VILLAGE OF LANARK
The Village of Lanark was settled by Scottish emigrants from Glasgow in 1820. Mostly Paisley weavers and spinners they left the depressed time in Scotland to seek homes in Canada. This was but a part of the great tide of emigration which, beginning at the termination of the American War of 1812-15, continued unabated for a decade. In 1820, approximately 400 families arrived in Lanark Village, bringing with them skills in cotton weaving, carpentry, blacksmithing and shoemaking. A similar influx of Irish settlers arrived during the 1830’s and 1840’s. However, the growth of the area was somewhat impeded by the muddy, rocky terrain and steep slopes, which prevented easy travel. As a result, many settlers opted to reside in Perth, unwilling to make the dangerous trek to Northern Lanark. For a more extensive historical account visit:
Review below from THE PERTH COURIER 1890
Lanark possess the advantages of a well equipped and well conducted hotel, of which we desire to make brief mention here. Since coming under its present management about four years ago by purchase, the Victoria has been known as one of the best country hotels in Eastern Ontario. The enterprising and popular proprietor, Mr. Jas. Pepper, has neglected nothing in making the hotel all that could be desired. The house is comfortably furnished throughout, and affords every accommodation. For the convenience of commercial travellers the house has recently added sample rooms, large, well lighted and neatly painted. It has good stabling and livery in connection.
The village of McDonald’s Corners, was named after three McDonald families who were among the village’s first inhabitants who were Scottish immigrants in 1821. Similar to most rural villages in Lanark County, McDonald’s Corners was once a self-sufficient community providing the local community with general stores, inns, shops along with the local blacksmith and carriage maker’s businesses, and of course a church and a school.
Watson’s Corners was founded in 1821 by immigrants from Scotland, having traveled to Canada aboard the ship ‘Prompt.’ The village was named in honour of the village’s first innkeeper and postmaster, William Watson.
Mistakenly named “Poland” really should have been named “Paul Land” after the first Postmaster, Moses Paul.
The Harper General Store c.1910. The building was bought by John Butler in 1877 for $340 and the store served the community until about 1970. From left in the photo are Gerald Cunningham, James Cavers, Bob Anderson, G.E. “Ned” Wilson, John Butler, Jack are and George Brownlee. Photo: The Perth Courier
Nothing epitomizes Rideau Ferry’s golden years like the Rideau Ferry Inn. Starting as the Coutts House, a three storey summer hotel, it was purchased by Doug Wallace, rebuilt and renamed in 1947. A favourite spot for weddings it was best known for its Saturday night dances bringing in bands such as The Staccatos, The Digratos (a local house band from Smiths Falls), The Five D, The Townsmen, The Esquires and The Continentals featuring Dennis Staples, who would later become mayor of Smiths Falls, on lead guitar. The Inn changed owners in subsequent years and sadly burned to the ground February 1986. The Shipwreck restaurant occupies that site today.