Author Archives: Doug Grant

I am a local history buff who lives in the terrific city of Brockville on the north side of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Toronto in the Canadian province of Ontario.

I intend this Blog Site to share a lot of historical information which I have been collecting for the last 35 or so years.

I was educated in Scarborough, Ontario and Toronto. I graduated as an Architectural Technologist from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in 1966.

My first career was as an Architectural Technologist/Draftsman in Toronto between 1966 and 1972.

I decided to go into teaching in 1972, and attended the Ontario College of Education in Toronto. I was then qualified to teach Architectural Drafting in the Ontario school system and obtained a position to do this in the town of Prescott, Ontario. I taught all my career at South Grenville District High School in Prescott until my retirement in June 2000.

I have continued to develop one of my main interests and hobbies in Canadian History and specificly the History of Brockville since moving to live in Brockville, Ontario in 1972.

Some of the material that I intend to use on this site was originally published in the Brockville newspaper, “The Recorder and Times” under my copyright. In addition I want to use a number of historical photographs that I have collected over the years.

Would love to hear from anyone with similar interests to mine.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


People of Brockville in Groups

nurses-BGH-1906The Nursing Class of 1906.

These seven recent graduates of the Brockville General Hospital School of Nursing are placed in this photograph surrounding Miss Gertrude Bennett, the Nursing  Superintendent.
They are (clockwise from the front left):  Miss Mills, Miss Wylie, Miss Wilson, Miss Easton, Mrs. Lott, Miss Moore and Miss Dier.


BCI teachers 1892Six High School Teachers at Brockville Collegiate institute in 1892

(STANDING, from left)   J.D. Dickson (Mathematics) and James S. Copland (Science)
(SEATED, from left)  Miss A. Edith Giles (Moderns),  A.W. Burt, principal (Moderns + English),  Miss Hattie M. Burns (later Mrs. Geo. T. Lewis),  Ralph E. Ross (Classics)


Brockville Minstrels 1885Brockville Minstrels before performing in Ogdensburg, NY – 1895


Commonwealth P.S. GR 8 1958Grade 8 Class at Commonwealth Public School, Brockville – 1958


5 Policemen 1989Five Brockville Police Officials in 1989

(from left)  Jack Wylie deputy-Chief;  former chiefs: Leslie Sterritt,  Wilmot F. Young, Gerald Curtis, Raymond McFadden


Officers 41st Regiment Brockville Rifles June 1905Officers of the 41st Regiment, Brockville Rifles – June 1905

TOP ROW, (from left) – Lieut. Arthur T. Wilgress,  Lieut. J. Murray Dobbie,  Lieut. F.E. Graham,  Lieut. William Weatherston.
MIDDLE ROW, (from left) – Capt. Allison G. Bowie (Quartermaster),  Surg.-Maj. R. Nelson Horton,  Lieut. Hugh W. Bryan,  Capt. Charles T. Wilkinson,  Surg.-Lieut. Robert A. Bowie,  Capt. Elmer W. Jones,  Capt. R.W. Stewart,  Lieut. Charles A. Donaldson.
BOTTOM ROW, (from left) – Capt. and Adjt. William S. Buell, D.S.A.,  Capt. E.E. Clarke,  Lt.-Col. Alson A. Fisher, (C.O. 41st Regt.),  Col. W.D. Gordon, (Off. Com. Eastern Ontario),  Lt.-Col. W.D. Hodgins, (D.S.O., M.D. No.4),  Maj. John Power,  Capt. Albert M. Patterson.


BCI 4th form 30-314th Form Class at Brockville Collegiate institute  —  1930-31


Frank Fulford Orchestra 1900Frank Fulford Orchestra — 1900

(BACK, from left)  Sid Stockwin (bass),  Merrill Gilbert (trumpet),  Vaughan Sunderland (trumpet),  Frank Crippen, Ellis Eck (clarinet),  (—) Turbett (bassoon), Harvey Edwards (bass).
(FRONT, from left)  George Burridge (drums),  Miss Emma Morency (vocalist),  Frank Fulford (leader & violin), Billy Taylor (flute),  William Carley (flute).


5 Gents from BrockvilleFive Gents from Brockville — ca.1865

In the centre was Michael J. Reid.


Douglas Haig P.S. kindegarten 1949Kindergarten Class at Douglas Haig Public School, Brockville — 1949


Hook & Ladder Co - Brockville Volunteer Firemen ca1890Brockville Volunteer Hook & Ladder Company No.1 — ca.1890

Back Row (from left)  Patrick S. Roberts (railwayman),  John YorkWilliam J. Reynolds,  John L. Upham (bookseller),  James Connors (moulder),  W. Kelly,  James H. Stewart (butcher),  W. Ezra Amond (labourer)
Middle Row (from left)  John Woods,  Henry Mathen (boat livery),  Michael Collins (machinist),  William Mathen,  D. Brady,  John Flanigan,  James H. Hall (carter),  George K. Dewey (tax collector)
Front Row (from left)  John R. Reid,  Henry Jennings,  J. Owens,  Thomas Miller (moulder),  William Dodd,  James S. Dodds,  Joshua E. Timlick (machinist),  John Botham (packer),  William McKay,  Thomas Nicol,  William H. Harrison (stoves)


Common School Trustees 1866 (brighter)

Staff and Trustees of Common School Board — 1866

(standing, back row) Herbert S. McDonald; William R. Bigg, principal, Victoria School; Christopher Fletcher.
(sitting, front row) James J. Henderson; Robert Kinney, teacher, Victoria School; William McCullough, Chairman of the Board; Thomas Price.


Smarts (Thos & 2 bros)Thomas Smart and family — ca.1865


Brockville Hockey Team ca1900

Brockville Hockey Team — ca.1900

. Six Brockville FishermenSix Brockville Fishermen

. BCIVS Senior Boys Basketball 1947Senior Basketball Team at Brockville Collegiate — 1947


BFD Rangers hockey teamBrockville Fire Department RANGERS Peewee Hockey Team

.Brockville Snowshoe Club 1885 (Murray & Son) enhancedBrockville Snowshoe Club  —  20 Feb 1885


Rare and perhaps unpublished King St. Views

This posting is devoted to a few terrific photographs that very few people may have seen before. They have turned up at various times and I have been fortunate enough to have been able to copy them for use sometime. Perhaps this is a good time.


ca. 1868

King St W, Brockville, ON - ca1868

One of the earliest street scenes taken in Brockville, perhaps in the late 1860s.   The photographer was Alexander C. McIntyre, who for may years was the pre-eminent photographer in Brockville.   His “International Gallery” was located at the corner of King St. and Market St.   This shot is looking east from the Court House Ave. intersection.   The photographer’s studio was located on the second and third floor of the Manuel-Fullerton Building (built about 1845), now the location of the National Rental-Purchase Centre at 2 King St. W.   Patients who visit Dr. John Arnott have sat in the area where A.C. McIntyre had his studio and gallery.

This photograph has captured all the busy activity of Brockville’s main street, showing shoppers and wagons.   The dirt road, a mud obstacle during the rainy season is skirted by wooden sidewalks and lighted by gas lamps, both commonplace features of any town.   Some of the visible buildings on both sides of the street might be found today.   Most notable is the bell tower of Victoria Hall, now the home of our City Hall.   The pictograph sign of the big black boot marks the location of the boot and shoe store of Robert Lipsett at 124 Main St.


ca. 1865


From the same period, but giving a closer view of the intersection of King & Market Square.   The new feature of this end of town was the Victoria Hall, built in the years 1862-64, to the designs of Kingston architect, Henry H. Horsey.   In the centre of the picture is the Willson House hotel ,which was first opened in November 1849 by William H. Willson.   Between 1868 and 1873 the hotel as known as the Campbell House while owned by John L. Campbell who was previously a hotelkeeper in Prescott.   Many people will remember this building as the Revere Hotel, until it suffered a mysterious and disastrous fire on November 6, 1974.   The smaller stone buildings on the right were built probably in the 1820s and ’30s, but were replaced over 80 years ago.


ca. 1890

King St. W north side ca1886

Several years had passed since the previous photographs were taken. Here is the same block on the north side of King St. W. on a summer day (note the awnings and noon time shadows) in the 1890s.   The new granolithic sidewalks are now constructed of modern concrete and the tall wooden poles have arrived on the main street to carry the latest in modern electrical wiring.   The first impressive building on the left is located exactly where the former Woolworth’s Store is now located.   This was the Merrill Building built in the 188os for Augustus H. Merrill, who operated a book and job printing business upstairs.   From there eastward, most of these buildings are still existing, with the exception of today’s one-storey gift emporium Dream Weaver, and the third floor addition on the Manuel-Fullerton Building. The first intersection, which is today’s Victoria Ave. was previously known as Market St. The first sloping-roofed building pictured in the middle was built for liquor merchant, George K. Houston, about 1869, and now houses Boboli Café. The sign on the next building indicates the dry goods business of O’Donahoe Bros.


ca. 1900

King St. north side 1890s

The same block was photographed about 10 years later during the winter. Look at the evidence for this: the snow on the road, horses pulling sleighs, and pig and chicken carcasses hanging and laying outdoors. The first store, in the Merrill Building, is that of Heman Shepherd, a dealer in dry goods. Next door was the butcher business of Thomas Burns. Then, by noting their sign, Alexander and William G. Baird have taken over the dry goods business previously carried on by the O’Donahoe Brothers.


May 25, 1892

Edwin P. Comstock Funeral May 25. 1892

This photograph was taken on the day of Edwin P. Comstock’s funeral and shows the south side of King St. W. as it looked in 1892.   Edwin was the son and heir of William H. Comstock, one of Brockville’s patent medicine business owners, and died when only 26 years old, while in the midst of a promising career. In the far background, beyond Victoria Hall, you can see the 3-storey round corner brick Weatherhead Building. On this side of the Revere House hotel are the oldest small stores for many years owned by the Richards family. The stripped barber pole is bound to get attention as are the over-signage on George E. McGlade’s CPR Telegraph and steamboat ticket office. The last store visible on the right is that of tobacconist Frank “Ike” Ritchie, who for some reason hung more than one sign with the spelling “Ritchey” or “Ritchey’s”.


Railway Photographs taken in Brockville – Part 2

The Brockville & Ottawa Railway




This early photograph shows the ‘Renfrew’, one of eleven wood-burning locomotives operated by the Brockville & Ottawa Railway in the 1860s.

 It is standing in front of the first B&O depot built ca.1860, and located on the Brockville waterfront, south of the Brockville Railway Tunnel.




The Grand Trunk Railway




This rare photograph was taken, I believe, in the first years of the operation of the Grand Trunk Railway. It shows the formal garden planted at the new Brockville GTR station grounds. This station was located on the south side of the new line from Montreal to Toronto. The line was completed as far as Brockville in 1855.

In the background you can see two wood-burning locomotives and tenders. The platform is lined with men, women and children and in the garden are two men and two women. The corner of the passenger station shows on the left of this picture and one of the freight offices is in the right background.

A new “Union Station” was built a few years later in 1872 on the north side of the main line GTR tracks to serve passengers of both the Brockville & Ottawa Railway and the Grand Trunk.




The Railway from Brockville to Westport

(commonly called the B&W)




One of the steam engines being run by the Brockville, Westport and Sault Ste. Marie Railway. It is located in this photo at the Brockville waterfront wharf of the CPR near the mouth of Buell’s Creek.

The B&W shared a portion of the west end loop which ran from the station above to the St. Lawrence River where the trans-shipment of passengers and freight was possible.

Photograph from the collection of Library and Archives Canada – PA 164368


ca. 1910


This is one of the B&W trains waiting at the Brockville Station House or Depot of the Brockville, Westport & North-Western Railway, which was located on the south side of Church St., just west of Buell’s Creek.

The wood-frame building, pictured here behind the train, was built in 1890. It was 64 feet long x 38 ft. wide and contained a waiting room, washrooms, agent’s room, brick vault, band baggage and freight rooms on the ground floor. There were six offices for staff on the second floor. The third floor was the caretakers apartment.

Just east of this point, the B&W shared part of the loop line with the Canadian Pacific Railway to travel a short distance to the shore of the St. Lawrence River, where passengers and freight could meet some of the river steam ships.



Railway Photographs taken in Brockville – Part 1


The Grand Trunk Railway came to Brockville in 1855 when the main line from Montreal to Toronto was completed and opened as far as Brockville.

Brockville was made a divisional point on the GTR, which established this town as a major transportation site.


about 1950


An aerial view of the main railway facilities in Brockville. Notable in this photograph are the remains of the large Cossitt Bros. Agricultural Implement Factory on Brock St., and the 90-foot turntable north of the factory buildings. The concrete overpass on William Street remains to be built at this point.



This view of the rail yards in Brockville is looking east from about William St. toward the engines flanking the turntable.



A closer view of the 90-foot turntable that was visible in the distance in the photograph above.

Note the eleven numbered engines awaiting their next assignments in the Brockville yards.


About 1910


The new Union Railway Station and Depot was built here in 1872 to serve both of the rail lines which were crossing at Brockville. The new station was placed just east of Perth St. on the north side of the Grand Trunk tracks. It is still being used by VIARail for passenger service in Brockville.

 After 1872, the passenger trains of the Brockville & Ottawa Railway which ran north and south between Brockville and Sand Point, near Arnprior, on the Ottawa River used this station in Brockville. Previously the Grand Trunk depot was located on the south side of the tracks, at the head of Buell St. The B&O Railway depot was located in town south of Water St. near to the approach to Blockhouse Island.




This shows five employees trying to look busy in the yard office of the Grand Trunk Railway in the 1890s.


30 August 1952


CN  2-6-0 #86 engine, standing at the Brockville Station, ready to take its last regular run of the Westport Mixed train

on the Brockville to Westport line of the former Brockville & Westport Railway.


Looking Down at Brockville – September 1933

From high on the steeple of First Presbyterian Church

William St at Church St.

This is one of a set of photographs taken by a local professional photographer (no identification), one day on September 1933, each time looking in a different direction from the highest point on the top of the Presbyterian Church. These four aerial photos were put in an album of local pictures by Rida Barker in the 1930s. The album is now in the possession of Judith Caldwell of Prescott. Thanks to Judith for her contributions to this posting.


View 1


Looking South-west


Time has wrought many changes in downtown Brockville which shows in this photograph. Looking westward, Buell Street is at the bottom, with George St. in the middle and Church street on the far left side. Most of the building shown on the west side of Buell St. have been replaced by the Post Office.



Same View as above, but with identification notes added.



View 2


Looking South-east


This view is very interesting, as it shows Court House Ave. in the foreground. You can see the Gen. Isaac Brock monument on the grass of Court House Green. Further down is the John H. Fulford Memorial Fountain which was erected in 1916, at the time that the grassed boulevard and brick paving was put in place on the previously wide, dirt avenue. In the background is the newly built Hotel Manitonna (now demolished and the site of the Wedgewood Retirement Resort) and the Brockville City Hall. On the east side of Court House Ave. was located the impressive Comstock Building (now demolished) which stood here for over 70 years.


View 3


Looking East

This is one of the most revealing picture of the roof top of the Brockville Court House in the foreground, and then the Leeds & Grenville County Jail. Most of the law-abiding public has never seen the interior of the Jail Yard on the left. The main high roof over the old court room was topped by the old bell tower (now demolished) and the original “Sally Grant” Stature of Justice (now replaced). In the background is the roof and steeple of Wall Street United Church.


View 4


Looking North


The last picture in this set was directed due north and contains an earlier view of the Canadian National Railway main line through Brockville. The road on the right side is William Street which was not the well-used road it is now because it didn’t lead much above Front Ave. One of the smaller steeples of the First Presbyterian Church is very evident in this view.


First Presbyterian Church, photo taken about 1896


One can only guess how the unknown photographer of these aerial photographs would have climbed the inside of the church steeple and positioned his camera for each shot.

This photograph of the Presbyterian Church, ca.1896, is valuable in its own right. Notice the earlier boundary chain fence, entrance posts, and gates which surrounded Court House Green in the 1890s.



Brockville Post Cards from the Past





Aerial View of Brockville in the 1960s.



S.S. Brockville, passing through the Brockville Narrows at Swiftwaters.



The new Brockville Public Library, funded by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, in about 1910.



King Street, looking east, from Market Sq. in the 1930s.




The Brockville Rowing Club, 21 Water St. E. in the 1890s, during one of the Rowing Regattas.



King St. E., looking west in the 1920s.



The Revere Hotel, 7-13 King St. W. at Market Sq. in the 1950s.



Aerial View of the Brockville Collegiate Institute and the Brockville General Hospital in the 1960s.



George T. Fulford s yacht, Magedoma, moored at his dock, off the shore at his home, Fulford Place.



Idlewilde, the home of John A. Derbyshire on the shore west of downtown Brockville, about 1910.


Brockville Fire Department Pictures


All the photographs in this post are from the vast collection of Fire Memorabilia amassed by the late Mervyn McKay.



Members of the Brockville Hook and Ladder Co. in 1899.



The Fire Department Hose Reel Team about 1915



Running the Hose Reel Along King St. E. near Murray St.



Brockville Fire Department in 1919.   George Gillespie, Chief (front centre), Fred Mathews, Deputy-Chief (front right)



Fred Mathews, Fire Chief 1920-23




In this photograph taken in 1920, the Hook & Ladder wagon, the old hose wagon, and the new Republic truck is posed in front of the Perth Street Fire Hall, built in 1910 at the corner of James St. W.



Fire Chief John Hartley and his fire crew in 1930


26 November 1949 – Smart’s Block Fire


At the height of the Smart’s Block fire



The firemen try to contain the blaze on the evening of November 26, 1949.




Fire Chief Charles J. Shorey, and Deputy-Chief Edward “Bud”Lacasse, Deputy Fire Chief  assess the damage in the morning, while Lieut. Clarence McKay, in the background, trains a hose on a remaining hot spot.




The next morning, the aftermath of one of Brockville’s most extensive main street fires.




John F. Marshall, Lieutenant;  Edward “Bud” Lacasse, Deputy Fire Chief; and Arthur C. Keetch, driver, posed on the 1934 Bickle Quad Fire Truck.



Some Early Mayors of Brockville — [ 1832—1878 ]


Brockville was incorporated as the first Police Village in Upper Canada on January 28, 1832.

The office of President of the Board of Police corresponded to the office of Mayor.



Daniel Jones, Jr.

first President of the Board of Police, 1832, 1833



Jonas Jones

President of the Board of Police, 1833



William Buell, Jr.

President of the Board of Police, 1843, 1844



Hon. George Crawford

President of the Board of Police, 1846, 1847


Brockville was incorporated as a Town in 1849



William Buell, Jr.

Mayor of the Town of Brockville, 1856, 1857



Robert Fitzsimmons

Mayor of the Town of Brockville, 1858


Brockville was incorporated as a Separated Town in 1859



William Fitzsimmons

Mayor of the Town of Brockville, 1859, 1860, 1862, 1863, 1866, 1867, 1877, 1878



Jacob D. Buell

Mayor of the Town of Brockville, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876







A Long View of the Town of Brockville in 1857






One day in the summer of 1857, an unknown photographer set out to take a panoramic photograph of the Town of Brockville. He climbed to the highest point of George and Isabella Easton’s new house, also known as Beauvoir, just east of North Augusta Road (now at 41 Cochrane Dr.). We have attempted to point out a few of the buildings which can be identified.

Source: The Brockville Museum