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.
29) Ramsay resident invented gym class
Born in Ramsay Township Robert Tait McKenzie (May 26, 1867 – April 28, 1938) was a physician, educator, sculptor, athlete, soldier and Scouter. He is credited with pioneering physical fitness programs in Canada. McKenzie believed that physical education and health activities had a beneficial relationship with the academic program in higher education. He taught that a full understanding of that relationship helped the student preserve health and physical efficiency, learn certain muscle skills, and to conduct himself as a gentleman in the social relationships of competitive games.
30) Blakeney United Church
For over one hundred years there was a white frame church on the present Norway Street in Blakeney. Originally it was Blakeney Presbyterian Church and after 1925 Blakeney United Church. It was demolished in 1969 and rebuilt as a house on the back street.
31) Model T Ford for $25.00
In 1925 fourteen year old Jim Byne worked as a warper at one of Almonte’s Textile Mills. He was paid 14 cents an hour. After two years he earned a raise to 16 cents. Every two weeks after 100 hours of tough work he took home his $14 pay check. He gave the money to his family and kept a dollar for himself. This was however a comfortable wage after only 4 years of work Jim bought his first car a Model T Ford which cost him $25.
32) Pakenham General Store
The Pakenham General Store was originally built in 1840. It is the only general store in Canada to have the historical significance of having been continually open, in the same location, for over 170 years. The store still maintains its charm with wood floors, original wooden counters and antiques used by the original owners. Drop in for fresh baking and look up to see the historic electric train as it circles the store.
33) Almonte’s movie theater
In 1920 the Orpheus Theater was built in Almonte by the Ottawa Valley Amusement Co. It was considered to be the latest in theatrical accommodations and was located where the Hub is now. Talking pictures came to Almonte in 1930 and the Orpheus was completely renovated and reopened as the New O’Brien Theater. The first talking picture shown was a musical comedy show called “Sally” staring Marilyn Miller. The O’Brien Theater closed in 1969.
34) The Collie Woollen Mills of Appleton
In 1937, William Collie purchased the woolen mills in Appleton. The Collie Woollen Mills operated for 50 years and at its peak had 300 employees! The Mills suffered two devastating fires in its 50 years of operation; the first in 1946 and the second in 1950. Yet they continued to operate for another 37 years!
35) Who was Daniel Shipman?
Daniel Shipman was the first settler in Almonte and owned most of the land on the south side of the Mississippi within the boundaries of the town. Shipman was a man of many parts: besides his sawmill, the Almonte House Hotel and other buildings, he also had a distillery which adjoined his grist mill, where Peterson’s Ice Cream stood for many years.