10th Anniversary Celebrations at The Book Nook in Perth, Ontario

Leslie and Arlene Book Nook 10th

Through the ages, we have always marked births, marriages, the change of a season, harvest time, and turning the page to a new year.  This month, in the town of Perth, we mark another special event – the 10th anniversary of a popular bookstore on the main street – The Book Nook.

As part of the celebrations for this important milestone, owner Leslie Wallack invited special guests to her store, for each of the four Saturdays in May.  It was my pleasure to take part on Saturday, May 20th, to mark this happy occasion, in the pretty town of Perth.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, The Book Nook was decorated with cheery signs inside and out, and as visitors came through the store they were reminded of the special draws being held for prizes, throughout the day.  On this particular Saturday, the three separate draws featured prizes of distinctive, natural wood, hand-crafted containers – a lovely addition to anyone’s home.

Looking around the store, I paused a moment to recall the history of this building, and that 60 Gore Street East was not always home to The Book Nook.  In my teenage years in Perth, this was the location of Haggis’ Candy Store.  My friends and I were frequent visitors, and often scrounged our pennies together to buy some peanut clusters, or horehound candy, made with care by Mrs. Sophia Nee.   I looked around, remarking to Leslie that in my youth Mrs. Nee’s large glass and wooden display case was near the front window, and minutes later Leslie reappeared with an old photo of Mrs. Nee in front of the store.

Haggis' candy store front

photo: courtesy of Leslie Wallack

Leslie remembered when she first took over the store, there was a cot in the rear where former owner Mrs. Nee would often sleep, after a long night of tending to her candy-making.  Clearly, this store has a proud history of women operating a business.

horehound  sophia-haggis

photo:  Sophia (Haggis) Nee

Sophia Haggis Easter

Sophia with her Easter candy


The Book Nook enjoyed steady traffic all day, in and out, with the large section of children’s books being a popular spot for browsing, and picking up special gifts.

We were lucky to have such beautiful weather, and the warmth and sunshine streamed through the windows of the store, and reminded us that spring was finally here.

Arlene at table 10th anni Book Nook

Kevin paused to take a rare moment on the other side of the camera.

Arlene and Kevin 10th Book Nook

While the entire day was filled with happy moments, and good conversation, one of the highlights for me was three special ladies who dropped by to say ‘Hello’, and chat for a while.

I had a great visit with Rosetta Van Alstine, sister of former classmate Anne.  With the annual maple harvest just passed, we discussed some of the history of the early maple producers  – her Uncle Ken Van Alstine among them.  I learned that Rosetta’s grandfather was also a maple producer, going back yet another generation.  Her Uncle Ken was one of the first in the 1960s to use plastic tubing to transport the sap for part of his maple harvest, as well as using the traditional methods of horse and sleigh.

To read more about some of the legacy maple producers like Rosetta’s uncle – Ken Van Alstine – Lanark County’s Maple Legacy

Arlene and Rosetta Book Nook 10th

photo:  Arlene and Rosetta Van Alstine

It was a real delight to have a visit with Shirley (Kerr) Scott.  Shirley is the sister of my former classmate Marie Kerr.  The Kerr family goes back for generations in the DeWitt’s Corners, former Bathurst Township community. Shirley was my sister Jackie’s classmate, and they sat together on the school bus each day, and were the best of friends. Shirley shared a story of visiting Jackie out west, and how much she enjoyed the time they spent together; a reminder that special friendships continue through the decades, growing richer as the years pass by.  I had my own memory for Shirley, a reminder of the time as young girls Jackie had invited her to stay overnight when our parents were out of town, and when Shirley’s parents learned that the girls were alone, they came to the house and brought her back home. Young girls today would be surprised to learn how much stricter our parents were back in those days!

Arlene and Shirley Book Nook 10th

photo:  Arlene and Shirley (Kerr) Scott

Another special visitor was Carol-Ann McDougall.  Carol-Ann, originally from Kirkland Lake, now makes her home in a delightful water-front property, built on the shores of the mighty Big Rideau Lake.  Carol-Ann and her husband Ken purchased a piece of land along the shores fifteen years ago, and came up to visit each summer, dreaming that someday they would build a home there.  Last year, their dream came true, and an account of their heart-warming tale is titled  “Lake Life:  A Rideau Ferry Love Story”.

Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story

Arlene Carol-Ann Book Nook 10th ann

photo: Arlene and Carol-Ann McDougall

Another highlight of the day was the draw for prizes!  I was honoured to be asked to pull three names from a basket.  The three winners each received a beautiful, hand-crafted wooden case – a lovely container for special keepsakes and treasures. These were generously donated by  Simply Shaker , makers of one of a kind, hand-made furniture, on the main street of Perth.

Draw for the prizes at Book Nook

photo:  Arlene, Leslie’s Mom, and Leslie

It was a special day to mark a milestone for The Book Nook.  It was also a time to reflect on the history of the store, and to recall another woman entrepreneur Sophia Haggis Nee.   Like Sophia Haggis Nee, Leslie Wallack will take her place in the history of the town of Perth, another woman entrepreneur making her mark, adding to the charm and character of this delightful and historic main street.  Congratulations Leslie!

Arlene Book Nook 10th


An event is always more memorable when it’s  shared with some special people.  Many thanks to all of those who stopped by, and congratulations to the lucky winners of the draw!  Happy 10th Anniversary to The Book Nook, and wishing you much success in the years to come!



We all become stories





Maple Trailblazers: Founding Families of Lanark County’s Maple Legacy

maple syrup capital

Did you know that the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth, Ontario back in the 1970s?

The story that follows is dedicated to the Lanark County families who played such a significant role, back in the early days, leading up to this annual festival in Perth: Andrew and George Korry, Bowes family of Glen Tay, Ernie and Evelyn Miller family of Glen Tay, Robert McEwen of Prestonvale, Ken VanAlstine of Maberly, Leonard and Tom Adam of McDonald’s Corners, Brien and Marion Paul west of Hopetown, Lanark, James ‘Carman’ and Edna Gibson of Dalhousie Township, Don and Marion Dodds of Clayton, George Coutts of Rideau Ferry, Wheeler family of McDonald’s Corners, and Fulton family of Pakenham to name a few.

Taffy on the Tay

Years ago, many of the local farmers produced maple syrup. Some made just enough for their families, and for others it was a supplement to their farm income, at a time of year that was less busy, than during the summer months. There were also a few dealers in the area that sold sugar bush supplies – Max Miller of Snow Road, Percy Drysdale of McDonald’s Corners, and W.J. Ballantyne in Lanark. James Brothers Hardware and the Co-Op in the town of Perth also sold supplies for maple production. Labels for the bottles were often printed by ‘The Perth Courier’.

James Brothers edit

The Korry family farm was located across the road from our farm.  They owned a medium sized sugar bush, and produced enough syrup to sell locally. Andrew Korry’s son-in-law John Chaplin sold it through his business – Chaplin’s Dairy, door to door, to their customers on the milk routes. Andrew and his son George were very busy for several weeks each spring making syrup, and my brother Tim Stafford worked with them in the bush one season. Extra help was always welcome. They used a team of horses, with a tank mounted on the sleigh, to draw the sap back to the evaporator, at the sugar shack; typical of many other producers at that time.


The Bowes and the Miller families of Glen Tay also produced their own syrup. I recall  that Art Bowes used to tap quite a number of trees in the mid-sixties. Their land was known as Tayview farm, and it straddled the Tay River -a beautiful setting. At that time they had about 300 acres including hay fields, pastures, and of course maple bushes. Art’s son Doug traveled along with us on our school bus each day in the 1960s, and he often spoke about helping his Dad back in the bush each spring.

Art Bowes maple


The Miller family’s farm, known as Tayside was owned by Ernest ‘Ernie’ Miller and his wife Evelyn (Mather). The Miller family arrived from Scotland in 1809, and their farm was purchased by Ernie’s great grandfather Dodds in 1858. Their kids were Diane, Nancy, John and Ruth. Evelyn was a lovely, soft-spoken lady, and she was my first 4H club leader. I also recall that Ernie was tapping about 1,500 trees back in the sixties, and had about 30 acres of maple woods. Ernie was a forward thinker, and one of his ideas at that time was that sap should be gathered by trucks from each farm, and taken to a large central evaporator – similar to the way that milk was trucked to cheese factories. It seemed through the years that Ernie was into everything. When he wasn’t farming he wrote history books, he researched genealogy, he worked with young people, and it was no surprise to me when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003.

Ernie Miller

Ernest Miller – Photo by Malak for Cover of Family Herald in support of War Bonds. Photo courtesy of Diane (Miller) Duncan.

The McEwen clan in Ferguson Falls was another family who made their mark in the maple syrup business back in the 60s. In 1966 Robert McEwen of Prestonvale opened up the first pancake house in the area. Originally, Robert made his syrup the old fashioned way, out in the bush, and boiled a cauldron of sap over the fire. Later, in the 1970s I remember that he was one of the first to use plastic pipelines to bring the sap from the trees to one main location. Our Dad knew the McEwen family well, having grown up in that area, and said that Robert often spoke of the difficulties involved in syrup production. It was difficult to find reliable labour, and also challenging was finding the capital to purchase new equipment. Robert was very active in the local industry, and at one time was the President of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Association.

When the former McEwen Sugar Shack went up for sale, Charles Temple and his wife Susan Snyder bought the property –  the very first day it was on the market.  The property known now as Temple’s Sugar Bush consists of 70 acres of maple bush where 5,000 trees are tapped annually.


Temple’s Sugar Bush on the site of the former McEwen’s Sugar Shack, Ferguson Falls


Ken VanAlstine in Maberly tapped over 2,000 trees when I was a kid, and he was among the first to use pipelines. He experimented at first, and tapped just 200 trees using the pipeline system, but the rest was collected in buckets, the traditional way, and transported to the evaporator by horse and sleigh.

Horse and Sleigh maple bush

Ken, like other producers in the area, found the cost of hiring labour prohibitive, and found that distributors wanted too much money per gallon. Ken was well known in the area for his excellent quality maple syrup, and said on his best day at that time he gathered 3,300 gallons of sap.

Vanalstine maple syrup


The Ennis family also has a long history of maple production. Their ancestor  Arthur Ennis came from County Cavan, Ireland to Lanark County in 1840, and the family has been producing maple syrup for almost a century.  Their sugar bush is located on the eastern shores of Bennett Lake, at the end of Ennis Road, Balderson,  in Lanark County.   Five generations of the Ennis family have been tapping trees on this property.

Ennis maple

George and Karen Ennis  –   photo –  Ennis Maple Products

Another local family of long-time maple producers is the Adam family of McDonald’s Corners. Leonard Adam and his brother Tom tapped an average of 2,250 trees, and owned about 500 acres of land between them. They were hard workers, and spent many days sawing, chopping, and stacking the 20 cords of wood required for their evaporator.  The Adam family were one of the first to use a brand new style of evaporator which was 4 by 14 feet. They produced enough to sell locally, and the remainder was shipped out West.

Adam article maple

Adam family of McDonald’s Corners  –  ‘The Perth Courier’ – Nov. 28, 1963

maple syrup jug

Brien and Marion (McLaren) Paul of R.R #3 Lanark owned a 575 acre farm, about three miles west of Hopetown, and began maple production in 1953. Marion was raised on a farm near the village of Lanark, was known locally as the ‘First Lady of Maple’, and served proudly as a Maple Judge at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Their kids Kathy, Wayne and Darrell were also very involved in maple production, and provided additional labour for the family business. In 1972 Kathy was crowned Maple Queen in the local competition.

Back in the 1960s the Paul family used two sleighs, one pulled by a tractor, and the other by a team of horses. Brien’s father Raymond Paul often tended the evaporator, keeping a watchful eye as the sweet, fragrant, steam boiled off into the air. Russell Foster and Raymond Watt often assisted the Paul family with their  production. They tapped an average of 4,000 trees at that time, produced about 700 gallons of syrup, and used approximately 30 cords of wood during the season.

Paul's maple prices rise

‘The Perth Courier’ – March 21, 1971

The Paul’s were pioneers in the maple industry, and were very modern in their approach. They were one of the first to install plastic tubing, and an oil fired evaporator. The plastic pipes were attached to the tree spiles, and the sap flowed through the pipes, and emptied into a storage reservoir located behind the evaporator. Brien and Marion were inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame, and were proud members of the Ontario Maple Producers and the Lanark and District Maple Producers Association.

Paul's maple


Gibson was a name known for their excellent syrup. James ‘Carman’ Gibson, and his wife Edna (Rodger) had a maple business in Dalhousie Twp at R.R. # 4, Lanark. The nearby areas of Hoods and Poland were well known for their fine quality maple syrup. The Gibson family began tapping trees in 1821 with the arrival of James Gibson from Lanark, Scotland. He was the first pioneer settler in the area, and named their new home Lammermoor after the Lammermoor Hills in Scotland. Their five children Verna, Beatrice, Norma, Carol and Earl helped with the operation. The Gibson family also raised beef, dairy on their busy farm, and hauled milk to the Middleville cheese factory.


When locals think of a long running maple operation, the name Dodds comes to mind. They had a substantial sugar bush at R.R. 2 Clayton, in the Lanark Highlands. The Dodds family has owned Springdale Farm for generations, producing maple syrup since 1917, and Don and Marion Dodds, and their sons Bryan and Stephen helped with production through the years. The family has won many awards for being long term maple producers, and Stephen Dodds won the Grand Champion Trophy at Perth Festival of the Maples in 2011. Their long, long, list of awards include trophies for World Champion Maple Syrup, Sugar Maker of the Year, and a memorable meeting with HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Winter Fair.

Dodds family

Dodds family – Don, Marion and Stephen Dodds


One of the maple syrup families that I remember fondly was the Coutts family on the Rideau Ferry Road. I’ll never forget how George Coutts invited local kids to visit his sugar shack.  He would take the time during the very busy season to patiently explain how the maple syrup was made. Miss Norma Devlin from the North Elmsley School was invited each year to bring her grade one class to visit the Coutts farm. George along with his son Kenneth showed the children how syrup was made and even provided the kids with some maple taffy at the end of the tour.

Coutts student tours

In the 1960s the Coutts family tapped about 1,300 trees yearly, and produced more than enough syrup for both the family and for area sales. Maple syrup was produced in the early 1900’s by Archibald Coutts. In 1920, George Coutts purchased an evaporator, and the production of maple syrup has continued ever since.

coutts country flavours

Coutts Country Flavours – 5th generation maple producers

The ancestors of the Fulton family began to tap their maple trees back in the 1840s when John Fulton and his brothers came to Lanark County from East Kilbride, Scotland.  Their large 370 acre farm is located between Almonte and Pakenham, and they have tapped their huge 4,000 tree sugar bush for many, many, generations. Well known for their high quality syrup they have also operated a pancake house for many years, and their sugar camp has been a popular attraction for both area families and visitors.

Shirley Deugo and Scott Deugo of Fulton's

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush –
Shirley Fulton-Deugo 4th generation, and Scott Deugo 5th generation maple producer

With these, and other long-time maple producers in Lanark County, it’s not surprising that back in the 1970s, there were lots of conversations, up and down the concessions, of hosting a maple festival in the town of Perth. It was Victor ‘Vic’ Lemieux, owner of Norvic Lodge, at Christie Lake, who first came up with the idea, and presented it to the Perth Chamber of Commerce. Thankfully, Vic was successful in his campaign to launch the first festival, with the hope that it would bring people out to celebrate the spring season, after a long, cold, winter.

First festival of the Maples 1975

On April 19, 1975 the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth and it was quite an event!

When my friends and I arrived at the very first Maple Festival that Saturday so long ago, part of Gore Street and Foster Street had been closed to traffic, and many local maple vendors had set up their displays. At 10 a.m. the Festival was officially opened by the Ontario Minister of Industry – Claude Bennett. The Perth Legion ladies, and the ladies from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church had displays of delicious home baking for sale, and there were also side-walk sales on Gore Street, and many arts and craft exhibits.

There were a tremendous number of district producers, and many of them offered syrup for sale in different grades, and various sized containers. Pancakes were available for purchase, and free samples of Balderson Cheese were available to anyone who asked, and I recall we went back a couple of times to that booth! One of the most unique displays was a wood-burning evaporator set up on one of the main streets of Perth. I’ve seen a few of those out in the bush, but I never thought I’d see one in town on the main street!

Fiddling and step-dancing competitions were held that day, and I recall Dawson Girdwood saying that some of the best fiddlers from Eastern Ontario were competing in the Open and Junior fiddling classes. The talented Jimmy Heney, one of our neighbours, won the fiddling prize hands down, as he often did, and Karen Grey of Perth was the top step-dancer that night.

The folks in Perth were always  enthusiastic supporters of a beauty competition, and so part of the evening program, at the arena that night ,was the crowning of ‘The Sweetest Girl in Lanark County’. Miss Perth 1975 Michelle Hughes crowned the winner – Maple Queen – Susan Thompson, of Perth.

Over the years, we attended the Perth Maple Festival, and each spring it seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Every year it seemed that there were more vendors selling their maple goods, more artisans displaying their crafts, and an increasing number of booths and displays. We also noticed a steady stream of tourists coming from Ottawa, Kingston, and even as far away as the States to visit our festival.

festival of the maples crowd

People in Lanark County, understandably, have always taken their maple syrup very seriously. Because of this, it was devastating to many when January of 1998 brought the most destructive ice storm in Canadian history. From January 4th to 10th Lanark County was severely affected by freezing rain, and ice pellets.   Day after day it fell, and accumulated on tree branches, bending their limbs until they snapped off with the weight of the ice. The relentless freezing rain created a thick, heavy coat, damaging both the maple trees and the pipelines in the sugar bushes. Millions of tree branches were caked with the build-up of ice, and became so heavy that they split right off of the trees; severely affecting the sap flow. At the time, there were speculations that it might take forty years for maple production to return to normal.

Through hard work, and good fortune, many of the damaged trees came back, and the maple production resumed within a few years of the ice storm.

ice storm 1998

Many of us, raised in Lanark County, have participated in making maple syrup at one time or another, and know from experience that it’s extremely labour-intensive. We also have a clear understanding of the enormous amount of sap it takes to make a very small quantity of syrup. No matter how modern the equipment or methods, it still takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

40 gallons of sap

Now, add in the hours of labour for the tapping, transporting from the tree to the evaporator, the boiling down, the straining, the bottling, and the labeling. Next, factor in the cost of equipment such as the spiles, the pails or tubing, the evaporation tank, fuel, the straining equipment, the bottles, cans, and cost of transporting to market. The price per gallon really doesn’t sound like all that much anymore now, does it?

So, the next time you pass by the maple syrup display in your grocery store aisles, or visit a maple vendor at his farm, or at a festival, please remember how it’s produced.

Pause a moment, to remember the proud, hard-working, pioneer families who settled in Lanark County, and passed down their knowledge through the generations. Think of the enormous quantity of sap required to make a very small container of syrup. Most of all, please stop and consider the origin of your syrup, and take it from this Lanark County kid – you won’t find any better, more flavourful syrup, than from the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario!



(an excerpt from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third LineLanark County Chronicle)
ISBN 978-0-9877026-2-3


Perth’s New Year’s Babies 1947-1987



No birth has been as widely documented, or made as public through the media than the first birth in a new year.  It’s not clear when the tradition of announcing the arrival of a town or city’s first baby began across Lanark County.

In the early 1940s, “The Perth Courier” began to mention the ‘New Year’s baby’ in their listings of social and community events, but it was not until January 1947 that this venerable newspaper started to showcase  the area’s newest resident with a feature story and often a photograph of baby and mother.

In the January 2nd 1947 edition of “The Perth Courier” for the very first time, there was a long list of prizes to be supplied by local merchants, and instructions to new parents on how to claim the title of “Perth’s First Baby of 1947”:

“All the parents need to do to secure all these good things for Perth’s first baby of 1947 is to give the Courier a statement of the time and date of the arrival, signed by the doctor or attending nurse.  The Courier will then provide a statement to the parents, which will enable them to pick up the merchandise.  News of the arrival must teach the Courier by Monday, January 6th to qualify.”

In honour of those special New Year’s babies born in Perth, four decades of announcements follow, from “The Perth Courier”, beginning in 1947 through to 1987:




1947 – Ronald Gilchrist  –  Snow Road



1948 – Audrey McCurdy  –  Lanark, Ontario




1949 – Robert Frank –

Canonto, North Frontenac




1950 – Diane Egge  –  Perth, Ontario





1951 – baby ‘Dustin’,  Perth, Ontario1951-baby




1952 – baby ‘Foley’  – Balderson, Ontario






1953 – baby ‘Thomas’, Balderson, Ontario



1954 –  baby ‘Mooney’,  R.R. 1,  Perth, ON




1955 –  baby  ‘Bell’,   Perth, Ontario



1956 –  baby  ‘Dickson’ , Perth, Ontario





1957 –  baby ‘Young’  R.R. 2, Maberly, ON




1958 – baby ‘St. Pierre’,  Sharbot Lake, ON



1959 –  baby ‘Fielding’,  Perth, ON






1960 – baby ‘Kerr’,  Perth, ON




1961 – baby ‘Cordick’,  Perth, ON




1962 –  baby ‘Daoust’,  Perth, ON





1963 –  Heather Pratt, Clarendon, ON



1964 –  baby ‘King’  R.R. 5, Perth, ON




1965 –  Sheldon Barr,  R.R. 1,  Perth, Ontario



1966 –  Heather Paul,  Perth, ON



1967 –  baby ‘Murphy’ , Perth, ON




1968 – Diane Haughian, Perth, ON




1969 –  baby ‘Cameron’   R.R.5, Perth, ON



1970 – Eric Brousseau,  Perth, ON



1971 – Tammie Adam, McDonald’s Corners



1972 – Peter Alexander,  R.R. 5, Perth, ON



1973 –  Matthew Lowery,  Parham, ON



1974 – baby ‘Blackburn’, R.R. 1  Maberly





1975 –  Gregory Young, R.R. 4, Perth, ON





1976 –  Erica Labelle, R.R. 2  Lanark, ON



1977 – Duncan Campbell, R.R. 1, Lanark, ON




1978 – baby ‘Gardiner’ , R.R. 5, Perth, ON



1979 – Christa Rintoul, Clayton, ON




1980 – Trevor Tysick,  Lanark Road



1981 –  Nicole Moore, R.R. 4, Perth, ON



1982 – Liam Ryan, Elgin  ON




1983 – Natalie Lowery,  Perth  ON



1984 – Jennifer Campbell, R.R. 4  Perth, ON




1985 – Wayne Drysdale, R.R. 4, Perth



1986 – Victoria McMunn, Perth, ON



1987 – Jennifer Roy ,  Perth, ON



These babies, now aged 30 to 70 began their lives as tiny celebrities in the community, lavished with many gifts from local merchants, some would say had a lucky start to life.

I wonder where these New Year’s babies are today, and if lady luck has followed them throughout their lives?

As they used to say in the 1960s, “You’ve come a long way baby!”







Merchants of Perth 1960s and 1970s at Christmastime

We wrote letters to Santa, placing them carefully in our mailbox on the Third Line, we circled gifts in the Sears Wishbook, practised our parts for the Nativity play, and if we were lucky we would visit Perth with Mother, and see the beautifully decorated stores along Gore Street and Foster Street, at Christmastime!

Merchants of Perth at Christmastime













































































































For delicious home-made candy-canes, stop by Haggis’ Candy store!

Haggis Candy cane









































































































































Hope you enjoyed our visit to Perth in the 1960s and 1970s!

This post is dedicated to the merchants of Perth, large and small, as they celebrate 200 years of commerce in the community.  Many work long hours to provide goods and services for the people in the area. Many sponsor local sports teams and community events.  As we fondly recall the merchants of days gone by, let’s remember to shop locally this Christmas season, and support the local artisans, craftspeople, and neighbourhood businesses in our community!

Merry Christmas!


vintage photos of historical Perth buildings – Perth Museum
Merchant ads from “The Perth Courier”


Christmas Ads for these merchants included:

A & B Motors,  Acheson’s,  Aeroquip, Albert Gale,  Alice’s Beauty Salon,  Allen’s Bakery,  Anna Mosl,  Andy’s Window Cleaning,  Antiques Vandenbosch,  Balderson Cheese,  Bank of Montreal,  Barrie’s Meats,  Ralph G. Barker,  Barr Motor Sales,  Beamish,  Ben Barbary’s,  Benny K’s.,  Bert Fournier,  Blair & Sons,  Boles Grocery,  Boyd Real Estate,  Brankin Fuels,  Bright Spot,  Brown Shoe Company,  Burchell Supply,  Burns Jewellers,  Cameo Beauty Shoppe,  Cameron Shoe,  Canadian Tire,  Caribou House,  Carolynne’s  Beauty Salon,  Carson Farm Supply,  Carson Realty, Cavanagh’s,  Cavers Jewellery, Chaplin & Code Hardware,  Chaplin’s Dairy,  Circus Surplus Store,  Cleanrite Cleaners,  Conway’s Menswear,  Co-op,  Cooper’s Furniture,  Couch’s Taxi, County Motors,  Craig Motor Sales, Glenn Crain Ltd.,  D. & K. Fabric,  Darou and McIntosh,  Dicola Fuels,  Dixie Lee Chicken,  Dodds & Erwin,  Drummond Centre Telephone Co.,  J.D. Duncan,  E-Z Clean Coin Wash,  E.B. Code and Son Insurance,  E.L. Darou Insurance,  East End Grocery,  Echlin Motor Sales, Farrell’s Store,  Franklin Fence & Furniture,  Frank’s Barber Shop,  Friendly T.V. – Klaas Van Bergen,   Hazel & Eric Fuller Store,  General Insulating,  Girdwood’s,  Golden Triangle Upholstery,  Todd Greig Accountant,  G.W.M. Gift Shop,  H & M Centre,  Holiday Take-Out,  T.M. Hansen Plumbing,  Healey Transportation,  Henderson’s Red and White,  Hodgson & Son,  Hoffman & Son,  L. Huddleston,   HY Fund Studio,  I.D.A.,  I.G.A.,  International Silver,  J.& J. Plumbing,  Jack & Jill, Jack Snow,  James Brothers Hardware, Ken Hannah Minnows,  Ken Hughes, Kerr & Duncan,  Kitten Mill,  Leach Tire Center,  Levine’s,  Lightford’s,  MacPhail Tractor Sales,  Maximilian Restaurant,  McLean Noonan,  McNamee Plumbing,  McTavish Motor Sales,  McVeety Electric,  Mill Fab,  Minute Man,  Montgomery Chiropractor,  Moss Motors,  Nelly’s Shoe Store,  D.M. Nisbet Fina,  Nixon Planing Mill,  Noonan’s,  Central Tire Supply – VanDusen’s,  Oakes’ Bakery,  Orok’s Hardware,  Pant Barn,  Perkins Bowling Alley,  Anne Patterson Laundromat,  Pattenick’s,  Perth Blue Wings,  Perkins Motors,  Perth Television,  Perth Apothecary,  Perth Banks,  Perth District Co-op,  Perth Fire Department,  Perth Flower Shop, Perth Hotel,  Perth  Motors,  Perth Pinto,  Perth Planing Mill,  Perth Tea Room,  R.T. Parks & Sons,  Robinson’s Beverages, Reed’s Smoke Shop,  Reliable Cab,  Revere Hotel,  Reward Shoe Stores,  Rolly’s Restaurant,  Rubino’s,  Russ Ellis,  Ryder’s Restaurant,  Sawdon’s Appliance,  Scott’s Chicken Villa,  Shaw’s of Perth,  Siddall’s,  Small Brothers,  Somerville Farm Supplies,  Smith’s Radio,  Soper Theatre,  Stan Cleroux Real Estate,  Stan Tufts Delivery Service,  Stedman’s,  Stanzel Plumbing  Street Travel,  Sullivan Sanitation,  Tay-Towne Cleaners,  Tay Valley Sports,  Tayside Bakery,  Teak Hair Fashions,  The Mill Store,  The Valley Book Shop,  J.A. Thomas Optometrist,  Thornbury’s Pharmacy,  Tim’s Texaco,  Town and Country Restaurant,  Van Pelt Cabinet Maker,  Vanderspank’s General Store,  Wayfare Restaurant, Rideau Ferry Inn.





WWII Soldiers from Perth and Area



A Tribute to Our Lanark County Soldiers




war-1          flag-quote

William Allan WWII

photo above:  Sgt. William M. Allan, D Company (4.2 mortars), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. Landed at Normandy, June 6, 1944, D-Day. From the Scotch Line, Perth, ON. Became a Life Member, Perth-Upon-Tay Branch (244), Royal Canadian Legion.
(photo – used with permission of Lynne Allan -his daughter)















Soldiers marching down Gore St

Soldiers marching down Gore Street in Perth

photo from the Perth Legion




war-16V-E Day Celebrations





Robert White WWII

photo above:  Robert ‘Bob’ White, son of William White and Helen (Hannaford) White of Perth, brother of local sports legend Rusty White.
photo used with permission – his niece, Janice (Jordan) Gordon
“Mr. and Mrs. W. G. White received word that their son Robert J. “Bob” White, recently decorated with the Distinguished Flying Medal for gallantry in action, has now been promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer in the R.C.A.F.  Overseas since January, 1942, and posted with the Bomber Command, he participated in some 25(?) raids on industrial Italy, Germany, and occupied France as navigator.  On completing his operations he became an instructor  and at present is carrying on in that capacity.  Born 25 years ago in Perth, he attended the public school and P.C.I. and was very popular with his fellow students.  Outstanding in athletics, Bob starred on Collegiate and town rugby teams for a number of years and made a name for himself as one of the great middle wings turned out at the P.C.I.  In hockey he was a hard hitting defense man, playing junior hockey for four years he was regular defense man with the Blue Wings when they reached the Memorial Cup semi finals in 1938(?).  After graduating from the junior ranks he played with the Perth Crescents and the Smiths Falls Mic Macs.  Bob was also an outstanding Junior base ball player, starring at third base and at the plate where his heavy hitting was a real feature.  Although his future operations with the R.C.A.F. are necessarily uncertain his many friends are wishing him every success and Perth is justly proud of her first decorated flyer in this Second Great War.

Flying Officer, Robert White Receives Medal From The King

“Fifteen members of the RCAF, most of whom are officers, attended a recent investiture at Buckingham Palace, to receive Distinguished Flying Medals from the King.  Among those who received this honor and talked with the King was Flying Officer Robert “Bob” White, whose citation stated that the award was made for exceptional coolness and courage in raids on many important enemy targets.  “Bob” has recently been promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer and has been overseas since January of 1942.  He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin St., Perth.”

‘Perth Courier’, April 6, 1944

“F.O. Robert White, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin Street, has been posted as missing after air operations.”

‘Perth Courier’ August 17, 1944

F.O. Robert White Now Presumed to Have Died

“Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin Street, have been advised by the Dept. of Defense, Ottawa, that their son, F.O. Robert White, who was reported missing after air operations over enemy territory on March 31, has now been presumed dead.  A crew of seven manned the bomber which did not return and they are all presumed to have died.  Shortly before he was reported missing on March 31, Bob was decorated with the D.C.M. at Buckingham Palace by the King.”




Lanark and  Renfrew Scottish Regiment “D” Company

Perth, Ontario, 1942

Perth remembered WWII

Back row, Left to rt:  Gordon Rutherford, Arnold Douglas, Pte. Dodds, Fred Buker, Sydney Sparks, Tom Oxford, Del Blackburn.
First row, Left to rt:  Hugh Douglas. Gilbert Blair, Jack Lackey, Leslie Fetlock, Pte. Aikman.
photo:  ‘Perth Remembered’


Missing from this list, but not forgotten:

Ferguson, Robert

Frizell,  Ernest Darou, died 1943, buried overseas.


Hall, George Cecil   



Laroque, Kenneth Joseph

Lee, Joseph Patrick


(Perth Courier, July 26, 1945 page 1)


Weir, William Devlin




Roll of Honour – Calvin United Church, Bathurst (Tay Valley) Township






Local War Heroes:  Kyle, McGlade, and Dicola

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010

Article by ‘St. John’s School’, Perth, Ontario:

St. John’s School Playground

to Be Dedicated to Local Fallen Heroes and Veterans

“The St. John Playground Committee has chosen two local fallen Canadian Forces heroes and one local Veteran to be part of the dedication of their new playground.

The fundraising efforts for the new playground at the school taking place under the auspices of the Let Them Be Kids foundation dictates that any new playgrounds built are dedicated to a Canadian Forces fallen soldier or veteran from the area. After much reading and research by a Grade 6 class at the school, St. John’s has chosen Flying Officer William Kyle, Corporal James Michael McGlade, and veteran Corporal Francis DiCola to immortalize in the dedication of their new play structures.

Flying Officer William Kyle, born and raised in Perth, flew Dakota aircraft as a member of the RCAF 453 Transport Squadron based out of Tulihal, India. His squadron was responsible for moving freight and soldiers to and from various bases throughout the South Pacific. On June 21, 1945, a mission Kyle was on failed to return. The story of the missing aircraft came to prominence more than 50 years later, when the wreckage of the missing plane was discovered in the jungles of northwestern Myanmar (Burma), and Veterans Affairs Canada sought to uncover the wreckage and bring it home. Flying Officer Kyle’s watch, found at the scene, allowed Veterans Affairs to identify the crew and the plane.

Corporal James Michael McGlade, born in Perth and a graduate of St. John Separate School and PDCI High School, served the Canadian Forces as a member of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. Corporal McGlade signed up for the military in 1940 and was deployed overseas in 1942. Stationed in Antwerp, Belgium, Corporal McGlade’s regiment was responsible for the liberation, capture and preservation of the vital harbour and dock facilities at Antwerp.  He was killed there in 1944 and is buried in Schoonselhof Cemetery in Belgium.

Corporal Francis E. DiCola, also a graduate of St. John Separate School and PDCI, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a 17 year old in 1943. As a member of the RCAF Squadron 422 he was stationed at Pembroke Dock in Wales and worked as a radio operator. His job was to dispatch aircraft to various bases throughout Great Britain and the continent. While he was offered the opportunity to act as a guard during the Nuremberg Trials after the war, Corporal DiCola was anxious to return to Canada. He took advantage of the RCAF education packages offered to returning soldiers and took an economics degree at University of Toronto before returning to Perth to run the family business, DiCola Petroleum. Here he raised 7 children with his wife, Rose, and as a businessman and father, has contributed to countless endeavors in our community.

St. John’s is proud to dedicate their new play structures and schoolyard to these local Forces heroes. While the children are playing on the structures building their bodies and friendships, may they also be aware of these brave men who gave of themselves so that we could be free.”


Be Sure to Visit the Perth Legion Hall of Remembrance:

The Hall of Remembrance displays include artifacts donated by local veterans and their families such as war medals, letters, photographs, souvenirs, and display cabinets featuring army and navy memorabilia. The collection focuses on Perth and area’s contributions in World War I, World War II, Korea, Cold War, peacekeeping missions, and Afghanistan.


Hall of Remembrance

Hall of Remembrance – Royal Canadian Legion Branch 244, Perth-Upon-Tay – 26 Beckwith Street East Perth, ON K7H 1B5   Tel: 613-267-4400 (Office)


Library and Archives Canada Links for WWII Research:

Archives Links to Research


Search the Canadian Fallen Heroes Database:

Canadian Fallen Heroes Database


In memory of all of the soldiers from the Perth area

who fought bravely for our country,

so that we might live in peace and freedom.

Lest We Forget……






Memories of an Old Fashioned Hallowe’en


It doesn’t seem that long ago……….back in the 1960s and 1970s, when we couldn’t wait for that magical night in October – Hallowe’en!

The days grew shorter, crisp air blew in from the north, and an eerie silence hung over our yard, as the last few geese left for the season.  Darkness crept up our lane-way each evening, shortly after the school bus dropped us off, and bare branches cast long shadows across the Third Line.

bare trees golden


In the days leading up to the big event, we watched ‘The Great Pumpkin’, and if we felt brave enough, maybe a horror movie or two, just to put us in the spirit.


The great pumpkin


great pumpkin


Who could forget Janet Leigh’s blood-curdling scream in the movie ‘Psycho’, or Jessica Tandy running for her life, in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds’ ?


psycho   the birds


The living room always fell silent at our house, during Ichabod Crane’s encounter with the Headless Horseman, in ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’…..


Icabod Crane


We often listened to some music, to put us in the Hallowe’en mood!


purple people eater


monster mash

We’d read a few ghost stories, or play a scary board game, although our Mother wouldn’t allow us to bring a Ouija board into the house!

One year, Mary-Jane, a friend who lived in Perth, invited some of the members of our 4H Club to visit her, and try out the Ouija board in her rec room.


Ouija board


I recall some of us almost jumped out of our skin that same night, when a candle flickered in the middle of our ‘session’!

candle flickering


Some of our favourite t.v. shows had Hallowe’en ‘specials’:



Addams family

Preparations were made weeks in advance – deciding what we would wear for Hallowe’en.  Anyone familiar with the late fall weather in Lanark County, knows that our costumes would need to be loose enough to fit over our fall jackets.   I remember a few Hallowe’en nights when there was snow on the ground, which meant clunking around in a big pair of boots all night.

It was time to head to the attic, and find some discarded clothes!



Kids today, would not have been impressed with our costumes.  They were homemade, and usually consisted of an old pair of pants, an old shirt, maybe some tattered sheets. No one in those days bought a pre-made costume, so we had to be creative.


costume     costume-2

costume-3      costume-4

Over the years, Kellogg’s advertised free Hallowe’en masks on the back of their cereal boxes.  All you  had to do was cut out the mask, punch two holes in it, and add a rubber band or a string.  These were all the rage!  Especially the Tony the Tiger mask!

Kellogg's Hallowe'en masks


Tony Tiger mask


Sometimes, there were Hallowe’en parties at Glen Tay School, and we wore our costumes,  and bobbed for apples.


bobbin for apples


Mother always helped us find a suitable sack for our candy, and we could choose between an assortment of her old pillowcases.  It was always a good idea to bring at least two pillowcases – just in case it was a busy night!




The weeks passed by, and October 31st finally arrived!

After school, we ate supper quickly, and could barely contain our excitement!

Next, we watched out the window………………………………….and waited for dusk!

spooky night


We donned our costumes, grabbed our pillowcases, and began the trek up and down the Third Line.


dark country roads


Some of the lanes were long.  Very long.  So, we often had a debate at the end of each lane, with our friends, and decided whether it would be worth the walk.




Up and down the Third Line we scampered, running up the long lane-ways,  and along the dark country side roads.


late fall road


Kids today, might be surprised to learn that people didn’t decorate their homes, nor did they have elaborate displays on their front steps, or in their yards.

Most people didn’t have any decorations at all, and the ones who did, usually had a single, jack-o-lantern, on their front porch.


jack o lantern




In small, rural communities like ours, it wasn’t unusual to be invited inside, and whoever answered the door would try to guess who we were!


inviting Hallowe'en kids inside


We’d stay inside for a few minutes, and might be asked how our parents were doing, or how things were going at school. Some people would even ask us to sing a song, or tell a joke, to earn our candy.  It was all good-natured fun. Often, the person who answered the door would remind us to be careful crossing the roads, or ask us to say hello to Mother and Dad for them.


kids crossing the road


It’s true, we may not have had glamorous costumes, and the decorations were a little bit sparse in those days, but the homemade treats and goodies made up for that.

It was not uncommon to receive farm fresh apples,  loose peanuts,  homemade fudge, and Hallowe’en Kisses.  There was no need to check the treats before eating them.  We knew everyone, and they knew us.  They were our neighbours, our classmates, our friends.


fresh apples

peanuts   kerrs-kiss-2


So which house on our route the tastiest treats?

By far, hands-down, the best fudge on the Third Line was at Radford’s and Korry’s.   Mrs. Radford’s fudge was legendary in the area, and Ethel Korry’s fudge was so creamy, and silky smooth! Sometimes Mrs. Korry and her daughter-in-law Merle, were still busy cutting the fudge into little squares when we arrived, and they’d wrap them, and place them in little bags for us.


(see Mrs. Radford’s fudge recipe at the end of the story!!!)

cutting-fudge     homemade-fudge


One of the best stops for trick-or-treating on the Third Line was the popular general store – Cavanagh’s – owned by Jim and Helen.


Cavanagh's store - colour


The Cavanagh’s were generous with their candy, and some of our favourite treats were the Pixie Stix, the Thrills, and the Gold Rush gum.


pixy-stix thrills-gum  gold-rush-candy


Kraft Caramels were a popular treat, and many of the neighbours would throw a handful into our pillowcases, along with some pumpkin teeth candies.


pumpkin-teeth    kraft-caramels


Our Mother often made caramel apples, with fresh apples from our orchard.





One of our favourite treats on Hallowe’en were Mother’s homemade caramel popcorn balls.  She mixed freshly-popped popcorn, with the melted caramels, in a big metal pot, on top of the old stove.  She shaped them into a ball, let them dry on a cookie sheet, and wrapped them in plastic, before handing them out at our front door.




Those were certainly nights to remember!   – Long, dark, lanes in the country, our costumes made from discarded clothes, and our pillowcase sacks!

The cool fall air, and the tall, bare, maple trees that lined the dark roads, leading up to the farmhouses, all added an air of suspense, as we ran from house to house.

Homemade treats, fresh from our neighbour’s kitchens, couldn’t be beat.

We even had a little song that sang on Hallowe’en, and perhaps it will bring back some memories of those happy Hallowe’en nights, of our youth:


It’s Hallowe’en,
The lamp is lit,
And ’round the fire
The children sit,
A-telling ghost tales
Bit by bit,
‘Til sister Jane says “Hush!”
What’s that a-peeping
‘Round the kitchen door?
What’s that a-creeping
‘Cross the bedroom floor?
What’s that a-sweeping
Down the corridor?
Oooooh! It’s a goblin!



 vintage hallowe'en.JPG



koolaid ad



Hope you enjoyed our trip back in time, to those magical Hallowe’en nights, along the Third Line!



As promised, a recipe for the best fudge on the Third Line.

Oh the Radford family’s lane was soooooo long!  I have to admit that it wouldn’t have mattered to us kids if their lane was ten times as long, we would have gladly made the trek for a few precious pieces of Mrs. Radford’s homemade fudge!



Mrs. Radford’s Fudge:

(kindly shared with us – from Nancy (Radford) Tarle)

Mom’s Cream Candy

2 c brown sugar

½ c milk (any kind including Carnation)

¼ c butter

1 tsp vanilla

Boil the first two ingredients, stirring constantly on lowest heat required, to maintain low boil, until soft ball stage in cold water. Add butter and vanilla, (and nuts if desired).  Beat until thick, with electric mixer, then finish beating by hand until no longer shiny, and begins to harden around sides of pot.  Pour into pan.



The families who lived along our ‘Hallowe’en route’:

Blair, Brady, Bowes, Cavanagh, Chabot, Closs, Doyle, Heney, Johnston, Jordan,Kerr, Korry, Kyle, Leonard, Majaury, Mitchell, Morrow, Munro, Murphy, Myers, Paul, Perkins, Pettigrew, Popplewell, Radford, Scott, Siebel, Somerville, Stafford, Stiller, Truelove, Turnbull, Tysick, and Webber





For more memories of Hallowe’en in the 1960s and 1970s:

“Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen”


available in local stores, and online



(photo of Cavanagh’s store courtesy of JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler)

Book Fair at the Crystal Palace

Autumn’s brightest maple trees were the colourful backdrop for the 3rd annual Book Fair at the Crystal Palace in Perth, Ontario. Nestled along the historic Tay Basin, the Farmer’s Market hosted a number of local authors, along with their usual offerings of produce, craftspeople, artisans and home-baked goods.

Perth Crystal Palace


The yearly event is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and residents alike to meet with authors, share in discussions, ask questions, and discover the literary offerings produced in their community.


Anne Raina, author of ‘Clara’s Rib’, and Kay Rogers, Editor of ‘At Home in Tay Valley’ share a few words at the opening of the event.


Author Gene Bassett was back this year with his books ‘Tall Tales’ and ‘Stolen Moments’. In Gene’s words, “Hopefully, these vignettes will give the reader time to pause, and give reflection to the humour and serendipity that keeps us in tune with life in all its ups and downs.”


Larry Cotton, author of ‘Whiskey and Wickedness’ brought the full complement of books in his series.



Kay Rogers was on hand at the event to promote “At Home in Tay Valley”, a collection of stories and memories from the people of Tay Valley.  Proceeds from the sale of At Home in Tay Valley will support an annual scholarship for a student graduating from Perth & District Collegiate Institute, or from St. John Catholic High School who has demonstrated a keen interest in history.



Joel Leblanc and Thomas Uhryniw were busy, promoting the popular souvenir book marking 25 years of the Stewart Park Festival.


A number of local readers as well as some out of town visitors stopped by to say hello.


What a treat to see a former classmate and neighbour from the Third Line – Dawn-Marie Brady, and share a few memories!


Signing a copy of my new book “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time” for Scott Reid, member of Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.  Scott kindly shared some fascinating stories and history of the historic Haggart residence in Perth. It was a pleasure to meet with such an avid reader and history buff!


Once again, many thanks to those who stopped by to say ‘hello’ on this busy Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks as always to our host the Perth Farmer’s Market for sponsoring this event, for promoting local authors, and most importantly for supporting literacy in the community.


For more information about the Perth Farmer’s Market:    Perth Farmer’s Market