It’s May 25, 1924, and the evening is drawing nigh. You are a senior student at S.S. No. 6 Ops Township, known to locals as “McArthur’s School,” and you have just had supper at Joseph Parrington’s place, down on what is now called Halter Road. You’ve been helping Mr. Parrington with chores since school began, and he has graciously invited you to eat with his family on this calm Sunday night.
A quarter of a century ago, in 1994, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, South Eldon celebrated its 150th anniversary as a congregation, only to close shortly thereafter. This massive Gothic-revival place of worship – vast in scale compared with other rural churches in the area – is now privately owned.
The sounds of congregational singing have long since died off, the smells and tastes of those delightful dinners so common to the rural church experience are no more, and the furnishings found homes elsewhere, having been sold off at auction. Located at the northwest corner of Prospect and Lorneville Roads, [the former] St. Andrew’s Church still rises from the surrounding landscape, its soaring facade partially hidden by the surrounding foliage.
It’s a property with a now well-documented past but an uncertain future. There are competing interests and City Council and its Planning Advisory Committee have some decisions to make.
You can see the property for yourself if you turn off King Street onto St. David, towards Logie Road. Number 3 St. David, one of the property’s two houses, will be on your right. It’s a large red-brick, gable-front Victorian with a wrap-around porch, set back from the road on a well-treed lot (there’s a towering walnut, some maples and others).
Take the first right onto the extension of Riverview and past a line of mature pine trees you’ll find 4 Riverview, the second, smaller house — a typical Ontario Gothic cottage.
September 17, 1997. A terrifying sight is bringing up the rear of Lindsay’s annual Fair Parade. An 80-year-old steam engine (more properly called a traction engine), complete with a water wagon and antique threshing machine in tow, inches its way up Kent Street.
Terrifying, you say? Yes, indeed. To a six or seven-year-old child, the column of grey smoke rising from the chimney of this fire-breathing monster built by George White & Sons Co. of London, Ontario, means only one thing: its whistle will soon be shrieking like a banshee as it passes by on route to the [old] Lindsay fairgrounds.
Recently, members of the City of Kawartha Lakes’ Economic Development Department, senior City staff, and a City councillor paid a visit to Cherry Tree Lodge, a diminutive nineteenth century cottage located at 19 Third Street in Sturgeon Point. A few years prior, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, MP, paid a visit to the Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay, where she spent some time admiring the beautiful paintings and drawings credited to the builder of Cherry Tree Lodge, William Alfred Goodwin (1840-1940).
Why has this tiny cottage and the unassuming artist who built it captured the attention of people over the past five years?
Picture it. It’s mid-May of 1919, and you’re a 12 or 13-year-old frolicking in the waters of the Scugog River at the foot of Georgian Street – not too far from where William Purdy and his sons constructed a dam some nine decades before. A little to the west, the tall stone edifice of a flour and feed mill constructed in 1869 casts a shadow over the locks. It’s one of many manufacturing facilities which have sprouted along both banks of the river and beyond in the half century that Lindsay has been called a Town.
With spring in full swing and April’s showers heralding May’s flowers, the end of summer is probably the farthest thing from most of our minds. For those who can’t wait, one of Ontario’s longtime end-of-summer traditions will be the focus of an upcoming presentation at Fenelon Falls United Church on Tuesday May 14 when author Lee Shimano shares with the Fenelon Falls United Church Women and friends her memories and mementos of the Canadian National Exhibition.
“The first duty of an industrial order, whatever its nature, is to provide for the needs of the people. Business is good, in the true sense, when all the people are maintained in decent comfort and wholesome security. Salaries for presidents of corporations and dividends on stock should come after that has been accomplished.”
These words were printed, not in last week’s business or opinion section of one of Canada’s major national newspapers, but in Lindsay’s Evening Post almost 100 years ago, in 1920. The author, a syndicated columnist whose writings appeared in newspapers across Canada, went by the byline, “J.W. MacMillan, D.D.” The post-nominal letters, which stand for Doctor of Divinity, tell us that MacMillan was a man of the cloth; a minister of word and sacrament. “What does he think he is doing, sticking his nose into public affairs?” a contemporary observer might sneer. “Shouldn’t he be concerned with matters of a purely spiritual nature? Do we not believe in the separation of Church and State?”
The young lady in the accompanying picture is my great-grandaunt, Euphemia “Effie” McQuarrie (1885-1967), known by her extended family simply as “Aunt Ef.”
Born in Argyle, she was once described as “small in stature, a very attractive girl with a good mind and a delightful personality.” Photographs of Ef, and Edwardian-era postcards she mailed to her siblings, portray her as a vivacious individual who personified what American writer Winnifred Harper Cooley called “The New Woman;” one who was independent, educated, and in control of her own destiny.
Imagine strolling through Lindsay’s historic boroughs 100 years ago, in 1919. What might life have been like, behind the scenes and within the businesses that once drove our economy? What thoughts and emotions coursed through the minds and hearts of local citizens? Imagination – and a little research – are powerful tools. They transpose me from the streets on which I stroll today…to the Lindsay of a century ago.
Lindsay, mid-spring, 1919.
Before venturing into the heart of commercial Lindsay, I pause to admire the Ross Memorial Hospital, standing proudly on a height of land adjacent to Kent and Angeline Streets. The 16-going-on-17-year-old Ross is generously supported by the community it serves, and this support apparently extends to the new Isolation Hospital at the corner of Colborne and Angeline.