Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

The renovation of the hall was extensive. In Kars the siding on the lodge was clapboard. Under the clapboard they found an older board and batten covering. They chose the older covering for their purpose. The old roof may have had to be rebuilt entirely as well.

The Lodge in its new home

Shadow Soldiers of the St. Lawrence
by Mark Jodoin

Mark Jodoin, president of the RTHS, presented on the subject of ‘Shadow Soldiers of the St. Lawrence’. His presentation was based a series of articles he is writing for Esprit de Corps magazine in honour of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 60th anniversary.

The stories tell of the exploits of explorers and loyalists who lived or died along the river’s north shore. He discussed Simon Fraser, buried just north of Cornwall in St. Andrews, Ontario, who established the first white permanent settlements west of the Rocky Mountains.

Colonel Joel Stone, a loyalist from Connecticut who fought in the American Revolutionary War and eventually came north to found the town of Gananoque, was also featured. Mark also spoke of he famous loyalist from Johnstown, New York, Sir John Johnson, and Lt. Henry Simmons who founded Ernstown near Kingston, Ontario.

The Dickinson House by Coral Lindsay

When the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority moved to their new building at Rideau Valley Dr. and Prince of Wales the Dickinson House was left empty, literally. The RTHS was given the opportunity to open it to the public on weekends and holidays this summer and fall.

The Dickinson House

Coral Lindsay volunteered to manage the project for the RTHS. A number of RTHS members helped with the tours and with painting and decorating. Other people have contributed furniture and artefacts to the extent that 6 rooms are now furnished.

The house was first open on the Dickinson Day weekend. During that weekend there were just under 1200 visitors. As the summer went on we continued to do well. (As of Oct 1 more than 2700 visitors have been counted by our clicker.)

Tours in progress

The tour guides wear period costumes, and some of their children and grandchildren, also in period costume, assist and have demonstrated on the lawn some of the games played back then, such as ring toss.

All in all it has been a very successful season and the RTHS hopes to continue the project into the future.

The "What Did We Do Last Summer?" Meeting

Presentations by Pat Earl, Lucy Martin, Mark Jodoin, and Coral Lindsay

Rideau Branch, Ottawa Archives, North Gower
September 17, 2008

Lower Fort Garry by Pat Earl

This past summer, Brian and Pat Earl took their daughter and three grandchildren to Manitoba.  While there, they visited Lower Fort Garry, located twenty miles north of Winnipeg on the western bank of the Red River.  Better known as ' the stone fort' , Lower Fort Garry was built to replace Fort Garry which had burned in 1826.  It did not become the administrative centre Governor George Simpson envisioned but instead was a supply depot for the Red River settlement and surrounding native populations.

Lower Fort Garry

On August 3, 1871, the first treaty in Western Canada was signed between the Crown and seven Chiefs of the Ojibway and Swampy Cree first Nations at the fort.  Indian treaty #1 became the template for the ten subsequent numbered treaties in Western Canada.

Lower Fort Garry

The Fort was used to train North West Mounted Police in the early 1870's.  Later it was a penitentiary, an insane asylum, the Hudson Bay Company residence, and a golf/motor country club.  It is now owned by the federal government and administered by Parks Canada.

An Amazing Move By Lucy Martin

  Last fall the Kars Orange Hall was moved to Upper Canada Village. The purpose of the acquisition was to add a typical Ontario Masonic Lodge ca 1865 to the UCV collection. Lucy’s presentation covered the move from Kars, the renovations and reconstruction in UCV, and the dedication and laying of the cornerstone ceremony in June 2008. A group of RTHS members attended this ceremony as the June excursion.

The Lodge leaving Kars

The ceremony was quite formal and interesting. Five hundred Masons came, some from as far away as the American mid-west. They were on parade in their ceremonial dress and were supported by a pipe band. The ceremony included the anointing of the cornerstone.

Annointing the cornerstone