Tag Archives: seeds

Pages from —The Ottawa Horicultural Society Prize List 1940–Simpson Book Collection

Pages from —The Ottawa Horicultural Society Prize List 1940–Simpson Book Collection

From the Simpson Book Collection-Ed and Shirley’s Simpson –Historic Books — the List

The Ottawa Horticultural Society was founded in 1892. It is a non-profit organization that exists to promote gardening and horticulture in Ottawa. This is done through a series of presentations, flower shows and workshops. The Society also carries out community beautification projects in Ottawa. CLICK HERE

“Mr. McRae loved these flowers so much he decided to begin a project–hybridizing a gladiola. is experiments were so successful  that he had new versions of them listed in catalogues. He won a silver medal for his breed and his bloom was accepted by every province in Canada. he won 15 firsts with it in Montreal shows and was grand champion of the Ottawa and District Gladioli Society. Carleton Place folks of a certain age on Queen and Santiago will remember the tremendous numbers of gladioli he used to grow there”.

CLICK on the story

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Benson McRae

click on the story..

The Lanark Ginseng Company?

read–Pollock and Dora McDougall’s Rose Garden — 47 years later …..

Ed and Shirley’s Simpson –Historic Books — the List

Remember Lover’s Lane? Lover’s Walk? Les Chats Sauvage? Simpson Books

You Have to Open Up a Business Here!!! 1912 Ottawa Marketing — Simpson Books

Down on Main Street– 1911-Photos- For the Discriminating and the Particular — Simpson Books

The General Hospital 1867-1929 Photos — Simpson Books

Renfrew Fair 1953-1953-Ed and Shirley (Catherine) Simpson

Did You Know? Union School #9 and Goulburn #16

When One Boat Filled the Rideau Lock–Rideau King

Women’s Institute Burritts Rapids 1902-1988

Looking for Photos of ‘The Castle’ in Ashton

A Romantic Story of the Founding Of Burritt’s Rapids

The First Half Century of Ottawa Pictorial McLeod Stewart – Simpson Book Collection


Ottawa, The Capital of the Dominion of Canada 1923 Simpson Book Collection

Views Of Ottawa (Aylmer) Basil Reid 1890-1900 Simpson Book Collection – Photos Photos Photos

The Ottawa City Directory 1897-98 —Simpson Book Collection

“Ottawa Flashbacks” Photo Collection- Simpson Book Collection

Larry Clark — Your Veribest Agent

Larry Clark — Your Veribest Agent

Photo Larry Clark

As an 9 or 10 year old, I didn’t receive a regular allowance (probably didn’t deserve one) and searched for a way of making some money. I helped occasionally, a friend that had a paper route. I couldn’t get one myself as they had to be purchased from someone giving it up ($20-30) which was beyond reach for me. I found a Veribest ad on the back of a comic-they sold seeds and all forms of greeting cards. The good part was that you didn’t pay up front. My first venture was to send in an order for seeds-I became a salesman. The name of the company was both a blessing and a pain especially with the cards.

The company name was printed on the seed packet for all to see. Not so the cards-people would ask me the name of the company and I always replied, “the very best”. Reactions varied but most would repeat the question and get the same answer, which invoked either a slamming of the door or an engaging conversation-the latter usually to my benefit. Not always an easy career because most people didn’t have a lot of money to spare At some point I must have realized that collecting bottles was more lucrative and less stressful, so thus ended this budding career although I did work at it for a least a couple of Springs.

Related Reading

A Personal Story — Caught in the Ice– Rocky Point- Larry Clark

Rennie’s Seeds Thomas Hawkins

The Watts Bros Seed Company Lanark Village

The Lanark Ginseng Company?

Remembering the Carleton Place CPR Gardens

Remember the Regal Catalogue?

Rennie’s Seeds Thomas Hawkins

Rennie’s Seeds Thomas Hawkins
Seeds -- Catalogs : Digital Archive : Wm. Rennie Co : Toronto Public Library
The CANADIAN DESIGN RESOURCE - Rennie's Seeds Advert
From Thomas Hawkins 1898 Carleton Place

RENNIEWILLIAM, agriculturist, seed merchant, farm superintendent, and author; b. 15 March 1835 in Scarborough Township, Upper Canada, son of Robert Rennie and Elizabeth Fife; m. 13 March 1862 Sarah Glendinning of Scarborough, and they had four sons; d. 24 July 1910 in Swansea (Toronto).

William Rennie was born in a log cabin and learned the rudiments of agriculture on the Scarborough farm of his parents, who had emigrated from Kirknewton, Edinburghshire, Scotland, in 1832. He left the homestead in 1860 to take up farming in Markham Township on 120 acres belonging to his father and, from 1867, to Rennie himself. By 1864 he was importing wheat-, barley-, and oat-seed from Scotland to improve his crops and to test his theory that a “change of seed grain” could allay the crop failures plaguing many farmers in Upper Canada.

This experience may have led to his decision, in 1870, to rent out his farm, move his family to Toronto, and found the William Rennie Company Limited, a purveyor of agricultural and horticultural seeds and supplies for the next 91 years. The business, centred at Adelaide and Jarvis streets, eventually had offices in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, and, at Rennie’s death, was described by the Toronto Daily Star as the “largest of its kind in Canada.” Beginning in 1871, it also reached out to farmers and gardeners across Canada through increasingly colourful, annual mail-order catalogues.

When Rennie entered business, Toronto had fewer than a dozen seed houses, the most prominent being those of James Fleming, George Keith, George Leslie, and Joseph Adolph Simmers. In 1873 John S. and Richard Clarke Steele, with Sylvester E. Briggs, founded Steele Brothers and Company, which, as Steele-Briggs Seed Company, would buy the Rennie firm in 1961. The success of such enterprises lay in their dedication to supplying seed that was reliable under Canadian conditions such as low temperatures and short growing seasons. Although farmers and gardeners could continue to order seed from the United States and Europe and to purchase it locally from general merchants, they could place greater confidence in the seed offered by the better Canadian houses. Even before the establishment of federal experimental farms, the Rennie company was conducting its own trials, selecting and developing promising strains and varieties of grains, vegetables, and flowers, and introducing them through its catalogues.

As a site for a seed farm and trial grounds, Rennie took control about 1880 of his Markham property. By placing a foreman in charge, this “city man” was able to return it to such “a very high style of farming” that in 1883 he won the first silver medal for farms given by the Council of the Agriculture and Arts Association of Ontario. In the same year’s competition, which was limited to the central district of the province, his brother Simpson won the gold medal for his management of the Scarborough homestead.

Complementing William Rennie’s interests in seed-marketing and farming were his abilities as an entrepreneur. He was manufacturing a grass-seed sower as early as 1873; during the 1880s he was associated with the manufacture and sale of draining-machinery. His 1888 seed catalogue noted that he also imported from Scotland and bred Clydesdale horses and Shetland ponies.

In private life Rennie was said to have been a generous and public-spirited individual, a faithful Presbyterian, an avid curler, an active member of the Liberal party, and a man proud of his pioneer heritage. He helped organize Toronto’s first industrial exhibition in 1879, and served as a vice-president and later as an honorary director. In 1883 he was on the management committee of Toronto’s first annual fat-stock show, the forerunner of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. He joined the York Pioneers in 1879 and took part that year in their move of an early log cabin, that of Henry Scadding’s father, to the new exhibition grounds – an event he could still describe in detail during his presidency of the society in 1903–9.

When Rennie withdrew from his seed company in 1889, he was succeeded in the business by three of his four sons, Robert, John, and Thomas (the fourth, William, would become an independent missionary and would gain great respect in Hakodate, Japan). In preparation for retirement, he had the previous year sold his Markham farm and purchased a five-acre property west of Toronto. There, in 1889, he built a brick home, to which he and his wife moved. Located on the west bank of Grenadier Pond and ascending from it in a series of landscaped terraces, the property became a familiar sight from High Park, on the opposite shore.

Rennie immediately took a leading role in the development of this district, which in 1926 would be incorporated as the village of Swansea. In 1889, in one of 12 row-houses he had built on Kennedy Avenue, he brought together a group of Presbyterians for services and a Sunday school, before the erection of Morningside Church in 1891. In the same house, he provided space in 1890 for day classes, which preceded the construction of Swansea Public School. In 1892–93, near their parents’ home, the sons established for the Rennie company new trial grounds and a greenhouse.

One of the most strenuous periods of Rennie’s life began four years after his retirement from business. In October 1893, at the invitation of Ontario’s minister of agriculture, John Dryden, he took up the new position of farm superintendent at the Ontario Agricultural College and Experimental Farm in Guelph [see William Johnston*]. His duties included not only improving the farm and supervising farm-hands and students, he reported in 1897, but also frequenting “farmers’ institute meetings, lecturing in college, attending to visitors nearly every day during the month of June, drawing plans for beautifying country homes, besides attending to a large correspondence.” When he resigned in 1899, at the age of 64, he received high praise from college president James Mills* for having “revolutionized” the farm and devoted himself “late and early, with untiring energy.”

Although Rennie was not primarily a writer, his published contributions to agriculture in Ontario were noteworthy. They began with a letter on seed grain to the editor of the Canada Farmer in 1864; included, while he was at Guelph, at least a dozen articles for the Ontario Agricultural College ReviewFarming, and Farmers Advocate and Home Magazine; and ended with an article in Farm and Dairy in 1909. As well, he authored two books: Successful farminghow to farm for profit . . . (Toronto, 1900) and Rennies agriculture in Canada . . . (published posthumously in Toronto in 1916). Through his writing, he promoted the values of farm life and beautification, and stressed the use of improved methods of scientific farming: thorough draining, covered drains, shallow ploughing, short rotation of crops, more efficient fencing and ensilage, and careful cost-accounting.

From Guelph, this “deep original student of the soil” returned to Swansea, where he died in 1910, two months after a paralysing stroke. In 1934 John Rennie continued his father’s public spiritedness by donating land to Swansea for a playground and park. The site of the Rennie home and the company’s trial grounds were, however, eventually redeveloped.

Pleasance Crawford

Thomas Currie Hawkins
BIRTH 21 DEC 1872 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
DEATH 12 DEC 1951 • Carlton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
  • Birth21 Dec 1872 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada7 Sources1872(AGE)
  • Birth of Sister Caroline Loella Hawkins *(1875–1947)11 Oct 1875 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada18752
  • Birth of Sister Elizabeth Victoria Hawkins(1878–1958)26 Dec 1878 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada18786
  • Birth of Sister Martha Alexandria Hawkins(1878–1896)26 Dec 1878 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada18786
  • Birth of Brother Joseph Traverse Lewis Hawkins(1881–1944)9 Feb 1881 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada18818
  • Residence1881 • Ramsay, Lanark North, Ontario, Canada1 Source18819
  • Birth of Brother Henry Wellington Hawkins(1884–1956)9 Feb 1884 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada188411
  • Birth of Brother Albert Ernest Hawkins(1886–1968)3 Feb 1886 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada188613
  • Residence1891 • Ramsay, Lanark North, Ontario, CanadaMarital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Son1 Source189119
  • Birth of Sister Bertha May Hawkins(1892–1990)14 Feb 1892 • Ramsay, Lanark, Ontario, Canada189219
  • Death of Sister Martha Alexandria Hawkins(1878–1896)February 20, 1896 • Ontario, Canada189623
  • Residence1901 • Ramsay, Lanark (north/nord), Ontario, CanadaMarital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Head1 Source190129
  • Marriage23 Jun 1909 • Carlton Place, Lanark, Ontario, CanadaEmma Laura Doucett(1883–1941)1 Source190936
  • Death of Father William Henry Hawkins(1842–1911)January 21, 1911 • Ramsay Township, Lanark County, Ontario191138
  • Residence1916 • Birthe, Marquette, Manitoba, CanadaMarital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Self1 Source191644
  • Death of Mother Caroline Herron(1852–1932)March 25, 1932 • Carlton Place, Beckwith Twp., Lanark, Ontario193259
  • Death of Wife Emma Laura Doucett(1883–1941)30 Mar 1941 • Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada194168
  • Death of Brother William Hawkins(1870–1943)5 Sep 1943 • Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada194370
  • Death of Brother Joseph Traverse Lewis Hawkins(1881–1944)17 May 1944 • York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada194471
  • Death of Sister Caroline Loella Hawkins *(1875–1947)11 Apr 1947 • White Lake, Lanark, Ontario, Canada194774
  • Death12 Dec 1951 • Carlton Place, Lanark, Ontario,


Ancestry Sources

  • 1881 Census of Canada
  • 1891 Census of Canada
  • 1901 Census of Canada
  • 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
  • Canada, Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
  • Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913
  • Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928
  • Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980


Thomas Currie Hawkins & Emma Laura Doucett - St James Anglican Cemetery (Carlton Place)

Memories of Judy Hawkins – Mary Cook News Archives

Picking at the Branches of the Hawkins Clan

Annie Bella Brunton & Adam Wesley Jones

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Watts Bros Seed Company Lanark Village

The Lanark Ginseng Company?

Remembering the Carleton Place CPR Gardens

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Photo- Noreen Tyers


My Flower Seeds

In the Springtime when the sun oh so bright
The winter frost has gone and no longer in sight

To the little Seed Box I go for a little look
The seeds I removed from my plants last fall I took

In the Spring I work the soil and plant the seeds
The Rain and Sun the roots they feed

And before to long the blooms in the garden are quite a few
Some Red some Yellow some purple all covered in the morning dew


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It took some time to choose my seeds
One always has to remember to pull out the weeds

The colours are just so vivid and bright
I stand and gaze, it’s such a beautiful sight

My seeds I keep in this little box
I decorated and I shine it up with a worn out sock

I now can pick a bouquet each day
It’s just such a pleasure Would You Not Say!

From the ✒ of Noreen Tyers



Best Garden 2015 Perth

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Photo- Noreen Tyers

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

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle