Perth’s Haunted Hospital

GWM hospital Perth

It wasn’t until I worked at the Perth hospital kitchen in the 1970s, that I began hearing stories about the ghosts that haunted their halls at night.

Although I was born in the Great War Memorial Hospital, and years later would attend high school just a block away, no one had ever mentioned the legends surrounding the original owners of the building, or how that family had been cursed.

Curious to find out more, I began to ask around town.  Being a small town where everyone knew someone, who knew something; it didn’t take long before I spoke with someone, who knew someone else, who’d seen something unusual at the old hospital.  I began to write down some of the stories about the building on Drummond Street that I thought, had always been a hospital.  I discovered that it hadn’t started out as a hospital at all.

The story begins with a Judge John Malloch, a prominent citizen of the early days in Perth, who decided in 1858 to build an opulent stone house on Drummond Street.  His home had all of the bells and whistles.  There were 17 rooms, along with two large halls that were each ten feet wide.  There was a solid walnut staircase, a large library, and a fine polished marble mantelpiece.   In those days, it was considered by many, to be one of the finest homes in all of Eastern Ontario.  The Judge named the home Victoria Hall, for the reigning Queen at that time.

GWM Victoria Hall

Description of Judge Malloch’s home, Victoria Hall, ‘The Perth Courier’, May 9, 1984, p.21

Judge Malloch had ordered many luxurious materials and finishes for his home, some from a distance, and he often became impatient because his building supplies didn’t arrive on time.  One of his suppliers had promised delivery on a certain date and the materials did not arrive when needed. This caused a critical delay in construction.  Workers were not able to proceed, and the setback cost the Judge a great deal of money.  When the material finally arrived, the Judge was so annoyed that he refused to pay.

The supplier became extremely agitated, because even though he admitted that he was very late, he stressed to the Judge that he had delivered the supplies as agreed, so he felt that he should be paid. The supplier argued at length with the Judge, but Malloch stood firm and refused to pay. In the heat of the argument the supplier cursed the Judge.  He went on to say that the Judge’s entire family would be cursed for as long as they lived in that house.

GWM 1920s

“The Perth Courier”, Nov. 10, 1982, p. 26

Years later, some would say that it was the curse, and some said that it was merely coincidence, that caused the Malloch family members to suffer ill health.  Some even succumbed to death prematurely.   The old Judge watched as they passed one by one, and he was left all alone in the large stately house.

GWM original building

Home of Judge John Glass Malloch, photo:  Perth Remembered

 

Fifteen years after the house was built, the old Judge died, and the once elegant Victoria Hall was left vacant.

Judge Malloch 1873 Dec 12 Perth Courier

“The Perth Courier”, Dec. 12, 1873.

 

The only time the house was occupied was when distant family members would open the home for the summer season, stay briefly, then leave the house empty and dark for the remainder of the year.

It was during this time, when the house was left vacant, that locals passing by at night often noticed figures walking the halls or staring out the windows.  Victoria Hall became known as the Haunted House of Perth.

ghost in window

Some said they saw what looked like a thin, sickly. old woman, standing at the window, staring down at Drummond Street below.  Others claimed that they saw the ghost of the old white-haired judge, walking up and down the long halls, as if he was searching for something or someone.

John Malloch grave Elmwood

Grave of Judge John Malloch, Elmwood Cemetery, Perth, Ontario

 

The Perth hospital, in the former Victoria Hall, opened in 1923.   On Armistice Day in 1924 the town of Perth dedicated the hospital as a tribute to the men and women who served in World War I, and proclaimed that it would be known as the Great War Memorial Hospital.

GWM dedication 1924

“The Perth Courier”, May 9, 1984, p. 21

 

By the time I was hired to work part-time in the hospital kitchen in 1976, there had been many additions, although by that time, the number of beds had been reduced.  The provincial Ministry of Health imposed bed closures in the obstetrics ward in 1973 and local mothers had to travel to Smiths Falls to have their babies.

I recall that this was a heated issue at the time, and three years later, when I worked in the kitchen, it was still a topic of great discussion.  The other topic, which I overheard many times discussed by the staff, were the ghosts that walked the halls at night.

Being a fairly level-headed person, I was inclined to take the ghost stories with a grain of salt, and went about my usual tasks.  I’d been hired part-time to work in the evenings, to deliver trays of food to the patients, after school, and on weekend mornings, to help out with the breakfast preparations.

I recall the first day of work, when I went inside the hospital, and asked one of the staff in the lobby if they could tell me how to get to the kitchen.  I got directions, and headed down the elevator to the lower level.  When I arrived one of the other part time girls, Darlene Dowdall, took me on a tour of the kitchen, and introduced me to the staff.  Dorothy Erwin was the kitchen supervisor.  She said she’d be happy to answer any questions, and welcomed me to the kitchen.  A few years later, Dorothy’s daughter Ruth, married my brother Roger, but that’s another story.

Next, Darlene brought me over to meet the cook.  His name was Wayne Clapp, and he had a quick smile, and was joking around with Leonard ‘Lenny’ Parsons, the dishwasher.  Wayne was preparing a beef stew, and he showed me the walk-in refrigerators.  I couldn’t believe the size of those things.  They were huge.

The next person I met in the kitchen was the baker, and her name was Gladys Thomas.  She had a warm personality and very kind eyes. The day I met her she was busy making some vanilla pudding.  She had a double-decker bake-oven, mounted on the wall behind her, and an enormous mixer for puddings and cakes.

Leonard Parsons, who I’d met earlier, came breezing by and asked if I’d like to start work by helping him wash some of the pots and pans.  Darlene said she’d catch up with me later, and I followed Leonard into the dish-washing room.

Mike, the evening dishwasher, poked his head in the door and with a nervous look on his face, told Leonard that ‘Miss Bosch’ was coming.  Leonard explained that Miss Gabriela Bosch was the head of the kitchen, the ‘big’ boss, and she would often drop by for a surprise inspection to make sure that everything was done just so.

He had barely finished his sentence when a very tall, dark-haired lady, wearing a white lab coat, poked her head into the doorway, said hello, and asked how everything was going.  She was taller than average, and seemed very serious, and I wondered if that’s why the two men had seemed so nervous.

One of the other part time girls Heather Bell, came in and asked me if I could help her fill up the pop machine in the cafeteria.  I recognized Heather from school.  There were two Heather Bells, one with dark hair, but this was the blonde one, and she went by Heather ‘N.’ Bell so people would know which was which.  Heather had a quick sense of humour, and she was a lot of fun to work with that evening.  We joked around as we carted in the cases of pop and slotted them into the machine.

I spotted Bill Farrell coming into the cafeteria from the kitchen and he was holding a mop and pushing a bucket on wheels. He was tall and lanky and had a big smile for everyone.  I recognized him from Perth High School, and he came over and introduced himself.  He and Heather began joking around about some of the good time they’d had with the kitchen gang since they’d started working there and I knew for sure that there would be some fun times ahead.

Another girl from school Joy Hurren, worked behind the counter in the cafeteria, and she asked me if I’d like to help her fill some dishes with pudding.  We spent about an hour doing that, and when we finished, we began to shut everything down for the night.

As we turned off the lights in the cafeteria, I heard an odd sound like someone moaning coming from inside the kitchen, but when I pushed the door open there was no one there.  Joy just shook her head and seemed to think nothing of it; so, neither did I.

On my second night I worked with Joy’s younger sister Jennifer Hurren. She and I had been assigned the job of delivering supper to all of the patients.  There were huge metal racks on wheels called carriers and every six inches or so there was a slot that held a tray of food.

The trays were already set with the evening meals.  The dinner plates each had a metal cover to keep the food hot, and some of the trays had pots of tea or glasses of tomato juice or apple juice.  Ethel Scott was working that evening putting the meals together. I recognized her because I went to school with her daughters, Judy, Thelma, and Patsy. Ethel was checking to make sure that the meals on the trays matched what the patient had checked off on their order slip.

Once we’d loaded the trays on the carrier, Jennifer and I rode up in the elevator, and stopped on the first floor.  The big metal carrier was on wheels, so we pushed it along the hallway and stopped by each room.  We made sure to check the slip of paper and match the name with the nameplate on the bed and then we set the tray down.  Some of the patients were sleeping, but most were awake and happy to see us, and we chatted for a couple of minutes and then went onto the next room.  There was one lady at the end of the hall who didn’t get a tray that night.  Her room number wasn’t on the list.  I thought to myself that she must have already eaten her supper earlier in the evening.

As the months passed by, I realized that the staff members in the hospital kitchen were a great bunch to work with.  There were many jokes shared and stories told while we worked, and every so often someone would mention the ghosts that had been seen in the halls over the years.  Well, I’d been up and down those halls many, many, months, and the only folks that I’d seen other than the nurses, were from the Hospital Auxiliary.

The ladies of the Hospital Auxiliary were a dedicated group and sometimes we’d see them in the halls. They’d be upstairs on the floors late at night delivering evening snacks to the patients.  They called it the ‘Tea and Toast Brigade’ and brought around hot buttered toast with jam or jelly, and tea or juice to the patients, to provide a little late-night nourishment.  Along with offering some cheer and a snack these ladies raised a tremendous amount of money for the hospital.  They ran a little gift shop on site, and were also in charge of the Candy Stripers – young girls who volunteered to help out with small jobs around the hospital.

I saw quite a few of the ladies from the Hospital Auxiliary like Miss N. Burke, Mrs. Vi Wilson, Mrs. L. Crothers, Mrs. B Watson, Mrs. K. Frizell, Mrs. S. Folkard, Mrs. E. Rilley, Primrose Paruboczy, Harriet Halliday, and Mary McDougall.  They were tireless workers, and it was very clear that they really cared about the patients and the hospital.

I also saw many of the local doctors while delivering the trays of food each evening.  Many of them looked exhausted as they made their rounds, but they were always friendly and had a few kind words for us as we wheeled our food carrier down the halls.  I remember Dr. Holmes and Dr. David Craig tending to their patients; and also Dr. J.A. Kidd, Dr. R. McLean and Dr. Tweedie.

Dr Tweedie

Doctor James Tweedie, 1930-2014

We walked those halls on each floor of the hospital two or three nights each week, wheeling our meal carrier up and down, unloading the trays, chatting with the patients and the hard-working nurses.  We dropped the trays off, came back later, picked up the empty trays, and brought them down to the kitchen.

I worked evenings in the hospital kitchen for almost two years.  I heard many accounts during my time of staff members seeing apparitions.  I thought that they must be imagining things, because I’d walked those halls at night countless times, I never encountered any ghosts at the GWM Hospital.

After graduating from PDCI, I worked two more months at the hospital kitchen, then headed off to college.  I treasured the friendships formed there, and the building itself was impressive; particularly the original section of Victoria Hall, which at that time was used for administration.  Being a keen student of history, it was interesting to learn about the early days, and also the many expansions and transitions that had taken place over the years.

On my last shift, there was a little gathering in the kitchen, and everyone wished me good luck in college. We loaded the trays in the carrier one last time, and headed into the elevator, and up to the second floor to deliver the evening meals.  As we made our way to the end of the floor and emptied the carrier, a nurse walked by, and I stopped her, and asked a question that had been on my mind since I started working there.

“Sorry to bother you, but I’ve always wondered why the lady in the last room on the right never eats her supper at the same time as the other patients?”

The nurse gave me a puzzled look and said, “That’s just a utility room.  We use it for storage.  There hasn’t been a patient in there for years.”

I felt the blood drain from my face and a shiver ran down my spine, as I looked at her in disbelief, and then looked back down the hall toward the room.  Was it possible that I had imagined the pale, slender lady with the snow-white hair, in the faded blue robe?  Maybe she was from one of the other rooms …but why did she stand in front of the room at the end of the hall each evening?

The girl I was working with said, “Come on!  We’ve got two more floors of meals to deliver tonight.”

The nurse had already started walking back to her station, and my co-worker was pulling the carrier down the hall toward the elevator.   I finished my shift that evening, and hung up my smock in the change room for the last time.

I left out the side door that last night as usual, and headed up the curved pathway.  Once I reached the sidewalk on Drummond Street, I looked back at the building where I’d worked the past two years.  Suddenly it looked different, almost eerie, and I recalled what the nurse had said that night.

Who was that small, frail lady with the snow-white hair that I’d seen so many times?  She never ate supper with the others. We never brought her a dinner tray. Was it my imagination? Was it just a coincidence?

Or, perhaps, this really was the ‘Haunted House of Perth’.

ghost in woods

 

(This story is an excerpt from “Ghosts and Gastronomy in Perth”, from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third Line”  ISBN 978-0-987-702623)

LC Chronicle from web

 

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5 Lessons from Our Country Garden

cucumbers and onions in vinegar

 

Lessons from the Country Garden

Looking back, our humble garden on the Third Line, taught us some important life lessons.

1. Patience

We learned patience, in the long, slow, process, of waiting months, for the vegetables to grow.

2. Responsibility

We learned the value of careful watchfulness, making sure that the weeds were pulled, and the ground was kept moist.

3. Enjoying the Fruits of our Labour

We also learned the rewards of hard work, as we carried the ripened vegetables into the house, anticipating the flavours of summer.

4. A Penny Saved, is a Penny Earned

Another lesson was ‘thrift’, and the money that could be saved, in times when there wasn’t much money, in growing our food from seed.

5. A Quiet Mind

Most of all, we learned that working in the garden provided tranquility. It was an inner peace that comes from our hands working in the warm earth, and feeling the welcome heat of the sun soothing our faces and backs.  Our country garden not only fed our bodies, but also nurtured our souls.

cucumbers

Mother’s Cucumber Salad

Mother made a special treat from our garden with cucumbers and onions, still warm from the earth.  With a few simple ingredients, anyone can enjoy this gift from the ground, a Stafford family favourite.  Prepared early on summer mornings, the mixture sat in a glass jar, on the old kitchen table, all day. As each of us passed by, our mouths watered, knowing those sweet, sharp, flavours would be the highlight of the evening meal…

INGREDIENTS

2 cups water

1/3 cup vinegar (apple cider, white, and rice wine – your favourite)

2 Tbsp sugar (optional)

1 to 2 tsp salt

2-3 sliced garden cucumbers

sliced onion or green onion 5 – 10 whole green onions – trimmed, or ½ c – 1 c sliced onion

Additional vegetables may be added  (sliced sweet bell peppers, whole cherry tomatoes)

Method:

In a bowl, or large glass jar, add the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Add the onions and cucumbers.

Let stand for at least four hours, until you are ready to eat.

(you can refrigerate if you like, but our Mother let the mixture sit in a glass jar, on the kitchen table, from early morning, until supper time)

Enjoy!

girl in garden  cucumber pai;

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

For more farm-fresh summer recipes: ‘Recipes & Recollections – Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen’ – 

R and R bookmark image

 

 

Balderson Cheese – Craving the Curd

Whenever a kid in Lanark County heard the word ‘Balderson’ spoken at their home, most of the time their thoughts turned to cheese.  The Balderson Cheese Factory was a short drive up the Lanark Road from our place, and they made the best cheese in the world.  People came from miles around to buy Balderson Cheese, curds, and butter, and our family was no different. Usually a visit to the cheese factory took place as part of a Sunday drive.

Balderson was a small hamlet situated about halfway between Perth and Lanark and was one of the earliest communities settled along with Perth.  Balderson, a suburb was also settled partly by soldiers, and partly by Scottish immigrants from Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands.  It was founded by Sergeant Balderson in June 1816.

When we spent time in Balderson during the 1960s and 1970s some of the family names were: Bell, Burns, Davidson, Devlin, Haley, Jones, Kennedy, King, McGregor, McIntyre, McTavish, Myers and Newman.

 

Balderson Cheese factory 1954

The ‘new’  factory, built after the 1929 fire

cheese curds

cheese curds

The Balderson Cheese Factory had already been operating for many decades by the time I first remember it.  The factory was established 1881.  It was formed by a group of dairy farmers of Lanark County.  They were known as the Farmer’s Cheese and Butter Association of Balderson. They decided to use the excess milk that they were each producing on their farms, build a factory, produce Cheddar cheese and sell it locally. They built a small, plain-looking, wood-frame building near the Balderson Corners crossroads.

Balderson Cheese factory

 

Loading dock Balderson Cheese factory

Balderson Cheese Factory – Loading Dock

In the early days, each dairy farmer would bring their milk by horse and wagon and drop it off at the factory.  Later, to become more efficient, special milk wagons were built and routes were established and workers from the factory would go from farm to farm picking up the milk.

Balderson 1905

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 20, 1962

 

Just twelve years after opening, the Balderson Cheese Factory was one of the twelve factories that contributed cheese to create the ‘Mammoth’ cheese for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The old timers said that it was six feet high and weighed over 20,000 lbs.

 

Mammoth cheese

In 1929, a fire burned the original factory and all that was left was the concrete floor.

Balderson rebuilt

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 13, 1929

 

Although Dad was familiar with the original factory, we had only seen the one that was rebuilt in 1930.  It was a plain-looking building and was built in a similar style to many of the other local cheese factories, in and around Perth.  There was a small sign outside and the inside they had a very small counter and sold three products: cheese –  yellow or coloured orange, cheese curds, and butter. You could buy mild cheese or old cheese, and Dad preferred the older ‘sharp’ cheese and liked to enjoy it with a slice of Mother’s homemade apple pie. The cheese was cut from rounds, wrapped in waxed paper and sealed with a piece of scotch tape.  There was one person working behind the counter that would get your cheese and ring it up on the cash register. Everyone else worked in the back.

Balderson Cheese factory cheese-maker

Cheese-Maker,  Balderson Cheese Factory

Dad would often know the person working behind the counter, and he’d ask if we could go back and watch them make the cheese.  Now, that was really interesting!  There was always a distinct smell in the factory, even at the front counter.  It smelled kind of like buttermilk, and the air always seemed very warm and humid.  It was behind the counter where all the magic took place.

Balderson 1962

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 20, 1962

 

There were huge metal vats, filled with heated milk.  I don’t know what they use now, but in those days, they added rennet to the milk to make it curdle.  Rennet was an acid which could be found in the fourth stomach of calves and was used for digestion.  When the rennet was added to the milk it curdled and formed into clumps.  The workers in the factory would walk around with long wooden paddles and stir the vats.  Some were newly curdling and were very easy to stir, others in later stages required quite a bit of muscle to stir because the curds were forming in large, heavy clumps.  In the last vat the salt was added and some of the curds were strained out and sold, but the remainder would be pressed into huge round wooden molds.  The molds were lined with cheesecloth so that the cheese wouldn’t stick when it was time to remove it.

At the rear of the old factory, double walls were built two feet thick, with sawdust packed inside as insulation to keep the cheese cool as it cured.  After the cheese was strained and pressed into molds it was stored in the curing room. The whey, the liquid that was strained from the cheese, was stored in big tanks.  In the old days the whey was returned to the farmers to use as feed, but later when tighter government regulations were introduced the whey was dumped.  Each cheese was waxed, boxed, weighed, molded, inspected, cooled, turned and shipped. The cheese was regularly inspected by Government inspectors and the stock turns over every ten days. The cheese remained in the curing room until it was shipped.

Balderson cheese vat of curd and whey

Vat of Curd and Whey

 

Cheese making was an art form in Balderson and their Master Cheese Maker when I was a kid, was Omar Matte. Mr. Matte had begun making cheese when he was fifteen working for his father in St. Albert.  By the 1960s he had been making cheese for 27 years. In those days, Mr. Matte would mold 120 tons of cheese per year and most was shipped to the Sanderson Grading Station in Oxford where it went on to foreign markets. Ten tons of cheese on average was sold locally in the Balderson area. Over 100 tons of cheese and 9,000 pounds of butter produced yearly by the mid 1960s and sold all over North America.

There were many Master Cheese Makers before him – Chris J. Bell of Perth, James Somerville of Boyd’s, Walter Partridge of the Scotch Line, James Prentice of Perth, Charles Gallery of Perth, Robert Lucas of Jasper and Percy George of Christie Lake.

 

Balderson Cheesemakers

1881-1887  W. Brown

1888-1891  J. Milton 1888-1891

1892-1901  W.D. Simes

1902-1904  E.E. Haley

1905-1911  J.M. Scott

1912-1917  T.K. Whyte

1918-1921  M. Haley

1922-1929  A. Quinn

1930  G. Spencer

1931-1937  P. Kirkham

1937-1939  J.L. Prentice

1939-1941  C.J. Bell

1941-1942  J. Somerville

1943  W. Partridge

1944-1955  C. Gallery

1956-1958  R. Lucas

1959-1960  P. George

1961-1966  O. Matte

1966-1974  Y. Leroux

1975-1980  L. Lalonde

1980  N. Matte

As the years passed by, the cheese gained tremendous popularity, news of the product spread, and the little business was bought by a large company.  After many decades the Balderson Cheese business has changed hands many times.

You can still find Balderson cheese today, and many types and grades of cheese available in all of the major supermarkets.

I smile whenever I see the Balderson name and think of the little hamlet outside of Perth. I remember our Sunday drives to the old cheese factory, and how they made the best curd in the world!

 

cheese curd 2kid eating cheese curd

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

(story is an excerpt from  ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels Up and Down the Third Line’ ISBN: 978-0-9877026-16)

LC Kid

available in local book stores: The Book Nook & Other Treasures, and  ‘Bookworm’ in Perth, Mill Street Books in Almonte
Vintage Photos: ‘Perth Remembered’
Newsclippings: ‘The Perth Courier’

Meteor Shower in Jordan’s Front Field

meteor shower

 

It was one of those sweltering hot summer days in August when most people preferred to stay inside and try to get a ‘cross-breeze’ flowing through their house, for a little relief.  Even my friends Debbie and Jane, who loved to lie outside and work on their tans; decided it was even too hot for that.  Debbie lived down the road at DeWitt’s Corners, and we were visiting our friend Jane, as we often did, relaxing in their living room, and fanning ourselves with some magazines to keep cool.

 

We had a stack of ‘Tiger Beat’ teen magazines, and were going through them page by page, picking out the cute guys.  Donny Osmond was often one of the stars splashed across the front cover in those days.  Donny and his brothers might as well have been from Mars – five brothers with enormous, perfect teeth, wearing white fringed jumpsuits, and white leather boots.  It definitely wasn’t a sight you would have seen on the Third Line – not even up at Christie Lake. Sometimes at the lake we saw tourists from Pennsylvania or New York, who were dressed a little fancier than the locals, but that was about the extent of it.  No, we never saw any lads in white jumpsuits around Perth.

 

Another head poked into the room – it was Patti, from next door.  Patti announced breathlessly, that she’d heard there was going to be a meteor shower that evening, and she thought we should all stay up to watch it.   Hmm, I thought to myself, – it wasn’t like I had anything better planned.   I could stay at home tonight with Mother and Dad, and watch ‘The Tommy Hunter Show’, or see a meteor shower with my friends.  That was an easy decision.

 

So, where were we going to watch the meteor shower, and by the way – what exactly was a ‘meteor shower’?  Patti explained that it was thousands and thousands of shooting stars falling all at once, and that it would go on for the entire night.  She said we could set up an area in her front field, bring some snacks, and make an evening of it.

 

We began to make plans for what sort of supplies we’d need to stay up all night in Jordan’s field.  Debbie suggested that we should have some music.  She had just bought a new album by Deep Purple called ‘Machine Head’, and we all loved their song ‘Smoke on the Water’, so she volunteered to tape some songs from that album, and also some songs from a couple of albums I had at home.  I said I’d ride my bike home and bring back Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, and my Eagles album.  Everyone liked Elton’s ‘Honky Cat’ and ‘Rocket Man’ and the Eagles ‘Witchy Woman’ and ‘Take it Easy’. They’d be perfect for our night of stargazing.

 

I was home in no time, grabbed my albums, threw them in a bag, and off I went on my bike, back down the Third Line to DeWitt’s Corners.  I had some money left over from my birthday, so I stopped at Cavanagh’s store, and went inside to pick up a few treats for us.  I didn’t have that much money, so my choices were a bit limited.  Helen Cavanagh was working behind the counter as usual, and was asking how the family was.  She always made a point of asking about Roger in particular – likely because he had been such good friends with their son Bill.  We were talking about how hot it was outside, and it was nice to be inside the store because it was a lot cooler in there.  I picked up a bag of black liquorice twizzlers; I didn’t see any of the strawberry kind; and then I grabbed a bottle of Pure Spring Cream Soda, and a bottle of Tab.  After paying, I still had a bit of change left, so I spent the rest on Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, stuffed it into my pocket, thanked Helen, and headed out of the store.

 

We all met at Patti’s- Jane, Debbie and I, and gathered up our stuff – our snacks, the tape recorder to provide the music, and we also had a pair of binoculars, although I don’t remember where they came from, and we headed out to the middle of Jordan’s front field.

 

It was a beautiful night.  There weren’t too many nights of the year in Bathurst Township that were warm enough to stay outside all night, but this was definitely one of them.  It was one of those perfect August evenings – it had been a little too hot during the day, but now that the sun was sliding down below the horizon, it was likely still around 75 or 80 degrees.

 

We grabbed a quilt from Patti’s house, carried it outside, and spread it in the field.  We were about halfway between the house and the Third Line.  We wanted to be far enough away that our music wouldn’t bother anyone in the house.   Patti went into the house and brought out four bowls of spaghetti.  That was one of her favourite dishes to cook for guests, and she had definitely perfected her sauce.

 

Debbie had been fiddling around with the cassette player and had got the music going.  By then, it was really dark, and it seemed like all at once, we started staring up at the sky looking for meteors.  We were asking Patti what time the meteor shower was supposed to begin.  She said she wasn’t sure – which didn’t get a very positive reaction from any of us, but she never claimed to be an astronomer, so we’d just have to wait and let nature take its course.  It wasn’t too long after that we began to notice falling stars, one after another, sometimes in clusters; they almost looked like they were raining down.

 

We stared at the sky for hours.  We talked about school for a while.  Debbie and I were graduating from Glen Tay Public School that year – Patti and Jane had one year left to go.  We all wondered what it was going to be like to be at the Perth High School.  Patti’s older sister Janice, was already there, and so Patti knew a bit about what it was like.  It was going to be very different for all of us to be in such a large school, and also to be in Perth all day, instead of out in the country.

 

It was getting late. The stars were still falling, streaking through the sky – it was really something, and I for one, had never seen anything like it.

 

Patti went up to the house, and when she came back, she said it was three in the morning.  We were all getting tired.  Jane and Debbie decided to pack it in and go home, so they grabbed their stuff, and headed up toward the house to retrieve their bikes.  Patti and I watched from the field as they rode down the lane, and turned up the Third Line, giving us a wave as they headed home.   Well, we might as well go inside too.  We picked up the corners of the quilt, carried our stuff in, and headed up to Patti’s room.  I don’t think it was very long before we fell asleep.

 

The next morning, I got up, picked up my bike out front and headed home.   It was Sunday morning so I would be expected to get ready for church.  I got home, walked into the kitchen, and Mother asked if I’d had a nice time at Patti’s and I said that I had.  I went upstairs, had a bath, and put on a dress for church.

 

In the car on the way up the Third Line, heading for Calvin church that morning, Mother had the radio on, and was listening to the news.  The weatherman in Kingston was talking about the meteor shower the night before, and what a ‘spectacular’ sight it had been.  I didn’t want to say that we had sat out in Jordan’s field all night watching it, because I didn’t think Mother would be very impressed, so I said nothing.

….

 

Many decades have passed since our ‘meteor shower’ get-together, but I’ve since discovered that meteor showers occur regularly, are visible in most parts of Eastern Ontario during the summer, and they almost always are at their peak during August.   In fact, on the local news this past summer, the weather forecaster, spoke about the ‘Perseids’ meteor shower.

 

Naturally, when I heard the words ‘meteor shower’ my ears perked up. I hadn’t thought about the meteor shower for years.   They went on to say that the Perseids meteor shower had been observed for almost 2,000 years.  They said that the meteor shower is visible from the middle of July and the peak is usually between August 9th and the 14th each year.  It was their next statement however, that almost made me fall off of my chair.  They stated, “August 12th, 1972 is reported to have been the most active shower in recorded history.”

 

August 12, 1972?  I was speechless.  According to the weather forecaster we had witnessed the most ‘spectacular’ meteor shower!  Well, it certainly was a night to remember – the pitch-black sky out in the country, some great friends, some good music, and the most active meteor shower in recorded history, long ago, in Jordan’s front field.

 

This story is dedicated to the girls who sat with me, on a quilt, in Jordan’s front field, on August 12, 1972, :  Patti Jordan, Debbie Majaury, and Jane Munro. 

Thanks for the memories my friends!

(an excerpt from ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels Up and Down the Third Line’)

LC Kid

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

Christie Lake – Memories Along the Shores

 

We found tranquility, along the shores of this clear blue beauty.  A sanctuary of peace and contentment, a place where pink sunsets slid into still waters, and the melodious call of the loon marked the end of another perfect day, at Christie Lake.

It was also a buzzing social hub –  a gathering place for familiar faces, and new friends as well. Who could forget the laughter of the youthful parties at nearby cottages, or on Big Island? On warm summer evenings the shores were dotted with bright campfires, sputtering, crackling, shooting flames into the starry night skies. The rock and roll of our time echoed across the lake, with its steady beat, and powerful lyrics. Our music celebrated sweet young love, with a dash of social commentary, unique to those unforgettable times – the 1960s and 70s.

Where is Christie Lake?  Ottawa, the closest large city, is about an hour east, and the pretty town of Perth, is a quick, 15 minute drive.  The Stafford house, where we spent the idyllic days of our youth, was just a mile away, a quick bike ride up the Third Line; although it felt a lot farther on those hazy humid dog-days of summer.  By the time my friends and I rounded the corner near Jordan’s, the lake was in sight, and moments later our bikes had been abandoned, and we’d jumped joyfully, off the bridge, into the cool, clear, water.

bridge at Jordan's

Bridge at Jordan’s – photo:  Kathy Irvine

Christie Lake is one of the three largest lakes on the Tay watershed, along with Bob’s Lake, and Otty Lake.  It’s been said that the original name for the lake was Myers Lake, and that was way before my time; but I do remember the old timers referring to it as ‘Christy’s Lake’, or ‘Christie’s Lake’, and that it was named for John Christy, native of Scotland, the first settler on the lake.

After John Christy’s arrival, the second family living on the lake were the Allan’s. The original spelling of the lake was “Christy’s Lake”, but it was changed by the Geographic Board of Canada, to “Christie” on April 10th, 1908.

John Christy, his wife Isabella (Wright), and daughter, sailed on the ship ‘Eliza’, from Scotland, on August 3, 1815 and arrived first, in Quebec City.  Like many families arriving late in the year, they spent the first winter near their port of arrival. By 1816, the Christy’s settled at concession 2, lot 2 in Bathurst Township.

John Christy census of 1871

1871 Census of Bathurst Township

 

John Christy Jane Allen gravestone

John Christy – 1824-1909 son of pioneer John M. Christy

 

 

Alexandrine Victoria (Christy) Whillans  1839-1924

youngest daughter of pioneer John Christy, first settlers at Christy’s Lake

Alexandrine Christy Whillans Feb 19 1924 p 7 Ottawa Cit.

Feb. 19, 1924 p. 7,  ‘Ottawa Citizen’

“Victoria Whillans, was the youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Christy, first settlers at Christy’s Lake, Ont., after whom the place is called.”

Lake banner # 2

 

Walter Christy 1870-1942

Grandson of pioneer, John Christy

Walter Christy Jan 22 1942 p. 12 Ott Cit.

Jan. 22, 1942, p.12 ‘The Ottawa Citizen

Christie Lake banner 6

George Christy – 1868-1949

Grandson of pioneer John Christy

George Christy Apr. 27 1949 p 2 Ott.Cit

George Christy gravestone

George Christy gravestone, Johnston’s Corners cemetery, south Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

The Canadian Barks Works

A small group of men from Perth:  Thomas Aspden, Alexander Morris, William Morris, Captain John Manion, and John Hart established the Canadian Barks Works at Lot 2, Concession 3 of Bathurst Township. It was located along the north shore of Christie Lake, on Gravely Bay, as it was thought there would be a good supply of hemlock trees to sustain the business. The purpose of the mill was to extract tannin from hemlock bark, to be used in leather tanning. The tannin was used locally at a tannery in Perth, and in the beginning of operations there was also enough to export to the U.S. The company closed in 1874, due to a shortage of hemlock in the area.

Canadian Barks at Christie Lake

The Canadian Barks Works at Christie Lake  (1868-1874) photo: ‘Perth Remembered’

 

Jordan's Cottages

 

Jordan Family

and the Descendants of pioneer George Jordan & Isabella Stewart

The Jordan family were among the early settlers to the area, having lived in the region continuously since the 1800s, when pioneer settler, George Jordan, arrived from Scotland, and settled at the foot of Christie Lake.

 

Christie Lake banner

 

Pioneer Settler, George Jordan,

born Yetholm, Roxburghshire, Scotland

 

George Jordan 1830-1908

George Jordan death certificate 1908
1908 death certificate of Scottish pioneer, George Jordan – early settler to Christie Lake

 

George Jordan (1830-1908) and his wife, Isabella Stewart, were parents to John Jordan (1865-1950), and it was John, who first established the business of vacation cottage rentals.

 

Christie Lake banner 2

 

John’s son, John Robert Jordan and his wife Martina Miller (1868-1940), continued the legacy, expanding the business and keeping with tradition.

Martena Miller Jordan 1940

1911 Census of Bathurst, Lanark County

John and Martena Jordan census 1911

2nd last column is year of birth, last column is age when the census was taken
Year: 1911; Census Place: 1 – Bathurst, Lanark South, Ontario; Page: 3; Family No: 19

 

Lake banner # 4

John Robert Jordan and Martena (Miller) Jordan

John Robert and Martena Jordan had a large family of four sons and three daughters:

(babies Donald and Martena, died in infancy)

George Edwin Jordan (1896-1977)

Arthur Miller Jordan (1897-1968)

Calvin Jordan (1899-1981)

Helen ‘Pink’ Muriel Jordan (1901-1987)

John Robert Jordan (1905-1965)

Sarah ‘Sadie’ Isabella Jordan (1910-1999)

 

baby angel

 

John Robert Jordan and Martena Jordan, sadly, lost two babies,  Baby Martena, born when her mother was age 41, and the second was Baby Donald, born when his mother was age 48:

Martena Jordan 1908 death cert.      Donald Easton Jordan 1916 death cert.

Death certificates for baby Martena Jordan, and baby Donald Easton Jordan

 

Lake banner # 5

George Edwin Jordan  1896-1977

George Edwin Jordan  & Charlotte (Keays) Jordan

Children of George Edwin Jordan and Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Jordan

Donald ‘Don’ Jordan  

Keith Jordan

William ‘Bill’ Jordan

Jean (Jordan) Bell

Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine

 

Jordans on Christie Lake in boat

Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine, with her daughters, and Jean (Jordan) Bell’s children – 1972 – photo: Kathy Irvine

 

 

Lottie Jean and Evelyn

Charlotte ‘Lottie’ (Keays) Jordan seated, at Christie Lake – her daughters Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine, and Jean (Jordan) Bell standing,  1973                  photo: Kathy Irvine

 

Lottie's obit

Dec. 8, 1977 p. 14, ‘The Perth Courier’

 

Lake banner # 1

 

George Edwin Jordan –   WWI military recruitment record:

George Jordan expeditionary papers

George Edwin Jordan – Canadian Expeditionary Forces record: Library and Archives Canada: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4968 – 47  Item Number: 493833

 

George Edwin Jordan obit 1977

“He received his education locally and served in the First World War”

Christie Lake banner 3

 

 

Arthur Miller Jordan 1897-1968

Arthur Jordan obit

 

“Pallbearers were four nephews, Donald, Keith, Bob and Alan Jordan; two neighbours, Wilbur Noonan and Gordon Stiller.”

 

Arthur Miller Jordan married Edna Ritchie in 1920

Children of Arthur Jordan and Edna (Ritchie) Jordan:

Phyllis (Jordan) Stewart

Shirley (Jordan) Weldon

Helen (Jordan) Rintoule

Joan (Jordan) McNaughton

 

muskoka chairs at the lake

Calvin Jordan 1899-1981

Calvin Jordan

married Marion Palmer in 1934

Marion Jordan

Calvin and Marion had three daughters:

Isobel (Jordan) Paul

Frances (Jordan) Dixon

Mavis (Jordan) Woolham

 

He was President of the Lanark County Federation of Agriculture, and for many years, a member of the Board of Calvin United Church

Calvin Jordan obit

March 25, 1981 p.2 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

 

pink marilyn bob sadie

Helen ‘Pink’ Jordan, Marilyn (Dixon) Jordan, Bob Jordan, and Sadie Jordan at the Jordan Homestead, Christie Lake, photo: Carolyn Jordan

Sadie Jordan, Librarian, Toronto Public Library

Sarah 'Sadie' Jordan

Sadie Jordan academic achievement

 

Sadie Jordan Toronto Library

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 19, 1930, pg.1

 

Sadie Jordan position at Tor Library

‘The Perth Courier’, Mar. 6, 1931, p.2

 

When Sadie graduated from the Perth High School in 1929 she was awarded the prestigious Carter Scholarship, for her academic excellence. Sadie enjoyed a successful career as a Librarian with the Toronto Public Library, and while she lived in Toronto, she attended  Bloor Street United Church,  300 Bloor Street W., Toronto, ON.

 

Helen Jordan  – 1901-1987

Helen Jordan

Helen Jordan had a distinguished career in the field of Nursing.  She trained at the North Bay Hospital, graduating in 1927.  She was promoted to Supervisor of Nursing in 1931.

In the spring of 1932, Helen Jordan was appointed to the position of Superintendent of the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, in North Bay.

Helen Jordan, Superintendent

Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, North Bay, Ontario

Helen Jordan appointed superintendent

‘The Perth Courier’, April 22, 1932, p.1

 

Christie Lake banner 4

 

Helen Jordan –  “Known to her friends, as ‘Pink’

 

Helen Jordan bio

‘The Perth Courier’, April 21, 1982, p.9

 

“….she joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a Nursing Sister.”

Helen part 1

Helen part 2

 

Helen Jordan roll of honour

War Veterans, who were members of Calvin United Church, Bathurst Township, Lanark County

Helen Jordan obit 1987

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, Jan. 21, 1987 p.46

 

 

Christie Lake c 1970

Bridge at Jordan’s Cottages – 1973 – photo:  Stafford family

 

John Robert Jordan

John Robert Jordan (1905-1965) married Mary Elizabeth Scharf (1909-1995) in 1933

John Robert and Mary Scharf Jordan

John Robert Jordan and Mary Jordan, at Christie Lake  – photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

John Robert Jordan and Mary Jordan had five children:

Robert ‘Bob’ Jordan

Alan Jordan

Lloyd Jordan

Harold Jordan

Betty (Jordan) Miller

 

Bob Jordan's family

Bob Jordan, his wife Marilyn (Dixon) Jordan and their three children, Carolyn, Darrell, and baby John in 1966, at the Jordan ancestral homestead –  photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

Christie Lake aerial view

Christie Lake, aerial view – photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

John Robert Jordan passed down the business to his son, Alan Jordan, and he and his wife Audrey (Conroy) Jordan have continued the tradition for many decades.  Their son, Paul Jordan, is now co-owner.

 

Jordan's Cottages 1971

Jordan’s Cottages

John Jordan established Jordan’s Cottages.

Cottage for rent John Jordan July 8 1943 p 4

Ad for Jordan’s Cottages – ‘The Perth Courier’  –  July 8, 1943 p.4

JR Jordan Jul 28 1948 p 24

Ad for Jordan’s Cottages – “The Ottawa Journal” – July 28, 1948 p. 24

 

John and Mary Jordan and family

John Jordan, his wife Mary Jordan, Robert ‘Bob’, Betty, Alan,  front:  Harold and Lloyd.    photo:  Carolyn Jordan

Mary Scharfe Jordan

 

Mary Jordan 1995

‘The Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 3, 1995 p.36

 

Betty and Alan.

Betty (Jordan) Miller and her brother Alan Jordan, at Christie Lake  – photo: Carolyn Jordan

Audrey Jordan from Carolyn

(Audrey (Conroy) Jordan, Alan’s wife, and George Jordan (Keith’s son) photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

Bev Miller's dock from Carolyn

Dock at Bev (Miller) Ferlatte’s home, Christie Lake      photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

 

Fire at Christie Lake bridge – 1940

John Jordan serious fire July 19 1940 p 4

July 19, 1940 ‘The Perth Courier’

fishing at sunset

 

“The Jordan home was ever a hospitable one, where the head of the household always found time to engage in friendly conversation and to perform some kindly act or unselfish deed.”

 

John Jordan –   1865 – 1950

John Jordan obit Sept. 1950

September 28, 1950 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

loons on lake

 

John Jordan & Martina Miller’s son – John Robert Jordan operated Jordan’s Cottages after his father passed away.

John Robert Jordan’s marriage to Mary Scharf in 1933:

John Robert marriage to Mary Scharf 1933

 

 

John Robert Jordan obit 1965

 

 

 

Jordan's Cottages 1956

postcard – 1956

 

 

Christie Lake sunset - Kathy Irvine

Sunset, at Christie Lake                              photo:  Kathy Irvine

 

 

Jean and Don Jordan

Jean  (White) Jordan and Donald ‘Don’ Jordan boating on Christie Lake
(Donald –  a grandson of John Robert Jordan) photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

John Jordan, President of the Christie Lake Fish and Game Club

seeks to restore Pickerel to the area

Christie Lake Ottawa Citizen Fishing Nov. 24 1962 p 12

 Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 24, 1962, p. 12

 

 

Bill Keith Don at Christie Lake
Bill, Keith and Don Jordan, brothers, along the shores of Christie Lake,     photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Evelyn and Don and Lottie at Christie Lake

front: Evelyn (Jordan), her mother Charlotte ‘Lottie’, (Keays) Jordan her brother Don Jordan, front of boat – Don’s daughter Janice, sitting beside Evelyn’s daughter Sandy.   1960s.   photo:  Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Jordan clan at Christie Lake from Kathy Irvine

April and Meagan Bell, Sandy Errett, Karen Ronald, Janice (Jordan) Gordon,Patti Jordan, Kathy Irvine, seated in the chair a friend –  2006,   photo:  Kathy Irvine

 

Janice and Patti 1963

Janice Jordan and Patti Jordan, at Christie Lake, 1963 – (daughters of Don Jordan & Jean (White) Jordan)

Christie Lake sitting on the boat

Seated on a boat at Christie Lake, Don Jordan with his daughter, Janice Jordan – photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Christie Lake friends on deck

William ‘Bill’ Jordan,  Jean (Jordan) Bell & her husband Robert ‘Bob’ Bell – photo Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Sadie at the lake

Sarah ‘Sadie’ Jordan (1910-1999)  at Christie Lake – photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon
(Sadie –  youngest daughter of John Robert Jordan)

 

Sadie Jordan obit

 

Christie Lake sun setting Kathy Irvine

Another perfect sunset on  Christie Lake                                                                                                        photo: Kathy Irvine

 

Christie Lake – Famous for Fishing!

Christie Lake fishing contest

Oct. 23, 1941 p.2 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“Pickerel – 9 1/2 pounds, caught in Christie Lake by James Brady.”

“Northern Pike, 14 1/2 pounds, caught in Christie Lake by H.M. Gore”

 

Harold and Irma Knight at Christie Lake

Harold and Irma (Miller) Knight at Christie Lake,      photo:  Janet Knight

 

 

Christie Lake train 1959

CPR Train, Christie Lake, 1959

 

Jordan's Cottages view on the lake

Patti Jordan and Arlene Stafford-Wilson at Christie Lake

Patti Jordan and Arlene Stafford-Wilson boating at Christie Lake – 1976, photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon
(Patti –  Great-great-granddaughter of Scottish pioneer settler George Jordan (1830-1908)

 

Christie Lake island

Christie Lake – Island                          photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

Christie Lake by the willow tree

Christie Lake Summer Fun on a paddleboat                                     photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Christie Lake Reunions

 

Christy – Allen Reunion – 1954

Christy and Allan reunion 1954

First Christy-Allan Reunion

was held in 1954

Christy Allan reunion 1954 Jun 8 p. 3 Ottawa Journal

“Out of neighbourly fairness, the two original families drew lots to decide after whom the lake would be named.  It was Mr. Christy, of course, who drew the longest straw.”

Christie lake banner 5

 

Christie Lake reunion July 4 1955 p

Christie Lake reunion July 4 1955 part 2

‘Ottawa Citizen’, July 4, 1955, p.21

Jordan Family Reunion

Jordan reunion 2

photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Jordan Family Reunion –  2009

Jordan reunion

photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

Cavanagh’s General Store

Cavanagh's store colour photo

Visitors to Christie Lake often picked up their food and supplies at Cavanagh’s store, in DeWitt’s Corners.  A full line of groceries, barbecue supplies, ice, was available.  It was a gathering spot, for meeting up with neighbours and friends, and catching up on the local news.  Cavanagh’s was also the local polling station, where neighbours could vote for their favourite political candidate.  This store was the heart of the ‘Corners’, and the place to go, before heading up to Christie Lake.

Bill Cavanagh # 2 at Christie Lake

left – Peter Mullins, center Earl Conboy, (Bill Cavanagh with his back to the camera) photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Cavanagh's ad

Cavanagh’s Store – 1947-1985

The store opened on June 3, 1947 – carrying groceries, confectioneries, and tobacco products. Along with groceries and everyday sundries, Cavanagh’s store also sold gas supplied by Esso, a branch of Imperial Oil.

“In 1947 they moved to DeWitt’s Corners,

and re-opened her family’s general store,

under the name of  ‘Cavanagh’s Fine Foods'”

 

Locals and cottagers, along with campers at nearby Christie Lake, were all pleased to hear that there would be a general store in the area, and they would no longer have to drive to Perth, to pick up daily necessities.

 

Cavanagh’s store, DeWitt’s Corners      photo:  JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

Jim and Helen Cavanagh and Shep

Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh, James ‘Jim Cavanagh, and their dog, Shep – photo:  JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

cavanaghs-store-black-and-white

Cavanagh’s General Store, DeWitt’s Corners     photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Shep at Cavanagh's store

Familiar sights at Cavanagh’s store:  their dog Shep, and the Millstone  –  photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Three DeWitt Sisters, at Ederney Cottage, Christie Lake

Cavanagh's cottage 1974

l to rt. Josephine (DeWitt) Lenahan,  Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh,  Vera (DeWitt) Brady standing in front of the original family cottage on Station Bay, Christie Lake.          Photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh named the cottage “Ederney”, the place in Ireland where his family was from.

 

Jim and Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh operated the popular neighbourhood store for nearly four decades, until they retired in 1985.

Jim Cavanagh retired April 3 1985 p 18

‘The Perth Courier’, April 3, 1985, p.18

 

The DeWitt family, Helen’s ancestors, lived in the area for generations, going back to pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt. The first DeWitt land record was Bathurst Con 2 Lot 11, on 1st January 1823.

 

JoAnne waterskiing

JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler, water skiing on Christie Lake, with Mary Dineen (McIntyre)             photo: JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

Bill Cavanagh at Christie Lake

lt to rt:  Bill Cavanagh, Michael Switzer, Peter Mullins   photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler
(Peter Mullins family’s cottage was located exactly at the site of the former Christie Lake Bark Company.  According to Peter, “Growing up, there were many logs in the water. A few are still there.”)

Helen Cavanagh Aug 4 1982 p 22

‘The Perth Courier’, August 4, 1982, p.22

 

“Helen was dearly loved by all who knew her,

and was an asset to her community”

empty chair at athe lake

 

 

 

Fishing at Christie Lake banner

Fishing at Christie Lake # 1

Jan. 16, 1920, p. 6 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“Monster-size Fish Caught At Christie Lake”

Christie Lake fishing 2

July 29, 1927 p.1 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“12 pound Pickerel caught at Christie Lake”

 

Christie Lake fishing 3

Oct. 22, 1937, p.1 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

 

Christie Lake fishing contest

 

fishing image

 

 

The floods of 2017

Christie Lake:   The Floods of 2017

Heavy spring rains in the region, as well as a lack of good water management practices, are said by locals to have caused the flooding in 2017.  It was widely discussed at the time, that Parks Canada, governing body of  local lakes, was partly to blame in allowing its reservoir at Bobs Lake to become too high. It was said that logs were removed from a control dam at Bobs Lake, upstream, causing water levels to rise in Christie Lake. The flood was the worst that could be recalled in the past century.

Christie Lake flood of 2017

Alan Jordan wades through the waters that flooded Christie Lake in 2017

Christie Lake flood of 2017 part 2

Alan Jordan (left) and his son Paul Jordan, May 11, 2017 – owners of Jordan’s Cottages

Jordan's cottages flood 2017

High waters cause flooding in 2017 – Jordan’s Cottages

 

Christie Lake sundown Kathy Irvine

Sundown at Christie Lake                              photo: Kathy Irvine

 

 

Arliedale Inn banner

Arliedale Inn

The Marks family of Christie Lake were known for their vaudeville shows, and traveling theatrical entertainment.  Thomas Marks, one of the brothers, turned the family home into a hotel, and named it after his daughter ‘Arlie’.

Arliedale Inn Christie Lake

There were seven Marks brothers:  Robert, Tom, Alex, Jack, Joe, McIntyre and Ernie. Two of their sisters-in-law performed with them: Kitty, wife of Ernie, and May Bell, wife of Robert.  There were also two sisters Nell and Libby who did not perform on stage.

Marks family of Christie Lake

Seated:  L. to rt,  May A. Bell Marks, George Marks, R.W. Marks, Gracie Marks.

Standing; Joe Marks, Alex Marks

The Marks family presented melodramas for the most part, but also performed some comedy as well.

When their time for performing had come to an end, most of the family returned to the Christie Lake farm of their childhood. Robert continued to perform on stage until his late 70’s and then retired to the lake. He converted the barn where they had rehearsed into a summer hotel and was owner and operator until his death in 1936 at the age of 86.

Joe also retired to the farm where he died in 1944 at the age of 82.

Tom returned to Christie Lake when he retired, and converted the old house into a hotel and called it Arliedale, after his daughter Arlie. He passed away in 1935,  at the age of 81 years old.

Ella Tom and Arlie Marks

Ella Marks, her husband Tom, and daughter, Arlie Marks and dog, Buster.

 

Marks brothers

 

Tom Marks birthday Jan 18 1935 p 4

‘The Perth Courier’, Jan 18, 1935, p.4

 

 

Death of Mrs. Marguerite (Farrell) Marks –  mother of the Marks Brothers

Marguerite Farrell Marks obit
April 15, 1921, “The Perth Courier” p. 8

 

 

Arliedale lodge postcard

Arliedale Inn, Christie Lake

Arliedale beach

 

Dance at Arliedale Inn – July 1931

 

“…a lingering twilight, as though the sun had stood still just below the horizon.  It was just the sort of night that beckons youth and beauty.”

 

Christie Lake Dance July 10 1931 p 1

‘The Perth Courier’ – July 10, 1931, p.1

 

Arliedale # 2 snip

Arliedale ravine

Christie Lake dance Arliedale 1931

‘The Perth Courier’ – August 7, 1931, p.1

Arliedale July 20 1949 Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen, July 20th, 1949 p. 31

 

Arliedale May 26 1968 p 137 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, May 26, 1968, p.137

 

Norvic Lodge banner

 

Norvic Lodge

Victor Lemieux and his wife Noreen (McGlade) Lemieux were owners and operators of Norivc Lodge.  Like the other properties set along the shores of Christie Lake, they had a beautiful shoreline, framing their homey, rustic lodge.

Victor, son of Jeremie Lemieux, and Margaret Hannah James, was born and raised in the tiny village of Fournier, in the township of Prescott-Russell.  The village is situated near the communities of Vankleek Hill, St. Isidore, and Plantagenet, a largely French-Canadian settlement. Victor’s father was a Lumberman, and his mother cared for the large family.

Victor’s wife, Noreen, a girl who grew up in the town of Perth, Ontario, was the daughter of Arthur McGlade, a labourer. The McGlade family were early settlers from Perth, originally from County Armagh, Ireland.  Catherine McCarthy, Noreen’s mother was also from an Irish pioneer family, from County Cork.   Noreen’s parents were married in Toledo, Ontario, October 16, 1899.

Noreen McGlade Lemieux

Noreen  ‘Nina’ (McGlade) Lemieux

Memories of working at Norvic Lodge in 1960, as told by Judy (Stafford) Ryan:

“The Lodge was ‘Norvic” named after the owners – Noreen and Vic.  She was called Nina, and they had a daughter Judy,  – about my age at the time.  The Lodge was on Christie Lake.

 I was the only one who had the job there, but because I also had a two week job at the Optometrist in Perth, while his secretary was on vacation, at the beginning of the Summer (Dad got it for me), my sister Jackie (Stafford) Wharton, went up to the Lodge, and held my job for me for that two week period.  I think Dad was also the one who got me the job at the Lodge.  Mother did not want me to go as she figured I would get ‘into trouble’.

We were paid $10.00 a week which was given to us at the end of the Summer.  We made great tips from the Americans, who stayed in the cabins – I could make up to $100.00 a week, depending on whether or not the cabins were full that week.

Our cabin was at the top of a hill away from the vacationers.  Our day started at 7:00 a.m.  We had to be down the hill to the Lodge in uniform, to set up the dining room for breakfast, take breakfast orders, serve it, clear tables and help wash dishes, etc.  We then went back up the hill, changed into shorts and t-shirts and cleaned all the cabins – made beds, dusted, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, changed towels, etc.  Then, back up the hill, back into uniform, to do the lunch thing. 

We were suppose to have a couple of hours off each afternoon, to do what we wanted.  However, part way through the summer, the lady who did the laundry left, and that was added to our jobs, without extra pay.  So after lunch, we would have to do the laundry – sheets, towels, etc. and hang them out on a line to dry.  Once a week, we would have to strip the beds, but changed the towels often. 

On days when we didn’t have to do the laundry, I would take the canoe, and a good book, and head for a small uninhabited island, and read for a couple of hours.  I knew that no-one could get to me there. 

Between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. we were back down the hill, in our uniforms, to set up for dinner, etc., etc. 

After everything was done, and cleaned up for the evening, we had time to ourselves, if we had any energy left.  I worked with a girl by the name of Claudette, and she was a real party girl, and as there was a party at some cottage every night, we went out most nights, along with the guy who worked at the Lodge store and gas bar, and he was allowed to use one of the motor boats, and that is how we got to the other cottages.

Just before I arrived to work at the Lodge that Summer there had been a bad boating accident, and I think one or two people had died.  The only way I found out about it was I saw a mangled boat with blood on it, stored in behind the lodge, when I was out walking one day, and asked the guy at the gas bar what happened.

That Summer was the first time I saw death!  There was a delightful family from Pennsylvania. there – three generations – Grandfather, parents, and two younger children.  I was serving breakfast this one morning, and the Grandfather, who was always so friendly and animated, told me about the different birds he had heard singing that morning, and during the conversation, he keeled over at the table.  I ran into the kitchen and got Vic (Lemieux) – told him the old man ‘fainted’.  Vic got the son to help him carry the Grandfather into the Lounge, behind the dining room, and they put him on the couch.  I remember going ahead and serving the other guests, and noticed people coming and going to the Lounge.   Nina told me later that the old guy had died, probably instantly, and I was really shocked and upset.  That is one of those memories that is permanently etched in your memory, especially when you are only 15.”

 – an excerpt from the book,  “Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen”, ISBN 978-0-9877026-0-9

 

 

Norvic Lodge ad Good food 1971

Norvic Lodge dining room

Norvic Lodge skin diving

Norvic Lodge boat show

May 10, 1962 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

Norvic Lodge water show

 

Norvic Lodge – Christie Lake Surfers – summer of 1963

Norvic Lodge water show results

Victor Lemieux obit Mar 17 1998 Ottawa Citizen p 24

obituary of Victor Lemieux, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’, Mar. 17, p.24

Victor Lemieux gravestone

Grave of Victor and Nina Lemieux – St. John’s cemetery, Perth, Ontario

 

Red Cedar Inn banner

Red Cedar Inn

Red Cedar Inn was the official summer residence of the Marks family of entertainers.

“Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Marks are enjoying their beautiful cottage, Red Cedar Villa and will give an “at home” in the near future.”

‘The Perth Courier”, June 23, 1899

Christie Lake Red Cedar Inn

 

“The pickerel are biting fine

and large catches daily is the rule.”

 

Red Cedar Villa June 2 1899 p 1

 

Red Cedar Villa (also known as Red Cedar Inn)

Red Cedar Villa

Red Cedar Inn 1924

 “James is a great admirer of the lake and its beautiful scenery, and always calls on his friend Joe to have a chat and a drink of Mrs. Marks’ noted buttermilk.”

 

Christie Lake news – July 14, 1899

Christie Lake news July 14 1899 p 5 part 1

Christie Lake news July 14 1899 p 5 part 2

“The season at Christie’s Lake House opened much earlier this year than usual.”

 

Christie Lake news June 1, 1900 p 1

Christie Lake news – June 1, 1900, page 1

Red Cedar Inn July 3, 1924 p 6

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, July 3, 1924 p.6

Red Cedar Inn Jun 26 1941 p 24

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, June 26, 1941, p.24

Robert RW MarksRobert W. Marks  1855-1937

 

Red Cedar cottages Sept 23 1970 p 33

‘The Ottawa Citizen’ Sept. 23, 1970 p. 33

Christie Lake Camp

Christie Lake camp sign 2

 

Christie Lake Camp was established in 1922 by Judge John F. McKinley, of Ottawa.  The Judge believed that instead of punishing delinquent boys, he could offer them a chance to leave the temptations of the city, discover the great outdoors, and learn some new coping skills.

“………giving the boy responsibility, handling him with friendship, teaching him the general principles of good citizenship and doing so with the help of the open air.”

Judge John F. McKinley

Christie Lake boys # 5

 

Boys Enjoy Camp at Christy’s Lake

Christie Lake Boy's camp July 20 1923 page 5

July 20, 1923 – ‘The Perth Courier’

Christie Lake boys # 1

 

Splendid Results Attained

From Boys’ Camp at Christy’s

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 1 page 2

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 2 page 2

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 3 page 2

November 16, 1923 – ‘The Perth Courier’

Christie Lake boys # 2

The boys arriving from Ottawa,  on Colonial Coach bus lines

Christie Lake boys # 3

The boys at their dock, below the main building

In 1958 Dr. Dan Offord became Camp Director. Christie Lake Kids programs were
under the guidance and direction of the late Dr. Offord, who was a well-known  child psychiatrist. Dr. ‘Dan’, as he was known, was a volunteer summer Camp Director for 47 years.

Dr. Dan Offord

Dr. Dan Offord, volunteered at Christie Lake for 47 years

 

Christie Lake boys # 6

Tremendous efforts went into fund-raising, over the past several decades, in order to maintain and repair the buildings and grounds at Christie Lake Camp.

In 2001, Dr. Dan’s work in research, at Christie Lake Camp, earned him the Order of Canada.

Dr. Dan Offord died at the age of 70, in 2004.

 

Christie Lake boys # 4

Heading up to the main building for lunch at the Christie Lake Boys’ Camp

Christie Lake kids camp

Learning to paddle a canoe at Christie Lake Camp

Christie Lake camp bonfire

Singing around the campfire, at Christie Lake Camp  – 2013

By the year 2000, approximately 400 boys and girls aged from 9 to 14 arrive every summer to learn outdoor skills and, build their self-esteem

Camp Opemikon – Scout Camp

Camp Opemikon

The land was purchased in 1937, and the camp opened in 1938.  Camp Opemikon has served the camping needs of the Scouting family for many years.

Camp Opemikon patch 1938

 

camp opemikon patch

camp opemikon map

 

camp opemikon cabins

Cabins at Camp Opemikon      – photo: Jason Chute

Canoes at Camp Opemikon

Canoes at Camp Opemikon – photo: Jason Chute

 

 

Christie Lake in colour

 

 

Special thanks to: Janice (Jordan) Gordon, Kathy Irvine, Carolyn Jordan, JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler, and Judy (Stafford) Ryan, for sharing their photos and memories, of this very special place.

 

Discover more about Christie Lake, and learn about the parties and pastimes of the 1960s and 1970s, at this popular vacation spot, in the story, “Stranded on Christie Lake”, one of the stories in ‘Lanark County Chronicle: Double Back to the Third Line”

LC Chronicle from web

“Lanark County Chronicle” – ISBN-978-0-9877026-23

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

‘Genealogy & DNA’ – with the LCGS

After a long, cold, winter, and many weeks of cloudy skies and rain, the warm sunshine arrived, just in time, for the May meeting of the Lanark County Genealogical Society.

LCGS logo

 

It’s always a pleasure to exchange ideas with fellow LCGS members, learn about new genealogy  projects, and ongoing efforts to preserve our history and heritage, and helping distant families around the world, reconnect with their pioneer roots.

Arlene Shirley and Jayne

(l to r –  long-time LCGS member, and member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, center- Shirley Somerville, Librarian and Director of Genealogical Resources, and Jayne Munro-Ouimet, LCGS President, and recipient of 2018 Award of Excellence for her outstanding contributions to Lanark County)

Also present, Helen Gillan, historian, tireless volunteer, and one of the founding members of the LCGS.

Arlene and Helen

 

My presentation included a brief overview of  the stories included in “Lanark County Calling: All Roads Lead Home:

Lanark County Calling book summary poster

 

The main topic of the afternoon was a presentation and discussion of “Genealogy and DNA”.

Genealogy and DNA

In the presentation, I compared three of the most popular DNA Home Test Kits:  ‘My Heritage’,  ’23 and Me’, and ‘Ancestry’.

Slideshow DNA

A contrast of the many varying price ranges for the DNA test kits was discussed, how each test is done, which tests are easier to use, and how soon the DNA results will be returned to the consumer.

Next, we examined some of the main features of each kit.  Some DNA kit companies provide maps of the world, with a numerical breakdown of where your DNA match ‘cousins’ may be found, and how many are in each country.

Slideshow 2 LCGS

Other kits focus more on the medical aspects of DNA, and will provide the consumer with specific information on whether they are a carrier for a variety of diseases, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, blood-sugar disorders, cancers, macular degeneration, gluten-related disorders, nerve, heart, and blood disorders.

Some of the DNA test kits provide more comprehensive information on family connections, and will show how many cousins/DNA matches are in a particular part of the world, displayed on a map, and if you choose to build a family tree, these DNA tests will provide you with matches to the people in your tree, so that you may expand your family history through cousin connections.

The presentation included the different types of family-tree building software that comes as part of the kit, the ease of use of each of these, and also the ability to upload or download your DNA results into genetic ‘pools’, like those in GEDmatch, to provide you with an even wider search capability.

I also discussed some of the issues with privacy and DNA, how some DNA test providers share our DNA results with insurance companies, drug companies, and law enforcement. We also examined many of the newest features available to the consumer.

The presentation concluded with a question and answer session, and many interesting points of discussion took place, among those attending.  Some had already taken one or more home tests, and they shared their personal views on the pros and cons of each type of test.

Arlene and Janet

Following the presentation, the book table was busy, and many stopped by to discuss the stories in ‘Lanark County Calling’, and have a copy or two signed for themselves, and signed as gifts for others.

Book signing May 2019

Karen Prytula, LCGS Director of Communications and Marketing, was busy throughout the day, coordinating the audio-visuals, and sharing updates with members. Karen very kindly presented me with a jar of Polk Honey, as thanks for the presentation.

Arlene and Karen

Arlene Stafford-Wilson with Karen Prytula, LCGS Director of Communications and Marketing.

Polk honey

 

Polk Honey is produced in Pakenham, by Arnold Polk, and is one of the county’s most sought-after treats.  If you’d like to try some yourself, it is available at the Pakenham General Store, 2524 County Rd 29, Pakenham, Ontario.

…..

Following the presentation, a delicious lunch was provided, and one of the highlights of the afternoon was a lovely display of some of Lanark County’s Heritage Quilts:

quilt collage

Brian holding quilt

Brian and others holding quilt

IMG_20190504_143710

 

Many thanks to the Lanark County Genealogical Society for inviting me to be with you, and present ‘Genealogy and DNA‘.  It was a wonderful afternoon, a chance to catch up with old friends, and to learn about ongoing projects, as the LCGS continues their work to preserve our heritage and history.

……

For more information on the Lanark County heritage quilts, please contact the LCGS:  Lanark County Genealogical Society

……

If  you missed the talk on ‘Genealogy and DNA’, I will be presenting this to the Smiths Falls Historical Society, September 19th, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.   All are welcome.  For details, call 613-283-6311.

 

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http://www.staffordwilson.com

Lanark County Calling – Book Launch

Just like the title of the book, when Lanark County calls us back home, especially in the fall of the year, we are welcomed by a panorama of fiery oranges, blazing reds, sunny yellows and dazzling greens.

leaf quote

 

lanark-county-sign

 

Signs of fall were everywhere, and a flock of geese escorted us along the road, all the way to Perth….
geese

 

A sunny drive up historic Gore Street, then we arrived at our destination – The Book Nook & Other Treasures.

Book Nook

 

Shortly after our arrival, I received a lovely bouquet of flowers from Rideau Ferry resident, Carol-Ann McDougall, along with her good wishes for the book launch.  What a thoughtful gift!

flowers from Carol-Ann

 

Owner of the Book Nook & Other Treasures, Leslie Wallack, provided a delicious assortment of milk chocolate and dark chocolate cookies, and piping hot coffee for all of the visitors to the store.

Leslie

 

One of the first visitors to the book launch, was old friend, and former class-mate Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss.  Dianne and I have a long history, going back to our earliest days, at S.S. #5 School, a one-room schoolhouse, at Christie Lake, then to the Scotch Line school, and next, Glen Tay Public School, before heading off to Perth and District Collegiate Institute. Dianne and I also attended 4H Club together, as did many of the boys and girls in our rural farm community west of Perth.  Dianne is writing an article for the Agri News, on the new book “Lanark County Calling”, so mixing a bit of business, with the pleasure of spending time together again.

Dianne

 

Another special visitor who came early to the book launch, was former Art teacher from P.D.C.I – Wynne White.  What a pleasure to see Wynne after so many years have passed, and to learn that she remains active in her artistic pursuits.  This talented artist shared many of her techniques and methods over the years, and inspired those of us who attended her classes.  She often played the music of our time, during class, on a record-player at the front of the room.  One of the albums I recall was ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, and a tune that was played often –  ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.  Mrs. White understood the connection between music, art, and inspiration, and with her gentle ways, and kind encouragement, had a way of bringing out the best in all of her students.

Wynne White

 

Two special visitors drove all the way from Kingston, Ontario to be with us for the book launch, cousins Marie and Yvonne.  Marie and Yvonne, like myself, are descendants of pioneers Tobias Stafford of County Wexford, Ireland, and Elizabeth McGarry, of County Westmeath, Ireland, who were among the earliest settlers to Drummond Township in 1816.

Marie and Yvonne 2

It was a special treat to have my brother, Roger Stafford, stop by, and spend some time with us.  Roger divides his time these days, between his home in London, Ontario, and his winter place in Fort Myers, Florida.  Like the geese we saw overhead earlier in the day, Roger will be returning south in the next few weeks.  It was great fun to have him at the book launch!

Roger

 

A book launch would not be complete without a visitor or two from the home soil, the Third Line, DeWitt’s Corners to be specific.  Elaine and Dave Morrow stopped by, and we had a lovely visit with them, and caught up on some local news.

Elaine

 

A great deal of research goes into writing the stories in any book, and one of the stories in “Lanark County Calling”,  is about the Soper Theatre, in Smiths Falls.  Jan Stepniak was a great help with the story, and he shared some fascinating, behind-the-scenes highlights of his many years as both Projectionist, and Manager, at the Soper Theatre.

Jan Stepniak

Another memorable guest, one who was tremendously helpful in telling the story of the Soper Theatre, was Violet Gariepy.  Violet began working at the Soper in the late fifties, right up to the time when the theater closed in 2012.  She shared her memories, stories, and some insights into the people who worked there over the years, and the special recollections that made her time there such a pleasure.

Vi 3

 

After a busy day chatting with special guests, and visitors, it was time to say good-bye.

Many thanks to our host, owner of The Book Nook & Other Treasures, Leslie Wallack.  Treasures indeed, the busy, cheery store is overflowing with unique gifts, and lovely items for the home, along with a huge assortment of books, for children and adults alike. Leslie carries all of my ‘Lanark County’ series of books, as well as many other local authors.

…………………….

Special thanks to those who shared their memories, stories, and special recollections for the story ‘A Night at the Movies: Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls:  Violet Gariepy, Jan Stepniak, the late Gordon Evoy, Scott Irvine, and Tammy DeSalvo.
Also, thank-you to award-winning country music artist Neville Wells, along with Marilyn Taylor-Dunham for sharing their memories and tales, for the story: “The Legendary Ompah Stomp”.

……………………….

 

This post is dedicated to the memory of Gordon Evoy, former Usher, at the Soper Theatre.  Gordon passed away before the book launch, and I was not able to thank him in person, for the many hours he spent sharing his memories, and insights from his years working at the theater.  I had many phone calls with Gordon, and he would always end them saying he had to go and walk his little dogs, in the park, near his home in Smiths Falls.  It was clear that those lively little dogs were very close to his heart. Gordon also shared two photos with me, one of his mother Phyllis Evoy, a former staff-member of the Soper Theatre; Phyllis worked in the ticket booth for many years, and it has been said that she called many of the local children by name, and was a friendly face during her many years working there.

Phyllis Jenkins Evoy

 

Gordon also proudly shared a photo of his grandfather, Harry Jenkins, former theater staff-member, an Usher at the Capitol Theatre, in Smiths Falls.   When Harry retired, he worked as a crossing guard, on Brockville Street, helping children safely navigate the busy streets.

Harry Jenkins

Thank-you Gordon.  Your stories and memories are captured forever in the book.  God Bless.  May you rest in peace.

 

 

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