Tag Archives: eggs

Who is this Family? UPDATE — The Nikki Thorton Photo Files

Who is this Family? UPDATE — The Nikki Thorton Photo Files

Nikki Thornton


This is a family that lived past Union Hall.

Thank to Nikki for all the photos he has been sending.

So who was this family??

Duncan Family Margaret and Hugh Duncan

Stuart McIntosh


Marilyn Vallentyne Gendron

Great family and photo.

Angela Giles

Margaret and Hugh Duncan and family

Cathy McRae Sharbot

The Duncan Family, they lived on the Clayton Road

Kathy Duncan

Thats me on the right with the skinny legs…lol..our family in the 1970’s

Anne Marie Duncan

Sometimes we got their mail by mistake – we were the Duncans on Perth Road past Union Hall.

Read-The Egg House on the Hill — The Duncans


It took only three quarters of an hour for fire to destroy the modern egg grading plant of Hugh Duncan, Clayton Road, Ramsay, on Monday afternoon. It is located about two miles from this town. Flames were seen by an employee at 4.45 and by 5.30 the building of cinder blocks, which was only two years old, had been consumed together with machinery, other equipment and 150 cases of eggs—30 doz. to the case. READ- DUNCAN EGG GRADING Fire — 1956

Resident of the Month: Margaret Duncan 

Margaret’s history as a community leader and elected official is well known both in Mississippi Mills and surrounding area—from High School teacher in Carleton Place, to a successful farm business partnership, to Councilor in Ramsay Township, (first woman), to Reeve of Ramsay Township, to Warden of Lanark County. Her many policies and political accomplishments continue to impact Mississippi Mills and she continues to be involved in community groups, including fundraising for the Almonte General Hospital/ Fairview Manor. While on council, she was responsible for securing significant funding for a variety of rural projects such as the Clayton Housing Project, Lyn Bower, and many new paved roads which encouraged tourism in the area. 

Margaret met her husband, Hugh Duncan, at Guelph university. Hugh returned to his home in Almonte and Margaret arrived as a new bride in 1951. They worked hard to create a successful farm and egg marketing business. They raised 5 children in their home on Clayton Road and employed many local residents over their 39 years of business. 

After the death of Hugh, Margaret met and married Stanley Brunton. After only a short 4 1/2 years, he passed. She was fortunate to have even more family that were a great part of her life. Few know of her roots—her early life in a small, rural farming community in Guelph Township, seven miles from Guelph. Margaret’s father was largely self-educated, given the demands of work on the family farm. The rich land, her father’s hard work and determination throughout his life, made him a successful dairy farmer and active community leader serving as Guelph Township Councilor and Reeve, and as the Clerk of his Township. 

Margaret has fond memories of her mother’s sweet temperament, love of flowers, soloist in the church choir and her stylish appearance. The sadness of her early death remains with her today.  Margaret’s character was shaped by her parents’ values, personal commitment to community, deep religious beliefs, determination and self-sufficiency. Margaret’s family forged deep values in this rural community of self-sufficient farmers and they managed well throughout the Depression years. As children, Margaret along with her brother and sister, participated in local debates, public speaking, social events, recitals and local dances. Margaret’s five children are all currently living in the Almonte and Ottawa area and she stays close with her in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her large extended family and friends continue to love to visit her at her new, beautiful home at Orchard View by the Mississippi.

From the Orchard View newsletter 2018

Margaret Duncan, Almonte Ontario

Born on May 2, 1924
Died on March 24, 2022 The Millstone

On March 24, 2022, Margaret Duncan concluded her long, prosperous and healthy life.  In her 98th year, Margaret was a successful businesswoman, an elected municipal official, a community fundraiser, a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, sister, aunt, cousin and friend.

 Predeceased by husbands Raymond Hugh Duncan and Stanley Brunton; sister Penelope Klinck; and brother John M. Gilchrist. She will be missed by her companion, Jack Hayes.

Survived by her children Isabel Metcalfe (Herb Metcalfe), Pennie Eagen (Pat Eagen), Kathy Duncan, Allan Duncan (Tammy Connors), Christine Moses (Darcy Moses); her grandchildren Julie Metcalfe (Tim O’Malley), Dan Metcalfe (Mandy Metcalfe), Dr. Kathleen Metcalfe,  Elizabeth Eagen (Trevor McKay), Allison Eagen (Brad Hewton), Charlotte Eagen (Colin MacKenzie), Andrew Eagen (Katie Kelly), Jonas Vaskas (Nicola Swanby), Tessa Vaskas (Tyler Stanton), Chris Duncan (Sidney Morgan), Connor Duncan (Annie Bergeron-Oliver), Taylor Duncan (Brandon Watt), Josh Goodwin, Tom Moses, Jack Moses (Courtney Bradley);  and her great grandchildren Grace O’Malley, Maisie O’Malley, Scarlett O’Malley, Maeve Metcalfe, Ryan McKay, Isaac McKay, James Hewton, Norah Hewton and Hazel Hewton.

Margaret graduated from Teachers College in Hamilton and taught in rural Ontario.  Her first classroom had 32 students ranging from grades one to eight. In 1951, she married Hugh Duncan and they began Duncan’s Poultry Farm in Almonte, Ontario. Together they built a business that ran for forty years, and secured egg markets throughout Eastern Ontario.

 In 1974, she was the first woman to be elected to Ramsay Township Council, and in 1994, she became the first female Warden of Lanark Country.  She loved her community, she served it well and never lost a municipal election – usually topping the polls.

When Hugh Duncan died in 1995, Margaret transitioned from municipal politics to become a sought-after community volunteer, including a board member at the Carleton Place Memorial Hospital and the Almonte General Hospital. She became a champion fundraiser for the Almonte General Hospital receiving the Senior of the Year Award in 1997 and the Bert McIntyre Memorial Fundraising Award in 2020.

Her belief in God, her love of music, flowers, people and travel sustained her throughout her active and vibrant life.  A life-long member of the Liberal Party of Canada, she followed politics, the stock market, international affairs, public policy, and of course, fashion.  She stayed current with technology and embraced online banking when she was 75, using it daily until her mid-90s.   Margaret was generous with her experience and her approach.  She was an angel investor to local businesses and a mentor to hundreds of men and women, especially people seeking public office.

As a nation builder, Margaret Duncan will be remembered for her kind and tolerant views, her inclusivity and her love of life.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada04 Aug 1961, Fri  •  Page 37

He and his wife, Margaret have four children-three girls and a boy. Mrs. Duncan keep the book. They work as a team and both husband and wife pool their judgment and experience in arriving at important decisions. Mr. Duncan went into the “started pullet” business in 1937

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada02 Aug 1961, Wed  •  Page 23

Yesterday’s chicken had to run around in the hay field scratching to get enough to eat She had to be lean and alert to avoid the neighbour’s dog. When she did have time to lay an egg she usually hid it, and the farmer’s wife had to have great ingenuity if she were to find enough eggs to fill the egg box. Today’s hen has found security in an air-conditioned house with food served up on a shiny tray. She never has to walk more than five feet to get something to eat, and has energy saved up to lay more eggs. She eats and drinks in regal style and in her contentment produces more food for man. is spent in the feeding, watering across the road, and the trip to after a chicken, providing he could catch her. Today it needs a man with a special knowledge of poultry science, like Hugh Duncan, of Almonte, Ontario, near Ottawa, who got his specialized knowledge of farming from the OntarioAgricultural College and went into the poultry business soon after he graduated.

To get experience he built up his poultry farm from a small beginning, and now is erecting the chicken palace which chickens know is the ultimate. To keep costs down one must increase efficiency. A total of 10,000 pullets are ready to start work laying egs in the new chicken house as soon as it is completed and everyone has had a chance to see it on open house day. No chicken will have claustrophobia in this 275 foot laying house, 37 feet wide, which was bought in prefabricated form and erected by local men after they had first laid a complete cement foundation.

The 5,000 hens on each side of the long building will have a pleasant day jumping from roost bar to water trough bar to feed bar and then into the nests beside the center corridor. These long wooden bars are continuous, running the length of the building on each side! continuous also are the feed troughs and water troughs. The modern hen adjusts herself rapidly to the idea of the feed juggling along in the shiny galvanized iron feeding trough. Although the fresh pellets or finely ground feed move at ten feet per minute she can select choice pieces with her beak. Any time she feels like it she can hop down to the lower bar and get a drink of water. When the level in the trough falls to a certain height a senstitive device turns on the fresh water and a pump fills up the trough again. No hen need complain about the sanitation.

On the principle that 80 per cent of the hen’s time and roosting area, the four foot wide cement troughs underneath the floor slats are equipped with automatic cleaner scrapers. V- shaped when at rest, the scrapers spread out when the machine is started twice a week, and clean the entire dropping area into central pits “which, in turn, are cleaned mechanically. If a hen thinks she can hide her egg she is mistaken in this modern chicken house, because when she gets up after laying her egg it roils gently down to the back of the nests, out of her reach, where it can be picked up with all the other newly-laid eggs as the operator walks down the long corridor. As he picks up the eggs he places them on a mobile platform suspended from a ceiling track, and he can thus move the eggs down the corridor without having to lift them. In the work room at the front of the building he can lift the 15 dozen egg container intact into a vat of cleaning solution, he leaves them for four minutes before placing them in the adjacent cold storage room.

A hen doesn’t need to worry about her egg getting spoiled. Eggs stored in the cool room for 24 hours immediately after being laid are easier to grade and of course keep much fresher. The grading process, in Hugh Duncan’s egg grading station market in insulated truck are fast enough so the eggs do not warm up again before getting to the ol counter in the grocery store. So that the air in the hen house is always nice and fresh electric fans take care of the air-conditioning, bringing fresh air into the building and taking warm air out. Unlike humans, hens like a fairly cool building and the heat from their bodies warms up the building even in very coid weather. For the operator, electric heaters installed in the work room and one in the cold storage room keep the work room at comfortable temperature and, in cool weather, keep the store room from falling below freez ing. In case anyone thinks that all this is unnecessary coddling of the hen, and by this we do not mean a pun like “coddled eggs”, then one must remember that in the chicken business like any other it is necessary to spend money to make money. Only from those healthy, well-satisfied hens and efficient, fast-working operator will production reach the steady, high level demanded by modern supermarkets, chain stores and costs be controlled to meet the demands of modern business methods. The day of the solitary, independent chicken is over.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada30 Jul 1975, Wed  •  Page 2

The Egg House on the Hill — The Duncans


Snippets of The Duncan Farm ( Dondi Farms)




It took only three quarters of an hour for fire to destroy the modern egg grading plant of Hugh Duncan, Clayton Road, Ramsay, on Monday afternoon. It is located about two miles from this town. Flames were seen by an employee at 4.45 and by 5.30 the building of cinder blocks, which was only two years old, had been consumed together with machinery, other equipment and 150 cases of eggs—30 doz. to the case.

It appears that rubbish had been burned in an outside incinerator located some distance away from all the farm buildings. But a high wind was blowing and after it was thought all life was out of the ashes, sparks must have been wafted to the egg grading building.

The Almonte Fire Brigade was sent for by Mr. Duncan, who was at home at the time and it responded with one of its pumpers and the township pumper which is carried with the large one. The town machine used water in its 300 gal. storage tank to thoroughly wet the wall of the house next to the blazing building and thus protect it from the fire.

The smaller machine was hooked on with its sucker in a creek and it helped protect the house although it was apparent little could be done to stem the flames that were consuming the grading station. Furniture was moved out of the house as it looked as if it was doomed. Windows were cracked by the heat. The loss is partially covered by insurance.

Meanwhile, the North Lanark Co-op has placed its egg grading equipment at the disposal of Mr. Duncan to help him out until he gets re-established. Among his customers are the Ontario Hospital at Smiths Falls, the Chateau Laurier, Ottawa and Perrault’s Gardens, Ottawa.

About 6.30 another alarm was received in town for a grass fire in the Burnt Lands, Huntley Twp., a t the top of what is known as the ‘Big Hill’ on Highway 44. This was not menacing any buildings but it was spreading through the dry grass and the scrub bush. It was fairly well under control when the town firemen arrived but they finished it with water from the storage tank on the pumper.

Also Read

The Egg House on the Hill — The Duncans

Eggs 10 Cents a dozen–Farmers Markets of Smiths Falls and Almonte 1880 and 1889

We Didn’t Throw the Eggs said Carleton Place!

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

Ritchie Feed and Seed Part 3– The Egg Grading Station-Cecil Hicks — Larry Clark

Ritchie Feed and Seed Part 3– The Egg Grading Station-Cecil Hicks — Larry Clark
Thanks go to Andrew Ritchie for these photos.

The Egg Grading Station-Cecil Hicks

Although I liked my job as a pin setter working for Bill Irwin , I looked for another job, a little less wearing (particularly for the sake of my Jeans)  and found it thanks to Cecil Hicks who operated (as far as I know) the only egg grading facility in town. 

This establishment occupied the basement (eggs) and one other floor, above Ritchie’s (chicks), known as the “brooder”.

A very commonplace door, adjacent to the Ritchie loading platform led into a cavernous room with two sets of stairs, one leading down to the egg grading station and the other, up to the brooder. At the bottom of the stairs, one turned right for buying or selling eggs, or straight ahead to exit the building. Perhaps to enjoy the sound of the rushing water or just to enjoy the view and let your senses react to the noise of the disturbed waters. Or you are just plain lost!

It was a long corridor to reach the door to the egg sorting room-the office on the left and once inside you were faced with an almost square room (20’ approx.) with a large heavy doored enclosure in the right corner. 

This was a refrigerated room for storing eggs after they had been graded and actually the main room was a little cool. On the left side was the huge grading machine which took up most of the wall (except for a door to access the office and the working area of the machine).

A not unusual start to  Saturday morning would have Cecil begin candling the eggs and placing them on the machine according to the following criteria  (Perhaps not the same as now) from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:-

ReceivingEggs are received and held in a refrigerated holding area which is separate from the area where the eggs are graded.


Eggs pass over a bright candling light by means of a conveyor that transports and, at the same time, rolls the eggs. The light makes the internal contents of the egg visible allowing a determination of internal defects to be made (i.e. blood spots, meat spots, rot, poor quality yolk, air cell size, etc.) By rolling the eggs as they pass over the candling light, the entire outer surface of the egg can be seen by the grader.

The light makes cracks in the shell visible (some cracks are very difficult to see until candled) and also allows dirt, stains, or excessively rough shelled eggs to be seen. By this process, the candler can determine whether each egg meets the grade requirements for Canada Grade A. Defective eggs, leaking eggs and rejects are removed by the candler. This was done one egg at a time by Cecil (although he could hold at least a half dozen eggs in each hand, switching them around one handed as he placed them up to the light. (there was a bucket conveniently placed under the light position for rejects and mishaps)!

The Canadian Food Agency Guidelines

The eggs that meet Canada A grade requirements proceed to the scales to be weighed.


Eggs are weighed and sorted according to size category for Canada A grade eggs (jumbo size, extra large size, large size, medium size, small size and peewee size). Each of the sizes has a weight requirement that must be met.


Eggs are packed in containers according to their grade and size (if

Canada A grade).


Eggs are stored at an appropriate temperature in the graded cooler until they are loaded into a vehicle for transport to the retail location.

The following is an example of a grading machine although this is much smaller (an example of a larger machine at the start of the video but still smaller than the one we used). 

Back to the action:

I would have tuned the radio (probably CFRA or CKOY, no CJOH then) to listen to the Cisco Kid (Pancho), the Lone Ranger, or Roy and Dale.

As the eggs came tumbling out (gently), I placed them in the appropriate trays, stacking and storing them as the day progressed. 

In addition to the grades mentioned (I suppose not in accordance with current directives) there were Cracks, B and C eggs separated from the others.

Cracks-as advertised

B-slightly darker yolks.

C-definitely darker and might have blood spots (safe for use in cooking)

Next is the operation of the grader!

This next photo is somewhat the shape but Cecil’s grader was larger and more substantially built.

From time to time adventurous ladies (usually older/regular customers) came in to buy eggs. Usually in search of one or the other of the last 3 grades mentioned, the exception being those that wanted white eggs. 

The most popular chicken breeds that only lay white eggs include the White Leghorn, Andalusian, Polish chicken, AnconaEgyptian Fayoumis, Hamburg and California White, with the Leghorn by far the most popular.
Most eggs, in days gone by were brown, as they were produced by local farmers who had to rely on a chicken that not only produced eggs but could be sold as meat chickens when the laying days were over-there is very little meat on a Leghorn. A farmer would bring in eggs in a variety of containers with no distinction as to colour. We made no effort to separate the colours unless we were asked by the aforementioned customer, “do you have any white eggs”. No difference in price for this service.I worked in a confined, cool environment, doing a somewhat boring, repetitious job but enjoyed the characters/customers that came in to buy eggs, and of course, chat. I knew most of the farmers in the area but have since lost most of those memories.From time to time Cecil would load eggs in the truck and make deliveries to local grocery stores and/or restaurants.Finally, would come the end of an eggstraordinary day

This is my personal gasp at the past!

Larry Clark

Related reading

Tales from Ritchie Feed and Seed — Larry Clark part 2

Tales From Ritchie’s Feed and Seed — Larry Clark — Story 1

Memories of Ritchie Feed and Seed Carleton Place

Did you Know about the Egg Prohibition?- The Egg Police

Did you Know about the Egg Prohibition?- The Egg Police

Farm eggs are now in hot demand, and in California alternative eggs have reached cult status. The farmers who raise them are now almost as famous as the Hollywood star’s imprints that grace the grounds of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. These eggs now offer smaller farmers a good source of revenue. But, this growing market for a different kind of egg is creating tension between those smaller farmers that raise them and our local egg marketing boards. If you had no idea, these boards were created to develop the mainstream egg industry in Canada and its large chicken farms.

The egg farming is governed by a supply management system in Canada, which means egg marketing boards control the number of eggs produced. This quota system maintains a constant price, and proponents say it ensures that farmers make a living and consumers have a steady supply of eggs. But the eggs produced on farms that hold the quotas are not the eggs that foodies now desire. It’s the small, often organic operator who is supplying the fresh eggs to farmers’ markets that are in high demand.

All farmers are allowed to keep 99 laying hens without a buying quota, which is going to cost them thousands of dollars. They can then sell their eggs from the farm gate without grading them, a process that evaluates quality. But they are forbidden from selling them anywhere else unless they are graded, which, for the small farmer, is a tough regulation to meet because grading stations are often a long way from the farm and it is very expensive to set one up.

This whole dilemma has now created what they call “a grey market for eggs”. However, if you know the imaginary password, sometimes you can buy the odd dozen at an Ontario health food store. These popular eggs at some farmers’ markets are kept out of sight – for a reason. It’s now considered more like Prohibition bootlegging with a lot more people ignoring the regulations and selling eggs.

But when markets or stores sell these eggs their risk becomes VERY HIGH. There is much talk of the “egg police” who keep track of who’s doing what. Then there are the rumours and sometimes facts of farmers getting in trouble for breaking the rules. A farmer was fined in 2008 over $3,000 CDN for selling eggs to Ottawa-area restaurants. Somewhere in Eastern Ontario in 2006, the egg marketing board, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and police officers raided one particular farm and pressed charges including unlawful possession of laying hens because the farmer allegedly owned more than the permitted 99 laying hens.

read— Egg Grading, Distribution, Sales and Processing in Ontario

Fresh Eggs?





The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market cannot sell fresh eggs. Why? Click here..

Gwen Thirlwall has eggs– fresh eggs.. Look at that chicken! How fresh can you get?

$4 a dozen– So remember–Gentleness doesn’t get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.  So this hen is getting the job done!

Contact Gwen!





Did you Know about the Egg Prohibition?- The Egg Police– scroll down third article

Unrelated to eggs…

We Didn’t Throw the Eggs said Carleton Place!



This photo from 1935 of The Carleton Place Junior Baseball team also shows the covered bleachers that used to be at the baseball diamond beside CPHS.–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum photo

July 26, 1906 Carleton Place

Members of the Maple Leaf Baseball Club are deeply incensed at the miserable action of someone or persons unknown. Who threw eggs at the Lanark Baseball Club when driving out of Carleton Place after having won a game here by 11 to 2? The baseball players of Carleton Place wish the public to know that no one from their team launched the eggs at the corner of Moffat and High Street Saturday night. A reward has been offered to find the guilty party or parties. A resident siting in his doorstep at a distance from the corner said he thought he saw some boys throw something at the passing load that was speeding away towards Lanark but did not know what they were.

A young man of Carleton Place went to Lanark on a visit afterwards and he brings back word there is no doubt the eggs were thrown and some of the players struck. The Lanark Era now comes to hand and confirms this unpleasant news. The baseball players on both teams are good sportsmanlike fellows and utterly despise such rowdyam. To this day no one has spilled the beans to who scrambled away after throwing the eggs.

This from the Carleton Place Herald 1906

We regret to learn through the Lanark Era that some of our small Carleton Place boys
so far forgot their manners as to throw eggs at the Lanark baseball players as they were driving out of town after the last match here. The local club and all the citizens deplore
the misconduct of the ‘ guilty ones,’ and only wish there was some way
of punishing the culprits. The Lanark and Carleton Place sports have
always played their games without a hitch, and we trust no feeling w ill arise over this lamentable incident

John Armour added:

J.S. Stark – maybe related to a Horace Stark who was one of the first Carleton Place people killed in World War II. (Navy). Large write ups in the Carleton Place newspaper of the time.