Exploring Ontario: Lanark County to Hastings County

I arrived in Ontario on Sunday May 20, 2012.  The plane set down at the Ottawa airport.  I  have been touring around Renfrew County, Ontario and Pontiac County, Quebec. Once I completed that part of the trip I headed back to Ottawa to take advantage of the archives and repositories in that city.  I visited the Libraries and Archives of Canada one of the days, and the Ottawa Public Library.  You can read about that part of the tour at the blog: The Man Who Lived Airplanes:  http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/  I was exploring my father’s McDonald roots, something I had wanted to do for a very long time.

Another one of my goals was to get to Kingston for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  So from Ottawa I decided to go west to Lanark County and take a look at the Scottish people who settled there.  I stopped in Smith Falls and visited the Lanark County Genealogical Society which is housed in the basement of the Historical Museum.  I share about that visit in The Man Who Lived Airplanes blog (See the link above or to the right in the side bar).

Smith Falls is right on the Rideau Canal and I booked into the Comfort Inn.  My view from my lanai was wonderful.  The Rideau was right out my door.  They did have a bit of a downpour and thunderstorm when I was there but it cleared up enough for me to enjoy the canal.

The Rideau Canal, Smith Falls

Much to my surprise I had a lovely dinner overlooking the Rideau Canal in the restaurant right next door to the Comfort Inn called Chuckles Jack.  The name is a bit silly but the view and the food was great and was actually the best meal I had in all of Ontario during my whole trip.  http://www.chucklesjack.com/

The next morning I was on my way early.  Perth was not to far away and right close to Hwy 7.  I had been concerned about this highway but found it to be smooth, little traffic except for trucks, and odd drivers who did not get out-of-the-way, great scenery and gentle curves.  The highway is two lanes.  I did have the feeling I was climbing.  In some places the hills were evident.  I would say it reminded me of Minnesota and more like the foothills back home.

As I left Perth I switched over to the Brown family research.  As you may know, if you have read this blog, the Brown family is the family of my grandmother Ethel Adella Brown my mother’s mother.  I have shared photos and information about her life on this blog in the past and her marriage to Robert Boardman my grandfather.

Ethel’s great-grandfather William Brown came from Ireland.  As far as we know he and Elsie had 11 children.  Currently my cousin has found 4 sons and maybe a daughter living in Ontario and settling in Hastings County sometime in the 1830’s.  Some of the sons stayed in Hastings and are buried there while others moved on to Lambton County, Ontario, then Lapeer County, Michigan and others headed for Manitoba, like my great-grandfather Richard Brown.  I wanted to see if I couldn’t find out more about their time in Hastings County.  I also wanted to find out more about my 3rd great-grandfather William Brown.

The sun was shining so I had good weather for traveling.  Perth to Marmora would be about 2.5 hours depending on traffic and other factors.  My black Caliber was a trooper.

There are these low rock formations along the road that reminded me of mini versions of Utah’s monument valley, an occasional housing community but mostly trees and signs for various parks and resorts.

The Digital Atlas website has a great map of 1880 showing the counties in Ontario:  http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas/searchmapframes.php  Frontenac is #31, Hastings in #28 and #30 is Lennox and Addington.  You can click on the map of that county and do more exploring.  This is useful for studying all areas of Ontario.

I entered the county of Frontenac, the Central Frontenac area, and drove through the middle of that county.  To the south was Kingston which is on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario where the St. Lawrence River begins.  I would be there in a few days for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  These counties along this area are long counties reaching north into the middle of the southern portion of Ontario.  Here is a great map with the townships named that helps to get oriented regarding Frontenac County.  Find Sharbot Lake and that is the road I was on Hwy 7:  http://www.frontenacmaps.ca/pdfs/Accommodations.pdf

I passed by Sharbot Lake https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/sharbotlake  Here is another article:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharbot_Lake  I could have turned south and headed for Kingston but I was determined to visit Hastings County first.

There were signs for Land O’Lakes with a very interesting travel booklet you can pull the corners and it opens like a booklet:   http://www.travellandolakes.com/  There are maps that cover the area I was traveling on Hwy 7.  Oh, no it is not the butter that company is out of St. Paul, Minnesota.  HA!

As I drove along I saw two baby bears and some blackness behind them and I assume it was their mother.  They were awful close to the highway.  This website has a map about the density of bears in Ontario and about living with bears:  http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_167695.html

A vulture swooped down and landed on some green grass near the road near some carrion on the road.  I am not sure if it was a Turkey or Black, the head was not that red more white in color.  I was rather surprised to see it for I thought it was an eagle till it landed.

I saw a turtle in the middle of the road and I think it was dead. I did see turtle crossing signs and moose signs.

I arrived in Kaladar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaladar on Hwy 7 and it was not long after that I came to the sign for Hastings County.

Hastings County, Ontario

I was very excited.  There is always that disconnection when you study an area from afar and then when you are actually there it can be very different from what you expected.

There was a lake area to my left and right with cat tails and the remains of dead trees trucks.  It was swampy like and I actually saw a beaver lodge to my right.  This was something I have not seen since my childhood.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Beaver

The sign to Tweed came up and I was to learn that there is a Heritage Center there that was recommended to me to visit:   http://www.ruralroutes.com/1266.html  That will be a stop on my next trip and yes, I will be returning soon.

Madoc came and the sign indicated that I would have to turn south into this town to see it.  I had to push on to Marmora and the road curved around through a little more through a foothills area.  I stopped in Marmora to take a break and get some food:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmora,_Ontario  It is a lot bigger than I expected.

There was a little restaurant off the road just as I came into Marmora called the Odd Cup Cafe (now called Theresa’s).  It was great.  The nice lady was very kind and pleasant and took my order. It was simple comfort food.  The prices were reasonable.  I loved it.   This man kept coming in and going out to sit in the sun under the umbrella’s and talk to this lady.  I think it means that the coffee was good.  If I had more time this is a place where you dally and get to know the residents and ask them about the families that lived there, you would be surprised what you might learn.

Odd Cup Cafe, Marmora – A Great Find

From Marmora I headed south on Hwy 14 to Stirling.  I was in Marmora township and had a little more to go before I would actually be in Rawdon Township.

Here is a wonderful tourism website that combines Mamora, Tweed and Madoc in a group with the title “Comfort Country.” I am in heaven:  photographs, road trip guides.  I am planning to return, hopefully in September and this is exactly what I need to plan that visit.  http://www.comfortcountry.ca/

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