Lanark County: Smith Falls, Ontario

June 17, 2012

Leaving Ottawa, I took Elgin St. to Hwy 417 and was soon on my way west.  Do watch out for one way streets it can be a little confusing or signs that say “No Left.”

This time I was heading into the interior of Ontario.  Hwy 7 took me to Carleton Place where I stopped briefly to gas up the car and get my bearings.  I then turned down Hwy 15 (Dakers Rd) and made my way to Smith Falls.  I arrived very early and found the Comfort Inn on Centre Street right on the Rideau Canal and they kindly obliged me with a room at that early hour. 

Comfort Inn & the Rideau Canal

The room was a luxury from the Econo Lodge in Ottawa.  It had a table with chairs, a desk, nice comfy bed, coffee maker and it was roomy.  I didn’t feel the urge to start making home repairs.  It also had a lanai which was great, so I was able to go outside and gaze upon the Rideau Canal. 

Yup, right on the Rideau Canal

My goal was the Lanark County Genealogical Society which is housed in the Heritage House Museum.  They didn’t open till 10:30 am so I had plenty of time to relax and settle in.  http://www.smithsfalls.ca/museums.cfm

Heritage House Museum

To get to the museum you go southeast down Hwy 43 (main road in Smith Falls) and turn right at Old Slys Road, cross the bridge and turn into the parking lot which is a little beyond the museum and passed a group of trees  It is not the grassy area where the wooden fence is in front of the museum.  Trust me!

There was something going on.  Two ladies were moving chairs and things around over by the gazebo to the left.  I was to learn they were having a volunteer appreciation day barbecue.  So there was lots of activity.

There is a small  fee which was either $2 or $5 and they showed me where the genealogical collection was located.  Of course it was down a very steep staircase but you can go around to the left of the museum and come in the door at the basement. 

I set to work trying to stay out-of-the-way of their preparations.  A little later the Librarian, Shirley Somerville appeared and shook my hand.  She started pulling items from the stacks. 

The Lanark County Genealogical Society website:  http://www.globalgenealogy.com/LCGS/  I think they have a wonderful website so please check it out.  They have links and information about the Archives Lanark, a separate entity which I did not really have a reason to visit at this time since I did not know for sure if my family had been there or settled there? http://www.globalgenealogy.com/archiveslanark/  The website explains how to find them and more.

Don’t forget about the Smith Falls Public Library which also has some information at this link: http://www.smithsfallslibrary.ca/genealogy.html

I wanted to learn more about Alexander McDonell who settled at Sand Point in Renfrew County and new the Laird of McNab.  He was supposed to have settled in Perth first, then went to Glengarry and then up to Sand Point.  I did find a book:  “Renfrew County People and Places” by a Carol Bennet and D.W. McCuaig.  It has a whole section on McNab township which I will need to review.  You never know what you will find at each archive or library. 

The stacks of the Lanark County Genealogical Society, Smith Falls

This trip had been very difficult to plan and prepare for and I didn’t get to really learning about some areas of Ontario like Lanark County and the Scottish settlers who migrated there.  It was settled very early and I need to do more studying.  So I mostly collected interesting tidbits that had anything to do with McDonalds, McPhersons and Camerons.  I left a copy of my McDonald booklet with Shirley. 

Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue – Smith Falls Museum

The guests had arrived and the program had begun so Shirley headed out to get a seat and some food.  I probably could have asked if I could join them by offering some money but I decided I needed to get some rest and relax for the next day was going to be extremely busy and I had a lot of territory to cover. 

As I was working in my room, I started to hear rumblings.  I looked out and storm clouds were approaching.  It was not long after that the rain started coming down.  Yes, it was a downpour.  I had to close the lanai door because the rain was bouncing everywhere and threatening to come into the room.  You can see from this picture that it had rained, note the rooftop of the restaurant.

After the storm

Dinner time came and I kept it simple and headed for the restaurant next to the Comfort Inn.  I was able to get a booth by the window so I could look out on the Rideau Canal and enjoy the view.  My dinner was delicious a lovely salmon served by a pleasant tall and thin waiter.  It was the best dinner my whole trip!  The name of the restaurant Chuckles Jack.  I am not kidding!  http://www.chucklesjack.com/


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