Our 2011 History Moments series was launched in early July at The Regent Theatre in Picton, a restored heritage property that is the centre stage for cultural events in Prince Edward County.
History Moments III
The series of 12 vignettes, our third series, showcases the people and events, which have shaped the history of Prince Edward County, Ontario. Developed in partnership with our community partners – The Glenwood Cemetery, The Museums of Prince Edward County, and The Regent Theatre – these short stories highlight the importance of capturing history before it is lost to Time, and the need to support community heritage organizations.
Sir Thomas Picton
There are two municipalities named after the colourful British general Sir Thomas Picton – one in New Zealand, and the other in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Although acknowledged as a great general popular with his men, Picton had a notorious career in the British military.
Loyalist Settler Peter Van Alstine
Originally from New York State, Peter Van Alstine had to flee the area during the American Revolution along with thousands of others loyal to the British. He settled in Adolphustown, Ontario and became a driving force in the settlement of his new country.
The Mohawks were allies of the British during the American Revolution. Forced to flee their ancestral homelands in the Mohawk Valley of New York State, they re-settled in Deseronto, Ontario. Each May, they re-enact the epic journey of their ancestors to a new home in the wilderness of British North America.
The Society of Friends – or Quakers – deeply influenced the history of Prince Edward County, Ontario. Opposed to war, Quakers were caught in the crossfire of the American Revolution. When they re-settled in Canada, they brought with them many agricultural products and practices that later helped establish Prince Edward County as “The Garden County of Canada.”
The Hallowell Legacy
Benjamin Hallowell was a customs clerk in Boston in the 1780s and had to make a run for it when the British evacuated the city during the American Revolution. His son, Benjamin Hallowell Carew, became an admiral in the British navy. The Hallowell name has endured through the decades as a township in Prince Edward County and a Canadian warship built during the Second World War.
The Danforth Road
Early travel in British North America was primarily by water. But as the area was settled, there was a need to built roads linking isolated settlements. The job of building one of the first roads was awarded to an American, Asa Danforth, who built a primitive route stretching from York (now Toronto) to Kingston, Ontario. Re-named the Loyalist Parkway, this road remains as a historic route in Eastern Ontario.
The Glenora Ferry
Prince Edward County is an island linked to the mainland by several bridges and the Glenora Ferry. Today, the ferry is a popular tourist attraction and remains a vital route to neighbouring communities. The ferry has a long history in the development of the area.
During the first years of Loyalist settlement, education was a luxury for another time when the land was cleared. The first schools were in the homes of settlers, but in the early 1800s, the three “Rs” of readin’, writin’, and arithmetic were learned in the small, brick schoolhouses, which still stand in many parts of Hastings and Prince Edward counties.
The Lakeshore Lodge was a stately resort on the south shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County, which hosted thousands of visitors annually at the turn of the 20th century. While a fire destroyed the lodge and only its ruins remain, it was a popular destination famous for its dance hall, fine dining and sand beaches.
The Picton Gazette
First published in December 1830, The Picton Gazette is one of Canada’s oldest community newspapers. Today the paper continues its role as a witness to history publishing a weekly newspaper available online to the world.
As war raged in Europe, the British government sent its airmen to train at Camp Picton in Prince Edward County, Canada. After the war, Camp Picton became a Canadian military base until it was closed in 1969. Now an industrial park, the site still retains its original look.
Temperance Pioneer Letitia Youmans
Originally from the Cobourg area, Letitia Youmans was a teacher in Prince Edward County in the mid-1800s when excessive drinking was prevalent. Moved by the impact this had on families, she campaigned for temperance and founded the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, an organization that became her life’s work.