In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday we’re sharing some fun & fascinating Mississippi Mills trivia. These tidbits of local info will include stories about local sports stars, award recipients & other residents who have helped put Mississippi Mills on the map.
We’ve included quirky or funny stories, tragic historic events, geographic info and more recent history too. Learn how some of our local clubs started and how our individual communities began.
22) Fashion Shifts Almonte’s Economy
In the 1890s the textile industry in Almonte was booming with six mills in operation. At that time women wore cotton and woolen stockings, with high boots and long trailing skirts. However changes in fashion lifted the skirts and lowered the boots to shoes, slowly putting the Red Knitting Mill out of business. A three-month shut-down due to lack of orders was a hardship for the workers.Their small wages allowed for no savings and there was no social security at the time. Unmarried women and widows with children to support were paid 50 cents for a 10 hour day, 13 dollars a month.
23) Art and Elsa Stewart
Pakenham’s Stewart Community Centre was named for Art and Elsa Stewart who greatly contributed to the restoration and revitalization of Pakenham in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. It was opened in 1974, replacing the old Community Hall. Art and Elsa were awarded the Order of Canada in June of 1983. Operators of a model livestock-breeding farm, the Stewarts were active in many farm organizations and founded university entrance bursaries to the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph for local students.
24) Three-time Grey Cup Champion
Did you know long time Almonte resident Wayne Giardino was an award-winning linebacker and Grey Cup Champion in the Canadian Football League? A graduate of Florida State University, Giardino joined the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1967. The former player and coach was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Over his career Wayne played both offence and defense and was a Grey Cup champion three times: 1968, 1969 and 1973.
25) Mississippi Mills Waterways
The total area of all navigable water bodies in Mississippi Mills is 1,827 hectares, that’s 4,515 acres!
Length: 76 kilometres (76,280 metres)
Area: 259 hectares (887 acres)
Length: 30.5 kilometres (30,536 meters)
Area: 31 hectares (77 acres)
26) One Dollar for a Year of Newspapers
The first edition of the Almonte Gazette, No 1 Volume 1 came off the press on October 11, 1867. The prospectus of the Gazette stated “to keep pace in a humble way the advancement of the day… Above all, the proprietors will strive to make this paper a reliable and interesting family newspaper, whose weekly advent to the home fireside will be as welcome as it is hoped it will be beneficial. Subscription price will be one dollar per year”. The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum was pleased to make The Almonte Gazette archive available online since 2012.
26) North Lanark Historical Society
The North Lanark Historical Society was formed in 1965 by a group of community members dedicated to preserving local history. It has been in existence for 52 years! The Society operates the North Lanark Regional Museum in Appleton.
27) Peterson Ice Cream
Louis Peterson arrived in Almonte by train on March 25, 1919 and quickly visited Downtown Almonte. He built and managed his hugely successful Ice Cream Factory on lower Mill Street next to the Victoria Woollen Mill. Peterson’s ice-cream empire flourished from 1919 until almost the end of the 20th century. “Peterson’s ice cream” was a popular excuse to visit Almonte for generations of people in Ottawa and the area. Louis passed away in 1988, at 92 years old.
This list wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers and history buffs who have contributed information. Special thanks to Jeff Mills, Donna Lowry, Margie Argue, Rose Mary Sarsfield, Renate Seiler, Marilyn Snedden, The North Lanark Historic Society, The Naismith Basketball Foundation, The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Neil & Lucy Carleton, Fern Martin, John McMulkin & many others. We are very close to having all of our 365 but have room for a few more. If you have something to contribute please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.