Be prepared for an amazing trip through diversity. Travel along winding, forest flanked roads over hills and fens of the Canadian Shield, then down arrow-straight roads flanked by rail fences and fertile fields of the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Observe antique bank barns and state-of-the-art farmsteads. Appreciate the evolution of agricultural technology of which they tell. Look at a humble stationmaster's house and through a spectrum of abodes, of stately homes made of stone, brick and board and of whispers of the joys and tears of generations. A fairy-tale cottage overlooks the Rideau Canal as boats of peace and pleasure pass by on this World Heritage Waterway. But the famous Rideau Canal was built for war and "rumors of war". Lands were granted to those loyal to King and Empire, including the family of General Benedict Arnold, on which many heritage farmsteads and homes now stand. Several trains per day once chugged along a busy railroad. Now you can hike or snowmobile this route from sea to sea to sea. Churches tell of diversity of faiths, of people who worshipped and worked in their community with a spirit of ecumenicalism, past and present. A colourful fairground tells of the diversity and spirit of community, present and future. This tour provides a mere sample of the wonderful "Experience to be Remembered" you can enjoy as you travel through the Souths of Elmsley and Burgess in the Township of Rideau Lakes, "Keystone of the Rideau".
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines at GPS 44° 49.575N. 76° 05.311W.
1. Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church (1899)
690 Highway #15 Catholics of the district worshipped in Toledo until 1898 when contractors Casper and James Speagle of Jasper turned the first sod for their new church on land in Lombardy provided by Edward O'Mara. Parishioners drew stone from Michael O'Mara's quarry and brick from Matthew Ryan's kilns on the Jasper Road. The church was formally blessed and opened on June 17th, 1900.
Travel a short distance southward from Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church to GPS 44° 49.499N. 76° 05.367W. Turn left onto County Rd. #1 (Anglican Church Rd.). Drive up the hill.
2. Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Cemetery (1911)
County Road #1
Located on the north side of the Anglican Church on land high and dry and purchased from John Breen, it serves the congregation of Blessed Sacrament Church which is located on Hwy #15 at the north edge of Lombardy Village.
3. Holy Trinity Anglican Church (1862)
29 County Rd. #1 Originally consecrated as "The Church of the featured gothic windows. It was later veneered school. The original wooden structure parishioners worshipped in the first village the village of Lombardy where its pioneer Trinity", the church sits on a hill overlooking with brick, then stuccoed in 1979. Around this time, the church became known as Holy Trinity. The Anglican cemetery is located on the south side of the church.
Continue south on County Rd. #1 a few hundred metres over the crest of the hill.
4. Lombard Cemetery
(on private property) Located on the right, in the middle of a field belonging to the MacMillan farm, this was part of the original Francis Lombard farm. Members of the Lombard and Belanger families were buried there along with other French-Canadian residents of the Township. The Lombardy Women's Institute was instrumental in having the headstones restored in the 1960s.
Continue south for 2.4 km. to the intersection with Townline Road at 44° 48.200N. 76° 04.069W. Turn left onto this road between the Township of Rideau Lakes (South Elmsley Ward) and the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley. Drive eastward on Townline Road which becomes gravel at 1.6 km. and then back to pavement.
Note the flat countryside, straight roads and rectangular and fertile fields of the St. Lawrence Lowlands; such a contrast to the Canadian Shield landscape
you will experience later in this heritage adventure along the Old Kingston Road! The traditional rail fences are a visual link to the early settlers of this area.
5. The Robert Goodfellow House (1833)
550 Townline Rd. Erected on a 100 acre parcel of land six-over-six windows with horizontal lintels, and-a-half stone home with shutters features purchased from the Arnolds, this storey-corner quoining and two chimneys.
6. The Willam South House
622 Townline Rd. Built of locally quarried stone on part of the Attractive corner quoining and horizontal home features multiple head and side lights. front door of this one-and-one-half storey Benedict Arnold land grant, the spacious stone lintels over the windows were popular architectural features of that era.
Drive 5.5 km. to the intersection with Hwy. #29 at 44° 50.105N. 76° 00.804W. Turn left onto Hwy. #29 and travel northward for 2.3 km. to 44° 51/275N. 76° 00.791W. Then turn left (westward) onto Hunter Road.
7. Robert Ferguson House (1903)
16 Hunter Road. This two-and-one-half storey brick home, with spacious wrap-around porch was built for $3,500 on land purchased from George Ferguson in 1870. It was one of the first homes between Brockville and Smiths Falls to have indoor plumbing. Note the two small circular windows and the elaborate arched front window. This property was originally part of a 200-acre Crown Patent granted in 1803 to the widow of General Benedict Arnold.
8. Peter Hunter House (1902)
52 Hunter Road. This two-storey home was built of brick for $3,000 on land that was part of the Arnold Patent grant. It is near the site of an old stone house and close to the unique and original stone barn which features corner quoining, a sectional stone arch and lintels over the doors. A high end door provides access to the loft. This is a unique and distinct variation of barn architecture.
9. John J. Purcell House (1908)
79 Hunter Road This stately large home was built on property originally owned by John Ward. The white bricks were brought all the way from Fallbrook by horse and sleigh in winter. It should be noted that it was often easier to travel and transport on the frozen snowy ground and icy lakes of winter than on the dusty bumpy trails of summer or the muddy trenches of spring and fall. Note the original and longlasting metal roof. In 1920, Purcell was one of the original incorporators of the Brockville Road Rural Telephone Company.
Turn around at the Purcell House 44° 50.800N. 76° 01.557W. and return east on Hunter's Rd.
10. John Alexander Hunter Homestead (c1862)
21 Hunter Rd.This one-and-one-half storey Ontario Cottage style stone home with its large verandah was built by Hugh MacGregor on land purchased from George Roman. It was originally granted from the crown in 1803. MacGregor's daughter, Jessie, married John Alexander Hunter who died at the age of 34 but left a tradition of Hunter family for four generations. The Hunter family presently owns this very modern dairy farm with a complete range of traditional and modern buildings dating from the 1800s to 2006. This very complete farmstead includes a board and batten woodshed and carriage-house attached to the back of the residence. A traditional stone home, it manifests two original chimneys, horizontal lintels over the upstairs windows and dormer pediment windows among its many interesting features.
Continue east along Hunter Road to Highway #29 at 44° 51.275N. 76° 00.791W. Turn left and travel north-east.
11. William Ballantyne School (1860)
448 Hwy. #29 Walter Lawson originally owned this property where William Ballantyne built this school of local sandstone on the site of an old log schoolhouse. Usually open 12 months of the year during the 1850s and 60s, the younger students attended during the summer months when the older boys had to work on the farms. Closed in 1954, this fine stone building served as a community meeting place for several years.
12. William Ballantyne House ( c1850)
443 Hwy. #29 This Scottish carpenter and stone mason built his unique "L" shaped one and one-half storey stone home shortly after arriving in Upper Canada. It features 6-over-6 windows and a headlight over the offset front door which opens onto a wide verandah. With his sons, William built several business blocks and numerous private homes of finely masoned stone in Smiths Falls.
Continue north-east on Hwy #29. At the traffic lights at 44° 52.365N. 76° 00.833W., turn left onto the Golf Club Road. At 3.7 km., you will cross the Cataraqui Trail.
Once a CNR railway track, this scenic route is now part of the Trans-Canada Trail that can take you by foot, snowmobile, horse or bike to any or all three of Canada's ocean shores. At the STOP sign, turn right toward the traffic lights at 44° 50.737N. 76° 03.556W. Turn left onto Hwy. #15.
This highway, part of the Rideau Heritage Route, takes you past the Lombard Glen Golf Course and the Lombardy Agricultural Society Fair Grounds, known for its many buildings with brilliant orange roofs. Thousands attend the annual summer fair on the August 1st long weekend. Many other community events highlight the year such as the Tri-Church Pancake Feast on Shrove Tuesday and the Relay-for-Life that brings thousands of participants each year to support the Cancer Society.
Approaching the village of Lombardy once again, you will see two churches on your right.
13. Lombardy United Church (1866)
688 Highway #15 Originally the Lombardy Methodist Church, it was built on land sold to the congregation for $75.00 by Michael O'Mara. This red brick structure with Gothic style windows was finished in finely crafted ash and maple. Due to contributions of many kinds from its members, it was completed mortgage-free for $1,350. Continue south past Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church along Hwy. #15
14. McKinney House (1856)
798 Hwy. #15 on your right just south of Lombardy This beautifully restored stone home sits on land originally granted by the Crown in 1803 to the family of American General Benedict Arnold. William McKinney bought the land from Joseph Falkner in 1852 for 250 pounds and first lived in a small log house on the north side of the present house. In 1856, stone mason William Tweedy of Bass Lake was paid $1.00 a day to build this elegant home. Mr. McKinney was a prosperous farmer and blacksmith and his establishment was well used by stage coaches traveling between Bytown/Ottawa and Kingston.
Wheels could be repaired, horses watered and passengers refreshed in gracious surroundings renowned for beautiful flower beds, water fountains and colourful peacocks.
Continue south-westward on Hwy. #15.
More and more outcrops of the Canadian Shield poke up through layers of Nepean sandstone of the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
15. Robert Polk House, 2827
Hwy. #15 This designated residence of one and one-half storeys was constructed of local brick with contrasting quoining and with the lower storey plastered. Of enhanced Ontario Cottage design, it manifests a brick summer kitchen and clapboard woodshed. It is roofed with patterned heritage metal and a gable in its front façade boasts a rectangular casement window with semi-elliptical head. Two dormer windows augment the roof of the rear wing. The original windows are double hung in 2 / 2 arrangement. The main entrance is set in a recess with moulded frame, rectangular transom with multiple lights and sidelights. The solid 5-panel door retains its original interior bolt. The front and two sides of this fine home are graced by a verandah that has recently been meticulously restored.
Canadian Shield Country At 44° 42.952N. 76° 10.420W., turn right from Highway #15 onto the Old Kingston Road which once wound its way from Fortress Kingston to Perth, centre of Bathhurst District.
Once a number of prosperous dairy farms, a road house (inn) and a one room school could be found along this road. This rugged landscape demanded irregularly-shaped farms and fields that are now being reclaimed by nature. The Old Kingston Road winds through part of the Canadian Shield which contains diverse ancient minerals such as mica, apatite, red ochre (hematite) and graphite, some of which were once mined. Now numerous cottage roads lead down to the scenic shores of the Big Rideau Lake.
16. Hip-roofed Barn at 4421 Old Kingston Road
Built on a foundation of local sandstone when family farms prospered and labour was cheap, its ramps and oversized doors admitted horse-drawn wagons to fill the large high lofts with loose hay. This fodder sustained a fine herd of dairy cattle stabled below through long cold winters. This barn represents a very different stage of dairy farming technology from the very modern Hunter Farmstead at #10.
Stay on the Old Kingston Rd as it crosses the Houghton Bay Rd. at GPS 44° 45.974N. 76° 10.324W. Notice the reddish colour of patches of this gravel road; Canadian Shield red ochre or hematite. Nearby is the Mill Pond Conservation Area, a treasured part of the Rideau Valley Conservation Area.
Travel along the Old Kingston Rd to the intersection with Mahon Rd. at 44° 48.288N. 76° 09.941W. Continue to the right and drive to the intersection with County Rd. #1 (Rideau Ferry Rd.) at 44° 50.671N. 76° 08.248W. Turn left and drive through the hamlet of Rideau Ferry by crossing the bridge over the Rideau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Geographic "Destination". You are now on part of the Rideau Heritage Route.
You have left Leeds County and driven into Lanark County. You have left the Township of Rideau Lakes and entered the Twsp. of Drummond - N. Elmsley. Turn around in Rideau Ferry, once called Oliver's Ferry. As you pass back over the bridge, notice the beautiful heritage cottage to your left on the south shore.
17. Ferryland Cottage (c1895 )
Best seen from the bridge. On land purchased by Alexander Martin of Ottawa in 1889 for $125.00, the original structure is still visible. It was built in the early 1890s with ballroom frame design, clapboard exterior and a striking turret from which to enjoy this very prominent view of the Rideau. A 2-storey addition, a gazebo and a boat house were added over the intervening decades, always bearing in mind the Victorian theme of the original cottage. Come back to Rideau Ferry at Christmas time to enjoy this scene illuminated with over 2,000 lights.
Note the maple sugar bush along the ridge on your right, an example of the remarkable mid-latitude mixed forest that graces our area and provides homes for a wide range of flora and fauna including white-tailed deer. Consider the ages and stages of farm architecture you can see along this road from bank barns, hiproofed, arched roofed to modern plastic arch barns.
Continue driving south on County Rd/ #1 (Rideau Ferry Road) toward Lombardy.
"The largest Crown Grants of land at this time went to the widow and children of Benedict Arnold, the famous American who defected to the British in the Revolutionary War. Widow Margaret, her one daughter Sophia and five boys received title to a total of over 8 800 acres in Elmsley. Twenty-eight of the 44 lots granted were situated in what became South Elmsley."
(Kennedy, James R. "South Elmsley in the Making, 1783-1983" 1984, p. 11)
As more settlers arrived in this area during the mid and late 1800s, many of them purchased land from the Arnold Family.
18. H. Nelson Covell House and Farmstead (c1887)
129 County Road #1 (Rideau Ferry Road) The house and barns were built on land purchased for $1,500 from George W. Phipps, grandson of Benedict Arnold. Kilns on the Old Kingston Road supplied the brick for this one-and-one-half storey, highly ornamented Ontario Cottage style home which still has the original steel shingles. Here you see a very complete late-1800s farmstead with a wellmaintained bank barn. Fancy corner quoining is featured on the unique carriage shed, just one building in this remarkable and complete farmstead representative of the 1800s. The area above the arched double door of the carriage shed was initially solid brick. But during major repairs to the back wall (c1950), a high wind blew out the upper front wall which was then replaced with a row of windows to light a hen house. In 1923, Nelson Covell's son Mervin sold the farm to Ormand Wright, a Lombardy cheese maker for $9,535. It is still farmed by his grandson.
19. S.S. #6 Lombardy School (1895)
County Road #1 (Rideau Ferry Road) This red brick school, measuring 36 by 26 feet, replaced a smaller log school located near the Union Cemetery in the village and was typical of one-roomed schools in the area. Built by the Gilday Bros. of Lombardy, it closed in 1963 when a large modern school was built on Hwy. #15 a few kilometres north of the village.
20. Stationmaster's House
174 County Rd. #1 (Rideau Ferry Road) Moved from the small CNR Lombardy Station to its present location in 1933, it became the home of legendary Lombardy blacksmith, Donald Moodie. His antique steam engine, built in Sarnia Ontario in 1912 was shown at many local fairs and parades. This former stationmaster's house was very typical of the simple and functional railway architecture representative of the Age of Steam.
Continue into the Village of Lombardy, once a thriving community with waterpower from Otter Creek, a saw mill, several shops, inns, a cheese factory and a blacksmith shop. Originally called Lombard's Corners, it was named after Francis Lombard, a French soldier who was captured by the British during the Napoleanic Wars. When given the choice between life in prison or exile to Canada, he preferred the latter and settled here in the vicinity of Otter Creek. He died in 1863 at the age of 92. The village name was changed to Lombardy in 1879.
In Lombardy, at 44° 49.438N. 76° 05.532W., turn left onto Blacksmith Road.
21. O'Reilly Hotel
973 Blacksmith Road This building originally operated as one of several hotels in the village. Later, in 1853, the red brick portion housed the first post office with Elisha Landon as postmaster. The South Elmsley Telephone Co., formed in 1913, was also located here and by 1914 had 68 subscribers. Note the arched lintels over the windows and the corner quoining. In 1920 the stone portion of the building contained the municipal offices and for many years served as the community hall. Now it is Otter Creek Antiques.
The Otter Creek Cheese Factory, c1870 was located a short distance down the street. A patrons' organization, it processed the milk from over 500 dairy cows into cheddar cheese. Cheese factories were prone to fi res and this one burned in 1940, was rebuilt and became a private residence. But in turn, it too was destroyed by fire in 1970.
Continue to the turn-around at 44° 49.525N. 76° 05.403W. and drive back toward County Rd. #1.
22. Klyne Hotel (1876)
17 Blacksmith Road Originally called the Revere Hotel, it was built of brick by Joseph Klyne. It also served as a tavern until the First World War. The street contains other buildings which were built as hotels, stores and private residences, most erected in the late 1800s. #27, a 2 storey red brick building was originally Henry Polk's Store and #23 was the grey stone Duffield Home.
Continue along Blacksmith Road crossing County Rd. #1 (Rideau Ferry Road).
23. The Blacksmith Shop (orig. 1860)
beside #34 Blacksmith Road Built by George Houze, it was first used as a cooper's shop, then sold in 1933 to Donald Moodie who operated it as a blacksmith shop for many years, repairing sleighs and cutters, shoeing horses and setting wheels. He built a grist mill beside it in 1935 which was active for several years. The smithy was essential to any pioneer community, an able physician of the temper of metal and the pulse of community.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For lessons thou hast taught!
Thus at the fl aming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
Continue down Blacksmith Road, park in the turn around at 44° 49.230N. 76° 05.560W. and visit the Union Cemetery on the hill.
24. Lombardy Union Cemetery (c1846)
Established on ¾ of an acre of land donated in 1846 by David Brown, it was deeded for a school and a cemetery for the Protestant families in the area; Methodists,
Holiness Movement and Brethren. The present Masonic Lodge is located on this site of the fi rst village school, a small log building constructed in the early 1850s, then sold in 1876, after a new and larger school S.S. #6, was built on the Rideau Ferry Road.
Return to County Rd. #1 (Rideau Ferry Road)Turn right and continue to the intersection with Hwy. #15 at 44° 49.381N. 76° 05.442W. Turn left onto Hwy. #15 and return to our starting point at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church.
Please note that the Heritage Advisory Committee of the Township of Rideau Lakes has made every effort to ensure that the information provided herein is accurate and is to be used as an information source only. We welcome new information as it becomes available and will consider refi ning details in future publications. We cannot be liable for any injuries, inconvenience or fi nancial loss that may occur to persons participating in this tour. Please be advised that our walking, driving and bicycling routes are not maintained exclusively by the Township of Rideau Lakes. Accordingly, the Township of Rideau Lakes does not take responsibility for the condition of said route or paths. Please enjoy your amble through the past here in the Keystone of the Rideau. Please use courtesy and common sense when traveling our Heritage Routes. Please help us preserve our World Heritage and Biodiversity privilege and responsibility.
Published by the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee of the Township of Rideau Lakes,
Doug Bond Chairman.