Throwback Thursday – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:09:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 The Rideau River Bridge on old Highway 16 http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-rideau-river-bridge-on-old-highway-16/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-rideau-river-bridge-on-old-highway-16/#respond Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:38:29 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12038 In the late 1930’s, the road from Kemptville to the Rideau River followed a different route and ended at the swing bridge at Beckett’s Landing. Since 1918, that road had been a Provincial Highway, the main route between Ottawa and Prescott. In 1925, it was officially designated Highway 16. But, in that decade, a major […]

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In the late 1930’s, the road from Kemptville to the Rideau River followed a different route and ended at the swing bridge at Beckett’s Landing. Since 1918, that road had been a Provincial Highway, the main route between Ottawa and Prescott. In 1925, it was officially designated Highway 16. But, in that decade, a major survey was conducted into the size and weight of vehicle using the bridge crossing the Rideau River at Beckett’s Landing. The results were surprising, the old swing bridge was no longer capable of safely taking the weight and volume of vehicles using it, and the bridge was closed to vehicles over five tons in weight. The old Beckett’s Bridge was removed, and plans were in place to replace it with a newer, fixed bridge. During the winter of 1935-36, cars passed through gaps cut in the snow along the banks of the Rideau, and crossed over on the ice. Vehicles that were too heavy for the ice were directed to Burritt’s Rapids where they used the bridges there to cross the Rideau. Before a new bridge could be built at Beckett’s however, surveyors were sent in to consider a new location further to the east.

The line of road from Kemptville to Beckett’s and then joining the highway on the far side, contained a number of sharp curves and there had been many serious accidents as a result of vehicles failing to make the corners. It was decided to change the road layout and allow the highway to run in a straight line across the Rideau beside the golf course instead. A new bridge across the Rideau was built in 1937.

The bridge in the photograph is the one built in 1927, crossing the Rideau by piggy-backing on a number of small islands which had been used as cottage resorts up until then. The new bridge stood until 1991, when the current bridge was officially opened. The 1937 bridge remained in use while the new one was being built just a few metres to the east. Today, you can still see the old line of the road which crossed that bridge just to one side of the highway. People use it for parking. The older road, however, leading to Beckett’s Landing, is still there too.

If you turn down River Road opposite Rideau Glen Golf Course and stop at the corner of Beckett’s Landing Road, look around and imagine the line of the original road coming from Kemptville, still following the ancient Indian trail from the St. Lawrence from before written records until within living memory.

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Burritt’s Rapids http://www.ngtimes.ca/burritts-rapids/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/burritts-rapids/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:40:54 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11358 The photograph dates from around 1905 and shows the rapids which gave the village its name, along with the mills which gave it its foundation. The village on the island was literally made by the Rideau Canal. When the canal works went through the land where the Burritt family had been settled since the 1790’s, […]

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The photograph dates from around 1905 and shows the rapids which gave the village its name, along with the mills which gave it its foundation. The village on the island was literally made by the Rideau Canal. When the canal works went through the land where the Burritt family had been settled since the 1790’s, a channel was cut to allow the canal to divert around the rapids, forming an island between the river and canal upon which the main section of Burritt’s Rapids developed. In addition to the new island, a high-level bridge was built very close to where the present bridge crosses the Canal to the island. Twenty-eight feet high, it was designed to allow large vessels to pass underneath as they plied the waters of the new Canal. One of the earliest settlements on the Rideau, Burritt’s Rapids grew around the canal, the mills situated on the river, and a divided identity – part in Oxford-on-Rideau and part in Marlborough Township. For decades, it was a thriving, prosperous place, a busy stop on the Rideau with stores, schools, churches, and hotels: a bustling and lively place. The famous Rideau steamers plied between Montreal and Kingston, collecting freight and passengers in Burritt’s Rapids as they went. Bypassed by the railway, with the decline of traffic on the Rideau Canal, the village gradually diminished in size and importance and when the mills, stores and cheese factory burned, they were not rebuilt. Today, Burritt’s Rapids is a quiet, but lovely, heritage jewel, a living and active community still preserving the character and the memories of its rich past.

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Odd Fellows Hall, 119 Clothier St. East http://www.ngtimes.ca/odd-fellows-hall-119-clothier-st-east/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/odd-fellows-hall-119-clothier-st-east/#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:06:43 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10848 Built in 1859 by Joseph Bower, a leading merchant in the community in the latter half of the century, it was run by Bowers and his sons as a general store until 1870. It housed a tailor shop with employees busy all the time and many clerks. The tailoring was done upstairs. In 1888, an […]

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Built in 1859 by Joseph Bower, a leading merchant in the community in the latter half of the century, it was run by Bowers and his sons as a general store until 1870. It housed a tailor shop with employees busy all the time and many clerks. The tailoring was done upstairs. In 1888, an Agricultural Fair was being held here, and it became the first building in Kemptville to be lit by electric lights, as lines were run especially for the occasion from George Keating’s mill above the bridge at Prescott Street. It was bought by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1892, two years after they had arrived in Kemptville. The store was remodeled with lodge rooms on the second floor, and an Opera House on the ground floor. It had a stage for concerts, plays or dance bands. For a few years in the 1940’s, Mr. Vincent Kelly showed movies there every Saturday night. The Fireman’s Ball was held there on March 17 every year. This was a full course meal followed by a dance. This hall has been used by the community ever since for public and private events, and regular dances, plays and concerts.

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Throwback Thursday: Oxford Station Cheese Factory http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 17:43:01 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10380 At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm […]

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At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm families during the May to November cheese-making season.

In 1904, there were twenty-six cheese factories sending their product to the Kemptville Cheese Board for sale. Each cheese weighed around 90 pounds, and the Oxford Station factory supplied 60 cheeses in one week in June, 1904. This was small in comparison with the total of 2,139 sold through the Kemptville Board that week, but its output increased enormously over the years, eventually reaching 20,000 boxes a year in the 1930’s.

The Oxford Station factory was built in 1899 by James Sanderson, a man of great vision and energy, who built the first refrigerated storage facility in Eastern Ontario. James Sanderson served on the Oxford-on-Rideau Council, was Warden of the United Counties, and was M.P.P. for the riding for thirty years, between 1907 and 1937. The Sanderson family operated the cheese factory until it burned down in 1963.

Cheese was an important export item for Canada, reaching a peak level in 1904, when 234 million pounds of cheese was exported to Great Britain, that was 95% of all the cheese imported by Britain that year. But, aside from increases during the two world wars, exports of cheese declined steadily after that. Public demand for liquid milk drew supplies away from cheese-making in the small community factories, and the introduction of large, automated facilities made the local cheese factory less and less economically viable.

But for generations of people in North Grenville and beyond, the daily run to the cheese factory was both an economic and a social occasion, and there are still a number of these buildings dotted around the municipality, reminders of a long-gone era.

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