The North Grenville Times Celebrating Heritage Week

February 18 - 24

This picture was taken in 1908 from the hose tower of the Town Hall, looking downstream, with the corner of Water and Thomas Street at the bottom. The red building is the Jones & Acton Mill, at the foot of Joseph Street. So much of Kemptville’s history is here: the South Branch RIver, the timber mill, and homes which still stand today, memorials of past times.

Welcome to our annual heritage Week issue. This year, we’re profiling some of the medical history of North Grenville, inspired by the 60th anniversary of the Kemptville District Hospital. Construction on the hospital started in 1959 and the brand new facility opened to the public in March, 1960. The story of that invaluable institution is one of remarkable public support from the people of North Grenville and surrounding townships, a story of fund raising, organisation and commitment on the part of businesses, organisations, and individual men and women, who gave their money, their time and tremendous energy to make the vision a reality.

That story will be told over the coming months in these pages and in exhibits and events at KDH itself.

But in this issue we focus on what came before KDH, the doctors, nurses, dentists and others who cared for the residents of North Grenville, and even those of Ottawa at times. In war and peace, their labours are hard to understand today. Imagine having to attend a sick patient on a stormy winter’s night before paved roads, snow ploughs, electricity, or modern drugs. Or think of the local women, like the Greer sisters from Oxford Mills, who went to France during World War I to care for the wounded and dying soldiers. Many of those nurses died on duty, and their service has never been properly appreciated.

We have a few photographs of these men and women, a few buildings in which they practiced and lived are still with us, though too many of them have left no record of their careers. This issue, therefore, is one way to remember them, to acknowledge their service, and to pay tribute to their successors working among us today. KDH is a treasure, the medical profession is one of our greatest assets, and they are all worthy of our thanks.