Lanark County Dance Halls 1950s, 60s & 70s

Antler Lodge Opening Dance

Antler Lodge image for book 3

First kiss, first drink, maybe even a first love, were some of the memories made at the old style country dance halls in Lanark County in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Close to home, these community halls opened their doors on the May long weekend, and became the backdrop for cottage crushes and summer romances. With wooden floors polished to a high shine, and the snack-bars stocked with crowd-pleasing favourites, local bands entertained the crowds into the wee hours.

Some were neighbourhood musicians, and many were bands from out of town, but most used a single microphone and one or two small amplifiers.   Parking lots became passion pits, and offered privacy for underage drinking, and occasional brawls.

Music echoed across the big lakes and rivers, keeping cottagers awake, and causing parents to wonder what was going on down at the dance hall. Whether you preferred country, big-band or rock and roll there were venues to suit every taste and style.


See if you can remember these local favourites:

Bill Hannah and the Nightingales

Bill Munro and his Country Rockets

CFRA Happy Wanderers: Ken Reynolds, Ward Allen, Bob King, Vince Lebeau, Lynn Strauff, Marie King

Country Harmony Boys

Country Hoppers: Garry ‘Gizz’ Watt, Fred ‘Pappy’ Ryan, Paul ‘Hiker’ Gurry, Larry ‘Dooley’ Protheroe

Country Rhythm Kings

Don Gilchrist and his Dancers

Family Brown: Tracey, Lawanda, Joe & Barry Brown, Dave Dennison, Ron Sparling

Fred Paquin’s Orchestra (featuring Don Cochrane)

Jerry Badour and His Westernaires

Kenny Jackson’s Valley Cruisers: Harry Adrain, Raymond Donaldson, Gary Barr

Lee Miller’s Orchestra

Lockwood’s Orchestra

Mac Beattie and the Melodiers: Reg Hill, Garnet Scheel, Gaetan Fairfield, Bob Whitney

Mallen’s Melodiers

Mississippi Ramblers

Mississippi River Boys

Riders of the Southern Trails

Ron McMunn and his Country Cousins

Symington’s Orchestra

Tex Montana’s Cowboy Band

Top Hats


Valley Ramblers

Wilson Sisters


…and the dance halls where they entertained us:


Antler Lodge

Antler lodge poster


Balderson Hall


Bolingbroke ABC Hall

ABC Hall Bolingbroke

ABC Hall – Bolingbroke

Carleton Place Town Hall

Carleton Place Town Hall 1930s

Carleton Place Town Hall – 1930s

Fallbrook Orange Hall


Franktown Centennial Hall

Centennial Hall Franktown

Franktown Hall

Franktown Centennial Hall


Maberly Community Hall

Maberly community hall

Maberly Community Hall – interior


McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall

McDonald's Corners Hall

McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall

McDonald's Corners dance

May 5, 1960,p.4 “The Perth Courier”

Perth Town Hall

Perth Town Hall vintage photo

Perth Town Hall – vintage photo


Rideau Ferry Inn

Rideau Ferry Inn

Rideau Ferry Inn

Lanark Village – Stanley Lodge

Stanley Lodge Lanark

article on Stanley Lodge – “The Perth Courier”, Feb. 7, 1957 p.10



Watson’s Corners Community Hall

Watson's Corners dance

“The Perth Courier” May 5, 1960, p. 4


Wemyss Orange Hall


Wemyss orange hall



Westport Scott’s Ballroom


Scott's ballroom Westport

Scott’s Ballroom in Westport, Bedford Street

Scott's ballroom poster



Take a trip down memory lane, back to the old style country dance halls, and the folks who kept us dancing until the wee hours, in the story called  “Antler Lodge:  Dosey-Doe Along the Rideau”   from the book  “Lanark County Connections – Memories Among the Maples”

LC Connections

Antler lodge quote


photos of Antler Lodge, used with permission – Graeme Hoatson Beattie