As part of our ‘About Deseronto’ project, Councillor Edgar Tumak and archivist Amanda Hill have been interviewing Deseronto residents and finding out more about the history of the town. Follow the links below to get to the About Deseronto website and listen to these memories of the town in days gone by.

Cyril Betts

Bev Boomhour

Marvin and Linda Brooks

Jack and Bill Duncan

Don Fingland

Dolores Freeman and Elaine Gardner

Cecil Root

George Root

Tillie Sherman

Cathie Vick

Joan van der Voort

If you would like to share memories of your own, or know someone who you think might have a mine of information of their own to share with us, please get in touch! You can also post photographs or written memories directly to the About Deseronto site.

10 Responses to “Memories of Deseronto”


  1. […] this year. A particular vote of thanks goes to those people who gave their time and memories to the oral history component of our ‘About Deseronto’ project this […]


  2. The town of Deseronto has a great history. It’s too bad that this web site doesn’t go very far back in its info.

  3. David MacKay Says:

    Larry Hearns and I ( David MacKay ) use to get into the boat houses pictured above as kids, we would dive in the water and swim in under the wall of the boat houses, which required us to squeeze between the metal bars which were drove in the ground and fastened to the boathouse floor. We would look things over and as I recall never really did any damage but just wanted to see what was inside.
    Bobby Detlor and myself ( David MacKay ) were out on a homemade raft paddling around a way out from the dock past the old canning factory and we looked up the Lake and we could see it was clouding over. We were having the time of our life and enjoying our sea fairing adventure. As the clouding over became worse and the wind was carrying us down the Bay, a police car came down to the dock and Stan McTaggert the Police chief hollered out to us ‘ Get in here right now ‘ but we had no control over the raft at this point and had to go with the wind which carried us down to the cove of the bay where Bobbies parents had a camp. The storm blew us up on a swampy beach and we walked home from there. It turned out to be know as Hurricane Hazel.
    I remember one dark evening a few of us boys were out prowling around and came across a car parked with a couple of lovers making out in the front seat. We crept up to the back bumper and shook the car up down, the guy yelled at us get the blankity out of here. Never got a chance to apologize as we might have ruined Roger Coles chances of success, sorry Roger right from the heart, Dave and Bobbie.
    I use to work at Ed Roaches corner grocery store and Bert Sly use to work at the dry cleaners across the street so when our bosses would go home for dinner I would cut a big slice of cooked ham for Bert and he dry clean a pair of pants for me.
    When I turned sixteen I went into see Langfer McCullagh (sp.?) who had the pharmacy store around the corner from Ed’s store and asked him for a drivers license, he asked me if I could drive and I said yes as my dad had taught me and he wrote up my license. Now I could drive Ed’s old black panel truck out to the dump with garbage from the store. I remember one time I went to the dump and when I got back to the store Ed asked haven’t gone to the dump yet I said just leaving and away I went again, peddle to the medal.
    The jail house use to be behind the fire department which was all volunteers, when Stan would throw a couple of drunks in jail for the night and leave the big doors open you could look right in at the prisoners. We boys use to gather up a bunch of green apples and pepper the prisoners in the cells I remember them trying to take cover with there mattreses,it was fun by the ton.
    The fire department use to have a long rope outside and when you would pull it the siren would go off and the volunteer fire men would come a running and ask who pulled the cord and where is the fire. Therefore we boys pulled the cord tied it off and ran, from our hiding spot we would watch the bedlam.
    I have a lot of very fond memories of Deseronto and would love to hear from any of my old classmates. E-mail condavemackay@rogers.com

    1. Amanda Hill Says:

      Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories David!

      1. Don Armitage Jr. Says:

        Man, I know all of those people in that article, some with us and some gone.

  4. larry walker Says:

    larry walker seems a was around in those days .lots of fun.

  5. David MacKay Says:

    What ever happened to Yvonne Stone and Toni Thielman

  6. Leighanne Maracle Keener Says:

    We used to visit our grandparents who lived at 93 Green St. in Deseronto in the 1970s. We lived in the Detroit, Michigan area and made the 8 hour trek many summers. We would play in neighborhood. One summer I remember we wandered down toward Main St. to a old abandoned house or building near the water and found a stray cat having kittens. Every day we were there we would run to the building to see the kittens.

    Another summer the house next door had a fire and we spend a few hours watching the fire department put the fire out.

    We spent many hours swimming in the Mohawk Bay (I think) where you could go out forever and the water never went past our waists!

  7. Nikki Auten Says:

    I grew up in Deseronto, 1976 ish (about the age of 3) to 1992 (I think). I attended Deseronto Public School from K-8, went to high school in Belleville at Moira & Quinte.
    I am a Mohawk woman whose mother was displaced from her community, Tyendinaga, due to the discriminatory Indian Act that forced enfranchisement on women who married non-Indigenous men.
    I didn’t realize how many Mohawks I was going to school with when I was at DPS, our parents never talked about it, and neither did we. Now that we are grown, so many of us have or are trying to reconnect with the community, the culture, and the language. It’s a beautiful thing!
    Growing up in Deseronto meant swimming in the Bay of Quinte at Centennial Park, jumping off the dock (which was more east than it is now, in front of the playground), baseball during the summers, and free skating at the arena during the winters. I recall my siblings playing manhunt, across town…like the whole town was the playground. Being home by the time the street lights came on, unless they were playing manhunt. lol.
    Walking to school, then home for lunch and back to school, for which I was always late (pretty sure it’s because I’m turtle clan now looking back!).
    I attended the Deseronto Pentecostal church for a number of years, also spent some time at the Anglican church a few doors down. I also use to clean the Anglican church for a short while, kind of scary as a young person all alone in that giant church I won’t lie! lol
    Spending time with neighbours was so important in my childhood, and family holidays and events. I recall Christmas’s with my mom’s siblings and all their kids. I’m sure there were always at least 6 of 10 siblings plus spouses at our house, and between them 13 or so kids, plus the three in my family! Our family who lived in Toronto couldn’t always be there. Or sometimes it was my dad’s side which was equally as big! But always family, it’s one of my favourite memories.
    One of the things I recall vividly is the old canning factory, I think that’s what it was. It has been torn down now and there is an empty space and a small skate park there now. There was a building on both sides of the road, as I recall. I am not sure they both belonged to the canning factory, or if the other building was something different. I don’t think it was ever in operation during my lifetime, but we sure played there a lot as kids. It was one of the coolest buildings in Deseronto! Also one of the most dangerous I’m sure, but kids, you know.
    There also use to be the remnants of a building on the corner of Brant and Dundas. It was like someone started it and never finished it. No doors, no windows, no roof, just a concrete shell of a building. I remember skateboarding there, or trying to anyway. And trying to jump bikes from one level to the next, it was a short maybe 3-4′ difference, but man I thought that was awesome! That height may be off because I was a kid, and everything was bigger as a kid! :)
    Some fond memories of Deseronto. It has been a lovely walk down memory lane. Thanks!

    1. Amanda Hill Says:

      Thanks for sharing those memories, Nikki!

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