Tag Archives: fiddlers

Stories From Fiddler’s Hill

Stories From Fiddler’s Hill
Fiddler’s Hill

I have written stories about Fiddler’s Hill yet I had never seen it before. I guess I had this romantic vision of this hill on the 3rd concession of Dalhousie of a fiddler named Alexander Watt keeping the settler’s safe that night from the wolves. Not only did he fiddle for safety but everyone knew the land was scarcely usable for agriculture. Seeing the vast expanse of untamed wilderness ahead of them from the top of the hill, they became discouraged. They did press on the next day, and came to another hill the following night where some settled and founded the community of Watson’s Corners, visible in the distance from this hill. Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

So when Jennifer Ferris turned the corner off the highway she said,”|Oh by the way this is Fiddler’s Hill!” I said, “What?”

It is definitely a hill when you coast down the hill away from it or drive back up– but it was not what I was expecting. But still another thing off my bucket list.

I found this very tragic story about Fiddler’s Hill.. but there is so much love I put it here for posterity

As a military wife, and later a mother, Girl Guide leader and grandmother, Sharon Alward could make any house a home. But an often-nomadic lifestyle which included military bases in Cold Lake, Alta., Lahr, Baden and Heidelberg in Germany, Kingston, Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa had never given her and husband Randy the opportunity to build their own home. Then, a couple of years ago, when the couple began to look for a spot to spend the rest of their years, they came across a 20-hectare lot in the Lanark. Highlands at Fiddler’s Hill, just kilometres from the village of Lanark. They were eight weeks from realizing their dream when an accident Saturday left Mrs. Alward critically injured. She succumbed to her injuries Monday, at the age of 56. “We just felt it was the right spot,” Mr. Alward said yesterday of the location as he fought back tears.

Admittedly, he said, “it didn’t look like much,” but somehow, even through the dense bush, the couple could envision the ridge with their house resting on it and a plateau behind. They imagined paths where they, their children and grandchildren would walk. And they talked of sitting around a small pond on the property, one like no other, and canoeing down a nearby creek. Mrs. Alward died before being able to enjoy her new home. She fell three metres and banged her head against a rock after a longtime friend, helping her pull firewood with an ATV, inadvertently backed up and knocked her off the ledge. The woman, absolved of all blame by everyone involved, is so distraught she is in the care of counsellors and tragedy is hitting on two family fronts.

 “It still is a beautiful spot,” said Mr. Alward, comforted by daughter Stacy and son Douglas while five grandchildren ran about. “It was where we were going to spend the next 20 to 30 years, figuring it might take us the next 20 years just to get ‘t the way we wanted. And we wanted to do it ourselves. We would have moved July 15. “Just Saturday morning, we took a walk and talked about how we would develop it further. I know I said many times I wanted this and often thought, does she? I wondered what she would do in 15 years if I died. But I asked her and she wanted it.” Last week, they bought a pair of nine-week-old black Labs. Everything seemed set, almost perfect.

In hindsight, Mr. Alward regrets that neither woman had the training to handle the ATV so close to a ledge. It just never seemed possible they could be harmed. Even as he ran to his wife, she quickly regained consciousness, spoke to him, then later told paramedics her names, first and last. She remained conscious in the air ambulance on the way to Ottawa Hospital’s Civic campus and the prognosis seemed positive. However, the swelling in her brain increased, and by Sunday night doctors rated her chance of survival at less than five per cent. Mrs. Al-ward’s family made the decision to donate her organs. “One gentleman who had a day or so to live due to liver failure received a new liver,” said Mr. Alward. “Both her lungs went into someone else. Her heart went to another person. “Perhaps the one good to come out of this is knowing that she somehow saved the lives of others.” And then, the Alwards will have another decision to make, one about completing the dream. “I hope I have the strength to finish it, for the kids and the grandkids,” said Mr. Alward. “And when I walk out there, she will always be at my side. “There will never be a ‘No Trespassing’ sign go up on that property. It will always be open for anyone.” Visitation is scheduled for today and tonight with a funeral Thursday at 9:30 a.m. from the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair and McGarry.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada12 May 2004, Wed  •  Page 25

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Apr 1999, Fri  •  Page 81

Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

The Preaching Rock of Lanark County

A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Something I did not Know About –Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust — From High Lonesome to Blueberry Hill

Where Are They Now? Paul Keddy of CPHS 1970

Notes of Lanark County Dances and Fiddlers

Notes of Lanark County Dances and Fiddlers



Carleton Place Farmers Market-Photo by Linda Seccaspina

Perth Courier, Jan. 23, 1885 

On Tuesday evening of last week Mr. Robinson Lyon of Lyon’s Hotel, Arnprior, celebrated his 74th birthday.  After his usual custom he entertained his numerous friends.  Though beyond his allotted span of 3 score and 10 the old gentleman is still hale and hearty and draws his bow over his fiddle as vigorously as he did years ago when the name “Bob Lyon the fiddler of Bytown” was well known from Quebec to the headwaters of the Ottawa.

Leahy Music Camp – July 2009
Dancers: Samantha & Katie Harvey, Sarah Robinson, Emily Flack

Perth Courier, Jan. 15, 1909

The good father who celebrated the nuptial mass has long since gone to his reward. Richard Hogan of Bathurst who played the old fashioned fiddle fifty years ago for the young couple and their friends was present on Monday and again displayed his skill with the bow taking keen delight in playing for one set, formed of the bride and groom, bridesmaid and groomsman, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Brady and Mrs. And Mrs. James Balderson(?), all of whom are relatives of the principals and were present at the wedding.

Perth Courier, September 21, 1934

Mr. Quinn could recall many of the old barn dances in Westport which were “great affairs”.  In those days there were some fine clog dancers in the district.  These included John McGlade and his sister Rosie.  Then there was a Miss Trainor who was a splendid fiddler.  She was a blind girl and her services were always in demand.

A story by Harry J Walker

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The Ottawa Journal28 Dec 1946, SatPage 17



Gilles Roy-Step Dancer Extraordinare

He was a Step Dancing Legend from Up da Line..

Good Old Lanark County Music–From the 70s to now

The Musical Talents of Dave Brown

Fiddling in Lanark County by David Ennis

Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark


Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark



There is now a Happy National Fiddling Day in Lanark county. From now on; a day in May will be set aside to commemorate the cultural significance that fiddle music plays in Canada. The bill, introduced by Liberal PEI Senator Libbe Hubley was unanimously passed in March 2015. This year marks the first of many Fiddling Day celebrations to come!

Did you know we have a Fiddler’s Hill in Lanark County?


View from Fiddler’s Hill-google image


Alexander Watt was one of 300 settlers, from 33 families, who came to settle the area of Dalhousie in 1820 as part of a group of settlers known as the Lesmahagow Society. They were named after their native home near Lanark, Scotland. In July 1820, Alexander and the entourage left Scotland and ended up in Brockville. They slowly made their way to Perth, and then on to the Village of Lanark on foot. Of course the terrain wasn’t much to look at and they didn’t know how to deal with the dense brush. Nailed to a tree overlooking the Clyde River, was a sign reading “This is Lanark.” From here they had to hire a guide for the rest of their journey to Dalhousie.

From the top of a hill they discussed how unusable the land was for farming and they quickly became discouraged. To keep the wild animals at bay Alexander was in charge of keeping the fire lit at night. To stay awake he would pick up his fiddle and play Scottish tunes to the future community of Watson’s Corners, which was visible in the distance from this hill. Alex’s fiddle tunes were so encouraging to the rest of the settlers the name “Fiddler’s Hill,” was given to that very hill south of Watson’s Corners, in Lanark County, Ontario, which it is still known as today.


Singer: Mac Beatie Fiddler: Reg Hill Step dancers: Donnie Gilchrist and a young Buster Brown in Lanark County. Video from 1963. 

Photo from the Carleton Place Farmers Market

Map from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Research from Lanark and District Museum