The Issue Was One of “Pig Pens or No Pig Pens.” There are various kinds of “votes” in the present day to which the astute civic politician lends a listening ear. But the aldermen of the seven ties had an additional “vote” to look after.
That was the “pig” vote.
In those days every third man or so, kept a pig or pigs. Those who did not like the noise or odor of the pigs and did not keep any, naturally raised a row about the keeping of pics within the city limits and filed petitions with the city council. But as such a large number of people kept pigs and had votes at election time, the Aldermen were not in any hurry to order the abolition of the pigs.
The Citizen of May 20, 1873. the following editorial paragraph appeared:
“The city fathers appear to be afraid of the ‘poor man’s pig.’ They would prefer to have a pestilence in the city and endorse the stinking nuisance under their bedroom windows rather than inconvenience the swine or lose the votes of their owners.”
However, in the 1880s the anti-pig citizens prevailed and the council passed a bylaw which provided that “between the 15th of May and the first of November, no hog shall be kept within the limits of the municipality except in pens 70 feet from Bny house, with floors kept free from any standing water and regularly cleansed and disinfected.” This clause automatically put a lot of pig pens out of existence as there were only a few lots sufficiently deep enough to permit of that distance from a dwelling.
The Board of Health held an adjourned meeting on Wednesday night. A reply was read from Dr. Bryce. provincial health inspector, to a motion of enquiry from this town regarding a piggery on Emily street, of which the neighbours had made a complaint. The letter placed the matter with the scope of section 72 of the statutes, and the board accordingly ordered that the piggery was to be removed within a week.
At the end of Emily Street ( as Emily Street to Victoria Street was called Elgin Street) the piggery was called “Stinktown” as the owners boiled down food waste they found through the town and sold some of the materials they rendered to candle makers and the like and fed whatever was left to the pigs which they fattened up and sold to local butchers. The resident who was handed Section 72 tried to hide his pigs under his bed and in dressers, though the police found them. Despite attempts by the piggery owner to maintain his property and livelihoods, the village effectively shut the pig farm down that summer. July 1899
Photo from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-Bridge Street – the west side, between College and Emily/Elgin Street. No date, but c.1950. The occasion was an Orange Day parade, and landmarks include a barber shop, Chinese Laundry, the Roxy Theatre, and Carleton Lunch Bar. J. Gordon Lancaster is marching in the front row, second from left.
An unsanitary condition upon a laundry premises on Bridge street, opposite the post office also received attention. The medical health officer had ordered the complete abatement of the cause of the nuisance. No idea what it was. July 1899.
The Lees opened a Chinese Laundry in Carleton Place and Hong On had been hired as an assistant. One day Charlie Sumner was picking up his laundry when Charlotte Morrison entered with some work to be done. She asked Charlie what the proprietor’s name was. Without batting an eyelash he replied, “One Lung”. Charlotte commented that it was a particular name and could not understand why Mr. Hung On and and Mr Sumner were in fits of laughter.
Did you know? Mr.Taylor’s ( Taylor Garage on Mill Street) son Gordon spoke fluent Chinese and practised the language with the owners of the local Chinese laundry on Bridge Street. It was said Gordon was a spy for the British Secret Service and later became a missionary.
Almonte farmer wins pork award By Mary Cook Citizen special correspondent
Donald Lowry has been named one of Ontario’s top pork producers by the Ontario Pork Congress. The award, presented for the first time this year, was for continued and outstanding contribution to the pork industry. Mr. Lowry, of RR 3 Almonte, raises 2,000 pigs a year, selling 40 per cent for breeder stock and the remainder for consumer use.
His sales involve travelling about 60,000 miles each year. He buys new breeder stock mainly in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, but this spring he bought seven top breeders in Ireland at a cost of $1,000. Most top herds in Canada are interrelated, he said, and new blood must be introduced to prevent weaknesses.
Taking the pigs to market has given the Lowrys some funny moments. On their way to Indiana with a truckload of pigs a sow gave birth to a litter of eight, which had to be transferred to a cardboard box on the front seat. Exhaustion forced a late-night stop at a motel “quite prestigious to say the least” and the box of piglets was quietly taken inside.
In the wee hours of the morning, they started to squeal for food and by the time the Lowrys were fully awake, eight tiny pigs were running all over the room, under the furniture, into the bathroom squealing constantly. When Mr. Lowry wondered why the occupants of rooms on either side of theirs hadn’t complained, Mrs. Lowry said, “Do you really think anyone is going to phone the office and say there’s a litter of pigs in the next room? The office would think they were crazy.”
Mr. Lowry’s most cherished award, apart from the plaque he just received, was a championship at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. The top price he has got for a breeder is $3,000. Mr. Lowry is reasonably happy with today’s pork market. The producer is getting a very realistic price at 70 cents a pound dressed, he said, and prices went too high last summer.
“Prices must be good enough to encourage the producer, but reasonable enough to entice the consumer. I think we are at that stage now.” The -Lowrys are heavy pork consumers. Pork is a versatile meat and at present prices it offers good nutritional value, Mr. Lowry said. He said it probably would be another 10 years before the particular plaque is awarded again. Jack Durant of Chesterville was the only other Eastern Ontario producer to receive an award from the congress this year.
When most of the citizens of Lanark County kept a pig or two, the practice was to buy the pigs when they were a month or two old from a farmer. They would feed them until the late fall, then slaughter them and salt the meat away for Winter.
One day William McCall came to town with a wagon full of young grunters. Knocking on doors began to go up and down the streets of Carleton Place offering his piglets for sale. Nearly all of them were black Berkshires and the best that could be bought in Lanark County. When Mr. McCall called at the home of Jim Shiels he only had three left: two Berkshires and one runt.
Jim said he would take the rest of them at the usual price of two bucks each, but Bill hung out for a price of $2.50 each as that was the price he got for the rest of them. Well, the prospective buyer stated he did not intend paying more than the going price.
It looks like a deadlock was developing and old Bill, well, he was ready to drive away, until Hollie Shiels, Jim’s son, came out to tell his father that dinner was ready. Hollie saw what was going on and took it upon himself to act as a kind of referee between the two.
He gave his Dad a wink and told Mr. McCall that in his opinion the black Berkshires were definitely worth $2.50 a piece. A suggestion from Hollie was that his father buy the two black ones for that price, and surely Mr. McCall would throw in the runt for a dollar. Not thinking too clearly the seller thought this new deal was quite acceptable, money was exchanged and the wheels of commerce turned once again. Mr. McCall rode down Town Line that night towards home thinking he had the best of the deal. He hadn’t been born in a barn but there was no question that no one got the best of him in the art of the deal– until he got home later and thought really about it.
Well land sakes alive– you don’t get too many stories that catch fire in Lanark County on a normal day unless— someone got lost in the bush or they defiantly parked their pickup and spent the night in the Mississippi River.
Do you know this pig? Can you help “Miss Piggy” find her way home? She was found wandering in Dalhousie Twp, is very friendly & misses her family. 1-888-310-1122
I took one look at that face and knew I had to do something.
Well that swine of a posting caught fire faster than you can say Tim Horton’s Pulled Pork sandwich. Later the OPP had some misgivings about posting her pictures, less one too many farmers put a false claim in on our dear pig. But, the Tweet still remained and people seem to forget that all it takes is 5 seconds to take a screenshot and have that “porker” go viral. I mean, how could you not love that pig? It was Lanark County’s very own BABE.
Pigs are great escape artists. You wouldn’t believe what they can get out of and into. They have been known to chew right through chain link fences, crawl under fences through spaces you wouldn’t think they could fit, and lift wooden poles right off their supports. Yes, they can climb if they want too and some of the smaller pigs can even jump! But this is Lanark County (Dalhousie township) ladies and gentleman– we have pigs jumpin’ all over the place here.
Someone on Facebook wondered if the pig got a ride in the OPP Cruiser. Well, ya gotta figure that poor pig was already in distress, and I hoped to heck the officer lured it with treats and a high voice. Pigs really like high voices, and they also respond well to calm and slow. Best way to catch ’em is to grab ’em, tip ’em, tie their feet with a rope, and put ’em in a wheelbarrow. Then you can cart the pig to where ever you are taking it. Last I looked I didn’t notice if we had an OPP fleet of wheelbarrows.
You can probably understand that the last thing the poor OPP officer wanted was for her to run off. They’re quick, slick and smart–and recovering them is usually a major undertaking. This is especially true in a rural area like Lanark County, where a hog can simply disappear into the woods. I have watched way too many American Horror Storyepisodes to know you don’t want anyone disappearing in the woods-man, woman or beast!
So let’s hope the OPP can find our BABE her family and she can go home soon. Right now she is safe on someone’s farm until her owner can be found. Best comment on over 300 shares I got after it went up? One woman said,
Well all I have to say is— if this was 1869 —you would have been fined $2 for allowing a pig to run at large. Now? Well, there’s too much bacon– said no one ever. However, all of us can give a big sigh of relief that the pig voluntarily surrendered into OPP custody-and anyone who has recently lost a pig is asked to contact Lanark County OPP using the toll-free number 1-888 310-1122.
Update? The pig is being taken care of now until her rightful owner comes forward. In the meantime from all the comments I have been getting.. We would all love to have her..:)
Perth Courier, July 9, 1869
Francis Turner and William Montgomery of Perth were fined $2 each. after they allowed their pigs to run at large
When I was a child my mother used to drive by one of our cousin’s barns in West Brome every month. She wasn’t close to the cousin, and she just hated his round barn. No one had a round barn for miles, and his reasoning for building it infuriated her. You see, her cousin hated how his farmhands used to relieve themselves in the corners of his old barn and thought the new structure might stop them dead in their tracks if there was no corner to hide in.
We never found out if that solved his issues, but in constructing a round barn he created new problems as some of the animals treated that barn like their own personal racetrack. He not only had his dairy cattle in there, but also his prize chickens and a couple of grumpy old pigs. Every year he entered a few of his fowl in the much anticipated Christmas Poultry Fair. He was used to winning, and when one of his flock mysteriously died– well, he investigated the matter promptly.
As the story goes he just couldn’t figure out how that chicken had perished, so he assigned his top right hand man to literally watch those chickens. It was that important to him, because there was something special about the way he showed those poultry at the fair. Each one of them was named after Santa’s reindeer because it seemed to give his entry some added charm. Now he had lost Dancer and she could not be replaced.
For three nights the farm hand watched those chickens and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the next night around 3 am. It seemed Vixen the chicken was quite a vixen in her own way and began to taunt one of the old pigs. It wasn’t only with squawks, but also with a few pecks on the old sow’s back. The pig rolled over a few times hoping to shake her tormentor, but finally she had enough and began to chase that chicken circling the round barn. After a few laps the chicken dropped dead out of either fright or exhaustion. Two down, eight left, and the farmer threatened his farmhand with the possible loss of his job.
The next night it happened again, but this time the farmhand was ready and shot a few rounds in the air hoping to stop the pig. The pig still kept chasing the chicken, so his next aim purposely just nicked the pig. That old sow stopped dead in her tracks and wondered what had happened. Instead of blaming the farmhand she looked straight into the catatonic chicken’s eyes and squealed so loud the whole county heard her.
What happened next was one for the books. The chicken scratched her feet into the dirt like she was getting ready for an Olympic marathon. She began to chase that pig all around that barn until the pig lay down almost waving a white flag. The farmer didn’t win many ribbons that year, but he didn’t lose any more chickens.
What happened to that old pig? That year the menu was changed, and a fine pork roast sat in the middle of the table with all the trimmings. The farmer reminded his family that money couldn’t buy happiness, but that joyful smile on that roast of pig should remind everyone that there was still lots for everyone to be happy about—except for the pig that was sitting on that New Year’s table.