Tag Archives: almonte

Rosamond and Victoria Mill — Rosamond Journey from Carleton Place to Almonte

Rosamond and Victoria Mill — Rosamond Journey from Carleton Place to Almonte

The following article was published in 1954 in: “Textiles,” a leaflet published regularly by the Primary Textiles Institute of Canada, with headquarters in Toronto. When James Rosamond opened a wool cloth mill at Morphy’s Falls in the Ottawa Valley in 1845 it is doubtful whether he realized that he was founding one of Canada’s proudest, and later most unfortunate industries.

Rosamond moved the art of making wool textiles from the settlers’ home into an industrial plant and then for more than 100 years the industry developed with Canada, experiencing normal ups and downs but generally growing in stature. The Ottawa Valley remained the hub of the industry, but it spread out from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and the names of towns like Carleton Place (formerly Morphy’s Falls), Perth, Almonte, Renfrew, Arnprior, Appleton, Hespeler, Brantford) Lachute, Sherbrooke and Huntingdon became synonymous with fine woollens.

Through good times and bad the industry served the country well. Peak of operations was reached in the period 1948-1950. During World War II, mills provided millions of yards of Service fabric and in the immediate post-war era worked hard to meet the heavy accumulated demands they were expected to fill. The future was thought to hold promise. By 1950 the industry had some 16,000 workers in 200 mills and 146 communities and as a traditional Canadian industry was well established in towns where it was often the mainstay of the district. But then the industry became caught in an economic trap which had been set inadvertently fifteen years earlier, but which was only sprung by changing world conditions.

The stage was set in 1935 when the Canadian government, in the course of establishing tariffs on wool cloths entering this country from Great Britain, set a maximum duty to allow easy access to this market for a few English fabrics then considered to be in a “special” category. The blow began to fall about 1950 when increasing costs of raw wool, labour, chemicals machinery, etc., shoved most wool cloths into the bracket previously considered “special.”

The effective rate of the tariff on imports competing with Canadian cloths was greatly reduced and the duty no longer became anywhere near equalizing the wide differential in Canadian and English wages. The Labor Differential with most of their wool cloths entering Canada under a greatly reduced rate of duty English mills have been able during the past three or four years to take full advantage of their lower labour costs and shipments here have been increased in volume to take 40% of the entire market. Every yard of English wool cloth has been taken away from the Canadian industry and its workers.

Twenty eight mills have been closed. More than 6,000 people have lost their jobs and not all those remaining are working full time. Hardest hit have been Canada’s little “woollen” towns—in Renfrew the two mills that were the backbone of the town economy have closed, in Almonte employment dropped from 400 to about 45, at Carleton Place one mill closed and another is operating part-time, and in Huntingdon employment dropped from close to 700 to just over 200.

The story is the same almost everywhere. One of the casualties was James Rosamond’s historic business which was moved from Carleton Place to Almonte in 1857 and had operated there ever since. After being closed all last winter it now has 25 employees.

Mary Peden 1920s Carleton Place- Photo property Linda Seccaspina– Rosamond House in the background on Bell Street.The Peden Family- Genealogy– Peden Saunders Sadler
Victoria Woolen Factory (1830s)
  • The mill stood on river bank near James St. The Rosamond House (1838) which is still standing is at 37 Bell St.
  • James Rosamond operated a carding mill from 1838-1846 and then a custom carding and woolen mill from 1846 – 1857.

From the Carleton Place Walking Tour click — By the Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce


The Church Wardens of St. James Church here in 1845 were Catin Willis and James Rosamond, founder of the Rosamond textile manufacturing firm.

James Rosamond of Carleton Place, a shareholder of the short lived Ramsay corporation, then moved his woollen mill operations, the first in Eastern Ontario, from Carleton Place to Almonte as the founding of Almonte’s leading manufacturing enterprise.  He bought the site of the Ramsay Company’s mill and built a four storey stone building, later known as No. 2 Mill, which he opened in 1857.  Before its erection Samuel Reid and John McIntosh opened a small woollen factory in 1854 on the former site of the Boyce fulling mill.  James Rosamond, who lived until 1894, gave the management of his growing business in 1862 to his sons Bennett and William, who doubled its plant capacity and in 1866 admitted George Stephen, Montreal woollen manufacturer, as a partner.  He became Baron Mount Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal and first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

The new Rosamond firm of 1866 began operations by buying the Island property of some sixteen acres and building its No. 1 Mill, then one of the finest in Canada.  Bennett Rosamond (1833-1910) was elected president of the Canadian Manufacturers  Association in 1890 and was Conservative Member of Parliament for North Lanark from 1892-1904.  He was president of the Almonte Knitting Company and in 1909 donated the Rosamond Memorial Hospital to the town.  He continued as head of the Rosamond Woollen Company until his death, when he was succeeded by Lieutenant Alex Rosamond (1873-1916).

A number of other woollen mills opened soon after the original Rosamond mill in Almonte.  Among the first were those of John McIntosh (1832-1904), a large frame building on the upper falls, and of John Baird (1820-1894) and Gilbert Cannon, all on Mill Street.  Sawmills, machine shops and iron foundries followed, including among the latter the foundry operated for a few years by John Flett (1836-1900).  A local real estate boom and flurry of inflated land speculation developed, only to collapse in a severe depression of the mid-seventies.  A fire loss of over $20,000 in 1877 destroyed the Cannon mill and the machinery of its lessee William H. Wylie, who moved to Carleton Place where he leased the McArthur (now Bates) woollen mill and later bought the Hawthorne woollen mill.  William Thoburn (1847-1928) began to manufacture flannels at Almonte in 1880 and became the head of the Almonte Knitting Company and Member of Parliament from 1908 to 1917.  Five textile mills in Almonte in 1904 were those of the Rosamond Woollen Company, William Thoburn, James H. Wylie Co. Limited, Almonte Knitting Company, and the Anchor Knitting Co. Limited.

The Rosamonds.

“For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would; Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales.”

Every age, of course, has its dreamers. The Vision which Lord Tennyson expressed in “Locksley Hall” was written in the year 1842. The words have a prophetic ring about them, and might lead the incautious reader to impute just a little less than angelic insight into Tennyson, and a great deal more that human dreaming.

Yet, today, four-hundred passenger jet-powered aircraft zip in magic argosies through the purple twilight, wings outspread to span the continent in a bound, like eagles beating the air currents over a mountain pass. Nuclear power is no longer a maverick, but submits tamely to the harness. Occasionally too, after successful splashdown, men returning from a two-week rocket trip to the moon are greeted and welcomed back on earth as only ordinary heroes. It is the succeeding age that learns that dreams never do match stride with reality.

James Rosamond was a businessman in Carleton Place, but he became a dreamer in Almonte. It was thirty years after the Scots and Irish had arrived in “the place with a falls on the Mississippi” as Peter Robinson described in, and then years after Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall” had been put into circulation, and only a few months before the suggestion was made that the village might be called after a Mexican general who was then prominent in the news of the day.

Three hundred people were living in the village situated above the falls in the Mississippi River. Daniel Shipman had a sawmill below the falls, and a square timber-making yard above. The place was usually referred to as Shipman’s Mills. The age-old roar of the river in flood as it went crashing through the gorge, this was the sound that sang in the ears of the inhabitants both by day and by night. Only when summer came in and the river subsided did the roaring cease, and in its place the sounds of settlement took over, the rasp and scrape of the saw, the snick snick of the broad axe, and the clank of chains holding the boom logs together as they lapped so slightly in the current of the river above the falls.

James Rosamond emigrated from Ireland in 1827, and, after getting established, he formed business interests in Carleton Place in 1832 which comprised a wood-working plant, a grinding mill, and a custom carding plant. In 1846 he expanded the woollen end of things by adding spinning machines, and in this way he was responsible for the start of the woollen manufacturing business in Carleton Place.

In 1851 he ventured capital to become a partner in another enterprise, the Ramsay Woolen Cloth Manufacturing Company. The company’s principal share holders were local people around Shipman’s Mill. Daniel Shipman, of course, was one of them, and James Rosamond now found himself partnered with a vigorous enterpriser, and the reputed founder of the place by the falls on the Mississippi.

They acquired a mill site beside the cataract and then erected a frame mill and set to work. Demand for woollen products was very good amongst the people on the farms in Ramsay and Huntley, the mill was the first woollen mill in the place, and the future looked good. Their venture marked the beginning of what was to become the major industry of the place for the next hundred years.

Disaster, however, struck a scant two months after the mill had been put into operation. Fire broke out. The mill was totally destroyed, and the company was forced by circumstances to close down. Two years later, in 1853, James Rosamond bought the site and prepared to rebuild on the same spot. Mr. Rosamond, however was from Ireland, and this time he resolved to build in stone.

That winter of 1853 was eventful in many ways. Circumstances were just right to make an ordinary business minded person become a dreamer, and an ordinary dreamer become a prophet.

The name “Waterford” had been proposed for this place by the falls, but another locality in western Ontario had already usurped the Irish place name for itself. John Haskins suggested another to Major Gemmill. Almonte. The name was proposed officially, was accepted and remained.

For fifteen years also the Rideau Canal had been in operation and traffic moved regularly over the route from Bytown up the Rideau to Kemptville, Burritt’s Rapids, Merrickville, and a place called Smiths Falls, and thence through the Poonamalee locks and the lakes of the Big Rideau chain to Westport, on to Brewer’s Mills, Seeley’s Bay, and over the height of land at Cranberry Lake before dipping down to Cataraqui and Kingston.

Oh the canal was a great improvement. No doubt about it. It opened up the hinterland between Kingston and Ottawa, but still, transportation was a problem. Everybody knew that. Everyone talked about it, but very few seemed to have any idea what to do about it. People in the villages along the Mississippi, and especially those at Almonte, needed a means of transportation to enable them to break out of the bonds of the primitive land. The bush and the river were holding them back. They needed roads.

That winter of 1853 they called a public meeting in Almonte. The need for something to be done about transportation, that was the idea that triggered the meeting. The people wanted to find out if it would be possible to build a macadamized road the Smiths Falls where goods and produce could be put aboard boats moving through the Rideau Canal. If they could get into the big markets of the United States by shipping through the canal, commerce would be stimulated and the village would go forward.

James Rosamond was at the meeting, and was doing a lot of listening. Someone asked what could be done about the number of Irish navies who had been hired to work years before on the building of the Rideau Canal, and had been footloose, many of them, in the country since the completion of the canal. Ostensibly they were looking for work, but, of course, anyone without regular employment was suspect.

James Rosamond knew the skills of the Irish. They could build in stone. They could build macadamized roads, and they could build stone woollen mills. It took only a moment’s glance to tell there was lots of stone in the area around Almonte, and it was quite suitable for building purposes. Perhaps the Irish could be put to work on the mill he had in mind, or on the macadamized road, or both for that matter.

The someone at the meeting dropped a bomb. Heavens, the man said, why waste time on a macadamized road to Smiths Falls? Why not build a railway? In fact, why stop at Smiths Falls? Why not build a railway that would go straight through Carleton Place, Franktown, Smiths Falls, Jasper, right on down to the Front, to the St. Lawrence at Brockville? A railway would prove much more valuable for trade than the canal; it would open up the American market far more speedily than anything else for the goods and products that would come from mills now building and to be built to run from the falls of the Mississippi at this place now called Almonte.

A railway? The very idea intrigued James Rosamond. To Brockville on the St. Lawrence? Now there was vision. This Almonte was a forward looking place, and these were forward looking people. Just my kind of people, thought James Rosamond. The meeting broke up, but Mr. Rosamond, Daniel Shipman and a few others remained standing outside the meeting hall, looking at the river, the conversation continued about this new dimension in transportation. The men in the group seemed to be strangely taken. Something had come over them. Here they had come to a meeting to discuss building a macadamized road to Smiths Falls, and now, without warning, they found themselves in earnest discussion about a railroad to Brockville. For a moment Mr. Rosamond wondered if the scope of the venture had got out of control; yet, no denying it, the railroad idea had a lot of merit.

James Rosamond found his focus after the meeting had changed greatly from what it had been before. The Railroad now intruded on his mind so powerfully that he found he could neither shake free of its grasp nor swing this thoughts back to the mundane things like woolens, macadamized roads and stone mills.

In the end the clump of men outside the meeting hall decided to break up their discussion and return to their homes, but not before they took one firm resolve, they would make a journey to Brockville to discuss the matter with friends there at greater length, and, if the signs appeared favourable, to find associates in the town on the shore of the St. Lawrence, and enlist their support in sharing in a grand design, a railway to link the St. Lawrence River with the Ottawa River through Almonte.

The Mills of Carleton Place -Victoria Woolen Factory to the Hawthorn

Rosamonds – The One Carleton Place Let Get Away

Letters from Bennett Rosamond — 1894- Adin Daigle Collection

Rosamond History– The “Damn” Dam Case 1870

More Photos of the Rosamond Water Tower

Pinehurst 1898 — The Rosamond Home — 8 Years After it was Built

Five Men That Tied up the Rosamond Mill 1907

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

So Who Was Mary Rosemond/Rosamond?

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Rosamond Woolen Company’s Constipation Blues

Clayton Schoolhouses had No Insulation— Warm Memories

Clayton Schoolhouses had No Insulation— Warm Memories

Clayton Ontario History

A report card from Clayton School from 1912. Thanks to Allan Bellamy for sharing

In the fall of 1927, he arrived at the one-room schoolhouse as a 20-year-old fresh out of teachers’ college. He had no experience and 42 students spread out over Grades 1 to 8 to teach. “Sometimes I have no idea how I got through it,” Lloyd Sutherland, now 91, of Toronto said yesterday while attending the S.S. 4 Ramsay reunion in the Clayton Community Centre. “It was a lot of work, but I got through it.” By the next year, Mr. Sutherland had moved to a better-paying job in Pakenham in these early days of his 44-year career in education across the province, with a gap of four years when he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

And even though he spent only one year at the school, Mr. Sutherland says the lessons he learned in the village of Clayton, about 60 kilometres west of . Ottawa on the Indian River, were among the most valuable in his career. “You had to be a master at problem-solving, and you had to be good with , your time,” he said. “There were all those kids and just me. It was some of the hardest work I ever did, but some of the most rewarding, too.”

Clayton Ontario History
April 19 ·
Effie Dunlop and Lloyd Sutherland 1925. Thanks to Fran Cooper for this photo.

Mr. Sutherland was one of about 100 former students, teachers and administrators who attended the reunion at the village community centre. They couldn’t hold it in the schoolhouse because it’s now a private residence. The village of Clayton is a collection of houses, cottages and businesses clustered around the eastern end of Clayton-Taylor Lake. It is rich in Canadian cultural and social history. Much of that history could be found in the two, one-room schoolhouses that made indelible marks on the memories of teachers and young Clayton residents who passed through their doors in more than a century of learning.

The first schoolhouse was built in1849 and a second, slightly larger one was erected in 1876 to cope with a deluge of new students. Now, 29 years after the village closed its last one-room school in 1969, former teachers and students remembered minute details as if only days had passed since their time at each of the two tiny schools. “In the winter, you always hoped you got a seat close to the stove because the further you got away from it, the colder it got and the building wasn’t insulated,” said Rose Mary Sarsfield, who attended one of the schools from 1952 to 1956 before graduating to the high school in Almonte.

Clayton School 1913-1914. Teacher Lottie Blair. If you enlarge, the names are there.–Clayton Ontario History

Many of the memories were sparked by a table with old notebooks, textbooks, a small chalkboard and newspaper clippings about the school. There were also a couple of report cards from 1933. One had straight As, the other was not so good. But what drew the eye were several pictures of children sitting cross-legged in front of a schoolhouse. One, from 1898, was particularly interesting.

Some former Clayton School teachers: Lloyd Sutherland, Sadie Gardiner, Doris Camelon, Evelyn Kettles, Emily Moulton, Dana Featherstone-Clayton Ontario History

Although the children were dressed differently some without shoes, some in waistcoats they looked like any group of schoolchildren today. One rapscallion, all but his head hidden in the back row of students, was even sticking out his tongue at the camera. The pictures spoke of a different time that ended in 1969, when rural one-room schools were closed across the province to make way for a new vision of education housed in larger schools in the larger centres of Ontario communities.

In Ramsay Township, 10 small schools were closed and many students including those from Clayton were bused to nearby Almonte to 1 pursue their education in single grades. It was an unceremonious end to a school that was once the pride of the village. Before the first schoolhouse was built, reading, writing and arithmetic were taught out of private homes. Clayton trustees borrowed $450 a overcrowded ‘ at hefty sum in 1849 to build their village’s first school, a debt that had to be paid back within three years. Soon, the one-room was overcrowded with students.

In 1876, a slightly larger school that measured 28 feet by 38 feet (eight metres by 11 metres) was built beside the original. “It had a cloakroom across the back where we could hang our coats,” remembered Ms. Sarsfield. “And bathrooms. There were two bathrooms at the back, one for girls and one for boys. “There was no running water.” At the smaller school, bathroom breaks were even less high-tech. One side of a bush was an outhouse for girls and the other side was for boys.

The next addition to Clayton’s school system was the hallmark of any rural school from that time period: a bell. In 1886, students, teachers and parents hosted concerts at which they charged 10 cents until they raised enough money to buy a bell. The final cost of the bell is unknown, but it hung at the larger school until closing. The bell now hangs at the front of the Dr. James Naismith School in Almonte, about 10 kilometres east of Clayton. During Clayton’s heydays in the late 1880s, there were some 140 pupils shared almost evenly between the two schoolhouses. The smaller building housed the primary grades and the larger one, the senior grades.

Clayton School 1949–Clayton Ontario History
Front row: Gary Hudson, Clarence Drynan, Louie Ladouceur, Howard Wark, Keith Drynan, Bruce Anderson, Leslie Ladouceur, John Bellamy
2nd row: Dawna Mather, Marion Drynan, Esther Wark, Margaret Godwin, Elizabeth Ladouceur, Anita Murray, Elizabeth Drynan, Isobel Wark
Back row: Russell Wark, Harold Barr, Norma Mather, Anne Rath, Dorothy Craig Reid (Teacher), Shirley Hudson, Alice Murray, Ray Rath
Thanks to Allan Bellamy for the photo and Fran Rathwell for having a copy with the names as confirmed by Dorothy Reid.

Teachers came and went. Their stints generally lasted two or three years. Margaret Bellamy, a longtime resident in the community, figures probably 100 teachers taught in the Clayton schools. “In the start, it was mostly men, but then mostly women by the end,” Mrs. Bellamy said. By the early 1900s, the village population couldn’t sustain a school for primary grades and a second school for senior grades. Down from historic highs, only 60 students attended classes between the two schools. In 1907, the smaller schoolhouse was taken down meticulously piece by piece and moved to Almonte, where it was rebuilt.

Heading into the 1960s, the wave of consolidation began to sweep through the Ottawa Valley as students began moving to larger schools in the region. By 1969 there were perhaps 30 students at Clayton’s remaining school. “Bigger was better, they thought. Truck them all to town and then they’ll all be in single grades. It was a sign of the times, I guess,” *Mrs. Sarsfield said. But for many at the reunion, bigger isn’t better when they reflect on the time they spent at the school. “A lot of people started their education in schools like S.S. 4 Ramsay,” Mr. Sutherland said. “And because they were small, people learned differently. The older students helped teach the younger ones. It gave people more of a sense of community you don’t get in larger schools. “I liked teaching in schools like that, but they’re gone now. Oh well, we’ll just have to remember.” The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

Clayton schoolhouses had no insulation, but students’ recollections are warm arid fuzzy. Jake Rupert and Dawn Walton report.–CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada21 Jun 1998, Sun  •  Page 15

*Rose Mary Sarfield

Rose Mary Sarsfield
 There are still a few copies of my book available for those who haven’t gotten a copy yet, or as a Christmas gift to someone with ties to Clayton. They are available at the Clayton Store, the Mill Street Books or from me. rose@sarsfield.ca

Another House/School that Moved and Move

Norman Paul Talks About the Little Red School House- The Buchanan Scrapbook

So Which One Room School House Became a Pig Barn?

Suspended Teacher —Appleton School 1931 — Miss Annie Neilson

Ladies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898

School Salaries of 1918

The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

The Storm of 1953

The Storm of 1953

August 1953

A freak electrical storm, accompanied by a veritable cloud burst that lasted for about ten minutes and then settled down to a tapering off rain, started a little after seven o’clock on Monday evening. The late afternoon had been oppressive with a humid heat that presaged a thunderstorm or perhaps hail.

 Dark clouds blew up from the Huntley Township direction and others from the southeast seemed to meet in an overhead area and then things got going with hair-raising flashes of lightning and ear-splitting peals of thunder. A few minutes after the storm broke and two or three crashes and flashes frightened people off their front porches, the fire siren was heard. The firemen had to turn out in the midst of one of the worst downpours of rain anyone can remember. 

The phone call to the fire station stated that the steeple of the Reformed Presbyterian Church on the Bay Hill had been struck by lightning and that smoke was pouring from its base. Firemen had water turned on in record time. They had to chop a hole in the wooden portion of the tower to get at the flames. The spire is covered with steel as is the roof. No great damage was done to the interior of the building as the tower was cut off from below by closed trap doors. 

The storm was accompanied by a high wind that uprooted trees, littered lawns with limbs and cut off the power in the southern side of the town where branches fell across the wires. A strange thing about the visitation is that on the north side of the river there was little or no interference with the light service but there was a black-out on the business streets. Those stores which keep open in the evenings such as druggists’ were dark except for the odd candle or flashlight.

Aug 1953

 In the O’Brien Theatre it wasn’t hard to live up to the ancient slogan “the show must go on.” In the days of the power shortage during the last war the Ottawa Valley Amusement Co. installed gasoline driven electrical generators in their four theatres. So all the local manager had to do was turn on the machinery and the audience which happened to have got there ahead of the storm, were kept entertained.

It seemed strange on the pitch dark street to see the O’Brien main entrance lights and the sign blazing out like lone beacons. It is said that in the Legion and Hotel Almonte beverage room the boys quaffed their beer by lantern or candle light which imparted a sort of Old Country atmosphere to the places that is not present under ordinary circumstances. 

A softball game was going on at the time the storm broke and those in the grandstand had a splendid view of the lightning as it flashed in the distance across the river, and sometimes too close for comfort. At least one member of the audience—a fireman—had to plunge forth into the deluge when the siren blew. 

A strange thing about the rainfall, which some middle aged people declare was the heaviest they ever remember, is that there were only a few drops at the Auld Kirk Cemetery on the Eighth Line while the Anglican Cemetery, half way out from the town boundary, was in the very wet zone. 

It is not known what capers were cut by the storm but it is known that it was not bad in Ottawa and while they had a heavy rain in Perth and other points in the county there was no severe storm. The maintenance staff of the Almonte Public Utilities Commission had to turn out in the midst of the downpour as did the firemen. They had a mean job but they got the lights on in the business section about 8.30, for which they deserve a lot of credit when the amount of damage to the wires over a wide section is taken into consideration. 

They went off several times after that for short intervals and doubtless the electricians had to work nearly all night trying to repair the damage. From the standpoint of power users on the south side of the

river, it was fortunate that the storm struck in the evening when motors and machinery were closed down. 

Several large trees on Country Street in front of the home of Mr. Robt. Smithson, town foreman, were uprooted. It is estimated he will get five or six cords of wood out of the trunks and limbs although there is no doubt he would rather have the trees standing where they were. A fine big maple was uprooted in front of the residence of Mr. Gordon Houston. 

The story is told of one merchant on Mill Street who was creeping around his premises in the darkness holding a flashlight. Suddenly he came in front of a mirror and yelled, “help, help, there’s a robber in here!”

The Human Seal or Polar Bear Comes to Carleton Place and Almonte

The 1947 Almonte Flood

The Storm of 1867

James Albert Evoy –CFRA, Ottawa –June 12th 1952 — Almonte Gazette

James Albert Evoy –CFRA, Ottawa –June 12th 1952 — Almonte Gazette

The following is a copy of the radio script entitled “Ontario’s , Patriarchs and Papers” which was broadcast over OFRB, Toronto, on June 4th and rebroadcast over CFRA, Ottawa, on June 12th 1952. It dealt with Mr. James Albert Evoy, Almonte’s oldest citizen and included an historical sketch of the Almonte Gazette; Mr. Evoy will also receive a crayon portrait of himself. This broadcast, and others in the series are sponsored by ’ the Cities Service Oil Co., Ltd., with headquarters in Toronto and branches in many cities and towns of Canada:

Jack: “In the north-eastern portion of Ontario, some 25 miles south-west of Ottawa, is located the community of Almonte, with a population just under 3,000. There is much of historical interest to be found in and around Almonte— and one interesting fact which comes to light immediately is that it had a newspaper even before Confederation.”

Doc; “Which would make it close to a hundred years old!”

Jack’. “Except for one thing, Doc —it didn’t survive. You see, Almonte’s first newspaper—The Express—was founded in 1860—but apparently it wasn’t a very successful venture, for it folded early in 1867.”

Doc: “The year of Confederation.” Memorable Year Jack: “Yes—and also the year when The Gazette was established by William Templeman. Mr. Templeman’s publication was entirely “home-print” at the start—but, profiting from his earlier newspaper experience, he gradually developed an interesting weekly with strong local appeal. Some dozen years later, seeking fresh fields to conquer, he left for the West Coast and founded the Victoria “Times,”—and eventually ‘he became a Senator and a minister without portfolio in the Laurier Cabinet.”

Doc: “And I suppose while he was covering himself with glory, Almonte struggled along without a local newspaper.”

Jack: “Not at all. Before he left Almonte, Mr. Templeman sold the Gazette to two bright young men on his staff—James McLeod and W. P. McEwen—and they carried on the publication for another dozen years. Then, in 1901 McEwen was appointed to an important position by the Ross government of Ontario—and McLeod continued the Gazette by himself. In 1918, he sold out to James Muir, who published the paper until 1930.” Late Jas. Muir

Doc: “Another dozen years. That’s getting to be a significant figure in the history of the Almonte Gazette.”

Jack: “I hadn’t noticed, but you’re right. Anyway, the coincidence ends right there—for Muir sold the Gazette to A. S. Hanna, and he has continued as publisher to this day, which makes a total of some 22 years. Mr. Hannah previous experience with both dailies and weeklies has enabled him to establish the Gazette more firmly than ever. After 85 years of continuous publication, the paper now enjoys its greatest popularity to date, both as a source of news and a medium for advertising. Cities Service congratulates the Almonte Gazette on its long record of achievement, and its development from pioneer to progressive home-town weekly!”

Doc: “You know, Jack—Almonte’s patriarch has been there almost as long as its paper—almost 80 years, to be exact.”

Jack: “Surely, Doc, he’s older than 80!

Doc: “He surely is! Almonte’s oldest resident will be 94 next September 10—and his name is James Albert Evoy—Albert to his friends. Not that I can claim to be a friend of his—but Albert was born in Carp, Ontario. When he was 15 his family moved to Almonte— presumably because it offered better business opportunities.”

Jack: “Any specific type of business?”

Doc: “Well, Mr. Evoy Senior was a shoemaker—and Albert learned this trade, too. He became an expert at it, and has made it his life work.”

Jack: “I certainly hope that remark doesn’t mean Mr. Evoy is still working!”

Doc: “Oh come now, Jack— surely at 93, the man has earned his rest! Mr. Evoy is retired now, naturally—but happily, is remarkably well’ and is up and about every day. And, by the way, his wife is also in good health and still able to help with the housework. Mrs. Evoy is the former Annie Lang of Fitzroy Township.”

Jack: “Have they been married long?”

Doc: “Sixty-two years! And although they lost a son in the first World War, they still have a fairly sizeable family—three sons, two daughters and four grandchildren.”

Jack: “Which makes Mr. Evoy a patriarch in the real sense of the word.”

Doc: “And provides him with considerable pleasure, I’m sure. By the way, I should mention that Mr. Evoy and his family lived in Arnprior for some time—but apparently Almonte holds the stronger place in their affections, for they finally settled there. And although Mr. Evoy is rather a quiet man, and has given most of his time to his work and his family life, he is well-known and well liked if and around the town. So I’m sure there will be many neighbours and friends who will be pleased that he has been singled out for this tribute on our Cities Service Program.”

Jack: “We’re happy to salute James Albert Evoy, the grand old man of Almonte, and to announce that the well-known Canadian artist, Egbert C. Reed, is now working on a life-size charcoal portrait of Mr. Evoy, which will soon be presented to him.

Died 30 Sep 1952 at about age 94 in Almonte, Lanark, Ontario, Canada

James Albert Evoy who spent his entire life in the building trade here, died at his home In Almonte on Tuesday at the age of 94. He came to this town as a young man and set up business as a carpenter. Born In Huntley township, he was a son of the late William Evoy and his wife Catherine Shore. In 1896 he married the former Annie Lang of Fitzroy. A son William died in the First World War. Surviving besides his wife are two daughters, Mrs. H. Christopherson, Arnprior; Mrs. J. Dontigny, Chalk River; three sons in Almonte, Allen, Roy and Fred; one brother. George of Ottawa, four grandchildren and, five great grandchildren. The funeral will be held from the Comba funeral home Almonte, on Thursday with service in the parlors conducted by Rev. H. C. Wolfralm of Almonte United Church. Interment will be in the Auld Kirk cemetery.

David Murr and The Almonte Gazette ” Looking Back” Column

The Titanic Disaster according to the Almonte Gazette

The Almonte Gazette in Manitoba

June Dalgity 1999 Almonte Gazette Clippings and Comments

Train Wreck January 21, 1969– Almonte Gazette

Jim Muir — Almonte Gazette Editor

Doug Lorimer Almonte Gazette- Kathy Dunbar

The Almonte Gazette is sold to John Graham of Carleton Place 1965

The Funniest Anti-Dog Letter to the Editor–Almonte Gazette

Tips From the Almonte Gazette “Travel Section” 1874

Hey Even Journalists Can be Sick! Influenza 1918

Stewart Hanna –The “Angry” Journalist of a Rural Town

Who was Miss Peanut Queen in 1952?

Who was Miss Peanut Queen in 1952?

Saturday, Aug. 16th. was to have been “ Peanut Day” in Almonte when the young folks and the old folks expected to see the famous Planters Peanut floats and hear lively music as the parade traversed the streets. 

Instead it turned out to be Jupiter Pluvius’ day and the finale of the contest was completely rained out. The members of the Lions Club who were in charge o f this year’s Peanut contest have expressed no disappointment in the results. Given favourable weather on Saturday, the returns would have been much larger but open air events are always a gamble and this time the club lost. 

It is the intention of the club to sponsor the contest again next year. The young lady who won the highest number of votes was Miss; Connie Stanley and she was accorded the title of “ Peanut Queen.” ‘ The runner-up was Miss Audrey Southwell and Miss Audrey Baird was third. The “taggers’ ‘ , who assisted selling peanuts on the streets, were headed by:  Karen Paupst who won the 1 prize for selling the most. The others were (2) Carol Horton; (3) Marion Bolger and Betty Smithson, tied.

August 1952

Trivia- Karen Paupst who sold the most peanuts became Peanut Queen in 1953..

When Mr. Peanut was once King in Lanark County!

The Peanut Parade Carleton Place

When Mr. Peanut was once King in Lanark County!

Yes Virginia, There is an APP for that Mouse Trap…

Tampa Bay Times
St. Petersburg, Florida
10 Sep 2006, Sun  •  Page 135

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

I found a 4lb Honey Tin
From Harry G Toop
R.R.3 Carleton Place
Adin Daigle

Mr. Harry Toop, well known apiarist, who is now located near Arnprior but who used to reside in Ramsay Township near Carleton Place, was surprised to receive the following letter from a stranger who was travelling to the Old Country aboard the Empress of France:

Dear Mr. Toop, It is a brilliant, sunny, warm day on the mid-Atlantic and just the correct atmosphere for thinking about bees and honey. I have enjoyed your honey so much during this last week that I cannot refrain from commending you. Your honey is used on this ship and its clear, well prepared packaging is a credit to your skill and business methods. The quality of the honey interests me even more. I am perfectly sure that the many passengers who are eating this product are doing so because of this good flavour.

In fact, I have taken the time to ask many of them why they eat it and the answer is the same. “It tastes good and it looks nice.” I am on my way to Britain and Europe to look at the foreign bees and apiaries, not as a scientist or commercial giant, but out of interest alone. My own apiary is at Bobcaygeon, Ont., where I find that flavour and appearance of honey sells more of it than price controls and bargain lots. With a lot of people aboard and all of them looking for something to do, it gives them fun and me too, when I talk of bees and beekeeping. It is astounding to find so many people who have heard little or nothing about honey. I People who have honey to sell | should note this. Good luck to you, sir, I hope you have a bumper season. July 1952 Almonte Gazette

So Harry Toop, renowned beekeeper for the last 62 years, how do those beastly little suckers make honey, anyway? “I could talk about bees all week,” says Mr. Toop, 80, while explaining the parts of a brood box in the wooden shed built onto his 1870s brick farmhouse on the Upper Dwyer Hill Road. “I’m still fascinated with bees. After all this time, I still haven’t learned everything about them yet.”

During the next four hours, he will show you samples of the nasty verroa mite, read pertinent verses from Deuteronomy, retell the biblical story of the prodigal son, inquire about your stance on angels, tell the story of his wife’s passing three year’s ago today, recount his vacation to Seattle, and explain what concession line he grew up on outside Carleton Place.

He will tell you about the man who filled a 70-gallon butter crock full of honey, then cracked it wide open on his trunk latch. “Seventy pounds of honey in his trunk,” says Mr. Toop, releasing a series of high-pitched “hee-hee-hees”. Or the contestant who cheated one year at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto by adding food colouring to darken his amber honey; or how it’s okay to be in a bad mood once in a while. “Even my mother-in-law got in bad humour on a windy day.” Or the guy who filled his expensive beeswax bars with cheaper parafin, wax, in an effort to cheat his dealer.

“Not all the crooks are dead, you know.” Right, so the bee flies up to the flower, Mr. Toop, and then what happens? “Do you remember how the refraction of light works?” And he is off again, demonstrating a device used to measure the moisture content of honey by measuring how the light bends through a drop of the sweet liquid. “Once the queen starts to lay eggs, she never has to be fertilized again,” says Mr. Toop, who once kept a queen bee for five years, which seems an awfully long time for a bug to live.

The queen seems to have something to do with the production of honey, as do other bees called drones and workers. “It’s marvelous. I’m amazed at these bees.” Harry (Honey) Toop, who has five daughters, learned about making honey from his father and grandfather and at one time had 800 hives. The fourth of 10 children, he still remembers the year when he harvested 96,000 pounds of honey, using it to supply more than 60 stores in a circuit around Arnprior.

When he started in the business, honey was selling for nine cents a pound. He still retails a little to his favoured customers, at $1.80 a pound. “In order to be a good beekeeper, you have to think like a bee,” says Mr. Toop, without elaborating on that particular thought process. His main preoccupation now is his beekeeping supply business. In a big workshop about 100 metres from his house, he builds wooden frames, foundation combs, big wooden boxes that house bees during the winter, and other stuff that seems to have something to do with making honey.

We still aren’t sure. – It is clear that Mr. Toop who is as sharp as a bee’s stinger knows everything there is to know about bees and honey. In fact, maybe he knows too much. Which could explain why he has such trouble knowing where to begin answering questions for non-experts. From a little office in the back, he pulls out a brown book with a gold embossed cover that reads All I Know about Beekeeping, By Harry Toop. Finally, we’re getting somewhere. He flips it open and the pages are blank. Mr. Toop is nearly doubled over with laughter. “I got you on that one … hee, hee, hee.”

Mr. Toop built the workshop himself and supplies dozens of products to small beekeepers in the area, ‘ “See that saw over there? I bought it in 1940. I’ve got to show you this.” From a cupboard, he pulls out a saw blade resting in a wooden sleeve and yanks out the end of his tape measure. “Now this blade was 10 inches when I bought it.” It now measures eight and five-eights, the wear caused by thousands of cuts and hundreds of sharpenings.

Mr. Toop, a tall man with blue eyes and neatly combed white hair, has a cross-cut saw on the wall that he remembers felled 2,600 logs one winter. It needs to be sharpened with a special file. “Would you be interested in seeing it?” And off he goes again, seeking out yet another drawer holding a tool wrapped in brown paper. It hardly needs to be said that Mr. Toop loves being a beekeeper, though he admits he is thinking of selling the business because of his advancing years. “A beekeeper has an opportunity to live so close to nature, God’s creation, and you have an opportunity to see so much of what’s happening.”

Alan Fox, 57, a part-time beekeeper from Dacre, stopped in to see Mr. Toop and pick up some supplies jars and things that seemed to have something to do with honey. “He’s been my mentor as far as beekeeping goes,” says Mr. Fox. He said Mr. Toop is well-known in beekeeping circles across Ontario, for longevity and depth of knowledge. Mr. Toop, a one-time farmer who “got busy with bees after I stopped fussing with cows,” was an apiary inspector for the government of Ontario for 40 years and has been a honey judge at fairs all over Ontario. “You have to understand the nature of the bees so you can work co-operatively with them,” says Mr. Toop. As late afternoon approaches, it is time for leave-taking. He was right after all he can talk about bees for a week.

Kely Egan Southam Newspapers

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada15 Sep 1998, Tue  •  Page 29

I found a 4lb Honey Tin
From Harry G Toop
R.R.3 Carleton Place
Adin Daigle

Perth Courier, Oct. 24, 1884
Mr. Edmund Anderson of Hopetown has obtained from his apiary this year 6,344 pounds of honey, 23 packages of which he has sent to Montreal leaving 18 on hand yet. He has sold a considerable quantity in small lots. He says the “Holy Land” bee has come out over all the others as a producer

Memories of a honey tin by Stuart McIntosh— After the honey was eaten these tin pales often became useful for other things on the farm: a container for milk for the house, for picking berries, etc.

Honey display now on at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

The Robbing of the Honey Pot- Andrew Cochrane Ramsay Yuill

Honey and the Andersons of Hopetown

Inside the Old Honey Pot — The Henderson Apiaries Carleton Place

What Was a Honey Wagon?- The Job of a Night Soil Scavenger

Almonte Fair 1890 —-Alex Currie — The Country Fair

Almonte Fair 1890 —-Alex Currie — The Country Fair


By Alex Currie

As the time for the fall fairs draws near my mind goes back to the fair as it was in the late 1890’s, now crowded 60 years ago. Almonte was a lively town in those days, with six mills running full blast and employing mostly young people. With no automobiles, the town was the marketing and shopping centre for the large surrounding farm community, adding to the local business.

Though mill wages were always below par, and measured by the yard stick of present day prosperity, the standard of life in those days was pretty low, still, no one knew anything different, pleasures were simple and people were probably more contented than they are now. The fair ran for four days then and was rated the best in Eastern Ontario.

Special trains came from both directions, bringing the bands and the crowds who jammed the station platform and the red station, now used as a freight shed across the tracks. The sidewalks on Mill and Bridge Streets could not accommodate the crowds, who jostled each other good-naturedly on to the road. The fair was an exciting time for us small fry.

The balloon ascensions, the fireworks, the steam calliope on the merry-go-round playing “The Sidewalks Of New York,” the cacophony of the midway, with the barkers calling their wares in raucous voices, “the cane you ring is the cane you carry away’ throw them high and drop them low and over the canes they are sure to go,,’ the two-headed calf, the horse with the crab feet, the man with his head through the canvass had difficulty dodging pitcher “Chibby” McGrath’s fast in-shoot. The direct hits would ricochet off his head.

At the fair we first heard Edison’s new phonograph, (listening to the tinny music from the cylindrical record through ear plugs, similar to a doctor’s stethoscope0. In a few years we were to see our first silent movies as a grandstand attraction, with the effect of rain pouring down the screen. In the wild west show, with its trick riding and its barroom shooting scene, the horse thief was dragged across the show ring on a long rope attached to the saddle horn of the bronco cow-pony and hanged in a realistic manner, with feet kicking, on the far side of the ring.


We kids lassoed everything in sight for months and gave our bloodcurdling cowboy yahoo. The farm folk attended the fair enmasse, interested in everything but particularly the livestock display and happy to visit with friends not seen for a year. The young farm boy eating his first banana remarked: “There is not much left after you take the core out.”

My most vivid recollection is of the sideshow with the wild man from Borneo, who ate snakes alive. The banner in front of the show bore the legend, “He eats ’em alive,” and depicted a ferocious looking savage surrounded by snakes, all with their fangs out. Inside the tent, this individual was exhibited in a deep, square, wooden pit, the top of which extended about four feet higher than the raised platform which surrounded it, and on which the customers stood, looking down at the wild man standing at the bottom of the pit, in straw above his knees and loaded down with chains.

This set-up was a tactical error on the part of the promoter, as will be seen later in this narrative. Though, of course, the wild man did not understand English, when urged to get busy eating these live snakes, he would reach down in the straw and bring up a very dead snake, skin it back and chew off a piece of its innards. Likely, he surreptitiously spat it out, later. A man with a peg leg was noticed sauntering around the town’s main streets, nonchalantly smoking a very civilized tailor-made cigarette and in the Davis House bar having a drink. (Incidentally, these drinks could be called civilized or otherwise depending if you were wet or dry). The liquor question, then, as now, was a live issue. The town was divided between those who patronized the bars and those who did not and who criticized those who did and the hotel-keeper who sold the fire water.

The drys had us kids of 8 or 10 sign the pledge and paraded us around town in a body, wearing our Band of Good Hope ribbons, chanting slogans. We hadn’t the foggiest notion as to what it was all about. But I digressed. The man with the peg leg was recognized as an Ottawa black man, and he looked suspiciously like our friend, the wild man.

At that afternoon and evening’s shows, he had a rough time of it and likely wished he were back in his Borneo jungle. The boys tormented him in various ways and tried to trick him into speaking English. He stood up very well under this for a time, just talking gibberish, snarling and rattling his chains, but when the boys started spitting mouthfuls of tobacco juice (tobacco chewing was a universal practice) on his defenseless head, his control broke and he swore at his tormentors in English and a couple of other languages, using good, round, Ottawa bowery cuss words.

The next day this sideshow was missing from the grounds. “They had folded their tents like the Egyptians and silently stolen away.” This sophisticated modern age, with its many attractions and amusements, cannot capture the thrill we got at the Almonte Fair in the horse and buggy days.


We Don’t Need the Almonte Fair 1897 – “Admission to the grounds is 25 cents, which is twice too much!”

Clippings and Photos of the 1958 Almonte Turkey Fair

HISTORY OF LANARK TOWNSHIP AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION –Laurie Yuill Part 4-“the proprietor of a merry-go-round was paid a bonus to bring his machine to the Fair “

Are You Ever too Old to Go to The Rural Fair? — Almonte

The Ongoing Fight of Rooney’s and Karl’s Grocery — Part 2

The Ongoing Fight of Rooney’s and Karl’s Grocery — Part 2


The ongoing fight of Rooney’s and Karl’s Grocery— Read-It Came Out of Rooney’s Pool Hall

Sometimes a few jokes emphasize the lighter side of life and are welcome in these troublesome and depressing times. So, apropos of that we must record the latest development in a long standing exchange between Karl’s Grocery and Rooney’s Tobacco Store.

Last year these enterprising business neighbors (across the street) under cover of darkness posted signs on one another’s doors on the 17th of March and the 12th of July. – The first  one on K arl’s door read “Gone to New York for the Irish parade.” Brother Woermke of Karl’s staff was not to be outdone so when Mr. Mike Rooney arrived on the morning of July 12th there was a large placard on his door saying “Closed—gone to the Orange walk at Smiths Falls.”

The other day, the the mail, Mr. Rooney received a present of a paddy green tie from the staff across the street and he was asked to wear it at the next meeting of the Lions Club. He sent an orange colored monstrosity back to Karl and told him If he would wear it to the Club dinner if he would drape himself in the green one.

Mr. Paupst forgot Tuesday night to put on the Orange creation so to mollify the outraged Mike, glorified in his green neckerchief, he stood up and identified himself as “Karl O’Paupst.” But Mike insists that Paupst must wear the Orange tie on the 12th of July which Mr. Paupst has promised to do even if he is not an Orangeman. , —— 1952-03-20

Rooney’s Pool Room 1977

Karen Hirst

May 25, 2019  · Passing Rooney’s Pool Room corner and seeing the empty storefront, I wonder if guys and gals play pool anywhere these days?In days of yore when it was a pool room it was an active hang out for the young men of our times, a place to gather and advance their skill with a pool cue and hit those hard, brightly colored balls into the side pocket and win the challenge placed!The corner itself had a status, an image. It was ‘the’ place for adolescent boys to be seen, to gather, to smoke and look like Robert Redford in the Hustler, or the like! Boys would hang out and watch the world go by or maybe whistle at a few pretty young ladies passing by whose parents had warned them not to be standing around the pool room corner. The less than welcomed Halloween’ egg throwing antics could also be executed from the pool room corner adding to it’s reputation. Karen Hirst

Robert Hawkins-FeDuke

22 hr. ago

Hi Linda, Harold Woermke was Karl’s partner in the grocery store and my uncle. I can attest to humorous antics between the billiard room and the grocery store – all in good fun. These antics were very creative and well executed. All were members of the Lions Club and the good natured antics would continue at the monthly meetings. My uncle Dinty Scott and his brother Ed, were owners of The Superior Restaurant and the hijinks would draw in both brothers as well. Happy days and happy memories.

It Came Out of Rooney’s Pool Hall

Slot Machine a Go Go–1934 — Rooney’s Pool Hall

Before Rooney’s Pool House There Was..

Tales From McCann’s Pool Room – Rob Probert

Rack’ Em Up Lads! Pool Halls ETC. in Carleton Place

Comments About Dorothy’s Tea Room — aka The Eating Place

No Girls Allowed? Uncle Cecil’s Pool Room

The Old Town Crest – Almonte

The Old Town Crest – Almonte

1952 april 3

Like most municipalities, Almonte has a town crest which is used on the official stationery and in proclamations, etc. Almonte’s crest was, no doubt, fashioned many years ago and now it is badly worn and will not print properly. A close scrutiny shows that the town fathers of those days were right up in front when it comes to crests.

A canoe lies horizontally across the top. In the centre the cross and in the four corners are a cornucopia, signifying plenty, a wheel for progress, a beehive for industry and also a griffin. In the old days it seems that no crest was complete without a griffin as it was a fabulous animal in heraldry and architecture. It had the head and wings of an eagle and the body and legs of a lion or a bull.

Around the outside in a circle are the Latin words, “vesticia nulla retrorsum.” The Gazette was forced to call on Miss Jessie Matthews for that one and translated it means “no steps backward,” which is ( a motto worth striving for but very difficult to achieve under present circumstances). Some years ago, when Mr. W. E. Scott was mayor he suggested getting a new cut of the crest for use in printing. He thought it should be redesigned on a smaller and neater scale. The County Council did this some years ago. But here weightier matters took up the mayor’s attention and nothing was done in this regard.

All that is left of the original crest on the Mississippi Mills Municipal crestis the wheel

from —Mississippi Mills

Rose Mary Sarsfield

John McWhinnie who arrived here in 1821 wrote in later life that he had helped Daniel Shipman clear the land for his house and mill in 1822. John McWhinnie was later editor of the Woodstock Sentinel. He wrote this in a column in The Almonte Express Nov. 15, 1861 p. 2

David Steventon

Born out of Mike Harris’s uncommon sense revolution. Time heals however and the three wards now work pretty cohesively. It is worth knowing however that the township of Ramsay originally emerged from the need to keep the early population of Almonte fed when the Mills were up and running.

Through its links with aristocracy Ramsay included a crown in its crest. At the time of amalgamation Ramsay was, per capita, one of the wealthiest townships in the province. The current township office was built prior to amalgamation by Ramsay. Mississippi Mills benefitted from this brand new mortgage free structure.

Those in charge of the Gemmill Park must erect WHAT??? You will not believe this!



The 98 acre playground known as Gemmill Park in Almonte– which was left to the town by the late Miss Winnifred Dunlop Gemmill following World War II, has become a source of embarrassment to the Council. At the time Miss Gemmill made the bequest— and she included a strange stipulation in her will to the effect that in order to qualify for the generous gift, those in charge of the park must erect a gas chamber on the grounds to do away with homeless dogs and cats in a humane way.

The town fathers baulked at this idea but for the time being were ready to accept the other provision that the huge tract, all lying within the town boundaries, must be used for recreation purposes.  It is believed that distant relatives of Miss Gemmill, living in this country, were not too pleased about the bequest and inquiries were made at that time by an Ottawa legal firm handling the estate as to what the town intended to do.

However, no definite steps were made to interfere with Almonte’s inheritance and at the municipal elections of 1948 the people voted in favor of setting up a Commission, members of which would be appointed by Council to manage the park. Three years ago a rink was built on a portion of the property facing on Country Street. And this is about the only recreational use ever made of the big area except for the comparatively small space occupied by the Ont. Govt, roadside park at the junction of highways 29 and 44.

It has been long felt that 98 acres of park might be proper for a city of 15,000 but is way beyond the means of a town of 2,600. Loss of revenue, when it was taken off the tax roll, is more keenly felt now than at that time. So, for several years there has been a movement on foot to use a reasonable space for a town park, including the skating rink site, and subdivide the rest for residential and industrial sites. To do this a special Act of Legislature would be necessary to get around the will.

Acting on instructions from the Council, and with the acquiescence of the Parks Commission, the town solicitor, R. A. Jamieson, Q.C., made an application to have a private bill introduced at this session of the Ontario Legislature. The fee of $150 necessary to bring about this action was paid and then inquiries from the Ottawa firm of lawyers acting for Miss Gemmell’s heirs indicated that the application would be opposed in the private bills committee at Toronto.

The Parks Commission then asked council to withdraw the action for the time being. It is hoped that the $150 fee can be returned. One member suggested at a special meeting of the Council and Commission that the big property be handed back to the heirs and re-instated on the tax roll. It is not likely the heirs, if they knew the local situation, would look upon their inheritance as a real estate bonanza.

Gemill Park still belongs to the town of Almonte (Mississippi Mills)— and as far as I did research, no gas chamber was built for animals.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Dec 1943, Sat  •  Page 17

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Dec 1943, Sat  •  Page 17

The Gemmill Well in Almonte 1951

So What Happened to Miss Winnifred Knight Dunlop Gemmill’s Taxidermy Heads?

Gemmill Park Skating Rink May Be Illegal–1947

Jessie Leach Gemmill -The “Claire Fraser” of Lanark

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

Next Time You Drive Down Highway 15–Gemmils

From Gemmil’s Creek to the Riel Rebellion

Orchids in Gemmils Swamp June 1901

The Gemmill Well in Almonte 1951