Cantley 1889 Articles

Echo Cantley Echo

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 21 no 11, June 2010. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

In Search of Yesteryear Cantley:

New group calls for your old pictures and documents at Cantley ‘Scan Day’

by Brigid Phillips Janssen

For some it's a treasure hunt, for others the pleasure of admiring the simpler beauty of old buildings, or the chance to share the painstaking research of a family tree. But for all of us, our history is our community.

A group of Cantleans think it's about time for all of us to participate in painting a better picture of our past. Mayor Steve Harris recently brought together a dozen people with all kinds of interests in our history. Either they descended from the earliest pioneer families of Cantley, or want to save the precious memories of older folk for future generations. Some in the group have old houses and value the physical history of our municipality, and others are keen on documenting and preserving the historical words and pictures that are the origins of Cantley. The goal is to form an association to preserve and promote Cantley's history and heritage.

Even before formally forming and choosing a name, the group decided that the first order of business is to reach out to everyone in Cantley who might have a bit of history to lend - just for a few minutes.

On Saturday June 19, the Municipality will set up scanners, and volunteers will be on hand for one and all to come in with anything that might contribute to our understanding of the Cantley of yesteryear. We will scan your old photos, deeds, letters from the bottom of your grandma's safekeeping chest... just bring them in, and we will take a copy and give them right back to you.

Even if you don't have artifacts on hand, come and talk to us. Tell us your stories, or make an appointment with our volunteer videographer, who has made a personal project of doing video interviews with people who have been around long enough to remember the old times and the great stories of how Cantley came to be.

Who knows what it will all lead to... maybe a museum, our own municipal archive, an inventory of the historic homes and sites of Cantley? We do know that we can't get started without your help. And whatever ideas you have, or the initiatives that we take, will certainly make Cantley richer for recognizing its century and a half of history.

Did you know?

  • the first mayor of what became Cantley was Alexandre Prudhomme, appointed in 1889, on a motion by Councillor Patrick Maloney and Councillor Samuel McClelland.
  • The first Alonzo Wright toll bridge was constructed in 1866. Until then, Cantley's mail was delivered by a ferryboat that was originally powered by oars, rowing between the mouth of Blackburn Creek and Chelsea.
  • Legend has it that Cantley was named after Colonel Cantley, a British army officer with skills that brought him to Ottawa to help Colonel By construct the Rideau Canal. He is supposedly buried in an unmarked grave in the McClelland farm's orchard. Is this truth or a good yarn handed down over the years... help us discover the truth.


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