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In 1973, Winston Cosgrove published a 60-page book on the history of Wolfe Island. Wolfe Island Past and Present outlines how the island came to be settled, how it remained in use by indigenous peoples as fall and winter fishing and hunting grounds until the middle of the 19th Century, and how the population peaked in the late 19th Century before beginning a long decline that has only recently been reversed. The book is written in a kind of discreet manner that suggests its focus was more in the past than on what was then the present, and of course 40 years have passed since it was published. It contains, however, much information about how the island community developed from the late 17th until the 20th centuries. In 1685, Robert Cavallier, Sieur de Lasalle, having been granted the Signeury of Fort Frontenac by King Louis the 14th ten years earlier, conferred ownership of what would become known as Wolfe Island on James Cauchois. It was the “first conveyance of any part of Ontario from one subject to another”. The land remained in the Cauchois family for over 100 years, until it was sold in the early 1800s to David Alexander Grant and Patrick Langan for one shilling an acre. Grant had married the Baroness of Longeuil in 1785, and although the sale of the island to Grant and Langan severed all ties to the French monarchy it did establish the Baron of Longeuil as a major force on Wolfe Island. In 1823, David Alexander's son, C.W. Grant, the 4th Baron of Longeuil, owned about 11,000 acres on the island. A similar amount was split among the three daughters of Patrick Langan. Two-sevenths of the land had been turned over to England's King George when the British overturned French rule in the entire region. Grant sold off 100 acre lots starting in 1823, and settlement began in earnest. He also had a large house constructed near Marysville. The house, which was called Ardath Chateau, was known locally as the “The Old Castle”. It had 25 rooms, a dungeon, a carriage house and servants' quarters and was the “focal point for many years of life on the island”. In 1929 the house, which had been unoccupied for at least 15 years, was razed in a fire. “Being a native born Islander, this writer recognises the staunch loyalty among the Islanders for one another and out of respect for this tradition, would prefer 'to let sleeping dogs lie' rather than delve further into the matter.” This suggests that Winston Cosgrove knew more about the fire than he was willing to say, and in all likelihood further information about what happened that dark night in 1929 is still carried by any number of Wolfe “Islanders”. Although “The Old Castle” was certainly grand, the housing situation for Wolfe Island settlers in the early to mid 19th Century was more modest. Fifteen settler families lived on the island in 1823, and this increased to 261 persons by 1826. The population grew steadily, peaking at 3,600 by 1861. When the island was being settled in the 1820s and 30s “the typical house was a log cabin, 20 feet long by 16 feet wide, 6 logs high, with a shanty or sloping roof. Some had glass but most often the windows were only holes in the wall, which could be covered in the winter.” During the 1850s, demand for lumber for D. D. Calvin's shipbuilding operation on nearby Garden Island led to a lumbering boom on Wolfe Island, and the boom ended when the trees were gone. The population began to dwindle at that point, and by the time Cosgrove's book was published in 1973, it was down to 1,200. It had dropped to 1142 by 2001, and the 2011 population survey lists Frontenac Islands (including Wolfe and Howe Island) at 1864. The current permanent resident population of Wolfe Islands, according to Wikipedia, is 1,400, although it is twice that or more in the summer (perhaps excluding this past summer due to the Ferry Fiasco of 2015). Wolfe Island Past and Present contains a wealth of information about landmarks and renowned island residents. It explains how Marysville was named after Mary Hitchcock, who lived all of her 92 years on the island and was its first postmistress between 1845 and her death in 1877. The General Wolfe Hotel, originally known as the Wolfe Island Hotel, was built in 1860. It was renamed the General Wolfe by the Greenwood brothers in 1955, and benefited from the results of a liquor referendum in 1957, which was won by “the wets”. The hotel remains an island landmark and a major part of the hospitality industry. It's 130-seat restaurant has won a number of provincial awards. The final chapter of the book deals with a crucial subject, one that has been top of mind on the island this summer and was also the subject of a discussion and slide show on Wednesday, December 2, “Ice Travel” with Kaye Fawcett and Ken White, which was organised by the Wolfe Island Historical Society. Throughout Frontenac County the history of road and railway construction is full of colour, hardship and a fair taint of corruption and scandal. On Wolfe Island there is an added dimension - the water that separates the island from the mainland and the City of Kingston. It was 50 years ago, in 1965, that a year-round ferry service financed by the Province of Ontario was established on Wolfe Island. Until then the ferry service ran only until freeze up, and during the winter an ice road was the way across. In 1954 the winter was so warm that the ferry was only inactive for 2 days, but between 1955 and the onset of the year-round ferry in 1965, the range was 60 to 110 days, with an average of about 80 inactive days each winter. Over the years, tragedies and near tragedies occurred on the ice on many occasions. One of the more famous events was the near drowning of entire families on Christmas Day in 1955. The ferry was out of commission because of an early winter, but a tug boat, the Salvage Prince, waited at the edge of the ice at Barrett's Bay for families who had come to the island for Christmas Day and were returning to Kingston late in the afternoon. They were being drawn across the ice in a sleigh, but just before reaching the boat, the sleigh went through a wet spot in the ice, forcing a hurried and dangerous rescue, as children, adults and seniors, were luckily all pulled out of the freezing water back to the tug and a boat ride to Kingston. Some were taken to the hospital for observation. An account of the trip by Brian Johnson is available at thousandislandslife.com. In the concluding pages of his book, Winston Cosgrove makes the argument that the economy of Wolfe Island will be doomed unless a bridge is built. “In the past the economy of the island has been purely an agricultural one, with hunting and fishing and summer residents as minor items. Under this system the population has dwindled. The key to the problem is transportation. There is much beautiful undeveloped shoreline and land that is is well-suited for permanent homes but better ways are needed to get to and from the mainland if the community is to develop and grow. A ferry service is not efficient enough ... Meanwhile the Islanders who want a bridge must be content to await future developments while acting as guardians of a great land developed by pioneers, to whom all are indebted.” Although Cosgrove's views may have had a lot of currency this past summer while the Wolfe Islander ferry was in dry dock, Wolfe Island has reversed the population slide over the past 10 years and a number of tourism-related businesses are thriving.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. (An account of the life and times of the Kemp family can be found at Frontenacnews.ca under the “50 Stories/150 Years” tab) The level of poverty among late 19th Century settlers is reflected in some of the minutes of meetings of both Hinchinbrooke and Loughbrough Townships. In the minutes there are accounts of grants for as little as $1 for families in need after the death of a partner or a debilitating illness. Families who had settled on the worst pieces of land, who suffered from any kind of ill health, or for some reason were not able to keep up with the demands of clearing land, building shelter, keeping warm in winter and raising enough food, ended up in desperate straits. That is why settlers would take over abandoned fields and houses and only settle the ownership later on, if they decided to stay. Far from disputing this practice, as long as the property taxes were paid the local townships did not question the ownership of the properties. Mining was one of the few means of getting money for labour, and was also a major impetus for the establishment of the K&P Railroad. The village of Godfrey, to the west of Frontenac Park, was originally called Deniston after the name of the post office but it was known as Iron Ore Junction by the local population. The Glendower company mined 12,000 tons of iron ore between 1873 and 1880, and later the Zanesville company took over and a spur line was constructed between the mine and the Bedford Station (renamed Godfrey in 1901) of the K&P. A large deposit of Feldspar was found between Desert and Thirteen Island Lakes, and it was mined, on and off, between 1901 and 1951, producing a total of 230,000 tons in that time. In and right around the park, it was mica that was the most commonly mined mineral, in small mines as a kind of cottage industry and on an industrial scale as well. There is an account of how a mica mine operated in one of the issues of “The Frontenac News” (not this newspaper but the newsletter of the Friends of Frontenac Park) Below is an excerpt: 1905 - early in the morning Tom Gorsline, the foreman at the Tett mine, is checking the steam piping as a worker starts a wood fire in the boiler that will provide the steam that runs the drill and the water pumps. The miners had been following a vein of amber mica (phlogopite) since 1899 - the main pit now plunged close to 80 feet into the rocks and water sometimes was a problem. Fortunately, the price for mica is on the rise again and the main vein is still good. The hand drillers are already at work. Their job is to make holes in the rock to receive the explosives. The drillers are working in teams of two using a method called "double-jacking". One person, the holder, manually holds a steel drill against the rock. The other, the striker, swings an eight-pound sledgehammer hitting the end of the drill. In between the blow, the holder twists the drill to loosen the rock chips so it does not get stuck in the rock. Then the next blow comes with a sharp clank when steel meets steel. They are drilling at a rate of 1.5 to 2 feet per hour. After a half-hour, the holder and striker exchange places so the striker can have a rest. As you can imagine, accuracy is crucial. If the striker misses, the holder could be maimed for life. This is dangerous enough when they are drilling on the floor of the mine, but often the veins are at the roof of a drift or on the wall of the pit. As soon as the steam from the boiler reaches the right pressure, a miner starts the steam drill. It is faster and easier than hand drilling but the steam drill is enormous, unreliable and unwieldy because of connections with the steam pipes that come down from the surface. As a result, the steam driller is assigned fairly open spaces while the hand drillers work in tight quarters. Drilling is hard and dangerous - there are no hard hats, goggles, or electrical lights - but the dollar a day they are earning helps to feed their families. Now that the holes are in place, Tom calls the blasters. They make sure the holes are dry, otherwise the charges may not go off. They put the black powder in waterproof covers, attach a proper length fuse, and place it down in the hole. They pack the rest of the hole with clay. The length of the fuse is important or they could meet their maker faster than expected. After a few minutes, all charges are ready. The head blaster gives a signal to Tom Gorsline who orders all miners and equipment out of from the mine. When all is clear, the blaster lights up the fuse and moves quickly out of the way. The explosion rumbles and the ground shakes. After the smoke and dust settle, Tom sends in the muckers. They have a hazardous job. Everyone knew of George Amey, a mucker at the Birch Lake mine, who lost an eye when his pick hit a charge that did not fully explode. Some muckers sort the ore from the waste while others, with picks and shovels, load the waste rock in a large bucket until it is full. Then one of them yells: "BUCKET." Upon hearing the signal, a man at the surface gets the horse moving on a circular track so that the winch can hoist the bucket up to the top. The bucket is dumped on the tailings pile. As soon as the muckers are finished clearing the debris from the last blast, the drillers begin to make new holes. Cleaning the mica is the job of cobblers who work on the surface. Some cobblers "thumb trim" the mica by the pit while others are working at the cleaning shop attached to the main mine building, "knife trimming" the mica to remove all traces of unwanted material. They store the clean mica in barrels. The mica is shipped down the Hardwood Bay Road to Perth Road then north to Bedford Mills. There, the mica will be shipped to a buyer in Ottawa via the Rideau Canal. The Tett mine operated from 1899 till 1924. It produced 99 tons of mica for a value of $27,279.00. For a few months, it was the largest mica producer in Ontario. By the 1940s the mica mining boom had passed and most of the homesteads in the area had been abandoned or were on their last legs. It was then that the idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty-seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty-five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter Lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park. Among the features of the park, and on the nearby Gould Lake Conservation Area, are hiking trails that pass by and over mica mine sites. In the Park, the 10 km Tettsmine Loop passes by remnants of a log slide from the lumbering days, abandoned mica mines and the remains of McNally Homestead. At Gould Lake, the Mica Loop passes over several small mine sites and mica minerals can still be seen sparkling in the rock faces.
There were a number of distinguished Frontenac County wardens from the Township of Wolfe Island during the first 133 years of Frontenac County history, and since municipal amalgamation there have been two more from the Township of Frontenac Islands: Jim Vanden Hoek for two years, and the current warden, Denis Doyle. Although Tim O'Shea was only county warden for a single year, the centennial year in 1967, he was a member of the council for 33 consecutive years as the long-serving reeve of Wolfe Island. He retired from politics in 1991 and died in 1996 at the age of 78. His son, Terry, who served as the clerk of Wolfe Island and Frontenac Islands for over 20 years, starting in 1986, described his father as someone who enjoyed people and was able to remain calm in tense situations, which might explain why he was able to win election after election. He worked for most of his life as a hunting and a fishing guide on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and in the evenings he tended to township matters. As well as presiding over Council, he was the welfare officer for the islands as well as the manager of the ferry, all part of the functions of the reeve. Perhaps his most lasting accomplishment was convincing the provincial government to take over the ferry service from Wolfe Island and make it a free service. He also presided over the construction of the first library, medical clinic, ambulance base and fire department on the island. Because of all his accomplishments and longevity, he is still considered to have been the dean of Frontenac County councilors. One hundred and two years before Tim O'Shea served as county warden, another Wolfe Island politician held the post. The first ever Frontenac County warden was Dileno (Dexter) Calvin, the proverbial self-made man. He was orphaned at the age of eight in Rutland, Vermont. When he was 20 he moved to the State of New York where he worked as a labourer until he entered into the lumbering business when he was in his mid-20s. He started in 1825, squaring some timber with a neighbour and transporting it by raft to Quebec City. Slowly, he built up the business, and in 1835 he moved to Clayton, NY, and established a lumber transport business. Soon after, he became involved in a company based on Garden Islands, the Kingston Stave Forwarding Company, which was later renamed Calvin, Cook and Counter, and then Calvin and Cook after the men who owned it. In 1844, Dexter Calvin moved to rented land on Garden Island and took control of the company, taking advantage of the island's location, its sheltered port, and the fact that it was within the British rather than the American trading system. Out of its base on Garden Island, the company maintained agencies in Sault St. Marie, Quebec City, Liverpool and Glasgow, operated 12 -15 ships and employed as many as 700 people in its peak years. It became a generalized shipping company, and also operated a large tugboat service. The move to Garden Island took place soon after the death of Calvin's first wife, Harriet Webb, in Clayton, New York, in 1843. the couple had been married for 12 years and had six children. He remarried Marion Breck in 1844. They also had six children between 1844 and her death in 1861. His third wife, Catherine Wilkinson, whom he married in 1861 when he was 63, had two children, and lived until 1911. Of his 14 children, only six lived to adulthood. During the last 40 years of his long life (he died in 1884 at the age of 86) Calvin was a sort of patriarch to the inhabitants of Garden Island. He bought 15 acres of land on the island in 1848 with his partner Hiram Cook, and by 1862 they owned the entire island. Calvin bought Cook’s share in 1880. Garden Island became a model company town, with its own school, library, and post office. Although it was made up of people from different national origins and religions, it was reportedly remarkably peaceful and well managed. It was also a dry community, under the express orders of Calvin himself, who became a prohibitionist at the same time as his conversion to the Baptist Faith about a year before the death of his first wife. Since most of the inhabitants of Garden Island worked for Calvin, he was able to shield them from economic turbulence in two ways. For one thing, since he was more involved in lumber transport than buying and selling, the fluctuations in the price of lumber did not affect the business in a substantial way. He also chose to use the company's reserves to shield his employees during serious downturns, such as one that took place in 1873. At that time he cut wages but did not lay any one off, which was as unusual then as it is now. He was strongly opposed to organized labour, however, and when sailors on his ships started a union drive, he hired replacement workers from Glasgow and eventually sold some of his schooners and bought great lake barges to cut down on the need for labour. His political life, which began when he was in his early 60s, was quite distinguished. He had become a naturalized Canadian within a year of moving to Garden Island. By the time Frontenac County was established in 1865 after the amalgamated County of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington had been disbanded, Calvin was already ensconced as reeve of Wolfe Island and the surrounding islands. He became the first warden of the County, a position he also held the following year and in 1868 as well. He then took a turn at provincial politics, as a Conservative MPP for the riding of Frontenac. He served from 1868 until 1883, with the exception of the years between 1875 and 1877, when he lost favour with the party. In those days, becoming the Conservative candidate in Frontenac was more difficult than winning the election against opposing party candidates. He was also one of the first directors of the K&P Railroad. He was a man who was known for his eccentricities, such as a dislike for short men “for no other reason than that they were short” according to his grandson, as well as men who bit their fingernails (author's note – I'm sure we would have gotten on famously) as well as dogs and people who own them. “When a man's poor,” he said, “he gets a dog. If he's very poor, he gets two.” Dileno Dexter Calvin died in 1884, and despite his great success in Canada, he was buried next to his mother and his first wife in Clayton, NY.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes, within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. In doing so, Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. The first family to be profiled in the book is the Kemp family, who arrived at their farm at Otter Lake, near the west gate of the park, sometime in the 1860s. By the time of the 1871 census, William and Jane Kemp, both 47, had six children living with them. The land they laid claim to, in addition to other properties taken on by their son George, was very good by local standards. Over two decades of work, making use of the efforts of the entire family, 30 acres of the 95 acre property had been cleared. “That might not sound like much to show for 20 years of labour, but in that district most farms worked 15 or 20 cleared acres. In fact the clearing was usually completed in relatively short order. But it was back-breaking work, without mechanical means. It involved cutting down the trees and clearing the brush, then burning the stumps that could not be wrenched from the ground by a team of horses or oxen and hauled away to form a first fence row. In the meantime the job of raising a crop to feed the family over the winter had to go on, and the first seeds were usually sown among the stumps ... it was no wonder that among the first settlers it was axiomatic to hate trees,” wrote Christian Barber in Their Enduring Spirit. The Kemp family prospered, and by 1900 the original log cabin that was built in the early 1870s had disappeared beneath white, painted clapboard, and numerous outbuildings had been constructed as well. There was a root cellar below, and fields that extended right to the front doorway. Still, cash was not easy to come by. A ledger from M.A. Hogan's General Store in Sydenham illustrates this. In late 1912, Mary Shales Kemp, George's wife, who managed the family finances among numerous other tasks, purchased dishes, a pair of overalls for a dollar, and the indulgences of walnuts and a vase, for a total cost of $7.32. Her custom was to pay for her purchases with butter and eggs from the farm. However on this occasion, after the eggs and butter were factored in there was a shortfall of $1.45. Back went the overalls and the extra 45 cents was paid in cash. During the mica mining year in the first decade of the 20th century, George Kemp found a number of small deposits on his farm, and even took on investors to pay the $70 that was needed for drills and blasting powder at one site. However, enough mica was never found to make a profit on the venture. To the extent that there were roads in the area, they were built and maintained by all of the farmers living in there, sometimes as part of their taxation responsibilities, which, in the late 19th century, included putting in some time improving the local roads. While the Kemp family were able to establish a successful farm in what is now Frontenac Park, it was ultimately unsustainable. Mary Kemp lived on the farm after George died, but moved away in 1928 and sold the property in 1941. The last people to occupy it were a family from Wyoming in the late 1940s. By the time Mary Kemp died in Sydenham in 1952 at the age of 93, the property where she had made her life had been abandoned and the house and barns had burned down. When Christian Barber went to the property in the late 1980s as he was preparing his book, it was mostly overgrown with vegetation, and it required effort on his part to find the remnants of what had been a going concern for 60 or 70 years. He notes this at the end of his chapter on the Kemp family of Kemp Road : “... the fields, so painstakingly cleared and planted and harvested by generations of settlers, are overgrown with sumac and birch, locust and juniper. Rusted barbed wire – embedded by years in the centre of the trees that it was originally stapled to the bark of – is stretched to the breaking point by fallen trees, and there is no one to cut them away; no farmer in overalls, with strong, knuckly, barked, and sun-tanned hands to walk the line on a summer day between haying and harvest and maintain a fence.” The Kemp family's story is similar in outcome to others told in the book - struggle and some success followed by a move to better farmland elsewhere in the region or to work off the farm in Sydenham or beyond. Mining and logging were also prevalent in the park. Logging started in the early 19th century and mining later on, with the logging having the greatest impact on the land, as it did elsewhere in the region generally. In the interesting chapter on mining, Barber touches on the story of Antoine Point on Devil Lake. Francis Edward Antoine and his wife, Letitia Whiteduck, built a log cabin on the Point in the mid 19th century and they are buried there. One of their sons, John Antoine, is listed, along with the government, as the owner of Antoine Point in the 1883 Meacham map, one of the best source materials for information about land ownership in those years. John, with his wife Elizabeth Hollywood, had 11 children. According to Antoine family lore, it was John who found mica deposits at Antoine Point, although there are competing accounts about who found the ore at that location, and it seems that the Point became of interest to mining interests in the early 1890s. There is an entry in the land registry indicating that John Antoine sold his interest in the land to William Jones for $50 in 1897, and the Antoines moved to Godfrey, and eventually back to Sharbot Lake, where another branch of the family was already located. The idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated in the 1940s. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park.
The last little while has been a busy time for the Clarendon & Miller Community Archives (CMCA), Coordinator Brenda Martin told North Frontenac Council last week at its regular meeting in Ompah. The CMCA is planning an open house Aug. 30 from 1-4 p.m. at the Plevna Library to update the public on its activities as well as say goodbye to its student workers who have put in many hours on its various projects. “The Historic Tours of North Frontenac is very exciting,” Martin said. “I guarantee you will learn a lot about this Township you did not know before.” She said that mostly through the summer students, the entire CMA website has been revised and updated, a virtual tour planned and enhanced hundreds of photos (removing scratches and folds etc). “The goal is to have the Tour Guidebook at least ready for production by Aug. 30,” she said. That project was funded by the Township and a Community Foundation for Kingston and Area Grant. Martin also provided updates for the 2017 and 2016 Township Community Grants. On the 2016 grant, she said: “The 10th anniversary of CMCA was a celebration Memories of General Stores. “Although that research is stored at the Archives in binders and available on the CMCA website, our committee members regretted it had not been published in book format. “The book has been compiled (and) it is our intention to publish limited copies for the local libraries and the Cloyne Museum. It should be ready for the end of August.” On the 2017 grant she said: “The lodge research event May 6 had a huge turnout. The material was produced in book format with complimentary copies provided to the Ompah Community Library, the Cloyne Public Library, the Plevna Public Library and the Cloyne Museum. “It was not deemed a major fundraiser, and we will publish more copies as the demand requires.” Also on the 2017 grant, Martin said they’ve done “extensive research” on 10 historic signs “based on the best information and photos available to us.” She said the signs should be ready for installation in 2017. Martin also expressed concern about a lack of storage space. “We can develop things but where do we put them?” she said. “We don’t even have storage space.” Coun. Gerry Martin suggested that there was an old township office in the Community Centre in Plevna. “The library was there at one point,” he said. “There was a mold problem but that was fixed.” “There might be some space in the old township office up the road here,” said Mayor Ron Higgins.
“This is where your tax money goes to,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins at the 2017 Essential Services Fair last Saturday at the Ompah Rest Stop. The idea was to get representatives of the various essential services in one place — police, fire, conservation authorities, public health, community services, etc — to show the public what they do. “This has been an awareness raiser for me,” Higgins, who used to be a volunteer firefighter. “You know we’ve been trained in disaster management but we’ve never really practised with an exercise. “I think we should schedule one.” Coun. Gerry Martin, chair of the personnel and audit committee, organized the event. “I almost panicked this morning because some guys were a little slow on our crooked roads up here and there were almost a few no-shows,” Martin joked. “(But) there has been a steady flow of people through here and it’s mostly for education purposes but I think people will see where their tax dollars go.” “This is a unique opportunity to display our capabilities,” said Director of Emergency Services/Fire Chief Eric Korhonen. “All three stations are participating and we even have a contingent from South Frontenac.” There was also a bit of PR and recruitment on Korhonen’s mind. “We are taking applications today,” he said. “We can always use more community support and I’d love for more individuals to apply to become members of the fire department.” Coun. John Inglis was also in attendance but couldn’t stay long. He was engaged in the Ompah Community Centre Association elections taking place across the street. “I pay $1 a year and I get to vote,” Inglis said. “It’s very exciting this year because we have four people running for three positions. “That hasn’t happened for the past two years.” For the record, Rick Morey, Betty Kelford and Elaine Moffitt won seats on the executive and will be joining Rob Harris and Stacey Couture.
Arguably the biggest block of North Frontenac Council’s debate time at last Friday’s regular meeting in Ompah centred on the Frontenac News story two weeks ago in which Mayor Ron Higgins discussed his thoughts and plans for community development. The Mayor laid out a futuristic vision that he’s been working on involving aquaculture, hydroponics and electricity generation that certainly would be unique in rural Ontario municipalities if nothing else.But, as sometimes happens, it would appear his Council isn’t entirely on-board with the concept as of yet.“The mayor can do independent research but this was not approved by Council,” said Coun. John Inglis, starting things off.“I’m going through research to see if it is feasible,” Higgins said.“I find that arrogant and disrespectful of everyone on this Council,” said Coun, Vernon Hermer. “You sanctioned me for discussing (Council business) with one resident.“Here you are presenting inaccurate information with the world.”“We told you very carefully we did not approve,” said Coun. Denis Bedard. “I’ve had callers ask me if we’re remaking The Nutty Professor or if we’re on drugs.”“When I see a picture of the Mayor with the chain of office (on a story) it makes it look like we endorse it,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.After some more back and forth discussion, Higgins offered to write a letter to the editor of the paper clarifying his, and Council’s, position.“I will clarify that this was my initiative, not Council’s,” he said. Fire RostersIn a report to Council, Fire Chief Eric Korhonen acknowledged that there are some concerns with the current roster of firefighters in terms of training and attendance but said “the fire roster continues to remain stable” and he has plans to address any deficiencies.“I appreciate the roster has been deficient for five years,” he said. “I have been chief for a year and a half.“We are attempting to make training and recruitment priorities but I’m not going to go all heavy handed on volunteers.“I hope to have it all addressed by Dec. 31, 2017.”He said they should be reviewing the makeup of the department.“Currently, medical response is not a problem and that makes up about 85 per cent of our calls,” he said. “Some members don’t want to carry hose and they’re content to be first responders at accidents and that’s much of our business.”“The Chief and the Personnel & Audit Committee are dealing with it and I’m happy to shut up about it,” said Coun. John Inglis.“If you want to support the fire department then get on board and don’t go on a witch hunt,” said Dep. Mayor Fred Perry. BylawsCouncil passed bylaws restricting the use of flying lanterns and changing fees and charges and changes to its municipal waste and recyclables bylaw.
While many rural municipalities are still looking to squeeze more dollars out of tourism and Frontenac County wants to turn us into a community of goat farmers, one of our township mayors is definitely thinking outside the tourism/agrobusiness box.North Frontenac’s Ron Higgins is gradually bringing together a concept that, if successful, could effectively re-write the blueprint for municipal governance. It’s a bit out there, and something that you might more expect to see in a science fiction magazine than the AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) bulletin, but strangely enough, it almost ‘feels’ possible. Higgins freely admits that there are still ‘I’s’ to be dotted and ‘T’s’ to be crossed but he’s now at the point where he’s bringing a working concept to paper. “North Frontenac, like other small rural communities are struggling to meet the needs of the community due to ever increasing taxation, cost of living and downloading of services from the provincial to the municipal level,” he says. “As a result the quality and level of services provided to the residents and visitors are being impacted in a negative manner . . . we struggle to have basic services not only at the municipal government level from from a social level as well. “This includes access to health care, food, restaurants and affordable housing as some examples.” To counter this situation, Higgins has adopted a kind of Ubuntu philosophy. Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu word often translated as “humanity towards others” that Desmond Tutu argues was a formative influence on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “My mandate is to strengthen the community with the intent to enhance economic development,” he said. “We have many ideas to address this but we are limited in our financial capability to do so. “What we do have is a strong human resource capital to make this happen.” In other words, he sees the community contributing to the plan’s success by working together and restoring the political influence back to the people “so they can control the destiny of the economy.” To do this, Higgins encourages the use of ‘Earthship’ eco-friendly building techniques (ie lots of solar tech and dirt) to create a vertical farming facility for aquaculture (fish farming) and vegetables. He’s already had meetings with companies who specialize in such things and claims to have “$62 million in financing lined up.” He’s looking at the North of 7 site to house a community operation/warehouse/restaurant. The technologies for such a thing do exist in many countries such as the Shauguan Liran Fish Farm in China and the Kharp facility in Siberia. There are also vegetable/grain operations in existence. And, he says he’s very close to a deal with an electrical generation company which would allow the Township to generate its own electricity. “This step in the process is the one that will be the catalyst for resurrecting our community,” Higgins said. “I will be asking each resident to commit to three hours a week minimum to work on a community related project. “Those who sign up and honour their commitment will receive free electricity for as long as they stay in the program. “This concept allows us to resurrect our community that will be second to none in the world and begin to provide products and services to our resident and allow for income from providing these outside our community and to those who do not sign up for three hours a week.” Higgins said he’s about “two months” away from presenting the actual plan.
In this Canada 150 year, you’re probably thinking ‘where can I get some insight into the works of some of Canada’s greatest poets?’Well, in the Central/North Frontenac area, there happens to be one fellow who’s prepared to help you out with that conundrum — Dave Dawson.Dawson’s latest artistic offering is called Dave Dawson Recites, a CD where he does just that, recites selected works of Robert Service and Dr. Henry Drummond. Service, arguably Canada’s greatest poet, especially when it comes to visions of the North, probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s hard to conceive that any Canadian hasn’t been exposed to him somewhere in school and various other outlets. Is there a more ironically Canadian poem than The Cremation of Sam McGee? (Yes, it’s on the CD, along with The Shooting of Dan McGrew and other Service classics.)Drummond, perhaps lesser known in popular culture, is nonetheless well thought-of in literary circles, being named a fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of Literature in the UK. Born in Ireland, he practised medicine in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (which coincidentally Dawson is also from). Perhaps his best known piece is The Last Portage (which is on the CD) as well as a number of pieces featuring Little Batiste (two of which are on the CD, Little Batiste and How Batiste Came Home). At age 84, Dawson shows no signs of slowing down. He retired from installing telephone lines to pursue his artistic interests and now has produced 13 CDs (of his own songs as well as others, most notably Jimmie Rodgers), nine books (six poetry, two of short stories and one novel) as well as numerous painting on canvas, panel, paddles and milk pails. He said his next project is a CD (or two) of his own poems.The Dave Dawson Recites CD features cover art of his own paintings as well as sketches of Dawson, Service and Drummond by Rose Wilson.The CD is available for $15 by calling Dawson at 613-268-2797.
Organizers of the summer long Central Frontenac Canada 150 celebrations have been working with staff at Frontenac County on a trails event for Sharbot Lake as a celebration of the completion of the K&P trail between Lake Ontario and Sharbot Lake. It turned out that the Trans Canada Trail is celebrating Canada 150 on August 26, and there was funding available to put on events. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to mark the long anticipated, hard fought for, completion of the K&P Trail between Lake Ontario and Sharbot Lake, bringing the trans Canada Trail through Central and South Frontenac. Unfortunately, while construction on that final stretch has begun and the County of Frontenac has agreements in place for all required parcels of land along the rail bed, in some cases the completion of the necessary paperwork to transfer ownership has taken more time than expected. The official opening of the final stretch of the Frontenac K&P Trail from Tichborne to Sharbot Lake has been delayed until the trail is closer to completion. Still, Sharbot Lake will be a hub of trails activity next Saturday, August 26. The gathering will be one of more than 200 celebratory events planned in Canada from coast to coast to coast. The event in Sharbot Lake will be held in partnership with the Trans Canada Trail and the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance. “I am especially looking forward to this event as it will bring all the various user groups together to celebrate our trails. I encourage everyone to come to Sharbot Lake and be part of it,” said Richard Allen, Manager of Economic Development for the County of Frontenac. “The volunteers who have been running Canada 150 events in Central Frontenac have been doing an amazing job all year and their involvement in this event makes me look forward to it even more,” Allen said. The event will include a participatory element with opportunities for different trail user groups to be involved. Members of the Napanee and District ATV cub will be gathering at the Kaladar Community Centre at 9:30, to take a trail ride on the Trans-Canada trail to Sharbot Lake. Also at 9:30, cyclists are asked to gather at the caboose in the Railway Park in Sharbot Lake for a 26km ride. Less adventurous cyclists can gather at the Canada bench on the causeway south of the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team at 12:15. At noon, walkers are asked to gather at the trail crossing at Road 38 in Sharbot Lake. All groups will gather at the caboose at 12:30 when the festivities will start. The gathering will eventually proceed to Oso beach for music, food and games. The best way to plan your participation is by visiting the website of the Central Frontenac Canada 150 Celebrations Committee at https://www.cfcanada150.ca/k-p-trail-day.html.To date, the completed section of the Frontenac K&P Trail stretches the length of roughly 40 kilometers between Orser Road in South Frontenac and the village of Tichborne in Central Frontenac. The last time a section of the trail opened was in November of 2015 when it was extended from Verona to Tichborne. That 20-kilometer section includes bridges over White Creek, Elbow Creek and Fish Creek. The Frontenac K&P Trail is open to a variety of user groups including hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding and snowmobiling. And, contrary to more southern parts of the trail, the section north of Craig Road, just north of Verona, is accessible to motorized vehicles year round. While many trails in eastern Ontario require a permit for ATVs, that is not a requirement on the Frontenac K&P Trail between Verona and Sharbot Lake. When completed, the K&P Trail will also serve as an important link in the Trans Canada Trail, which enters Frontenac County near Arden, connects to the K&P Trail and exits the County to the East towards Smiths Falls via the Cataraqui Trail.
Mountain Grove Mites brought home the Frontenac County Minor Softball Association championship trophy on Saturday July 22nd. Coaches: Joe Mallet, Blayne Thompson. L-R: Braedon Scott, Isaac Badour, Nolan Morrow, hunter Mallett, Liam Thompson, Jacob Godfrey, Jackson Mosher, Ella Barr, Parker Thompson, Ryder Mallett. Missing from photo: Maddy Tryon, Isabelle Tryon, Shyann Whan and Alex Gill.
This year the Parham Fair is running on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19.Saturday is a traditional Fair Day. The Palace displays, featuring contest entries in dozens of categories from baking to zucchini, as well as crafts and much more, open at 10am. So does the Tryon Farm petting zoo and vendors alley. The 4H cattle show starts up at the same time and runs until noon. Fair games start up at 1:00, the opening ceremonies are set for 2:30 and the horse pull follows at 3.Entertainers Magoo (who will do a Children’s Show and a songwriting workshop) and the Zack Teal band take place in the late afternoon and early evening, and the midway runs all day and into the night. It promises to be a long, active day at the Parham Fair. On Sunday the Palace show runs again, as does vendor’s alley and at 10:30 the best dressed cowboy/girl contest starts up, and the pet show begins at 11:00. At 1:30 the demolition derby returns to the Parham Fair.This year’s fair also includes the debut of a new video by former Fair President Wendy Parliament. The video is a 125th anniversary project featuring interviews with people who have been integral to Parham and the fair over the years. The video also features interviews with a new generation of farmers who have been taking a whole new path to success in a changing marketplace. This combination of the farming tradition and a new generation is being seen on the fair board as well this year. A new board, including chair Sharon Shepherd, and executive members Owen Tryon, Mark Howes and Theresa Hicks and a dozen directors, has stepped forward to ensure that the oldest and longest running event in Frontenac continues on. The best way for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the fair is to come out and have a good time on August 19 and 20. For further information about the Fair, go to Parhamfair.ca.The Parham Fair is also one of the featured events on the Frontenac-Five web page in August. Check out Frontenac-live.ca/events/frontenac-five
Linda Cyr’s husband Reg surprised her at a party celebrating a milestone occasion with a special gift — a white 1973 Volkswagen SuperBeetle convertable.She’d always wanted one.The Cyr’s have a ‘fleet’ of Volkswagens including a 1972 camper, a 2000 and Reg’s souped up drag Bug, which was also on display at the 22nd annual Verona Classic Car Show last weekend.So, why Bugs? “They’re very dependable,” she said. “They’re a really fun, loveable little car.“It makes you fell younger.”Cyr had plenty of visitors at the car show.“People smile when they see it,” she said. “Everybody either had one or knew somebody who had one.“Everybody has a memory about a beetle.”The Cyr fleet began with a relatively new Beetle, again a gift from Reg, as a surprise for her retirement.“Then Linda said she wanted an older one,” Reg said.Well, it wasn’t long before Reg got the ‘bug’ as well.“This is a ’68 Bug, modified with a mid-engine turbo VW VR6,” he said. “It was built as a drag car . . . a street and strip build.“But it is street legal.” Reg said that for him, restoring old cars is a mixture of nostalgia, childhood and university memories.“They’re all fun,” he said. “And you get the same reaction from just about everybody.”Fun and reactions kind of spells it our for Linda too.For example, check out her licence plate ABADGIRL.Is that for the car, or its driver?“That depends on the day, . . . or who’s asking?” Linda said with a chuckle.
The Sydenham Lake Canoe Club is hosting the Ontario Under 15 Canoe and Kayaking championships this weekend, the first major regatta to be held at the renovated Point Park facility.There is a permanent course set up in the lake off the point. Hundreds of young paddlers and their families are expected in Sydenham for the event, which is also popular with local spectators. This weekend’s championships are the fourth and final event in Eastern Ontario this summer following regattas in Carleton Place, Gananoque and North Bay. A number of young Sydenham paddlers will be ending their season on Saturday, while eight of the older athletes will be going on to Nationals in Welland. “It takes dozens of volunteers, locals as well as others from the visiting clubs, and help from the township, to put on an event of this size, with races in so many categories,” said Helen Parfitt of the Sydenham Lake Canoe Club, “and it is a fitting end to a very good season for our club and our paddlers.” The regatta runs all day (8am – 6pm) with the popular war canoe races taking place later in the afternoon.“We are hoping to see locals come along to cheer our Sydenham paddlers as well as paddlers from across the province at any time during the day. It should be an exciting event,” said Parfitt.There may also be a future star in one of the boats. The regatta takes place just after the end of the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg. Sydenham’s Stephanie L’Abbe, who now races for the Ottawa River Canoe Club, won gold in the K2 1000 with partner Lexy Vincent and was part of the gold-medal winning team in the K4 500 and the silver-medal team in the K4 1000.Will the next Stephanie L’Abbe be in one of those 12 and under races at the Point on Saturday?Show up and find out.
The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) has downgraded the flood status for inland lakes. Conditions on inland lakes in the Cataraqui Region continue to improve and it is expected that water levels will return to normal in the coming days. Water managers continue to conduct operations to minimize the effects and pass flows down through the system. Dams (water control structures) remain open and continue to flow more than normal for this time of year. The CRCA is urging residents to exercise caution outdoors around lakes and streams, and to stay away from deep, fast flowing watercourses, as well as any dams and outflow channels. CRCA staff will continue to monitor conditions and forecasts, and will update statements as needed. This Watershed Conditions Statement will remain in effect until August 22, at which point conditions can be assumed to be normal, unless an updated statement is issued. Previously high water warnings had been issued for Loughborough and Charleston Lakes.
The Township of South Frontenac’s major Canada 150 event of the summer seasons, a Road Rally and Celebration, will be based at Harrowsmith Centennial Park, but but all corners of the large township are taking part, as travelers by road or bicycle will have the opportunity to visit some of the 7 sites around the township where activities are planned to celebrate a different Canadian Province or Territory.By registering at Centennial Park starting at 10, each vehicle will receive a passport and a map of the sites. “At each site there will be an activity to complete, as well as a fun fact sheet to fill in, and a photo op. Participants who do all three, the fact sheet does not need to be correct only filled in, will receive three stamps in their passport. Each stamp will be traded in for a ballot, which will be thrown in a drum. Ballots will be pulled from the drum at the end of the day for a series of prizes worth a total of $2,500.” said event organizer Pam Morey.Activities will follow provincial themes, such as mountains in BC, dinosaurs in Alberta, etc. Rally sites are located in all four districts of the townships, and in addition to the provincial sites, there are bonus sites which are points of interest in the township, including spots such as the Holleford Crater. Ballots will can also be earned at the bonus sites. “The idea is for rally goers to pick up a map and decide where they want to go and enjoy themselves,” said Morey, “not so much to visit all of the sites, which could make for a long day.”In addition to the car rally sites, a bike route has been set up, setting out from Centennial Park and accessing two provincial sites as well as 3 bonus sites.Starting at 1 o’clock, the seven provincial sites will open at Centennial Park, in addition to a wide variety of other events, including: live music all day, a vendors village, petting zoo, 4H club animals, inflatable slides and houses, food trucks, a beer garden, and more. The rally portion of the day wraps up at 4 o’clock, and the other events at the park will carry on from there. The prize draw (participants must be there in person to win prizes) will take place around 6:15 and the music and fun will continue on into the evening until fireworks at dusk will mark the end of the rally.“This is an event for the whole family, and the great thing about it is how many different groups from throughout the township are participating, by running provincial sites or otherwise. The idea is to travel and enjoy South Frontenac while celebrating the culture of the ten provinces. There will be lots of surprises along the way and in the Park. Whether people are interested in the car rally, cycling or just enjoying the events at the Park, it will be a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. There are posters throughout the township about the event, and look to the Frontenac News next week for more details. Full details and maps will be available at Centennial Park on the 26th.
The Frontenac Five, events you should not miss in August, have been posted. This month they include The Wolfe Island Music Festival, which runs this coming weekend – August 12 and 13, is the first one on the calendar, check wolfeislandmusicfestival.com for details. The following weekend, August 19 and 20, the Parham Fair is featured. See Parhamfair.ca for more. Ongoing events this month include the Godfrey Sculpture Park, see Godfreysculpturepark.ca for more, and the Thursday Night Battersea Porch Sessions, different musicians each Thursday all summer between 6:30 and 9:30 at Holiday Country Manor. Rounding out the list is the K&P Trail day grand opening on Saturday August 26 at the trailhead in Sharbot Lake. For the full Frontenac-Five experience, go to Frontenac-live.ca/events/frontenac-five.
It was a dream of trail proponents to use the old K&P rail line to create a trail that would connect the east-west trans Canada Trail with the Cataraqui and Rideau Trails and ensure that the trans-Canada Trail takes a detour through the Frontenac County trail system. In order to make that happen the K&P trail needed to be complated between the junctions in Sharbot Lake and Harrowsmith, and Frontenac County has been working on that for 10 years.The alternative would have been for the Trans Canada to flow along Hwy 7 directly between Ottawa and Peterborough, bypassing the Rideau and Cat Trails, Frontenac Park and the varied landscape of the Frontenac Spur and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere. The dream is about to become a reality and that reality will be celebrated on August 26, Canada 150 trail day, which is being sponsored by the Federal government to the tune of $1 million.Unfortunately, the K&P trail between Sharbot Lake and Harrowsmith will not be finished by August. The complicated northern section between Tichborne and Sharbot Lake is underway, and sections are done, but it is not going to be complete by August 26. In a way, the trail being officially launched without actually being in place fits well with the history of the K&P Railroad itself. It was an idea that had its supporters, even if the money was not in place and the details were not worked out back in the 1875 when it opened. And of course, while the trail top Sharbot Lake will not be complete on opening day, it will be completed soon, while the K&P (which stands for Kingston to Pembroke) never did make it that far. It only ever extended as far as Renfrew. In his new book, The First Spike, Steven Manders has provided some new information about the building and management of the K&P line, and it’s relation to an over-estimation of the value of iron mines at Iron Junction, present day Godfrey. Manders did some traditional research. and he also interviewed elders such as Don Lee and Les McGowan and got into is canoe to look for signs of the old mines on 13 Island and other local lakes. As he says in his book, you would never know from looking now at what appears to be an entrenched rural cottage region, that there dozens of small mines, kilns, canals, barges, and much more in the region as recently as 100 years ago. Manders has found remnants, bits of metal, old spikes, wheels, etc in his many trips to the area looking for evidence of past history. In the early days of the K&P, spur lines were built to bring iron ore, feldspar and other minerals to Bedford Station at what was then known as Iron Junction where the heavy loads were transferred to trains on the K&P for transport to Kingston and the US. It was this resource that was the impetus for the construction of the K&P, and US based industrialists were among the early investors in the railroad. In 1884 the K&P had its best year. turning a profit of over $20,000. Within ten years, with the iron ore proving harder to access the K&P had become a money loser, to the tune of $100,000 or more per year (about $2.7 million in 2017 dollars). The railroad went into receivership until 1899, and then began to be swallowed by by Canadian Pacific Railroad, a process that was completed in 1913 when the CPR took on a 999 year lease on the line and acquired all the assets. The book also includes information about the K&P iron mining company, which was unrelated to the railroad but shared some Directors and investors, suggesting that stock manipulation, or ‘mining the market’ as it is sometimes called, took place on a large scale, in the 1890’s and into the new century, and a man named Henry Siebert continued to sell certificates for the K&P mining company long after he had received reports that there was no viable iron resource left in the ground. Between 1896 and 1903, about $2.5 million in shares were sold (over $500 million in today’s dollars) in a company that was never destined to deliver anything to market. The First Spike also looks in depth at some of the communities and stations as the line moved north, and images of villages such as Clarendon Station and others that show how active and populated they were when the rail line was a going concern. The railroad was never sustainable as a passenger line, and indeed according to Steven Manders, the CPR was never really interested in the section of the line north of Tichborne, where the K&P and the main CPR line, which still exists as travellers along Road 38 are well aware. As we all know, the K&P ceased operations entirely eventually and will soon be entirely transformed into an operational trail, ensuring a strong presence of the Trans-Canada Trail in Frontenac County, by the time the 2018 tourist season rolls around. The K&P railroad cost about $3.5 million to build in the 1870’s, the equivalent of about $100 million in current dollars, and the cost to build the trail remains a bit of a mystery. It has taken years to build, and has been funded in part by Federal and Provincial trail grants as well as some municipal gas tax rebate money in the early years. As even a cursory look at the First Spike reveals, the issues surrounding the development of the K&P trail, some of which have been revealed over the years in this paper, are nothing new to the K&P. It has always been an expensive proposition. As a trail, all it needs to do is attract a reasonable number of people to enjoy walking, riding, cycling, and sledding over it in order to be a success. The stakes are lower than they were back when investors expected to make their fortunes out of a doomed rail line. Still the expectation that the trail, combined with the opportunities for outdoor recreation and the efforts of some of the newer and more established entrepreneurs seeking to build a tourist economy, will bring benefits to Frontenac County residents over time.
Hockey season is just around the corner and we have some important information and dates we need you to be aware of. Remember to register prior to August 31st to avoid a $100 late fee. Registering early helps us plan practice times, number of teams and coaches required for the upcoming season so please be sure to register as early as you can. We will kick off this year’s season on Saturday September 23rd with our annual 3 on 3 tournament fun day. Guaranteed 1-1.5 hours of fun and a t-shirt for only $30. Conditioning Clinics and Goalie clinics will start the week of Monday September 25th. House league evaluations will start Saturday Sept 30 Register NOW at www.frontenachockey.ca
An anticipated report by Paul Blais of MDG Insight and Libby Smith of Terra Consulting that reviewed the existing inventory of accommodations for visitors to Frontenac County and proposed a strategy for growth in the sector, is being presented to Frontenac County this week. Members of Council have been appraised of the reports development throughout the last few months so they will not be surprised by the recommendations. One of the key elements to the report is what it does not see in Frontenac Counties’ future, a large scale hotel, spa, or resort complex. Instead, it focusses on maintaining and upgrading the existing mix of lodges and Inn’s, rental cottages, campgrounds, and Bed and Breakfast operations in the County. One of the insights in the report is that North and Central Frontenac attract a somewhat different mix of travellers than South Frontenac attracts. While travelers categorized as “nature lovers” and “connected explorers” are attracted to all of mainland Frontenac, “outgoing mature couples” are also coming to North and Central Frontenac, while “up and coming explorers” and “sports lovers” are more likely to visit South Frontenac. In terms of developing the kind of accommodation mix that will be well received by the Ontario tourism market and deliver a return on investment for entrepreneurs getting or hoping to stay in the accommodation industry, the report identifies 5 “best bet” opportunities. These include: redevelopment of existing cottage accommodations, bed and breakfast establishments, pod - based accommodations, upscale camping and campground accommodations, and niche resort accommodations. The report then goes on to discuss how some of these potential new and rejuvenated businesses can come about, and provides guidelines for what the county can do to attract investment in the sector. For the county, this involves establishing relationships with people in the industry both within the county for existing businesses and outside of the county for potential new investors. As well, marketing and selling Frontenac as a place to invest is indicated, as is ensuring that land use policies and regulations within Frontenac are investor friendly.
The rains threatened but held off just long enough for the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame to induct six new members at a ceremony/performance Saturday during the Flinton Jamboree. First on stage was Ross Clow. Born and raised near Verona, Clow spent more than a decade as the lead singer for Don Johnson and the Serenaders, a long-running dance orchestra with weekly radio shows on two Kingston radio stations during the ’50s and ’60s. In his senior years, Clow gravitated towards gospel music with the Gospel Jewels and later with the Old Hims. Clow was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sheila Calthorpe was inducted in the Songwriters Category. Calthorpe grew up on Simcoe Island in the St. Lawrence River and developed a tradition of home worship during winters because there was no church on the island. Eventually, she met and married musician Barry Calthorpe, who taught her to play. This led to writing such songs as The Church by the Side of the Bed, Mother’s Still On The Home Place and Heaven Said Goodbye, which was recorded by Bill White and White Pines. Lionel Grimard was born and raised in South Frontenac where he was a member of a number of country bands as well as a guitar teacher. During his later years, he has arranged and hosted numerous open mics and jamborees. He now lives in Harlowe. Bob Goodberry was elected posthumously. Born and raised in Verona, he came from a musical family and was the consummate country troubadour. In his later years, he was a resident of Northbrook. After his death, his songbook was discovered. In it, there were no lyrics or chords, merely the names of thousands of songs. He never used music sheets but remembered all the words. He is affectionately known as “the man of a thousand songs.” His induction was accepted by his wife Norma and son Rob. Bill White was born and raised in Plevna and has received numerous awards including five Canadian Music Association awards for bluegrass, male vocalist of the year, Canadian bluegrass group of the year (Echo Mountain) and bluegrass gospel group of the year (Bill White and White Pines). He started his career with the Neil Perry Orchestra and spent many years as a member of Buddy Clarke and Grass Creek. Neville Wells grew up in Ompah, moved to Ottawa and now lives in Perth. He is known for being the producer of the Ompah Stomp, being founder/editor of the Capitol City Music News (now the Ottawa Valley Country Music News) as well as being inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. His band credits include The Children (which also featured Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen and Peter (Sneezy Waters) Hodgson) and Neville Wells & Sweetwater. Of late, he has been appearing at more and more events and shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s clear talking with Neville Wells that he’s uncomfortable with the term legend being applied to him.“I’m just a kid from Ompah,” he says.He was born in Newfoundland and moved to Mosque Lake Lodge in Ompah as a child. His musical career began at the Ompah Dance Hall where, for $2 a night, he backed up Neil and Flora Perry.But when he moved to Ottawa, he hooked up with some guys you may have heard of before in a band called The Children. His bandmates included Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen, Peter Hodgson (aka Sneezy Waters), Sandy Crawley and Richard Patterson. “We were terrible,” he says, laughing. “But we were having fun and we did have a following.“Ricky was extremely talented and Dave should have been a big star (but) we were all prima donnas.From there he moved on, playing with Crawley a lot. “Coffee houses were the thing,” he says. “Performing was different then.“You didn’t have to be a star and the audiences were always respectful.”Oh, did we mention there was a mid-’60s gig in Ottawa where he opened for the Rolling Stones and one in Toronto opening for The Lovin’ Spoonful?“We were just there for the sound man to get the levels right,” he said. OK, how about the Sweetwater years and songs charting and getting airplay? If You Will See Me Through and Please Don’t Mention Her Name come to mind.“Ah, the Sweetwater years,” he said. “We had a ’77 Chevy van and it was the road — the Pump in Regina, Moose Jaw, Edmonton, Calgary, and a lot of booze.”Still, being a working musician is something most people will never get to do.“OK, my career, I consider it a procession of lost opportunities,” he said. “I really don’t have any regrets other than not learning that ‘music business’ is two words.“I didn’t learn the ‘business’ part of it soon enough.”But, then there is some reflection. “I’m a bit of a hack,” he said. “But look around you — most people will never get to do that.“People who aren’t musicians will never know what it feels like to be on stage, with the band getting in a groove, the audience getting into it . . . they’ll never know.”At 77, Wells has retired to Perth in a small bungalow on a modest pension with his wife Anne-Lis.He’s playing more these days than he had been, but he’s not one to live in the past.“Music is more of a hobby, now,” he said. “The rest, well, I can’t fathom it.“Life goes on with you or without you.”
On July 31, 2017 at 12:30 in the afternoon officers with the Kaladar Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police responded to a head on collision on Highway 41 at Ashby Lake Road.Witnesses reported that one of the vehicles had crossed the centre line. The female driver was pronounced dead at scene and an autopsy is scheduled for today. The male driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.The collision is being investigated by the OPP's Technical Traffic Collision Investigators. The deceased female has been identified as Carolyn LORI, 70 years of age from Laurentian Hills, ONContact: Cst Dave LudingtonPhone: 613-391-9036
In all of its 22 years, the Bon Echo Art Exhibition has “never had bad weather,” said Betty Pearce, coordinator of the Exhibition for the Friends of Bon Echo.Pearce said that at 40 exhibitors, this was one of the smaller shows of recent years but within their optimum range. “We usually try for 45 but we’re generally in the 40-50 range,” she said. “We’ve found 50 or more to be a bit too crowed.”The juried show features Canadian wildlife and/or countryside and it’s all ‘fine art,’ ie no crafts per se. “The show itself isn’t really a fundraiser for the Friends of Bon Echo,” she said. “But the food and barbecue sales generally are.”“It’s a cultural event,” said Katie Ohlke, who had her own work on display as well as that of some of her art students at North Addington Education Centre. “And it’s good real life experience for the students, especially if they can make a little money for materials. “It’s one thing to make art; it’s quite another to show it to an audience.”And, she said, it’s a good way to meet people with similar interests. Carla Meidema has been meeting people this way for 22 years at the Exhibition. One of the original instigators, she’s only recently (five months ago) moved to Kingston but lived in Cloyne for many years. She has a BFA from Queen’s and has been an artist “all my life.” She recalled that the Park wasn’t that keen on the original idea but when the Friends of Bon Echo got involved, it really took off.“The exhibition has matured quite a bit from that first one,” she said. “The first year we had 23 artists and hung ropes in the trees to hang the art from.”