Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay

 

Whenever I saw the big white and pink Chaplin’s Dairy truck pull into the yard, I had only one thing on my mind; and that was their delicious chocolate milk.  It came in small pint-sized glass bottles, and had a round, waxed cardboard cap on the top to seal it in. The cap had a little tab, so that you could pull it off of the bottle, and the pint bottle was the perfect size for small eager hands.  After the cap was off, I was just seconds away from tipping the bottle and tasting the richest, creamiest chocolate milk ever produced.

Chaplin's Dairy milk tab

 

Our Dad worked for Chaplin’s Dairy for decades.  He drove one of the big pink and white trucks, and had a regular ‘route’ of customers in Perth.  He used a big, black, metal carrier to transport milk from the back of the truck to the customer’s front door.  The carrier had eight slots, and each slot held a quart bottle of milk.  He also had a book of order slips. It was a small, thick pad of paper about three by six inches, stapled together at the end.  There was a top sheet that was numbered, a small sheet of carbon paper under that, and a blank sheet at the bottom.  On the top copy, Dad wrote the customer’s name, address, and what they had ordered, along with the total price and that was the customer’s copy.  Because each order was written on top of the sheet of carbon paper, the Dairy had a carbon copy underneath for their records.

Once in a while Dad would bring me to the Dairy and I was fascinated to see the many steps that the milk went through in order to end up on someone’s table.  It was fun to sit in the big truck so high up, and the ride was very different from our car at home.  The truck bounced up and down a lot more, and made a lot of noise, as we drove down the lane, and up the third line toward Perth.  It was neat to look outside, and see how much lower the other cars were on the road.  Every time we’d go over a bump or hill the truck would bounce again, and of course there were no seat belts in those days, so it was quite exciting.

We’d drive along until we could see Nick and Doreen Webber’s house at the corner, and we’d begin to slow down.  Just a bit past Webber’s house we turned right, and Chaplin’s Dairy was a small building on the right side of the road, just up from the corner at Glen Tay.

We’d park the truck, and I would follow Dad into the Dairy.  As soon as he opened the door I could see all of the steam in the air.  It was really, really, humid.  The inside of the building was grey and concrete and the floor was always wet.  Sometimes we’d see one of the Chaplin brothers Cameron or John, and they always wore big rubber boots and the steam rose up all around them.

Because the milk came in glass bottles in those days, a lot of the steam was produced from the big machine that they used to sterilize the bottles.  When the customers were finished with their milk, they would rinse their bottles (hopefully!), leave them on their doorstep for Dad, and he would bring them back to the Dairy that evening.   John or Cameron Chaplin would take the empty bottles and put them through the bottle washer.  The bottle washer washed, rinsed, sterilized, and then rinsed again, so the bottles were sparkling clean and ready for the next batch of milk.

The next machine filled the bottles, then capped them with the little waxed cardboard caps.  There was a large room toward the back of the Dairy, and that was a cold storage room, where the freshly bottled milk was kept.  Most of the time when I visited I saw them bottling homogenized, 2 per cent, skim, and chocolate milk. Sometimes, one of the Chaplins, would hand me a pint bottle of chocolate milk, right off of the filling machine.  I would gladly accept, and thought to myself that if Mother was here she would say that I was going to spoil my supper.  Dad never said anything though, because he knew how much I loved Chaplin’s chocolate milk.

Chaplin’s Dairy was a family business.  The dairy was started by Delbert Chaplin in the early 1900s, and his brother Edgar Chaplin also worked in the business. The Chaplin family owned a large 300 acre farm at R.R 4 Perth and Delbert demonstrated his ingenuity by setting up a method to process their milk from their Holstein herd.  At first he operated the business from their farm, but later in 1935 he built the Dairy building at Glen Tay corners.

Delbert Chaplin

1920  – Edgar Chaplin, (Uncle of John and Cameron Chaplin)

When Chaplin’s Dairy began to deliver milk from the new location at Glen Tay, the quarts of milk were just 5 cents each, and it was delivered by horse and wagon. The milk was not bottled at that time but was distributed to the customers from a large tank at the back of the wagon.  The customer would leave a container on their front step or front porch, and Delbert or Edgar would ladle the milk out of the larger can with a pint or quart measure.

The Chaplin farm was producing an average of 3,000 quarts of milk per day and John, Cameron and their brother Don processed the milk and delivered it in the Perth area.

Chaplin's early milk bottles

The demand for their milk increased, and they expanded, and made arrangements to have five neighbouring farms supply their business with additional milk.  They were also producing chocolate milk and buttermilk at that time.  They made butter as well, but only to supply their own families and it wasn’t for sale to the public.

Chaplin's truck

L to R: Gordon Chaplin, (Royce Frith seated in truck), Donald ‘Don’ Chaplin

By 1945 the sons had taken over the dairy farm and Don took on the responsibility of managing the farm, but their father continued to be active at the Dairy.   They continued to expand their business and operated for many decades.  They expanded their product line to include grape juice and orange juice.They were successful and respected in the community and were known for their high quality products throughout the Perth area.

Tim Stafford: ” When I turned nine, Mom told Dad that she could no longer put up with  me on Saturdays because of my bad behavior.  That’s the ‘how and why’ of me working with Dad, on the milk truck for Chaplin’s Dairy.

I wasn’t much help at first, but he gave me fifty cents and a chocolate bar purchased at McGlade’s service station, on Gore Street.

Later, when I got my driver’s license, John Chaplin hired me and another high school student, Don Lindsay, to do his milk route, and the Christie Lake cottage route, while he covered the other routes and the ‘inside’ workers for summer vacations.

We were making $25.00 a week, plus we were expected to eat at the restaurants we delivered to on a rotating basis.  The daily meal was paid for by Chaplin’s Dairy.  John Chaplin’s favourite restaurant was Wong’s Chinese, but Don and I preferred ‘The Bright Spot’, where Muz MacLean, Hillis Conroy’s son-in-law worked.  We usually ordered grilled cheese, french fries, and cokes.”

Chaplin's quart milk bottles

Quart milk bottles –  1960s

 

Roger Stafford“I am not positive, but I believe I was about 12 when I started working Saturdays and summers with Dad on the milk truck. The first Summer I worked with Dad, our brother, Tim, was working with Grant or Gary Chaplin.

They were delivering to the stores and restaurants in Perth, and to summer camps and cottages. They drove to Christie Lake to deliver to Cavanagh’s (general store) and the Lodges (Norvic Lodge and Arliedale Lodge) . I believe Tim had been Dad’s helper on the milk truck, prior to me starting to work with Dad.  

We used to be at the dairy by 7:00 a.m., and usually got home between 17:30 and 18:00 in the evenings. When I first started with Dad, we delivered milk out of the back of a pickup with a tarp over the glass bottles to protect them from the sun and cold.  Milk was 23 cents a quart bottle, and 25 cents for chocolate milk. We also had pints and half pints in glass bottles. Whipped cream and buttermilk were also carried on the truck. It was not long after I started that we used an enclosed truck to deliver out of. It was much easier, but it had no air conditioning, and a piss-poor heater. When I worked six days a week in the summer, I earned $6. for the week.”

In 1970 Don decided to sell the farm and a few years later in 1974 John and Cameron made the decision to stop processing the milk themselves and just be distributors.  In total, John worked for 42 years in the business and Cameron for 30. At that time Chaplins were one of the last small dairies that still processed their own milk.  They began to sell milk for Clark’s Dairies in Ottawa.  John felt that there were too many changes taking place at that time and that the cost would be too prohibitive to continue processing their own milk.

The milk industry in the 1970s was changing from glass bottles to paper cartons,although most customers preferred the taste of milk in glass bottles. The process of returning and washing the bottles was becoming too time consuming, and too expensive. The federal government was also insisting that businesses use the metric system.  This conversion would have meant purchasing new equipment because their milk was sold in pints and quarts, and they would have to begin selling in litres.

At the point in time when John and Cameron decided to sell the business, they had 1,000 customers, and a modern fleet of trucks, doing 12 runs per day, with four salesmen.  They also offered a complete line of dairy products which included cottage cheese, eggs and also several types of juice. Their last delivery was made by Cameron, on Sept. 17, 1977 and their milk at that time, was 65 cents a quart.

Chaplin’s Dairy was sold that year to Bill McConachie.  Bill was formerly a driver for many years who brought the milk from Ottawa.  His plan was to begin delivering milk to Smiths Falls, to increase his market.

It’s likely difficult for the younger generation to believe that milk was delivered door to door each day, or that it had no expiry date stamped on the bottle.  The milk was fresh from the cow either that day, or the day before, processed at Chaplin’s Dairy, and delivered right to your door step.  There was no need for an expiry date.  It’s also interesting that they managed to have a pretty successful recycling process of sterilizing the bottles and getting them back on the trucks by the next morning.  That was all accomplished without ‘blue bins’ and recycling plants.

Did the milk taste better in a glass bottle?  Yes, it did; and anyone who has drank it from a bottle will tell you the same thing.  We certainly drank enough of the stuff at our house to offer an opinion on that.  One of the benefits of having your father work as a milk man is that he brought home enough milk for the family, each night, in his milk carrier.  When you are raising five children, that’s a lot of milk.  We were fortunate to have had such fresh milk each and every day and we never ran out.

Chaplin's pint milk bottle

One Pint, glass milk bottle, 1960s

Although the work wasn’t easy, I believe that Dad enjoyed his customers in Perth, and the quick chats had each day.  Whenever Mother and Dad shopped at the IGA on Wilson Street, customers from his milk route would often come up to say ‘Hello’, and exchange a few words.  Dad was well liked, and at Christmas his customers showered him with gifts.  He received many, many boxes of chocolates, packs of cigarettes and one and two dollar bills in lovely Christmas cards.  He was always late getting home Christmas Eve, and part of the reason was that his customers took a few extra minutes to wish him a Merry Christmas, and give him their gifts.

We were fortunate to have grown up at a time when there were family businesses, producing high quality products, and selling them door to door.  At one time we had a milk man, an egg man- (Mr. Greer), and a bread man, delivering right to our door.

As the years passed by, many of the small family businesses have closed down, one by one, and in many cases our products are produced far away by people we don’t know. There are dates stamped on the products now telling us when they are destined to ‘expire’.  We often have no idea what processes are used to make some of the things that we eat, and so we purchase them on faith alone.  Gone are the days when we always knew what we were eating, and even knew the people that made the goods.

Now, we are left with the memories of Chaplin’s, our small, local dairy in Glen Tay. It was a place where we could stop by for a visit and be greeted by John, Don, or Cameron in their big rubber boots, clouds of steam rising all around them. With a big smile they’d pluck a pint of chocolate milk off of the line, and hand it to a little girl from down the road. Their products were made with pride and care, and they were confident that their customers would be satisfied.  For years, Chaplin’s Dairy was a well known business in our community, and their products were enjoyed in Perth and area homes for many, many decades.

 

 

 

(excerpts from ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line’) 

LC Kid

Memories of working at Chaplin’s Dairy – my brothers Tim Stafford and Roger Stafford, excerpts from the book ‘Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen’

R and R bookmark image

photos:  Stafford family collection,  Perth Remembered

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

 

 

June Brides – Perth & Area -1944-1969

Tim and Marian

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer,

the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,

and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. “

Gertrude Jekyll

married in June

June Bride
A scene from – ‘June Bride’ – Starring Bette Davis

There are so many things about June that make it a perfect month for weddings. It’s past the rainy season, and not yet into the intense, scorching heat of July.  June also seems like a hopeful time.  Flowers are in bloom, the leaves are back on the trees in full force, and all of the signs of the past winter are long gone, and forgotten.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and discover some of the blushing brides and dashing grooms from Perth and area.

1944 banner

William Powell – Mary Doreen Prescott  – June 3, 1944

Powell Prescott

Hilton Clifton Rhodes – Barbara Parsons   June 3, 1944

Rhodes Parsons 1944

Henry Hoffman – Alice McCumiskey  –  June 6, 1944

Alice Hoffman 1944

Hoffman McComisky 1944

Hoffman part 2 1944

Eldon Thomas Perrin – Grace Campbell  – June 10, 1044

Perrin Campbell 1944

Robert Martin – Ena Foy     June 10, 1944

Martin Foy 1944

Joanna Hill tea roses

Joanna Hill Tea Roses – large, showy,  and richly fragrant  –  favoured by brides

Wilfred Smith – Anastasia Julia Dillon  – June 12, 1944

Dillon Smith 1944

Bennett – Larocque

Campbell – Relyon

Perrin – Campbell

Sandell – Rowe

Dillion – Smith

married 1944 June 22 Perth Courier

Perth Courier, June 22, 1944, page 10

Raymond Bennett – Ella Larocque

Bennett Larocque

John Palmer –  Irene Poole  – June 20, 1944

Palmer - Poole 1944

1944 Wedding Gown

1944 wedding gown

Thomas Spence – Eva Barrie    June 24, 1944

Spence Barrie 1944

John McDonnell – Madeleine Marion Kirkham

– June 14, 1944

McDonnell Kirkham part 2 1944

James Rodger – Agnes Steele   June 27, 1944

McDonnell Kirkham 1944

May McCreary – Captain A.C. Johnson    June 30, 1944

McCreary Johnson 1944

1945 banner

Earl Perkins – Merway Tysick – June 1, 1945

Perkins Tysick June 1945

Patrick Gouette – Rose Haughian – June 2, 1945

Gouette - Haughian June 2 1945

John Malloy – Mary Isabell Morrison  June 2, 1945

Malloy - Morrison 1945

Judy Garland

Judy Garland and Vincent Minnelli – June 15, 1945

1945 wedding gown

1945 June Weddings

Patrick Gouette – Rose Haughian June 2, 1945

John Malloy – Mary Isabell Morrison June 2, 1945

Ernest Miller – Evelyn Mather June 9, 1945

Earl Perkins – Merway Tysick June 1, 1945

1945 weddings

Evelyn Ferguson – Herbert Ballantyne  June 23, 1945

Ballantyne Ferguson 1945

Ballantyne Ferguson 1945 # 2

Party for Miss Evelyn Mather (Miller)

Evelyn Mather 1945

Miller Mather

John Churchill – Marion Machan  June 6, 1945

Churchill Machan 1945

Churchill - Machin 1945

Gordon Bell – Jennie Tretheway  June 12, 1945

Bridal Shower 1945 Jennie Tretheway

Bell - Tretheway

Doris Truelove – Kenneth Kirkham  June 6, 1945

Kirkham Truelove 1945

Margaret Mitchell –  Gordon Wright  June 1, 1945

Wright Mitchell 1945

Annie Mary Kirkham – Leonard Adam June 12, 1945

Adams Kirkham 1945

Evelyn O’Brien – Arnold Wilfred Brady June 5, 1945

Brady OBrien 1945

Jack Forbes – Pauline Ruth Mesereau  – June 7, 1945

Forbes Mesereau 1945

Rebecca Catherine Hubbs – Raymond Poole  – 1945

Poole Hubbs 1945

Rita Bissonette – Raymond Lally  June 16, 1945

Lally Bisonnette 1945

Margaret Dowdall – Michael George Kerr – June 25, 1945

Kerr Dowdall 1945 # 2

Kerr Dowdall 1945

Leanore  Ireton  – Christopher Perkins – June 23, 1945

Perkins Ireton 1945

Perkins Ireton 2 1945

Jocelyn Mulligan  – Mickey Godfrey – June 30, 1945

Godfrey Mulligan 1945

1946 banner

Ethel June Gardiner – William James Montgomery

June 5, 1946

Gardiner Montgomery 1946

Pearl Lydia Pilitzke – Ivan Benton  – June 7, 1946

Benton Pilatze 1946

 Audrey Cooke – Wallace Calvin Kilfoyle – June 15, 1946

Kilfoyle Cook 1946

Anna Moran – Ronald Smith – June 15, 1946

Smith Moran 1946

Aileen Gertrude Kehoe – Bryan Michael Coyne

– June 1, 1946

Cayne Kehoe 1946

Agnes McColl – Francis Martin Murphy – June 15, 1946

Murphy McColl 1946

Edna Martha Erwin – Harold Isaac Buchanan

– June 8, 1946

Bucchanan Erwin 1946

Daisy Fleming – David Burke  June 14, 1946

Burke Fleming 1946

Nina Dicola – John MacNeill – June 5, 1946

MacNeill Dicola 1946

Ethel McLean – Delmar Thomas Crosby – June 8, 1946

Crosby McLean 1946

Mabel Isobel Scott – Harold Richard Swerbrick

June 18, 1946

Scott Swerbrick 1946

Iris Mary Paterson – Thomas Kent –  June 20, 1946

Kent Paterson 1946

Alma Marion Haley – Mathew Gordon James

James Haley 1946

Margaret Olive Truelove – Patrick Joseph Leonard

Leonard Truelove 1946

Doris Isobel Dodds – Milton Phillips

Phillipe Dodds 1946

Phillips Doods 1946 # 2

Ella Mary Donnelly – Thomas Edward McParland

McParland Donnelley 1946

Velva Fay Popplewell – Percy Boyd

June 25, 1946

Brydges Poppelwell 1946

Olive Frances Truelove-  Stanley Ferguson McDougall

McDougall Truelone 1946

Isabel Clark – John Alexander Moore

Morley Clark 1946

Dorothy Eleanor Allan – Eldon Sargeant –

June 29, 1946

Sargeant - Allan 1946

1947 banner

Miss Marjorie Storie

Marjorie Storie 1947

Albert Ernest Wills – Gladys Sutcliffe – June 2, 1947

Sutcliffe Wills 194

Mary Kathleen Moran – John Edward Smith

– June 14, 1947

Lombardy engagement

Kathleen Moran 1947

A Trousseau Tea for Lula Publow

Lula Publow 1947

St Paul's wedding 1947

Elsie Spooner – Sgt. W.L.J. McOuatt

McOuatt Spooner 1947

Rose Ann McDonald – Robert Milton Purdon

McDonald Purdon 1947

Margaret Wilson – Christian Jensen, June 9, 1947

Wilson 1947

Silver 1947

Lois Publow  – Gordon Sergeant June 9, 1947

Lois Publow 1947

forget me not

Margaret Chaplin – James Kaghnt  June 27, 1947

Chaplin 1947

Norma Helene Mather – Arthur Coleman – June 14, 1947

Norma Mather 1947

Coleman Mather 1947

Newman studio 1947

chaplin code irons 1947

Lucille McGonegal – William McLaren

McLaren McGonegal

Mary McParlan – William John Kerr  – June 7, 1947

Mary McParlan 1947

William Wesley Cameron – Audrey Lillian Wert

June 10, 1947

Cameron Wert photo with text 1947

Cameron Wert story 1947

Stephanotis

Stephanotis was a sought-after addition to bridal bouquets

Jean Spalding – Robert Hendry

Spalding Hendry 1947

Margaret Cameron – Alexander ‘Sandy’ Forsyth

June 27, 1947

Cameron Forsythe 1947

Norine Clark – Wesley Tostevin – June 21, 1947

Clark Tostevin 1947

Mary Frances Brankin – Joseph Alfred Publow

Brankin Publow 1947

peonies snapdragons

peonies and snapdragons – popular Eastern Ontario wedding flowers, in the late 1940s

Mary Moore – John Smith

Mary Moore John Smith 1947

Betty Wilson – Alexander Allan Johnson

June 18, 1947

Wilson Johnson 1947

Florence Elaine Truelove – John Cameron Warren

June 28, 1947

Warren Truelove 1947

1948 floral banner

King Michael of Romania 1948

June 10, 1948 -King Michael of Romania & Princess Anne

Perth flower ad 1948

Ad:   June 3, 1948, ‘The Perth Courier’

Georgia Irene Ferguson – Ernest Peterson  June 23, 1948

Ferguson Peterson 1948

Shaws wedding gowns 1948

Wedding gowns, for sale at Shaws of Perth – June 1948

Jessie May McDonell – Wilbert Russell – June 25, 1948

McDonald Russell 1948

McVeety electric 1948

Norma Margaret Ruth Smiley – Jack W. Buell

Buell - Smiley 1948

Rubinos flower shop

Lillian Irene Truelove – Edward James Bennett

June 2, 1948

Bennett Truelove 1948

Bennett Truelove # 2

Sinclair 1948

Elizabeth May Boles –  Harold Earl McLaren

June 2, 1948

Mclaren Boles # 2

Ruth Taylor – Joseph Nagle

June 7, 1948

Nagle Taylor 1948

Pearl Danylo – John Yurchuk

June 7, 1948

Danylo Yurchuk 1948

pink roses maidenhair fern

Pink roses, maidenhair fern, and baby’s breath

Joan Christine Poole – Stanley James Beaton

June 12, 1948

Beaton Poole 1948

 

Negligee

Brides often purchased, or made, a special negligee, for their wedding night

Muriel Barbara Imeson – George Robinson

Robinson Imeson 1948

Frances Ethel Noonan – George Walter King

June 10, 1948

pink roses

Alberta Blanche MacLeod –   Thomas Auchterlonie

June 12, 1948

King Noonan

1949 floral border

Lucy and Desi

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez June 19, 1949

Newman photos 1949

Gladys Kane – Ronald Anderson

June 4, 1949

Kane Anderson 1949

American Beauty roses

American Beauty Roses

Small Brothers 1949

orange blossoms

Orange Blossoms – popular in bridal bouquets of the 1940s

Eileen Isabel Buchanan – Murray Herbert Dowdall

June 25, 1949

Bucchanan Dowdall 1949

Annie Elizabeth Seabrook- Maxwell Tennyson

Seabrook Tennyson 1949

Delphine DiCola – Domenic Bitondo

June 11, 1949

roses

Carmel Strong – David Parks

June 11, 1949

Strong Parks 1949

Lila Beatrice Cross – Arthur Powers

June 4, 1949

Powers Cross 1949

June Brides Shaws 1949

Carr-Weidgenant 1949

Carr part 2 1949

Carr # 3 1949

wedding cake box

Traditional wedding cake box, tied with white satin ribbon

1940s wedding set

1940s wedding ring and engagement ring set

Scotiabank Perth 1949

Marion Eileen Chaplin – Robert Charles Harrison

Harrison Chaplin 1949

1950 banner

Ethel and Robert Kennedy June 1950

Ethel and Robert Kennedy June 17, 1950

Verna Barr – George Perkins

June 16, 1950

Barr Perkins 1950

white gladiolus

White Gladiolus

Florence Irene Morrow – Kenneth Burns

Morrow Burns 1950

Emma Jean Buchanan – Merrill Gordon Hanna

Buchanan Gordon 1950

 

Hope Chest

 

Alice Theresa Conlon – Carl Anthony Noonan

June 28, 1950

Conlon Noonan 1950

Conlon Noonan # 2

Buckman photographer 1950

Lorna Lett – John Reid

Reid Lett 1950

Bridal Shower for Miss Mary Ewart

Mary Ewart 1950

red and white roses

Traditional 1950s bridal bouquet of red and white roses

Jean Cameron – Jack Dafoe

June 3, 1950

Dafoe Cameron 1950

pink rose corsage

Corsage of pink roses

Joyce Parkinson – Cecil Alexander Cameron

June 3, 1950

Cameron Parkinson 1950

Chantilly lace

Chantilly Lace – a popular fabric in 1950s wedding gowns and veils

Margaret Spall – Arthur Meighen

Meighen Spall 1950

Grace Scott – Archie Allan

June 23, 1950

Allan Scott 1950

Bertha Elizabeth McInnes – James William McLaren

June 15, 1950

McLaren McInnes 1950

1951 banner

Janet Leigh Tony Curtis 1951

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis – June 4, 1951

Rebecca Mary Popplewell – Carl Wesley Bolton

Bolton Popplewell 1951

Kathleen Bernice Wesley – Ian Keith Carruthers

June 30, 1951

Carruthers Wesley 1951

Bridal Shower for Helen McLean

Helen McLean shower 1951

A Second Bridal Shower for Helen McLean

Helen McLean shower # 2

Helen McLean – Harold Day

June 16, 1951

Helen McLean wedding 1951

prayer book

Some brides carried a wedding ‘Prayer Book’

Mary Louise Sproule – Archibald Hilliard Walsh

Walsh Sproule 1951

1950s tulle wedding gown

1951 Tulle wedding gown

Grace Margaret Kelly – Kenneth Mitchell Cavers

June 2, 1951

Cavers Kelly 1951

Dorothy Mae Clayton – Grason Francis Furlong

June 2, 1951

Clayton Furlong 1951

Lillian Elsie Watkins – Gerald Edward Stephens

June 4, 1951

Stephens Watkins 1951

Margaret Rose – Kenneth Campbell

Rose Campbell 1951

Pinocchio roses

Pinocchio Roses

Ruth Janet Millar – Robert Arnold Playfair

June 16, 1951

Playfair Millar 1951

Nora Catherine Hagyard – Dr. John Philip Wickware

June 16, 1951

Wickware Hagyard 1951

Doris Margaret Proctor – Keith Gordon McLaren

June 16, 1951

Proctor McLaren 1951

Edna Pearl Duffy – Kenneth Popplewell

June 6, 1951

Duffy Popplewell 1951

1952

Wedding Gifts in 1952

June 1952 article

June 5, 1952, page 4, “The Perth Courier”

– Engagements –

Shirley Sergeant – Lloyd Rowsome

June 18, 1952

Sargeant Rowesome 1951

Joyce Wedenmair – Morris Bradley

June 28, 1952

Wedenmair Bradley 1952

Mary Anne Bishop – Alvin Elmer Leach

Bishop Leach 1952

Shirley Marie Brady – Charles Robert Dowdall

June 28, 1952

Brady Dowdall 1952

Winnifred Marion Briggs – Howard Roland

June 21, 1952

Briggs Roland 1952

Margaret Gladys Mather – Basil John James Munro

June 6, 1952

Munro Mather 1952

Mary Lillian Pratt – John Leonard Cross

Cross Pratt 1952

Geraldine Amy Butler – Francis Edwin Conlon

June 7, 1952

Conlon Butler 1952

1953

Reba Adeline Lee – Leslie Walter Butler

June 26, 1953

Lee Butler 1953

Mary Eileen Traynor – Ernest Hugh McKinnon

June 27, 1953

Traynor McKinnon

Joan Margaret Doyle – Raymond Walter Oleksuik

Doyle wedding 1953

Francis Albert Nagle – Shirley Ann Coniams

Nagle wedding 1953

Janet Corrine Malcolm – Joseph Earl Felber

June 20, 1953

Felber Malcolm 1953

Joan Maher – Dr. Horace Hurley

Hurley Mather 1953

Lillian Cecelia Smith – William Cornell Arthur

June 13, 1953

Smith Arthur 1953

Lillies of the valley bouquet

Johnston – Nixon

Conlon – Staffen

Bingley – Hart

married 1953

Blair Maurice Bingley – Arlene Martha Hart

June 6, 1953

Bingley Hart 1953

Bridal Shower for Miss Ada Warren

Ada Warren shower 1953

Ruth Elizabeth Devitt – Robert George McTavish

June 20, 1953

McTavish Devitt 1953

1954

Evelyn Moore – Donald MacFarlane

June 6, 1954

Moore McFarlane 1954

Audrey McLaren – Orville Ferrier

June 30, 1954

McLaren Ferrieir 1954

Patricia Tannahill – Chapman Noonan

June 5, 1954

Tannahill Noonan 1954

Elsie Marie Larocque – William Wilson

June 5, 1954

Wilson Laroque 1954

Cheryl Ann Sharpe – Brian Geoffrey McGeachie

June 26, 1954

Sharpe 1954

1955

Patricia Ann Popplewell – Robert Joseph Drysdale

Popplewell 1955

Sylvia Larmon – Donald VanAlstine

Larmon Vanalstine 1955

Lillian Johnston – Jack Wong

June 8, 1955

Johnston Wong 1955

Joyce McDougall – David Ernest Code

McDougall Code 1955

Jean Doris Graham – Elwyn Michael McOuatt

June 1, 1955

McCouatt Graham 1955

Grace Catherine Pennett – Anthony Cauley

June 4, 1955

Cauley Pennett 1955

Geraldine Mae O’Shell – Henry Allan

June 18, 1955

Allan 1955

Laurel Anna Sproule – J. Michael Crosby

June 10, 1955

Crosbie Sproule 1955

Margaret McAdam – Gordon McVeety

June 4, 1955

McVeety McAdam 1955

1956

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller – June 29, 1956

Norma Brown – Terrence Ryan

June 30, 1956

Brown 1956

Norma Churchill – Elmer Burns

Churchill 1956

Doreen Warren – Donald Kirkham

June 30, 1956

Warren Kirkham 1956

Jean Munroe – Gordon Healey

June 16, 1956

Healey Munro 1956

Healey Munro 1956 # 2

Ethel Munro – Harold Clark

June 30, 1956

Munro Clark 1956

Barbara Ann Fraser – Douglas Walter Hogg

June 30, 1956

Fraser Hogg 1956

Marie Margaret Pennett – Gervase Speagle

Pennett 1956

Lois Dowdall – Eric Robertson

Dowdall 1956

Helen Affleck – Robert Thomas Leonard

June 2, 1956

Affleck Leonard 1956

Patricia Lake – William Salter

June 29, 1956

Salter 1956

1957

Lorraine Batoff – Donald Bell

June 17, 1957

Batoff 1957

Teresa Margaret Phelan – Donald Stelliga

June 29, 1957

Phelan 1957

Evelyn McLenaghan – Clive McIntosh Rodger

June 29, 1957

Rodger 1957

Lois Machan – Ronald Kirkham

June 1, 1957

Machan 1957

Margaret Beryl Moodie – Charles Earl Cleroux

June 29, 1957

Moodie 1957

Bridal Shower & Wedding Gift Suggestions – 1957

bridal gifts 1957

June 20, 1957, page 7 “The Perth Courier”

Emma Mae Sills – Donald Bain

June 15, 1957

Bain Stills 1957

Cavers 1957

“The Perth Courier” June 27, 1957 pg.2

Marion Carmichael – George Stedman

Stedman 1957

Aileen Palmer – Robert McManus

Palmer 1957

Margaret Stewart – Norman Inwood

June 15, 1957

Inwood 1957

Rose Marie Flett – Robert Buelow

June 22, 1957

Flett 1957

1958

shoes 1958

1958 wedding shoes

Shirley Theresa McGarry – John Edward McMaster

June 21, 1958

McGarry 1958.JPG

McGarry 1958 part 2

Elizabeth Joyce Smith – Albert Alexander Stoddart

June 28, 1958

Smith 1958

Mary Margaret Farmer – Alexander McGregor

June 28, 1958

Farmer 1958

Harold Armour – Betty Haines

June 8, 1958

Armour 1958

Olive Sheridan – Gerard Pattendon

June 14, 1958

Sheridan 1958

Corsages and Etiquette – from Emily Post – 1958

corsages

mother of the bride 1958

1959

Reta Harris – Melville Dixon

June 27th, 1959

Harris 1959

Ruth MacFarlane – Donald Munro

Munro McFarlane 1959

Robert Thornbury – Faye Wallace

Thornbury 1959

Carl Rodger – Nadine Grosbak

June 13, 1959

Rodger 1959

Dorothy James – John Edward Dunn

June 20, 1959

Dunn 1959

Sandra Isabella Street – Dr. Shuro Mark Sumi

Street 1959

Florence Badour –  James Deitrich

Eileen McGrogen – Charles Deitrich

Badour 1959

Muriel Johnston – William Love

June 5, 1959

Johnston Love 1959

1959 Cavers ad

Engagement Ring ad – 1959

Mary Evelyn Vice – Dr. Kenneth George Marshall

June 13, 1959

Vice 1959

Lydia Hill – George Worden

June 27, 1959

Hill 1959

Anna Anderson – Charles Hall

June 20, 1959

Anderson 1959

1960 wedding

Beulah Kingsley – Robert Girdwood

June 25, 1960

Girdwood 1960

Jean Hughes – James Doyle

June 4, 1960

Doyle 1960

Patrick Crawford –  Anne Shafer

June 4, 1960

Crawford 1960

Charlotte Ann Johnston – Hugh Wainwright

June 25th, 1960

Buffan 1960

Helen James  – John Gemmill

June 10, 1960

Gemmill 1960

1960 wedding dress patterns

Joanie Mae McPhee – Leonard White

June 4, 1960

White 1960

Diane Churchill – Glendon Robert Ritchie

June 18, 1960

Ritchie Churchill 1960

1961 banner

Marie Copeland – William Arnell

June 24, 1961

Arnell 1961

Frieda Jackson – George Kerr

June 2, 1961

Kerr 1961

Shirley Gray – Albert Healey

June 3, 1961

Healey 1961

Norma Haveron –  Malcolm McLellan

June 10, 1961

Haveron 1961

Brides 1962

Evelyn Patricia Clark – Denzel Kinngbeck

June 23, 1962

Killingbeck 1962

Anne Caswell – Robert Stanzell

June 9, 1962

Stanzel 1962

Bridal Shower for Marie Miller

Marie Miller 1962

 

 

Trousseau Tea set

Decorations were often pink and white for a  June bridal shower

 

Margaret Blair – David Bellamy

June 2, 1962

Margaret Blair 1962

Arlie Isobel Dowdell – Archie Reynolds

Arlie Dowdall 1962

Rebecca Arlyn Carson – Allan McMillan

McMillan 1962

Nancy Cameron – Joseph Perkins

June 23, 1962

Perkins 1962

1963 brides

1963

Mary Denise Pennett – William James Close

June 22, 1963

Pennet 1963

Carolynne Wart – John Mara

June 22, 1963

John Mara 1963

Mary Elizabeth Stephenson – Dr. Walter Waddell

June 22, 1963

Stephenson 1963

Shaws 1963

Ad for Shaws of Perth,  Spring 1963

Margaret Anne Noonan – Gerald Ernest Heney

June 29, 1963

Heney 1963

Sheila Tryon – Harold Schonauer

June 1, 1963

Tryon 1963

Acheson's 1963

Ad for Acheson’s – Summer 1963

HY Fund 1963

Ad – HY FUND Photography – summer 1963

Myrtle Isabel Buker – Elmer James Ashby

June 24, 1963

Ashby 1963

Betty Joan Machan – James Edward Closs

June 15, 1963

Machan 1963

1964 pink brides

Helen Evelyn Ramsbottom – Neal Cecil Peters

June 26, 1964

Ramsbottom 1964

Sharon Louise Smith – Francis Edward Badour

June 6, 1964

Badour 1964

Jean Rancier – Davis John Carson

June 27, 1964

Ramcier 1964

Thelma Jean Gemmill – Delmer James Paul

June 27, 1964

Gemmill 1964

Eleanor Erwin – George Gardiner

June 27, 1964

Erwin 1964

Shirley Elizabeth Box – Robert John King

June 27, 1964

King 1964

Grace Roseann Tryon – William Ross Wilby

June 27, 1964

Tryon 1964

Bonita Olive Rogers – Donald Bates

June 12, 1964

Bates 1964

Janis Elizabeth Rae – Gordon Malcolm Stewart

June 27, 1964

Rae 1964

Ruth Ann  Spalding – George Young

Young 1964

Bernard Irvin – Kathleen Vollmer

June 13, 1964

Irvin 1964

1965 for brides

Donna Marie Ferguson  –   Kenneth Hayes Warrington

June 18, 1965

Ferguson 1965

Beverly Jean Stewart – Harvey Lloyd Glen Crosbie

June 26, 1965

Stewart 1965

Reta Jean Burns – Russell Edward Burke

June 26, 1965

Burns 1965

Mary Beverly Tennant – Gordon Gerald Patterson

June 19, 1965

Tennant 1965

Patricia Ann Fournier – Arnold Lawrence Horne

June 26, 1965

Fournier 1965

Carol Anne Stevens – Walter Russell Last

June 16, 1965

Last 1965

pearl jewelry

Pearl jewelry – a favourite for brides through the ages

Merle Joyce Norris – Robert Christopher Cullen

June 26th, 1965

Norris 1965

Jo-Ann Brady – Dennis Cordick

Brady 1965

Catherine Anne Graham  – Barrie Oliver Brennan

June 26, 1965

Brennan 1965

Mary Beverly Tennant – Gordon Gerald Patterson

June 19, 1965

Patterson 1965

1966 brides

 

Sheila Chaplin – Orion Thomas Clark

June 18, 1966

Chaplin 1966

Chaplin – Clark wedding

Chaplin Clark 1966

Mary Joanne Richmond – Brian Brule

June 18, 1966

Richmond 1966

 

Barbara MacDonald – David Clarkson

June 25, 1966

McDonald 1966

 

Trousseau

Trousseau – was often stored in a bride-to-be’s Hope Chest, and included bridal accessories, lingerie, clothing for the honeymoon, linens, and toiletries.

The trousseau featured handmade items crafted by the bride-to-be or her female relatives.  A trousseau might include a smart travel outfit, or ‘Going-Away’ outfit, to be worn when departing the wedding reception. Along with these articles, a bride might also have a special peignoir set, consisting of a nightgown and matching cover, and a nice set of travel luggage for the honeymoon.

A Trousseau Tea was often hosted by the mother of the bride-to-be, to invite the ladies from the neighbourhood to share tea and dainty sandwiches, and squares. Guests would bring small gifts for the bride such as tea towels, mixing bowls, or small kitchen gadgets.

Trousseau Tea

 

 

Trousseau

Items in a bride’s Trousseau

 

Nancy Girdwood – Bryon Haley

June 18, 1966

 

Girdwood 1966

 

 

Barbara Larock – Arthur Lloyd Blanchard

June 25, 1966

Larock 1966

 

 

Mary Elenor Cox – William Devlin Weir

June 11, 1966

Weir 1966

 

 

Gail Rancier – Grant Davis

June 11, 1966

Gail Rancier 1966

 

 

1967 banner

 

Margaret Ann Livingston – William Wiley

June 24, 1967

Livingston 1967

 

 

Joan Stewart –  Brian Billings

June 24, 1967

Stewart 1967

 

 

 

Margaret McParland – Ronald Kerr

June 10, 1967

McParland 1967

 

 

Marjorie Whan – Harvey Tully

June 17, 1967

Tully 1967

 

Tully Whan 1967

1968 brides

Sherry Ann Raymo – Harold James Herns

June 1, 1968

 

Raymo 1968

 

 

Carol Ann Wilson – Frederick Albert Stanzel

June 1, 1968

Wilson 1968

 

 

Gloria Anne Morrison – James Francis Murphy

June 8, 1968

Murphy 1968

 

 

Aubrey Edsel Churchill – Ann Leigh Raynard

June 29, 1968

Churchill 1968

 

Robert Shanks – Wilma Paul

June 15, 1968

Shanks 1968

 

 

Susanne Crites – Calvin Miller

June 26, 1968

Miller 1968

 

Crites – Miller

Crites 1968

 

 

Joan Margaret Murray – Rudy Herbert Hollywood

1968

Murray 1968

 

June Brides of 1969

1969 banner

photo: Tim Stafford of R.R. # 4 Perth, and his June bride, Marian Salemink

Timothy Michael Stafford – Marian Helen Salemink

June 28, 1969

Salemink Stafford 1969

 

Donald Wilmer Paul – Gail Keighton

June 7, 1969

Paul 1969

 

Sylvia Ann Stewart – Wayne Wilbert McNamee

June 28, 1969

Stewart 1969

 

 

Mary Margaret Farrell – Truman Harold Cowan

June 27, 1969

Farrell 1969

 

 

Colleen Sherri Fox – Peter John McTavish

June 21, 1969

Fox 1969

 

Mary Teresa McGlade – John Carl Shannon

June 28, 1969

McGlade 1969

 

June Vernize Wheeler – Edward Earl Carnrite

June 28, 1969

Wheeler 1969

 

Marilyn Emily Marie Wills – Malcolm Graham Dodds

June 20, 1969

Wills 1969

 

Ruth Marilyn Conboy – Ralph Herbert McKee

June 28, 1969

Conboy 1969

 

Linda Marie Smith – William David Riddell

June 28, 1969

Smith 1969

 

Vera Louise Connaty Middleton – Frank Fanning

June 21, 1969

Middleton 1969

 

 

Carol Ann Stanzel – Dennis John Close

June 28, 1969

Stanzel 1969

 

Helen Hastings – John Slaght

June 14, 1969

Hastings 1969

 

 

Janet Faye Robinson –  Peter John Thompson

June 7, 1969

Thompson # 2

 

 

Shirley Edna Maher – Norman Bernard Thomlinson

June 20, 1969

Thomlinson 1969

 

June’s popularity for weddings goes back to Roman times, since the month was named for ‘Juno’, the Roman goddess of marriage.  The ancient legends promise that those who marry in Juno’s month will enjoy prosperity and happiness for years to come.

gold rings

wedding banner

“Oh, they say when you marry in June you’re a bride all your life,
and the bridegroom who marries in June gets a sweet-heart for a wife.

Winter weddings can be gay like a Christmas holiday,
but the JUNE BRIDE hears the song of a spring, that lasts all summer long”

(from the movie: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)

wedding bouquet

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to all of the June Brides and Grooms!

………………………………………………………

 

Arlene for blog

about the author

Author of: “Lanark County Connections: Memory Among the Maples”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Kid”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Calendar”, & “Recipes & Recollections”.

New release

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

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.

maple-sap-collocting

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

spile

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.

Temples

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

http://www.staffordwilson.com