June 5th, 2014 a very successful John and Ishbel McDonald Descendants Family Reunion commenced with continental breakfast hosted by the volunteers of the North Lanark Regional Museum, followed by an Interactive Historical Bus Tour, made possible by the Lanark County Genealogical Society and John Barr Bus Lines.
This guided tour took a step back to the 1820`s when Ramsay Township was first being settled.
The tours highlights included a stop at the family homestead near Blakeney, travelling onwards to Bennie`s Corners, Mill of Kintail restored by Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie, Childhood Home of Dr. James Naismith, back to Almonte passing one of the few remaining Reformed Presbyterian Churches in Canada. The tour group learned of Almonte Gazette on-line with the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte`s majestic High (Great) Falls and it`s geological make-up as part of an old mountain range, the Grenville Mountains, eroded down over many millions of years with portions of the old mountains exposed and clay covered as this area was part of the Champlain Sea . The structure of the Falls is similar to the Rideau Falls that plunges water into the Ottawa River quite near 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa-the home of various Canadian Prime Ministers, including our PM Stephen Harper.
We rolled along up Almonte`s Main Street learning of early businesses such as – Almonte Cold Storage and Livery Stalls, W.W. West General Store, John Erskine’s Grocery, IGA, Ramsay Woolen Cloth Manufacturing Company, Rosamond WoolStock Mill, Peterson’s Ice Cream, Wilf Snedden Soda Fountain and Pharmacy, 100 years of gas stations at the current Coady garage, Mississippi Masonic Lodge No. 147, Stuart Lee Hardware 2nd floor -“Santa Land“, Dr. James Naismith Bronze Sculpture, Old Post Office, 5 and Dime Store, Superior Restaurant, Rooney`s Pool Hall and the North Lanark Co-op which was once the place where the Catholic Church once trained their Missionaries for China.
Leatherworks Catering provided a top-notch buffet lunch at the Almonte United Church Social Hall.
What a pleasure to see the Munro family “Life on the Farm“ display, the McPhail family generations of photos, our family generations genealogy charts, Archives Lanark and the Ramsay Women`s Institute displays and having the opportunity to share our family stories.
Many attending were surprised to learn that it was the earlier generation of this McDonald Family who in the 1960`s donated substantial funds to the Almonte General Hospital for the purchase of their first cardiac/x-ray machine.
Rev. Mary Royal Duczek blessing the many past generations and future generations of our family during the Family Dedication to the Generations Sanding Ceremony
Entertainment by Iron Men of Fire, Celtic Players with band leader Charles Dunlap and the many photos snapped by John T. Fowler Photography all contributed to an event to remember.
A special acknowledgement to Doreen Wilson of the North Lanark Regional Museum for providing a home for our family heirloom the 1747 McDonald Porridge Pot where relatives and the curious alike can view and examine it.
With special thanks to Jayne Munro-Ouimet and the Lanark County Genealogical Society for organizing this event.