A cold night in Almonte, circa 1880

by Brent Eades

I’m pointing out the obvious, but it is mighty darn cold out there. Wind chill approaching minus 40, apparently.

How did our ancestors here in Almonte cope with frozen weather in centuries past?

Well, by going skating apparently.

Many years ago Michael Dunn shared with me the vast trove of historic Almonte photos he digitized over the years, to share on the Almonte.com website I’ve run since 1995. (I’ll be launching a new version of that very soon, by the way.)

And one of my favourites is this skating scene on the river, across from what’s now the Old Town Hall. I have no firm date, but I’d place this somewhere around 1880.

Noteworthy is that most of the homes and buildings shown are still there. Menzies House, the Doctor’s House, St. Paul’s, the manse and so on.

Better still is how much our predecessors were enjoying a cold winter’s night. The river rarely freezes along that stretch now, but it surely did then. And there they were, revelling in every part of it, it seems.