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Archive for the ‘Clyde River Lecture Series’ Category

This Saturday is our third and final 2017 History Lecture and you won’t want to miss it. It takes a good dose of humour to get through an Island winter and Alan knows just how to make us laugh.

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Inevitably a photo with the Boston relatives over by the car. John Darrach, happy to have his son John with wife Beatrice and children Mary and Ted home from Boston.

Excerpt from Mary Ann Darrach’s letter to her son John and his wife Beatrice in Boston – 1907. 

This is Tuesday. Yesterday, we had a blinding snowstorm, the worst this winter, but today it is fine.

The boys are going to town with loads. The snow was about gone before this snow came, so there is not much sign of Spring here now. We are all fairly well. Hope these lines will find you all the same. Tell me when you are coming home.


Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.27.33 PM.pngSaturday, February 18th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Alan Buchanan, Storyteller – “Home from Boston: Stories of Island Family Connections in the New England States”

Many Islanders, especially from large families, went to the Boston area in the early part of the 1900s to find work, but they would always return in summers to visit their Island siblings and cousins and enjoy their ancestral Island home. This will be an opportunity to hear Alan’s entertaining stories but also to share your own. For those Boston area cousins that follow us here on our website, we welcome you to email us your stories as well in advance of the event and we will make sure to share them.

Alan Buchanan was born and raised in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. He has had a varied career, but lately has become best known as a storyteller. His career on-stage began with the production, Belfast People, in the 1980’s. Since then, he has been a member of the award-winning group, Hedgerow, and has also been featured on local, regional, and national radio broadcasts, including the popular CBC comedy show “Madly Off in all Directions”. Several summers ago, he was a member of the cast of Story which played to sold-out audiences at the Guild in Charlottetown, and for the past two summers he has been a part of the fabulously popular Four Tellers at the King’s Playhouse in Georgetown. His hilarious stories centre on the colourful characters and cultural quirks he observed growing up in a rural community.

All are welcome to attend. Following the lectures, refreshments will be served. We invite you to take along any memorabilia or photos related to the topics. Tables will be set out to display your items. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre. If you have any questions about the lectures, please contact Vivian at vivian@eastlink.ca.

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Katherine Dewar

Saturday, February 4th – 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Author of Those Splendid Girls  “The Heroic Service of Island Nurses in the Great War”

In Those Splendid Girls, author Katherine Dewar combines her love of history and knowledge of nursing to redreScreen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.24.28 PM.pngss a 100-year-old wrong: the absence in the historical narratives of both Prince Edward Island and of Canada, of nurses’ experiences in the real War. Told through the stories of Island nurses, their experiences of mud, blood and courage reflect those of women from all provinces who served amid the horrors of WW I. Dewar identifies at least 115 Island women who answered the call to war, many of whose names have not been known until now. Granted rare access to private diaries and fragile photo albums tucked away in dusty attics, she pieces together their stories of hospitals, bombings, fear and friendships to provide this powerful new account of the war. Katherine has received several heritage awards for research and writing, most recently The PEI Museum and Heritage Award of Honour, given for an outstanding contribution to the heritage of P.E.I. over a long period of time. More info at thosesplendidgirls.ca  Books will be available for purchase ($27.95).

The lecture takes place at the Riverview Community Centre, 718 Clyde River Road. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre.

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Our 5th Annual Clyde River Lecture Series is back after attracting record audiences in 2016. The series has become the place to be on Saturday afternoons during an Island winter, where you can enjoy entertaining stories from the past along with warm hospitality and refreshments. All are welcome to attend. We invite you to take along any memorabilia or photos related to the topics. Tables will be set out to display your items. The lectures take place at the Riverview Community Centre on Clyde River Road.

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Photo credit: The Guardian

Saturday, January 21st, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Carol MacLellan – “The Attraction of Old Home Week” – depicting 125 years of the Provincial Exhibition

Everyone who grew up in PEI has great stories about Old Home Week. Carol says she had enough stories and photos for many books. This rich history covers an important part of Island culture where rural and city folks have come together since 1888 to celebrate at an agricultural fair in Charlottetown. Carol will introduce how the book came about as well as discuss the involvement of the Old Home Week Board and History Committee. She will talk about the interviews, research and how they organized and designed it to make sure they covered the many wonderful aspects of the exhibition. Books will be available for purchase at the event ($20).

Carol MacLellan is a retired teacher having taught all grades from 1-12, starting in a one room school to teaching English in High School.  She was Allied Youth Advisor to her students for 20 years and 4-H Leader including Overall Leader for 16 years with the Pleasant Valley 4-H Club. After retirement, she served for 14 years on the Provincial Board of Women’s Institute, the last three representing the National Board of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. While she was Chair of the Women’s Institute handcrafts and Arts Show at the Provincial Exhibition, she was asked to become involved in writing the history of Old Home Week. “The Attraction of Old Home Week on Prince Edward Island,” depicting 125 years of the Provincial Exhibition.

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.20.09 PM.pngSaturday, February 4th – 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Author of Those Splendid Girls  “The Heroic Service of Island Nurses in the Great War”

In Those Splendid Girls, author Katherine Dewar combines her love of history and knowledge of nursing to redreScreen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.24.28 PM.pngss a 100-year-old wrong: the absence in the historical narratives of both Prince Edward Island and of Canada, of nurses’ experiences in the real War. Told through the stories of Island nurses, their experiences of mud, blood and courage reflect those of women from all provinces who served amid the horrors of WW I. Dewar identifies at least 115 Island women who answered the call to war, many of whose names have not been known until now. Granted rare access to private diaries and fragile photo albums tucked away in dusty attics, she pieces together their stories of hospitals, bombings, fear and friendships to provide this powerful new account of the war. Katherine has received several heritage awards for research and writing, most recently The PEI Museum and Heritage Award of Honour, given for an outstanding contribution to the heritage of P.E.I. over a long period of time. More info at thosesplendidgirls.ca  Books will be available for purchase ($27.95).

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.27.33 PM.pngSaturday, February 18th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Alan Buchanan, Storyteller – “Home from Boston: Stories of Island Family Connections in the New England States”

Many Islanders, especially from large families, went to the Boston area in the early part of the 1900s to find work, but they would always return in summers to visit their Island siblings and cousins and enjoy their ancestral Island home. This will be an opportunity to hear Alan’s entertaining stories but also to share your own. For those Boston area cousins that follow us here on our website, we welcome you to email us your stories as well in advance of the event and we will make sure to share them.

Alan Buchanan was born and raised in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. He has had a varied career, but lately has become best known as a storyteller. His career on-stage began with the production, Belfast People, in the 1980’s. Since then, he has been a member of the award-winning group, Hedgerow, and has also been featured on local, regional, and national radio broadcasts, including the popular CBC comedy show “Madly Off in all Directions”. Several summers ago, he was a member of the cast of Story which played to sold-out audiences at the Guild in Charlottetown, and for the past two summers he has been a part of the fabulously popular Four Tellers at the King’s Playhouse in Georgetown. His hilarious stories centre on the colourful characters and cultural quirks he observed growing up in a rural community.

Following the lectures, refreshments will be served. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre. If you have any questions about the lectures, please contact Vivian at vivian@eastlink.ca.

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Read the history, hear the stories and see the photos…

The following story is the history of North River Rink which Ronnie MacKinley presented to an audience of almost 100 at the Clyde River History lectures on February 20th. To listen to Ronnie’s full presentation which includes many stories, you can link here. The recording also features Neil Shaw who, along with a group of businessmen, managed the rink after Hollis Corney. Sterling MacRae added a few stories of his years of hockey at the rink.

Many of the alumni players attended this Clyde River lecture and they brought along memorabilia and photos which we scanned and collected on this site. Just click on the album cover photo and you can advance through the extensive collection. Many of the people are identified in the photos, but for those that are not, we welcome you to add comments to let us know who you recognize. If you have any other photos that you wish to add to the album, please send to vivian@eastlink.ca.

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Click on photo to see the full album of photos and memorabilia.

North River Rink:

During the 1940s, the North River area was lacking an ice rink. There was a converted factory in Cornwall that served as a rink but it has fallen into disrepair and an outdoor rink was constructed. Fultie Warren, a local farmer and businessman, felt that an outdoor rink was not reliable to promote quality hockey, so in 1948, he and Bruce MacKinley decided to build a rink in North River to serve this and all surrounding communities.

Fultie, his father and brother operated a sawmill in Warren Grove and just needed a large stand of trees to provide adequate lumber for the truss rafters. With the help of Paddy McGee, they found a tree lot in Emyvale and Fultie signed a contract on a stump to cut four acres. The cost was $270.

In the winter of 1948-49, Fultie hired group of 30-40 men to cut the lumber, haul it out through John Cusack’s field and pile it on John F. McQuaid’s property. In the Summer of 1949, the lumber was moved to the mill for sawing and then over to the construction site.

They decided to build the rink on the corner of Bruce MacKinley’s farm at the corner of what is now the Trans Canada Highway and York Point Road. Heber Campbell took the job as main carpenter and a crew of over 30 men worked on the site during the fall of 1949. The men cutting the lumber and constructing the rink were paid either 50 cents an hour or they took shares in the rink at $10/share. Fultie kept track of all the hours from the woods to the sawmill to the rink to make sure all the men were fairly paid.

When it was time to install the truss rafters, they hired Douglas Bros. & Jones who had the equipment to lift the huge rafters into position. Apparently, the process was rushed and no one on the site had worked with such huge rafters. Just as the workers were about to stop work one evening, eleven rafters came crashing down. It was a miracle no one was badly injured.

When the roof was finally completed in early January, Fultie and his crew had to wait for cold weather before they could flood the rink. They were having a mild winter and it was impossible to level the ice surface due to mud. On January 8th, the temperature took a sharp drop, and Fultie flooded the ice surface with a foot of water before he had it level. The following night, on January 9th, the North River Rink opened for business. For the next 22 years, Fultie and Bruce spent many cold hours operating the rink.

Maintaining the rink was intense and cold work. They were kept busy into the wee hours. In the beginning, they pumped water from a pond on the MacKinley’s farm, located north of the rink. However, when the Trans Canada highway was constructed between the rink and the pond, they drilled two wells to supply the rink. The owners not only had to maintain the ice, but they had to operate the ticket box and canteen.

North River rink was open six days a week and closed on Sunday. The hockey season ran from December until May. Besides running the rink and counting money until the wee hours of the morning, Fultie had a dairy farm to manage and he was president of the “C” league where he helped to organize the “school league” minor hockey program.

The revenue generated from the rink was shared between the teams and owners on a percentage basis. All the profits either flowed back into the operation or paid out in dividends to the shareholders. Fultie said his only pay cheque from the rink was during the last year; it was $100.

After 22 years of managing all hockey activities at North River Rink, the owners decided to sell the rink to the local communities. When the deal fell through, they sold the property to a Hollis Corney, a shoe retailer and entrepreneur. Hollis controlled all aspects of the business. He was a familiar figure with his long coat and overshoes. He took money at the door, worked in the canteen, and drove the zamboni.

Hollis modernized the rink by installing artificial ice. He brought in the first zamboni to PEI. By 1975, there was seating for 1400. Ronnie recalled during the early days before the expansion, there would be more than that watching a game in the small rink and he can’t imagine how they all fit inside. The farmers would stop grading potatoes to take in the game.

Hollis rented out the ice for $22/hour and was busy as the only other rinks in the area were UPEI and the Forum in Charlottetown. As well as minor hockey, Hollis hosted High School hockey. The Kennedy’s – Forbie, Jamie and Jake – offered a hockey school program each Spring. Hollis introduced Junior Hockey and for several years, the Junior North Stars were a powerhouse and fan favourite, packing the rink.

Hollis also hosted skating events for the general public and local schools. In the off season, he organized roller skating. Later he held wrestling matches.

After running the rink for thirteen years, Hollis leased the rink to Virgo Enterprises a community business group. Neil Shaw told the story of when they took over the rink.

  • Listen to the presentation featuring Ronnie MacKinley, Neil Shaw and Sterling MacRae, click here
  • View the photo album featuring photos and memorabilia, click here

Editor’s Note:

We would like to make a list of all the teams that played at North River Rink. We will begin a partial list below, but we want to hear from you to help us complete the list. Also, send any photos you have. Please email vivian@eastlink.ca.

  1. Milton Hornets
  2. Kingston Crystals
  3. Fairview Aces
  4. Nine Mile Creek Bulldogs
  5. Hampshire Bulldogs
  6. Clow’s Red & White
  7. Sanderson’s Sabres
  8. Bonnie Brae Chargers
  9. North Stars
  10. Bluefield Bobcats
  11. Island Sandblasting – Green Machine
  12. Dunstaffnage Comets
  13. Dollar Home Improvement Flames
  14. Island Excavators Minor Junior Team
  15. Dutch Inn Senior League

We welcome you to leave comments below of your memories of North River Rink.

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What struck me most by Verna Clow’s presentation is the great fondness that the audience of almost 100 had for Verna and her family’s country store, many of whom were customers or staff of this family business that is into its 77th year. Others were recalling the community stores that they grew up with. As much as Costco, Walmart, Sobeys and Superstore promote their level of customer service, they could not come close to the responsiveness and devotion that Clow’s store has provided its clientele over the years.

It’s clear to see why this store has survived along with the few other country stores we are lucky to find in communities. It’s an abundance of commitment. It’s long, long hours of hard work, flexibility to change with the times and a decent amount of good fortune. Of course, it helps when the next generation is keen to take over, and with that comes new and modern ideas. The generations of Clow children were raised in the store and given responsibility. They were made to feel vital to the store’s success. As much, the older generation knew when to stand back and when to offer support as the kids took the reins.

I am still smiling about the time when Bobby expanded the store, he found out he had encroached on the neighbour’s property, but as these matters are settled in the country, the Clow’s just gave their neighbour a piece of land off another boundary and instructed the lawyers to revise their deeds.

It’s not difficult to tell that Bobby married well. Verna said that they were 20 and 21 years of age when they got married and started their life off together working in the store. She’s seen a lot of changes. They went from not having to worry about such things as taxes and regulations. She says it is so much more complicated now, and administration has become a huge task. She recalls Bobby’s father just pulling the receipts out of the chest pocket of his overalls at the end of the week to review the week’s sales with his wife when they were still managing the store.

Verna says she still goes in a few days a week, as habits are hard to break. But there is another reason. It is what I saw on the faces of the folks in the room. These people, their parents, their kids – they grew up with the Clow family. It’s a precious memory and bond from their youth that still exists. It’s that level of customer service that you could never learn in business school.

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Leonard Cusack’s presentation was excellent yesterday and we had our highest turnout yet at 70 people, including folks with ancestral connections to staff or patients at the sanatorium in Emyvale. Leonard did a thorough job of capturing this important and all but forgotten time in our history in the book, A Magnificent Gift Declined: The Dalton Sanatorium of Prince Edward Island, available at the UPEI Bookstore.

So many young lives were cut short with TB in the early part of the last century and, in some cases, parents lost many of their children. To honour their brief lives, I thought we could gather some names of those from Clyde River and neighbouring communities on our website as a memorial.

Please send information to vivian@eastlink.ca. Include their names, parent’s or spouse’s name, the year of their death and their age or as much of this information as you have. We also welcome you to send photos and add any memories or stories you know of them. Please check back to this page as we build our memorial.

Amy and Albert Mayhew-Amy Ann Beer Mayhew, died 1904, age 29, daughter of James and Mary Ann (Livingstone) Beer, and her husband Alfred Edward Mayhew, died 1900, age 29. They were married in 1895. (picture featured)

“…He was patiently and tenderly nursed by his wife. Three years later her own health began to fall and it soon became apparent that the disease which has claimed her husband had fastened itself upon her, also.” (newspaper clipping)

-Angus and Jane Darrach lost seven children to Tuberculosis: Hector (age 19 1862), Sarah (age 30 1865), Mary (age 22 1866), Jane (age 19 1866), Angus (age 19 1866), Archibald (age 19 1870) and Duncan (age 26 1875). Buried St. Catherine’s Pioneer Cemetery

-In letters of Mary Ann MacDougall Darrach, she mentions in a March 17, 1905 letter the death of Mabel Cruwys from Kingston who lived in Boston and was only married 6 months to John Edwards before she died of consumption. Buried Kingston Cemetery.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.15.27 AMJanuary is upon us, and so far, so good. We are having a lovely winter, but we thought that this time last year and all that changed come the end of January. Within three weeks, it looked like those legendary winter heritage photos. Well, we in Clyde River do our best to make the winter more sociable by hosting the Clyde River Lectures, and this year, we decided to go a little beyond the boundaries of Clyde River and move up Hampshire and Emyvale way and down to North River. It only makes sense considering how closely knit our communities have been over the years. Just check any of your ancestors’ diaries and inevitably you will find that they were visiting some sort of relations in those communities. Their visits could very well have been documented in The Guardian under “Clyde River Notes.” Here are the presentations we have lined up.

Saturday, January 23rd – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Leonard CusackA Magnificent Gift Declined: The Dalton Sanatorium of Prince Edward Island 1913-1923 – Leonard’s presentation will be based on his book by the same name that he wrote in 2009. His writing garnered “Publication of the Year” which was presented by the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation. He will describe Island society in the early 1900’s and show how the health standards at that time encouraged the spread of tuberculosis. Leonard will explain why Charles Dalton built a sanatorium in Emyvale and how it operated as a TB hospital between 1916 and 1920. Over the course of his talk, he will explain the many bizarre twists and turns that led to the closure and the demise of this health complex.

Leonard is a resident of Emyvale, a retired teacher and public servant. He was also a Sessional Lecturer for the History Department at UPEI for forty years and he specialized in Canadian and Island history. Leonard’s second book is entitled The P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party 1770-2000 (2013).

During our “Capturing Collective Memories” project last year in Clyde River, we came upon stories and photos that reflected the challenge and sorrow that many families went through that were touched by TB. Leonard’s important work gives us a greater understanding of that time.

Saturday, February 6th – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Verna Clow – History of Clow’s Store – Country stores were an important part of the fabric within Island communities over the years. Many did not survive, but Clow’s Store in Hampshire is still thriving. Verna will talk about the history of their store from the early days when Albert Clow first founded it. Her presentation will include photos of the store over the years and how they changed with the times while maintaining strong customer loyalty. She will share some of her favourite stories.

Saturday, February 20th – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Ron MacKinley – Hockey Talk – Memories of Playing at North River Rink – Ronnie will recount his memories of the early days when teams from local communities went head to head in the game of hockey. He will share stories of the rivalry and the fun. We welcome all those who played on the local community teams to attend and chime in with their stories, as Ronnie will likely be talking about you.

All our lectures take place at the Riverview Community Centre, 718 Clyde River Road, in Clyde River. We feature warm hospitality with coffee/tea and homemade treats along with tours of our large collection of artifacts and photos highlighting the history of the community. If you would like more information on our lectures, please contact vivian@eastlink.ca or call 902-367-1818. All are welcome to attend.

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