In these difficult times, people are looking for fun and entertaining stuff to do online.

After having a ‘virtual visit’ with my adult daughters last weekend, when we chatted by video and played trivia games together, I thought it might be fun for folks to find out how much you really know about the history of the lovely place we call home.

No prizes are offered — just bragging rights if you do well!

Note to daily email and Facebook readers of the Millstone: You’ll need to visit the website to do the quiz:

Start the quiz:


Well done, you really know your local history!
A very good try, thanks for playing!

#1. Almonte had various names over the years. Which was NOT one?

Though the Rosamond family of textile mill owners played an important part in Almonte’s history, the town never bore their name.

#2. Union Hall on Wolf Grove Road was built in what year?

Union Hall was constructed in 1857 through the efforts of local farmers and the Ramsay District Library Board. Union Hall has been used continuously for over 150 years as a library, meeting hall, place of worship, and a venue for countless family celebrations, memorial services, dances, children’s parties, and cultural activities.

#3. What Almonte resident was a Grey Cup champion three times, in 1968, 1969 and 1973?

Almonte resident Wayne Giardino was an award-winning linebacker and Grey Cup Champion in the Canadian Football League. Over his career Wayne played both offence and defense and was a Grey Cup champion three times: 1968, 1969 and 1973.

#4. Which Mississippi Mills business has been in continuous operation since 1840?

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 continuously open, in the same location, for so long.

#5. How many arches support the stone bridge in Pakenham?

The Pakenham Bridge is a stone bridge with five arches that crosses the Mississippi River at the town of Pakenham and is the only one of its kind in North America.

#6. Who was the first European-born settler of what is now Almonte?

Almonte’s first European-born settler was David Shepherd, who in 1818 or 1819 was given 200 acres by the Crown to build and operate a mill. Shepherd sold his patent after his mill burned down. The buyer, Daniel Shipman, rebuilt the mill and the settlement became known as Shipman’s Mills by about 1821.

#7. When did Almonte first have telephone service?

In 1886 the Bell Telephone Company built a line between Ottawa and Pembroke. Later that year lines were extended connecting Pakenham to Carleton Place, Almonte, Arnprior and Renfrew.

#8. Which former Mississippi Mills Councillor represented Canada in two Olympic games?

Former Mississippi Mills Councillor John Edwards represented Canada at two Olympic Games. He is the current chair of the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Paracanoe committee and spearheaded the Paracanoe inclusion in the Paralympic Games.

#9. One of Canada’s worst train wrecks happened in Almonte in what year?

On December 27, 1942, 36 people were killed and more than 200 were injured when a troop train hit the back of a stopped passenger train beside what is now the Almonte library.

#10. Which family first set up mills in what is now Appleton?

An entrepreneurial family, the Teskeys harnessed the river’s water power, building a sawmill and a gristmill at the falls.

#11. The village of Blakeney had other names in the past. Which was NOT one?

The village was originally called Norway Pine Falls, then Snedden’s Mills after the first settler Alexander Snedden in 1822. It was called Rosebank in the 1850s.

#12. Dr. James Naismith’s inspiration for inventing basketball was a game he played as a young boy in Bennies Corners. What was it called?

Duck on a Rock is a game that combined tag with throwing. It is played by placing a stone (known as a “duck”) upon a larger stone or a tree stump. One player stays near the stone to guard it. The other players throw stones at the duck in an attempt to knock it off of the platform.

#13. When did the first train arrive in Almonte?

The first train arrived at Almonte back in 1859, when the tracks of the Brockville & Ottawa Railway reached town. Trains continued to roll through Almonte until 2011 when last-ditch efforts to keep CP from tearing up the then-Ottawa Valley Railway line failed.

#14. The founder of one of the world’s most successful chocolate companies grew up in what’s now Mississippi Mills. Which one?

William Neilson, the son of Scottish immigrants, was born on a farm near Almonte. In 1893 he began manufacturing ice cream in Toronto and by 1914 William Neilson Inc was the largest manufacturer of chocolate and ice cream products in the British Empire. Read more.

#15. George Eccles of Ramsay was the first person in the world to do what, in 1909?

George Eccles was born on a farm on Ramsay Concession 8 and died in 1909 while trying to save the passengers of the SS Ohio, a 340-foot steamer that struck a rock off the coast of British Columbia in the dead of an August night.

Eccles used his wireless telegraph to alert two nearby ships to the emergency and send out the vessel’s location, while frantically sticking to his duties until more than 200 passengers were safely disembarked. Eccles was one of only five not to survive.