businesses


The Ontario Temperance Act was passed on April 27th, 1916, banning the sale of alcohol in the province apart from for medicinal, religious or scientific purposes from September 16th. This had an impact on the local hotel business, as this extract from the minutes of Deseronto Town Council on this day in 1916 makes clear:

William Myles's request to Council

Mr. W. N. Myles of the Deseronto House Hotel being present, it was moved by the Reeve, seconded by Councillor Richardson, that he be heard.
Mr. Myles stated he was now keeping a standard hotel and requested the Council to grant him a license to keep two or more billiard tables. Councillor Hunt said at the present time it was revenue we are after as the cutting off of liquor licenses left the town in a bad monetary shape. He was in favour of the application. The Reeve also stated that he was in favour of granting the application.
Moved by Councillor Hunt, seconded by the Reeve, that Mr.Myles be granted the privilege he asked on payment of the usual fee. Carried.

A “standard hotel” was one where the hotel-keeper was

…entitled to sell all non-intoxicating drinks and beverages, cigars, cigarettes and tobacco, and to conduct an ice cream or general restaurant or café without further or other license

according to the terms of the Act.

Deseronto House Hotel

Deseronto House Hotel

William Myles maintained his association with billiard tables: in the 1921 census he was living in Thomas Street with an occupation of ‘Amusements’, working as an employee in a pool room. He retired to Hamilton and died there on December 31st, 1927 at the age of 69. He lived long enough to see the Ontario Temperance Act repealed: in March 1927.

CIBC in October 2012 (from Google Streetview)

Deseronto CIBC in October 2012 (from Google Streetview)

The CIBC branch in Deseronto will be closing its doors for good this summer, bringing to an end more than 120 years of banking history in the town.

The Bank of Montreal was the first firm to open a bank in Deseronto: Herbert Osborne took this photograph of its original Main Street branch in around 1895:

Bank of Montreal, c.1895

Bank of Montreal, c.1895

In 1904 the Bank of Montreal built a new structure at Centre and Main on the corner of the park lot.

DESCOM-06-23

DESCOM-06-23

Shortly after the Bank of Montreal opened its new building, the Standard Bank opened a branch in Deseronto, in September 1905. Seventeen years later, a new brick building, the current CIBC branch, was constructed on the south side of Main Street. Here is the bank under construction:

2009.26 CIBC-09-02

2009.26 CIBC-09-02

And here is the finished building in the 1920s:

2009.26 CIBC-09-15

2009.26 CIBC-09-15

In 1928 the Standard Bank was taken over by the Canadian Bank of Commerce. During the Great Depression it was common practice for banks to rationalize their branches and transfer customers to another firm. The Bank of Montreal closed down in 1932 and its customers were moved to the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

This is how the building looked in 1933:

2009.26 CIBC-09-17

2009.26 CIBC-09-17

The Bank of Montreal building was taken over by the Town of Deseronto and became the Town Hall in 1945, with Council holding its first meeting there on November 15th of that year. In 1961 the Canadian Bank of Commerce merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada to become the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The CIBC Deseronto branch celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005.

2015.09 two pairs of glasses made by Canada Optical

After the iron we featured a few weeks ago, here are two more examples of Deseronto-made items. These glasses frames were manufactured at the Canada Optical Company’s factory on Main Street in Deseronto, the building which was until recently the Deseronto Fleamarket and which originally contained drying kilns for the Rathbun Company’s lumber business. It is marked number 15 on the detail of the 1895 map below:

Dry kilns and sash factory. c.1895

According to an article in the Quinte Scanner newspaper of October 4th, 1972 this building had several other uses between these two:

The building which is occupied by Canada Optical at present housed a match factory in the 1920’s, a meat packing plant in the early ’30’s and a cheese factory after that. Canada Optical started operations in 1946; in 1947 an extension was added to the factory, this consisted of an old hanger from the nearby wartime airfield.

At this time the firm was called the Canada Zyl Company, (it is still known by this name to local residents) and was producing four or five different types of spectacle frames in only two colours. They were made of a highly inflammable material and had to be stored in thick walled buildings well away from the main plant.

Here is how the building looked in 1972:

The factory moved from this location in 1996 to a building at the airport on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. It closed down in 2002.

Thanks to Andrea Hinz for the donation of these frames, another piece of Deseronto’s manufacturing past.

“High Diving”: aircraft crashed in the Bay of Quinte

A report from the Napanee Express of November 15th, 1918, four days after the signing of the Armistice.

One result of the signing of the armistice will be the immediate close of the two aviation camps at Deseronto, Camp Mohawk and Camp Rathbun. The commanding officers received instructions Monday morning from Ottawa to make arrangements for the demobilization of the force and the safe storage of machines and equipment. The engines are being taken out of the planes, coated with vaseline and being stored away. This work it is expected will be finished in about two weeks, and then the camp will be abandoned except by caretakers.

It was decided some months ago to make use of the camps at Deseronto all winter, and not send the men south for training the same as had been done last year. It as the intention to install elaborate heating and sanitation systems so that the men would be comfortable during the cold weather. About a month ago, however, the authorities at Ottawa, apparently ordered the discontinuation of the work.

The aviation camps have been popular resorts for sight seers the past two years, and the planes have been a frequent spectacle manoeuvering over our town. The men also have been welcome visitors to the town on many occasions. They were of a superior class, always well conducted and gentlemanly. Their departure will mean a social and sentimental, as well as a real business loss to the merchants of Deseronto.

Did you miss the chance to explore Deseronto’s Doors Open sites on May 28, 2011? Or perhaps you weren’t able to visit all of them?

Fear not! We’ve made all the Deseronto site brochures available here for you to look at. Just click on the images below to get a large version that you can print off or read online.

Deseronto Cemetery [site 22]
Camp Rathbun [site 23]
St. Mark’s Hall [site 24]
Grace United Church [site 25]
Public Works Garage: former aircraft hangar [site 26]
Naylor’s Theatre [site 27]
Deseronto Post Office [site 28]
Deseronto Town Hall [site 29]
Rathbun Memorial Park [site 30]
McGlade Funeral Home [site 31]
Foresters’ Island [site 32]
Former industrial sites [site 33]
Church of the Redeemer [site 34]
St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church [site 35]
Founding of Deseronto [site 36]

Detail of 2011.03

One of the Archives’ first new accessions of 2011 was a map of Hastings County, transferred by colleagues at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives. Surrounding the map are mini-business directories for Belleville, Deseronto, Frankford, Madoc, Shannonville, Stirling and Tweed. The photo shows the businesses listed for Deseronto, which suggest that the map dates from the 1940s (as that was when Evan Gardner’s funeral home was in operation). It must have been much simpler to remember telephone numbers, back then…

Ed Roach’s butcher shop is fondly remembered by many local people. One of our oral history interviewees remarked that Ed always promised that his meat was “as tender as a woman’s heart”.

Rainbow Protex Ltd.

This photograph shows a stand at a trade show in the 1920s or 1930s. The company represented is Rainbow Protex, a manufacturer of auto top dressings and boot and shoe polish. At this period, car roofs were usually made of fabric that had been coated with rubber. To keep them looking good and to protect the rubber from the effects of sunlight and cold or wet weather, black oil-based varnishes known as auto top dressings were applied to their surfaces.

This particular company’s head office was in Toronto, but (according to the photograph) the factory that produced the polishes and dressings was in Deseronto. One of the men in the photograph is William Macdonald Mackintosh, a chemist, originally from Liverpool in England (U.S. patent no. 771,257 was issued in 1904 for his ‘Compound for Waterproofing Fabrics’). Mackintosh’s granddaughter got in touch with the Archives recently, asking whether we had any information about the company for which Mackintosh was working.

We don’t have any details about the firm in the Archives, so, with her permission, we are sharing this copy of Martha Mackintosh’s photograph here, in case anyone can tell as more about this particular company. We would like to know exactly where in Deseronto its factory was and when it was in operation. Please comment if you can help!

Skating on the Bay at sunset

Skating on the Bay at sunset

There were many people enjoying the ice on the Bay of Quinte today: the photo shows some youngsters skating on what was once the log pond beside Mill Street in Deseronto. It brought to mind an advertisement from The Tribune of December 9th, 1892, which was encouraging parents to buy skates from the Anderson and Miller store on Main Street as a Christmas gift for their children.

The Bay is Frozen

I’m not sure how thrilled their mothers would be at getting “the latest improved Washer and Wringer”, though.

On this day in 1892 a concert was held at the Deseronto Opera House[1] by the Edith Ross Scottish Concert Company, who were invited to perform by the St. Andrew’s Society which had recently been formed in the town. According to the Tribune which was published on the next day:

The following lines, composed by Mr. A. D. McIntyre, the talented secretary of St. Andrew’s Society, as a welcome to the Edith Ross Scottish Concert Company, were read by him with great effect at their entertainment in the opera house last night:

Miss Edith Ross and Company,
We kindly welcome you,
And hope our hearts you will engross
With song and music too;
We trust that ye will feel at ease,
Just as you would at home,
And may our toes and fingers freeze
If we give cause to blame.

We hope that you will soon again
Revisit our good town,
Which surely in a year or so
Will be a city grown;
For we have here the energy
And everything beside
To make Deseronto go ahead
At ebb or flood of tide.

I’m sure if you took twa’ three days
To look our works around,
That you would wonder where on earth
Their likes could e’er be found;
With basswood, pine and oaken logs
Your brain would sure be tossed,
And round great piles of every kind
Of lumber you’d get lost.

You’d see the logs a rolling up
The runway from the dam,
Sliced into lumber instantly;
I tell you it is gran’
To see the slabs thrown, lightning speed,
From sound and healthy pine,
And in the finer part that’s left
Behold a nine by nine.

The Factory you’d visit too,
Where they make sash and door,
And ship them to Australia
And other countless shores;
Then you would ramble to the wharf,
Where ends the B. of Q,[2]
Its rails and solid bed stops short
When Jamie Stokes[3] they view.

And now you jump upon the train,
No trouble in the least,
And step off on the platform
At Deseronto East;
Blacksmith, Machine and Loco Shops
Are now left far behind
With Car Works and the Shipyard, full
Of crafts of every kind.

The Cedar Mill you’ve also passed,
Where ties are made and shipped,
And where the Shipyard’s sturdy oak
Is often sawn and ripped;
Another mill you have sped by,
Where shingles are the ware,
And now from off this platform,
Behold the Grist Mill there!

Here you can buy the purest flour
That ever yet was made,
And Oh! you’d open wide your eyes
Surprised at Richard’s[4] trade;
The wheat is brought by great shiploads
And by the Railway too;
But come a little farther down,
The Burners we will view.

Here’s where the refuse is all burned,
The sawdust and the dross
To wondrous chemicals are turned
That nothing go to loss;
And if you look away beyond
The Refuse Docks appear,
Which, in the summer, are filled up
For winter work and cheer.

And still a little farther down
The Secret Works you see,
Where one of Scotland’s honored sons[5]
Practises chemistry;
And right behind, encircled neat,
The Gas Works you espy,
From whence our streets and ilka house
Receive their light supply.

And yet a wee bit farther on
Red Terra Cotta stands
In its artistic excellence
Pourtrayed by Hynes’[6] hand,
Who pounds and moulds it with his fist
This and the other way,
And then brings forth a matchless bust
In Terra Cotta clay.

But what’s the use in trying thus
Our industries to name,
For it would take a week or more
To numerate the same:
Imagination needs must fly
Far North, South, East and West,
In town and city, bush and plain,
You see the Rathbuns’ Crest.

Again, a welcome please accept
From old St. Andrew’s boys,
Who wish ye “Merry Christmas”
And many earthly joys;
And as you travel through this world
Do not forget, we pray,
The thriving town and leal hearts
On Quinte’s famous bay.

This poem is a wonderful snapshot of the industries along the Deseronto waterfront in 1892. According to the 1901 census, Archibald Duncan Macintyre was an accountant who was born in Scotland on 3 March 1859. We can surmise from the contents of his poem that he worked for the Rathbun Company. He came to Canada in 1876. In an account of the first annual St. Andrew’s Day dinner (November 30th, 1892), the Tribune described Macintyre as “a true and loyal Highlander” and a man of “poetic genius”. A few years later, he had become the Chief of the Sons of Scotland and the Archives holds this photograph of him:

Photograph of Archibald D. Macintyre, c.1902

Photograph of A. D. Macintyre, c.1902

Macintyre died in William Street, Trenton, on December 13th, 1921. His occupation was given as “Filing Clerk, C.N.Ry [Canadian National Railway] Stores”. He had been living at that address for three years before his death. He was, however, buried in Deseronto’s cemetery: an event that also took place, coincidentally, on December the 15th.


[1] At this date the Opera House was on the upper floor of the Baker Block on Main Street
[2] The Bay of Quinte Railway
[3] James Stokes was listed in the 1891 census for Deseronto as ‘wharfinger’: the man in charge of the day-to-day business of the wharf. He was 42 at the time of the census. He died in Toronto on April 4, 1913, aged 64.
[4] This was presumably Richard Rayburn, the flour mill manager, according to the 1891 census.
[5] The 1891 census lists 41 year-old William D. McRae as “Superintendent, Gas and Chemical Works”. McRae was born in Scotland.
[6] Michael J. Hynes, artist and manager of the Terra Cotta works

The Santa Claus Parade will be taking place on Saturday evening (November 28th) at 6.30 in Deseronto’s Main Street and Rathbun Park.

To start getting you into the seasonal spirit, here is an advertisement for the Bay of Quinte Meat Company which appeared in Deseronto’s local newspaper, The Tribune on December 9th, 1892. This store was located in the Baker Block on Main Street, on the route of Saturday’s Parade.

Advertisement for the Bay of Quinte Meat Company, 1892

The advertisement reads:

CHRISTMAS
We intend making the finest display of
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Mutton, Veal, Game, Poultry, Vegetables, and every variety of
FRESH and SALTED MEATS
This Christmas that has ever been seen in Deseronto, or in fact, in Ontario.
—————————————-
We are already booking orders for Turkeys. “Now is your time to do likewise,” and thus be sure of your Christmas dinner before the turkeys see this ad. and strike.

Our store on Christmas Eve will be far more worth seeing than any Christmas Tree. Arrange to bring your families to see it, no matter whether you require anything or not. Just come along and have a look, and if it does not make you hungry to see so many nice things ready for the oven it won’t be our fault. Owing to our increased trade, and anticipating an immense rush of thousands of new customers during Christmas week, we are now trying to make arrangements with Mr. Baker to add another hundred feet on to his already fine block.

Some of our customers are buying their turkeys now, and eating them too, so that they will not be left when the rush comes.

Do not be afraid – we will have enough for all. Only give us your order now and not have to wait, as we were only able to secure the services of a few less than fifteen men to serve you on Dec. 24th. So come one and all and see the great Christmas Fair.

ADMISSION FREE

THE BAY OF QUINTE MEAT CO’Y

Baker Block, Deseronto

A good illustration of the fact that the use of humour in advertising was not a twentieth century invention!

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