Tag Archives: road trip

FOR THE SUNDAY DRIVER 1990 — Then and Now

FOR THE SUNDAY DRIVER 1990 — Then and Now

This was written in 1990. Somethings have changed, some things have not. I thought because a nice weekend is predicted that I would publish this old 1990 tourist blog.

Today’s drive takes you to four small villages founded at the turn of the century: Plum Hollow, Athens, Delta and Forfar. About a 90-minute drive south of Ottawa, you can purchase locally-made cheeses and candy, discover the history of the area through the Delta Mill Museum and admire the murals of Athens.

1971-The old cheese maker of Plum Hollow; Claude Flood; 73; warns the end of small cheese factories will mean the end to first-quality Canadian cheddar. Ontario’s small cheese factories are being strangled into extinction by new regulations and dwindling milk supplies.

First stop is Plum Hollow, where Blackland’s Country Candy factory is situated in a century-old building that used to house the Plum Hollow Cheese Factory. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and while you can still purchase locally-made cheese there, you will also find a tempting assortment of fudge, hard candies, jams and jellies and elegant filled chocolates. Colored wicker baskets and flower-printed boxes can be made into a gift hamper, filled with items from the shop. Choose your favorite of 16 flavors of hard ice-cream.

The Witch of Plum Hollow’s home– if you click here there are about 15 stories about the witch of Plum Hollow

The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

To get to Plum Hollow, take Hwy. 7 southwest. At Carleton Place, join up with Hwy. 15 which heads south through Smiths Falls. Connect with Hwy. 29 as you leave Smiths Falls and drive 36 kilometres south to Toledo. Veer to the ET3 right down Road 8, and turn left down Road 5 after Bellamy’s Mills. Another eight km will take you to Plum Hollow.



The village of Athens, farther south, has become famous in recent years for its historical murals painted on the sides of shops. Scenes take you back to a summer band concert and a picnic at the turn of the century and the working life of the community. Look for the likeness of “Duke,” the resident German shepherd, at the bottom corner of the lumber mill scene on the H & R feed store.

To get to Athens from Plum Hollow, drive south down Road 5 for eight km. Park on the main street and wander the sidewalks to view the murals. Before you continue your trip, take a few minutes to walk along the side streets of Athens. There are many beautifully kept old buildings, some of which are represented in the murals. Head south to Church Street and wander through the cemetery. Many of the moss-encrusted stones date back to the early 1800s and provide a glimpse into the hardships and events that ruled the lives of the people of the area.

House of Industry Athens Farmersville

Monument erected to honour 400 buried in unmarked grave

Farmersville 1859 County Directory (Athens)

Head north from Main at the Pro Hardware store. Next stop is the village of Delta, one of the earliest settlements in the township. From Athens, take Hwy. 42 west for 15 km. Delta is home to the oldest mill in Ontario, a beautifully preserved grist mill that’s the subject of many Keirsted paintings.

delta ontario post card 1930_jpg

In the early 1800s this mill was thought to be the best building of its kind in Upper Canada and today the Delta Mill Society is working to restore the building to working order. You can visit the mill for free between 10 and 5; displays of equipment in the ground-floor museum depict the history and operations of the mill and its patrons. You can purchase note-card photographs of the building at the gift counter. Now continue on to Forfar, 10 km west along Hwy. 42.

No Drinking in Delta! Did You Know this About Delta?


Heather HeinsRideau Lakes Community Forum

Sunflower Bakery in Perth has moved to forfar . We bought some amazing multigrain bread and fresh buns , pies , brownies etc all made there . also a huge selection of variety of cheeses which we bought 4 varieties , and tons of other great items other stores do not carry . They also make fresh sandwiches , soup and have an ice cream counter . Open 7 days a week . Fresh baking is a huge plus for the area

Forfar Dairy

The Forfar Dairy (open today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) is on the left as the highway veers west through the village. Here you can purchase Cheddar, which is aged up to four years, as well as whey, cream and various butters. The shop also sells flavored teas and mustards, cloth bags of dressing and muffin mixes as well as hard candy and honey. Next door, the Forfar Dairy gift shop is open from 10 until 5.

Town draws crowds for curds By Doug McCann Visitors can always tell when it is 1 p.m. in the tiny village of Forfar. A small crowd of cheese fanciers gathers in the entrance of the Forfar Cheese Factory, eager to buy those first bags of fresh curds. There are usually lots of curds left by 2 or 3 p.m., but somehow I p.m. is the magic hour for true curd connoisseurs. This hamlet of perhaps 40 people has been put on the map by its cheese factory. The factory’s motto is, “The Cheese that made Leeds County famous” in reference to its winning several prizes for Cheddar throughout the years. Dave Dean, the factory’s master cheesemaker in residence, has made Cheddar cheese for 40 years, 12 of them at Forfar. In recent years, the factory began producing flavored ‘pop’ cheeses like garlic and caraway seed, which are excellent. But, to get a better idea of what this little factory stands for, try its Cheddar: It’s some of the best in the world. For a special treat, buy a wedge of four-year-old rare Cheddar. It costs a bit more but is well worth the extra price. The factory does not provide tours of its facility, but you can peer through the viewing window and watch the various stages of cheese-making. You might meet one of the cheese-makers if they have time, but don’t count on it since the staff keeps busy producing about 1,000 pounds of cheese per day. The Forfar factory’s cheese prices are often less than those of the large food stores. The cheese curd, is $1.95 per pound while other cheeses range from about $2.00 to (5.00 per pound, depending on age. To get to Forfar, drive past Smiths Falls and Portland on Highway 15 until you reach Crosby, about GO miles from Ottawa. Then, make a sharp left onto Highway 42 and drive about three miles until you reach Forfar.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada02 Aug 1980, Sat  •  Page 128

Faecbook page

Forfar Cheese Factory

NOw-1536 County Rd 42 Elgin, ON, Canada

Some time ago I posted the photo of my grandfather, Clayton Coon, coming back to the Young’s HIll farm. He had taken milk to the Forfar Cheese factory and was returning with the milk cans loaded with whey for the pigs. That’s the photo on the right, which I have re-posted. The photo on the left mother took (1928), probably to showcase the flowering trees but, more importantly, if you look to the lower left you can see those same milk cans stored ourside to dry. I am always curious about how they did things–Roger Irwin

Stagecoach Restaurant


If you’re ready for a meal, continue about 10 km west along Hwy. 42 to the village of Newboro and the Stagecoach Restaurant. It serves brunch from 11 until 2 and is open for other meals until 9 p.m. You can return home through the scenic village of Westport, then up County Road 10 to Perth, or retrace Newboro Dennis Leung, Citizen your route back to Hwy. 15. Many readers have given us tips about this lovely area.

For a current up to date tourist information click below

The Backroads to Delta, Plum Hollow and Athens

1995 fire Plum Hollow Cheese

They actually hadn’t produced any cheese there since the early ’80s, probably strong armed out of business along with other small producers by the likes of Kraft or Parmalat, an interesting story in itself.

Since then it functioned as a candy shop, and an antique shop but that’s the limit of my memory. The loss is a historical one for the area, one less monument to a time when a small producer could thrive along with the surrounding farms, etc.

It was a very picturesque factory located on a hill. Approaching eastbound on the road it pops into view across a golden meadow, approaching westbound it springs into view at a sharp curve in the road, the golden meadow stretching out behind it.

Plum Hollow

Begin hereThe Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

A Ride Through Lanark County 1940

A Ride Through Lanark County 1940


June 1940

Somehow I got the idea that Lanark was the county town of Lanark county. Since this would be just about the only county town in Ontario that I had never visited (always of course excepting Haliburton, where even the train goes only three times a week!) I decided it would be just the thing to round out my day if I could make Lanark. Here indeed would be terra incognita.

So turning my car toward terra incognita, I went out of Carleton Place and turned off at the church. I struck a road that sometimes was paved, and sometimes was not, till I came to a spot called Ferguson’s Falls. By now the countryside had changed. Gone were the lush acres of Carleton Place. In their place was that undecided sort of country that exists between Brockvllle and Kingston, and west of Perth. It can’t quite make up its mind whether to be agricultural country or not. So you find pockets of good land, interspersed by stretches of picturesque rock lands.

These same woods, good for maple syrup in the spring, pasture in the summer, and fuel in the winter, are not to be sneezed at, if you have some arable land as well, but you are out of luck as a farmer if all your land is this way. However, I was not out to sob over the steering wheel about the plight of the farmer who owned a rock pile, but to get on to Lanark town, and ultimately it came into view.

I took a couple of squirms, went around a hill or two, and landed plump in front of the Lanark Era. Just about the easiest place to get acquainted, the quickest place to get information, and the best place to feel at home for any newspaperman is a country newspaper office. Deadlines aren’t the disagreeable things there they are in such fast-moving sheets as The Citizen, and so they generally have time to talk to you.

I sat there and sniffed that lovely smell of a composing room, and plumped myself down to see if I could find out something about Lanark. First and foremost, Lanark produced the great *George Mair, whose epic, Tecumseh, is regarded as one of the truly great literary things done by a Canadian. With that I might couple the fact that Managing Editor Robertson of Beaver-brook’s London Daily Express, is an old Lanark boy. So Is George Mcllraith, Liberal M.P. for Ottawa West.

In with these important tidings I would breathlessly add that the chain stores have not yet invaded this delightful place. Lanark today has only a few over 700 people, but it once had more. Its chief support in days gone by was the woollen mill, but this burned down at the end of the last war, or thereabouts. There was no other large industry to replace it, and today the largest payroll in the town is that of the school. Incidentally, I see the Lanark Era of the issue I was in town said the teachers had resigned, and it was decided to advertise for new ones.

I went south on the road which they said was the bumpiest between Lanark and Florida they misinformed me, for there is a bumpier one in Georgia and in due course I came to the outskirts of Perth. I was told by *George Mcllraith that I had missed a most important item outside Pert h, and that was the first bank established in Upper Canada. I was back two weeks later, but entering by another road, missed it again. I might say that I had been through Perth a good many times by rail, but had no idea it was such a beautiful place. It beats Smiths Falls.

Perth has a pretty park in its midst, and is so laid out, not only to give it real beauty, but to create the impression that the town is really bigger than it is. I have been in the original Perth in Scotland, and both of course, are on the Tay. While doubtless the Caledonian counterpart is more entrancingly located, the Canadian Perth, and Lanark’s county town, does not suffer too much by comparison.

Whoever laid the pavement between Perth and Smiths Falls did a good job, and my own concern was the proximity of a speed cop. Smiths Falls Is pretty enough, and seems to change but little. I associate with Smiths Falls all kinds of emotions. I remember, for instance, sitting at a table in the dining room of the main hotel there, and learning that Doc Cook had “discovered” the North Pole. It was also during another momentous meal there that a fellow at the table said that the Mauretanla had just broken the world’s speed record for a steamship.

At a later date, I stopped off at S.F. to see a girl, between trains, and later again, used to drop into the Canadian Pacific station to have a chat with “Tex” Ricard, who went to Queen’s In my day, and later became a railway dispatcher. But above all. I remember going down to The Falls one time at the behest of The Citizen to write about vaccination and some of its evils. I went around to all the offices first, and climaxed the day by interviewing a couple of indignant medical officials. I returned on the last train, charged a heavy dinner up to The Citizen, and then was pleased to hear from Vincent Pask, night city editor, that it was the best story I had written for him up to date. That I had turned in a lot of bad ones I am the first to admit. The trip from Smiths Falls home through a sort of lane of a highway was dull, and I was shocked to see what a run-down place Franktown Is. I was prepared for something belter. I bypassed Carleton Place on the way back, and arrived safely at the Island Boulevard traffic circle without incident.



George Mair


Throughout his life, Charles Mair, the “warrior bard,” considered it his patriotic duty to crusade for Canada. He attributed this conviction to his origin in the Ottawa valley “in its primitive day.” His paternal grandfather had come to Lanark in 1824 at age 78 and established two general stores; in 1831 his son and daughter-in-law left Scotland to join him in the merchant and timber trade. In his memoirs Mair would recall the romance and drama of the trade: “I loved the river life, the great pineries in winter, where the timber was felled and squared.” He disliked the discipline of the schoolmaster in Lanark and his years at the Perth Grammar School, but he recalled the pastimes enjoyed by the villagers as idyllic: shinty on ice, games, trapping, making maple syrup, and visiting Indian encampments. Read more here..click
Descendants of: James McIlraith   Click here
 George Stewart McIlraith b. 4 Aug 1857 Darling Twp, Lanark County, ON Canada d. 25 Apr 1942 G.W.M. Hospital, Perth, Lanark County, ON Canada m. Margaret (Maggie) Scott Rintoul m. 5 Oct 1887 Tatlock, Darling Twp, Lanark County, ON Canada at her father’s home by Rev. Joseph Andrew  b. 10 Jan 1867 Tatlock, Darling Twp, Lanark County, ON Canada d. 10 Apr 1942 G.W.M. Hospital, Perth, Lanark County, ON Canada [daughter of William JAMES Rintoul and Annie Watt]

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte