HISTORY MOMENTS II, launched in August 2010 at the Regent Theatre in Picton, is a series of short vignettes on local history themes to showcase the rich heritage of Prince Edward County.
History Moments II
Our 2010 History Moments series was launched August 6th at the Regent Theatre in Picton.
These 12 short vignettes on local history themes showcase the rich heritage of Prince Edward County. Developed in partnership with our community partners - The Glenwood Cemetery, the Museums of Prince Edward County, and The Regent Theatre Foundation - these short stories of Prince Edward County highlight the importance of preserving history and the need to support heritage organizations.
Sir John A. Macdonald in Picton
Sir John A. Macdonald is Prince Edward County's most celebrated citizen. He lived in Picton from 1833-1835 tending the law office of his ailing cousin. His parents and sisters lived nearby operating a gristmill at Stone Mills next to the present site of the Glenora Ferry. John A. was already making history. He practiced law illegally and he was one of the first court cases in the new County courthouse after a scuffle on Main Street with another prominent citizen. He went on to become our first Prime Minister in 1867 and to nurture the young nation that became Canada.
In the early 1960s, this Canadian boat made history. Powered by 2000 horsepower Roll Royce engines that once flew Spitfire aircraft defending England during the Second World War, Miss Supertest 111 ended nearly 40 years of American domination of the sport - and was the fastest boat in the world.
The Sandbanks Provincial Park
Forged from glaciers 12,000 years ago, the Sandbanks Provincial Park stretches 12 kilometres across windswept Lake Ontario. It is the largest fresh water bay mouth sand bar and dune system in the world attracting over 550,000 visitors each year to its sandy beaches.
Claramount is one of the great houses of Prince Edward County. Overlooking Picton harbour, this gracious mansion was built in the early 1900s by lawyer Edward Young for his wife Clara. Painstakingly restored in recent years as a spa and inn, today Claramount is a lasting testament to an earlier era in county history that has been preserved.
Picton's Carnegie Library
The Picton Library is one of 125 libraries built in Canada by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men in the world at the turn of the 20th century. With its Carnegie Foundation grant of $12,500, the Picton Library opened on December 14, 1907.
The Picton Fair
The first fair in Prince Edward County took place in 1836. Horse races and prize livestock were big draws. For decades, the fair opened with a parade of school children. Through the hard years of the Depression, the fair had to be cancelled but it has continued ever since as an annual event.
The Orange Lodge
The Orange Lodge was once a powerful fraternity within Prince Edward County and across Canada. There were at least 15 lodges here from the 1830s until the first decades of the 20th century and Orangemen were a force within their communities highly visible during their annual marches in July to celebrate an ancient victory by William of Orange in 1690.
The Timber Trade
In the late 1780s, the dense forests of Prince Edward County welcomed weary travelers fleeing the United States. With its dense forests of elm, maple and pine, the area became a new home for the United Empire Loyalists. In time, they developed a logging industry that encouraged shipbuilding and a robust timber trade with Britain.
Harvest from the Waters
In the mid - 1800s, fishing became big business and a way of life in The County. Commercial fishing is a dangerous trade, yet generations of local families earned their living from the lake. In its heyday in 1889, five million pounds of fish were taken off County shores. Today there are only a few commercial fishermen still setting their nets in local waters.
The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
Over 800 men from Hastings and Prince Edward counties served in the Second World War. The Hasty Ps as they came to be known remain one of the most highly decorated military units in Canadian history for their heroics in Italy and Europe.
The Rum Runners
During the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition in the United States fostered a lucrative booze business in Prince Edward County. Many local farmers and fishermen made the dangerous runs across Lake Ontario risking the weather and well-armed U.S. patrols to drop liquor deliveries off to their thirsty southern neighbours.
Captain John Pepper Downes
Captain John Pepper Downes was the county clerk in the 1840s and 1850s. He lived with his wife Eliza in a gracious old home along Main Street in Picton called Grove Place. There is only one known picture of Downes, but he left us 12 remarkable pencil sketches of early life here.