rations, clothes, and agricultural provisions by regiment commanders. They were promised one cow for every two families, an axe, and other necessary tools in the near future. For the next three years, bateaux (boat) crews delivered rations to the township, after which residents were left to fend for themselves.

Cornwall was unusually integrated for a town in Ontario. For hundreds of years, the local population has been characterized by a mix of economic migrants, refugees and opportunists. Mixing of different social classes and ethnic backgrounds was common even early in its history, due to the interdependence demanded by isolation and the lack of support or interference from authorities.

In the 1780s to1830s, a “Bee” was a social event that pooled local labor resources, and was often a festive occasion. These “Bees” drew on many different classes, backgrounds and ethnic and linguistic groups working together for survival. These were very common in Eastern Ontario generally, and especially so in the early villages of the St. Lawrence valley.

Cornwall was once home to a thriving cotton processing industry.  Courtaulds Canada, Inc.’s rayon manufacturing mill operated until 1992. Domtar, a Quebec-based company, operated a paper mill in the city for nearly 100 years, ceasing operations in 2006. Cornwall’s industrial base has now shifted to a more diversified mix of manufacturing, automotive, high tech, food processing, distribution centers and call centers.

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

160 Water Street West – Wood House – 1840 – stone homestead – now Cornwall Community Museum

 

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

220 Montreal Road – Bureau Office of the Diocese – arch over window with blind tympanum, open pediment above door

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

300 Montreal Road – Italianate – hipped roof with dormer; pillars with Ionic capitals; pediment; quoining around windows

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

Third Street East – decorative gable on frontispiece, fish scale patterning, fretwork; second floor balcony

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

237 Sydney Street – Gothic – rectangular bay window; enclosed porch with cornice brackets and pediment

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

36 Fourth Street West – St. Columban’s Rectory – Second Empire domestic architecture with mansard roof and detailing; window hood, trim on gable, bay window, cornice brackets; open railing on porch and wraparound verandah

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

318 Augustus Street – Gothic Revival – wraparound verandah with cornice brackets, turned spindle supports, and open spindle railing

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

101 Third Street West – Neo-colonial style – gambrel roof, dormer

Architectural Photos, Cornwall, Ontario

138 Second Street East – Gothic – decorative wood-turned veranda support posts, open railing, pediment with decorative tympanum

Kemptville, Ontario and Area – My Top 6 Picks

Kemptville, Ontario and Area – My Top 6 Picks

Kemptville is a community located in south eastern Ontario in the northernmost part of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and is about fifty-six kilometers south of Ottawa. Kemptville Creek begins southwest of the town, divides Kemptville, and flows four kilometers to empty into the Rideau River. Kemptville is composed of forests and farmland. The name Kemptville was adopted in 1829 as a tribute to Sir James Kempt, the Governor of British North America.

In 1812, Lyman Clothier bought one hundred acres of land from John Byce for the price of a yoke of oxen, and a flintlock rifle. Mr. Clothier had lived in the area since 1804 or 1805, and in 1812 he and his four sons built a saw mill, and two houses in what is now Kemptville. The mill was important for the settling of the community; in order to construct a crude dwelling, lumber was required. The mill provided lumber for settlers throughout Oxford Township.

The village was located on the Ottawa-Prescott Road and many travelers passed through the settlement.  One of Mr. Clothier’s sons, Asa, opened his home to these travelers as a resting and meeting place. The “Clothier’s Hotel” was born. A grist mill was added in 1821 when the Clothiers placed some grinding stones in the lower part of their saw mill. Rather than taking their grain to a site on the St. Lawrence River, a daunting hike in the best of conditions, the settlers could now take it to this grist mill. A blacksmith’s shop was built and run by the Clothiers. A schoolhouse was built in 1823 and served the surrounding communities for many years. The first doctor arrived in the community in 1824. A weekly newspaper is published in Kemptville, called the Kemptville Advance, and has been published since 1855.

Elizabethtown-Kitley is a township in eastern Ontario in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. Its southern border lies along the St. Lawrence River and it extends north into many rural hamlets and villages. Also in the township are Addison, Forthton, and Newbliss.

Newbliss was settled mostly by Loyalists or immigrants from the British Isles who received their land here as grants from the Crown. One of the first businesses to operate here was Dack’s Tavern, built in 1817 and established as a tavern around the 1830s. The tavern had five rooms, three bed and horse stables, and also hosted Orange Lodge meetings. By the mid-1800s, the village began to flourish when roads improved in the area. By this time, the settlement consisted of two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, a general store, a post office, and its own schoolhouse. A cheese factory consisting of three buildings operated from Newbliss. The main building was later turned into the general store.

Architectural Photos, Kemptville, Ontario

214 Prescott Street – 1897 – decorative brickwork under cornice; open wooden veranda with decorative railings and support posts

Architectural Photos, Kemptville, Ontario

220-222 Prescott Street – de Pencier House – 1897- brick – Queen Anne style – tower, turret, iron cresting

Architectural Photos, Kemptville, Ontario

216-218 Prescott Street – 1897 – Queen Anne style – towers, dormer

Architectural Photos, Kemptville, Ontario

Open wooden verandas on both levels with decorative support posts and open railings

Architectural Photos, Addison, Ontario

Addison – Hipped roof, cornice brackets, corner quoins, pediment

Architectural Photos, Toldedo, Ontario

Toledo – Gothic Revival – verge board trim on gables, painted corner quoins and voussoirs

Penetanguishine, Ontario – My Top 9 Picks

Penetanguishine, Ontario – My Top 9 Picks

Penetanguishene, sometimes shortened to Penetang, is a town on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay.  It is a bilingual, French and English, community. The name means “land of the white rolling sands”.

As early as 800 A.D., the Huron settled in semi-permanent villages in the area. The young French translator, Etienne Brule, was the first European to set foot in the Penetanguishene area between 1610 and 1614.

In 1793, John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, visited the area and saw the location’s potential as a naval base. He wanted to use the bay to shelter warships to protect British interests on lakes Huron, Erie and Michigan. Beginning in 1814, the British-Canadians built the Penetanguishene Road to provide the area a land route to Barrie and Toronto, as it was previously accessible only by water transport along the rivers or across Georgian Bay.  In 1828, the main British military establishment on the Upper Lakes moved from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene.  Families of Metis fur traders who had moved with the British from Michilimackinac to Drummond Island after the War of 1812, moved again to Penetanguishene.  The trip from Drummond Island took from fourteen to eighteen days and the bateaux were extremely crowded as they often carried eighteen people along with provisions and household goods. Although the naval base was closed in 1834, the military base remained until 1856.  Some of the troops settled in the area after their service was complete providing an English-speaking population.

In the 1840s, French-speaking families from Quebec (mainly from the area immediately east of Montreal), attracted by promises of cheap and fertile land, joined the French-speaking settlers already in the area. Later, as the logging industry began to develop, more English-speaking settlers arrived.

Alfred Andrew Thompson came to Penetanguishene in 1830 at the age of 15 to work as an assistant to Andrew Mitchell, Sr., a fur trader on Water Street. In 1840, Alfred erected a mercantile store on the corner of Water and Main Streets known as the Green Block. It was the only market in the area where farmers could sell their produce of butter, eggs, and vegetables for cash to pay their taxes. In 1847, Alfred married Sarah Anne Burke and they had three sons and two daughters. Alfred was an Anglican involved in the affairs of St. James-on-the-Line Church.

Michael Gendron, born in Quebec of French parents, came here in 1835 and established a tannery on the banks of Copeland’s Creek, and later a second tannery on Main Street.  “Gendron Penetangs” were a type of moccasin made of hand-stretched, oil-tanned leather, sturdy enough to be used by lumberjacks, prospectors, hunters and surveyors. They were regulation issue for soldiers in World War I.

Joseph Dubeau and his family came to the area in 1859; he started a livery stable and moved families from Penetanguishene to Midland.

The C. Beck Manufacturing Company operated from 1875 to 1969 selling wholesale lumber, shingles, lath, pails, tubs and wooden ware to firms in Ontario, Quebec, western Canada and the northern United States.

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

83 Fox Street – 1885 – home of Charles Beck and Amelia Dalms who had nine children (6 boys, 3 girls) – Queen Anne style – fretwork, turret, dormer, second-floor balcony, string courses wrap around the house; unique shape of window in gable

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

16 Peel Street – sidelights; pediment above dormer with keystone

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

69 Poyntz Street – 1905 – built by George Pelletier, a carpenter; rooftop balcony above dormer; fretwork; enclosed wraparound veranda

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

33 Robert Street – J. T. Payette’s home (ran P. Payette Foundry – machine shop; built many mills)

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

1 Water Street – The Green Block – built in 1840s by Alfred Andrew Thompson (he painted it green) for his mercantile business – now called Green Block Trading Post – voussoirs, keystones, Canada Geese mural

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

131 Main Street – home of Charles E. Wright (butcher) – 1912 – Doric pillars on wraparound verandah, pediment, hipped roof

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

143 Main Street – Gambrel roof, Neo-colonial style

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

3 Maria Street – Gothic – home of Frederick W. Jeffery (bookkeeper) – 1878 – steeply pitched gable roof, verge board trim on gables, two-storey bay window, dormer

Architectural Photos, Penetang, Ontario

18 Maria Street – hipped roof with dormers, second floor balcony, corner quoins, multi-paned transom windows above large first storey windows, open spindle railing

Midland, Ontario – My Top 15 Picks

Midland, Ontario – My Top 15 Picks

Midland is located on the southern end of Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands about ninety miles north of Toronto.

Huronia was named for the Huron Nation and consists of the areas around southeastern Georgian Bay which include Midland and Penetanguishene.  The area was visited by French Jesuits traveling with the Voyageurs to the Wye River in 1639.  They were welcomed by the Huron tribe who traded furs and skins for metal goods and clothing from France.  They built a settlement named Fort Ste. Marie which thrived for ten years until it was burned to the ground in 1649 by the Jesuits themselves after repeated attacks from Iroquois who were in league with the English who wanted the French share of the fur trade in North America.  Some of the priests were martyred.  The Sainte-Marie among the Hurons site was discovered in 1947, excavated and rebuilt to its original form by archeologists from the University of Western Ontario.

The Jesuits attempted a second site on St. Joseph’s Island, currently Christian Island, and named it Sainte Marie II.  They carried many of their goods by raft to this second site.  After a winter of terrible hardship and starvation, the Jesuits decided to abandon their mission and returned to Quebec in 1650.  Christian Island was later declared a native reservation by the Canadian government.

In 1871 a group of the principal shareholders of the Midland Railway, headed by Adolph Hugel, chose this location as the northern terminus of their line which they ran from Port Hope to Beaverton.  The town site was surveyed in 1872-73.  The railway line was completed in 1879 and soon attracted settlers to the area.  The new community, Midland, achieved its early growth through shipping and the lumber and grain trade.

In and around the center of Midland there are a number of murals most of which were painted by now deceased artist Fred Lenz.

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

320 King Street – The impressive Romanesque style limestone structure which now houses the library was built in 1913 as Midland’s first post office, with customs and excise offices on the second floor. – mansard roof, high central gable, imposing corner porch, and tower; 2½ storey building composed of even course cut stone, with a belt course that goes around the entire building; metal roof has a decorative stone fascia; some semi-elliptical windows, and a corner entrance. In 1963 the post office, needing more space, moved to its new home on Dominion Avenue and the beautiful limestone building sat empty for three years. In 1967, the library moved to the old post office. Setting your watch by the clock tower would be inadvisable as the four faces do not always agree. – Midland Book 1

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

234-236 King Street – Jeffery Block – 1901 – Romanesque Revival style – large number and regular rhythm of windows; extend brick corner quoins and varied brick courses on the window lintels – The Crow’s Nest Pub and Restaurant is now where the hardware store was; second floor YMCA; top floor Odd Fellows lodge meeting rooms

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

203-207 King Street – two storey, flat roofed commercial building – Burton Block, built by the Burton Brothers of Barrie – exterior of the building is made up of board and batten, stretcher brick, poured concrete, and sheet metal siding; frontispiece and decorated panels; brick keystones above windows; blind transom above door. The original stone carvings of Greek gods are still intact above the Taxi Stand door.

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

213-219 King Street – Second Empire – mansard roof, dormers, dichromatic brickwork

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

437 King Street – exterior is stretcher brick with a cut stone foundation; medium hipped roof and two second storey balconies; brick voussoirs; decorative brick below some windows; sidelights; open verandah with open railings and wood piers

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

431 King Street – full basement; low gable roof with a double gable on the façade with a molded fascia; exterior is finished with log; main entrance has an ogee shaped opening with a plain pediment roof above and wood piers on sides

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

414 King Street – late 1800s – 2½ storey brick, Gothic Revival – dichromatic brick patterns, roof gables and dormer with rounded roof, various window shapes and sizes, mixed design verge boards and verandas

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

409 King Street – Palladian window in gable roofed dormer; two-storey bay window; second floor balcony above closed in porch; varied roofline

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

318 Third Street – 1900 – Victorian – irregular layout; medium gabled roof; double gable on façade; fascia and soffit are molded metal; exterior is stretcher brick and vertical plank board; two balconies; brick voussoirs; 4-over-4 window panes; blind transom; open porch with wood posts and pediment – Midland Book 2

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

70 Fifth Street – built 1900, square layout and a wing on the left side; exterior is stretcher brick; upper storey balcony; medium hipped roof has an offset gable end on the façade and a molded frieze; semi-elliptical window on the left; open wooden veranda with decorative railings and support posts

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

613 Dominion Avenue – built in 1900 – Vernacular – irregular layout and several different types of roofs, including flat, medium gable, and medium hipped, a decorated fascia; exterior is stretcher brick and poured concrete; upper storey balcony; windows with brick voussoirs; transom window; open platform veranda with decorated open railing and decorative trim along the roof line; wood piers to support the roof

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

695 Dominion Avenue – built 1890, exterior of panel wood, broken course cut stone, stretcher brick, and terra cotta; medium gable roof, with decorated fascia and several gable ends with half timbering and gabled dormers; brick voussoirs; bay window on second storey; open veranda with open railing, stone, support pedestals, and Ionic capitals

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

657 Hugel Avenue – The Dollar House is the former residence of two of Midland’s leading historical figures: James Dollar and William Finlayson (lawyer, cabinet minister). Decorative gable ends, bracket roof trim, bay windows; medium hipped roof with several gables and gable roofed dormers; window voussoirs; two chimneys

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

423 Hugel Avenue – The Captain’s House Heritage Bed and Breakfast – built 1900 – Edwardian Classicism style, low gabled roof, siding and brick façade, numerous windows and a stone foundation; large bay window

Architectural Photos, Midland, Ontario

401 Manly Street – 2½ storeys; stretcher brick and wood shingle exterior; pyramidal roof with two cross gables; two balconies with open railings and decorative supports; brick voussoirs; Palladian windows in gables; wraparound veranda with stone supports, decorative piers, and open railings

Ottawa, Ontario – My Top 11 Picks

Ottawa, Ontario – My Top 11 Picks

After the union of the two Canadas in 1841, Kingston, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec were in succession the seat of government. During the 1850s these cities contended for designation as the permanent capital of Canada. During Queen Victoria’s long reign, the nation of Canada was created, grew and flourished. Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, the same year that violent rebellions broke out in Upper and Lower Canada with demands for a more democratic and responsible form of government. These rebellions prompted many reforms, including the unification of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as Canada’s capital, a political compromise as well as a more secure distance from the American border. In 1867, Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act to create the Dominion of Canada, a self-governing nation within the British Empire, established through peaceful accord and negotiation. The Fathers of Confederation reaffirmed the choice and Ottawa as the capital for the new Dominion.

Parliament Hill sits at the heart of Canada’s Capital, overlooking a river that reflects many histories.  From the beginning, Parliament Hill was designed as a workplace for parliamentarians, and also as a place where everyone could come to meet, talk or just relax in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Today there is a scenic promenade which follows the shoreline of the Ottawa River.

The Centre, East and West blocks of the Parliament Buildings were built between 1859 and 1866 (excluding the Tower and Library).  The Parliament Buildings have vaulted ceilings, marble floors and dramatic lighting which create an air of dignity.  The stone walls have a lot of decoration.

Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) was one of the driving forces behind Confederation in Canada, with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec joining together to form a new country. Macdonald served as the country’s first prime minister. Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island entered Confederation under his government, while the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s transcontinental line was hammered into the ground.

The Rideau Canal, a great military engineering achievement of the nineteenth century, was completed in 1832 and opened central Canada to settlement and trade. The canal was planned after the War of 1812 to provide a safe way to transport troops and equipment between Montreal and Kingston. The entrance locks mark the beginning of a 202-kilometer route linking the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario through a system of lakes and rivers connected and made navigable by the channels, locks and dams that the workers constructed.

In the 1890s, when Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier spoke of making Ottawa a “Washington of the North”, he wanted a new architectural style for the Capital that was distinct from American and older British models, in pursuit of grandeur.

In 1982, the Queen and the Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister, signed the Constitution Act, 1982 to make Canada an independent nation.

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

Parliament Hill – Centre Block with Peace Tower – Ottawa Book 1

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

Langevin Block – is an office building facing Parliament Hill. As the home of the Privy Council Office and Office of the Prime Minister, it is the working headquarters of the executive branch of the Canadian government. The building is named after a Father of Confederation and cabinet minister Hector Langevin. Built of sandstone from a New Brunswick quarry between 1884 and 1889 – Second Empire style – Mansard roof, dormers, grotesque sculptures (fantastic or mythical figures used for decorative purposes)

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

1 Rideau Street – Fairmont Chateau Laurier, one of Canada’s landmark railway hotels, built in the Canadian Chateau style

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

44-50 Sparks Street at corner of Elgin – Scottish Ontario Chambers – Italianate design – four-storey brick building with a high ground floor, balanced façade, decorative multi-colored masonry, radiated voussoirs of multicolored brick, fenestration (the arrangement, design and proportioning of windows and doors), roof line with heavy bracketing and decorated cornice – Ottawa Book 2

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

555 Mackenzie Avenue – The Connaught Building – 1913 – Tudor Gothic – named after the Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria, who served as 10th Governor General of Canada from 1911–16 – faced in rusticated sandstone, embellished with turrets, a crenellated roofline, buttresses, corbelling, niches, carved embellishments, an ogee arched entrance and rows of flat-headed windows accented by dressed quoins

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

Rideau Hall – Thomas MacKay, a wealthy Scottish stonemason and entrepreneur, helped build the Rideau Canal. Following the completion of the canal, McKay built mills at Rideau Falls, making him the founder of New Edinburgh, the original settlement of Ottawa. With his newly acquired wealth, McKay purchased the 100 acre site overlooking both the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers and built a stone villa in 1838 where he and his family lived until 1855. The building, an eleven-room mansion, was known as MacKay Castle. Following Confederation, Rideau Hall was purchased by the Canadian government as a permanent vice regal residence and home for the nation’s first governor general, Lord Monck. Subsequent governor generals expanded and improved the original building to carry out their increasing official duties. Lord Dufferin added the wings on either side of the main entrance in the 1870s. – Ottawa Book 3

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

197 Wurtemburg Street – 1869 – Embassy of the Republic of Turkey – Tudor style – The central portion of the building was a picturesque Gothic Revival structure constructed for W.F. Whitcher, Commissioner of Fisheries. The two wings and the Tudoresque half-timbering were added when the structure served as a Children’s Hospital from 1888-1904.

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

320 Chapel Street – Victorian – three-storey tower, cornice brackets, gable, voussoirs, banding, dormer, composite columns around door – Ottawa Book 4

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

179 Murray Street – a small house of 9 artist studios – aiding the city of Ottawa in developing an artistic and cultural identity – window hoods, Jacobean-type gable, Doric pillars

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

159 Murray Street – Ecole Guigues – The current building opened its doors in 1904 and was one of Ottawa’s largest schools. Two sisters, Diane Desloges and Béatrice Desloges, natives of Ottawa and both teachers at the Guigues elementary school, refused to implement the provisions of Regulation 17, thus defying the ministerial order [issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education] that limited teaching in French to the first two years of elementary school. On January 5, 1916, the Ottawa Separate School Board, with nineteen mothers and the Desloges sisters, stormed the entrance of this school to demand that Franco-Ontarian pupils be educated in their mother tongue. It was not until 1927 that bilingual schools in the province were officially recognized. Thousands of students passed through its halls until it closed in 1979.

Architectural Photos, Ottawa, Ontario

1876 Merivale Road, Nepean – Merivale United Church – built 1875-1876 – Gothic Revival – finials on tower with balustrade; corner quoins