The Hastings County Historical Society was established in 1957 to promote interest in the history of Hastings County.
Take a look at...

Click for Next Month
November 2015
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

Historical Society Presentations


List of 2015 Presentations HERE

Please note: all presentations by the Hastings County Historical Society are held at Maranatha on College Street, on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Coffee and refreshments are available; a book shop of new and used history books is also open to visitors and members. All presentations are open to the public. There is no entry charge but there is an opportunity for making donations.



An air force contingent marches past a group of students on Station Street, bottom, on its way to the Nov. 11 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Belleville Cenotaph. Students appear to be participating in growing numbers each year. Photos by Bill Kennedy.





Sharon White was presented with a caricature of herself at work at the Heritage Centre in Cannifton. She is retiring from her work as archivist with the Belleville and County of Hastings Community Archives. The caricature features her welcoming smile, white gloves on her hands as she handles sensitive archival material, and a sketch of the old brick Heritage Centre in the background. The artwork was presented by members of the Hastings County Historical Society board of directors and volunters who assisted Sharon at the archives. Belleville artist Susan Moshynski drew the caricature.

sharon white




The little village of Deloro in Hastings County claims to have the world's first digital cenotaph. If you have a smartphone and scan the QR code on the Deloro War Memorial, you can view a 20-minute film which dramatizes the role of Deloro in the First and Second World War. Or, to save a trip to Deloro, you can view The Price of Freedom right now by clicking on this link: https://vimeo.com/142826422. It's a wonderful and informative film about the role of the village in processing stellite and later cobalt, both essential metals in the war industry. The metals were used in munitions and in the building of the Spitfire fight plane. It also documents the physical presence and sacrifices of Deloro's people during the two wars, including workers in the mining and processing system. The film was created by Deloro couple James Aubrey Smith and Laura J. Forth. It is dedicated to the late Lt.-Col. Bob Wigmore, who was interviewed for this film before he died earlier this year. This vimeo is really worth seeing to appreciate the role of a small back-country mining village in fighting for our freedom in two world wars.

– Orland French


Steve Paikin Wows Them at Annual Banquet

TVOntario's Man with The Agenda Tells Tales from Behind the Scenes

Steve Paikin became even more popular with his fans who turned out to the Hastings County Historical Society annual banquet on October 24. Tickets sold out early as people were anxious to meet the man they knew only through his TVO show, The Agenda. And he didn't disappoint them. Tales of politicians, writers and others rolled out of him. Mr. Paikin freely talked about his upcoming book on William G. Davis, former premier of Ontario, still living in Brampton and actively engaged in local politics. He also discussed some conclusions he has reached about why well-meaning people go into politics. This pleased a number of municipal politicians in the audience.



A Short History of CANADA'S FLAG

How the Maple Leaf Trumped Beavers, Igloos and the Union Jack

flag history coverThis small 16-page booklet in colour tells the bottom-line story of how Canada's Maple Leaf flag came into being 50 years ago. It includes full-colour renditions of the flag finalists and a few other designs that didn't make the cut. Also included are news photos and cartoons of the players of the day: Lester Pearson, John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas and Real Caouette. Written by Bill Kennedy and edited by Laurel Bishop. Available by mail for $5 a copy or directly from the Society for a small donation. Multiple copies available for educational purposes at a negotiated price.


survey instruments


J. J. Haslett's surveying instruments have come back to Hastings County for good. Haslett worked on land surveying projects in the county through the 1840s and 1850s, including townships in the north and the Hastings Colonization Road. The surveying instruments have been donated to the City of Belleville’s Glanmore National Historic Site. They will be placed on permanent public display during Heritage Week in February, 2016.

John James Haslett (1811-1878) was an Ontario Provincial Land Surveyor between 1843 and 1878. He was one of the first land surveyors in the Quinte Region. MORE HERE


Donna Fano provided an excellent review of the history of Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf at the last Society presentation. The school opened almost 140 years ago (October, 20, 1870) and has struggled at various times for its existence. Cash-conscious governments occasionally threaten to close the school and consolidate its students with those in other schools. During the Second World War the school was turned into an air force training centre and the students were dispersed to various locations throughout Belleville. The school is named after a former premier, James Whitney.



Once again the Hastings County Historical Society set up shop at the Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match on Chadwick Farms in Tyendinaga. Vern Whalen, Olive and Hal Wilson prepare to greet visitors to the HCHS booth within the County of Hastings tent. The display in the background celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Maple Leaf flag. The fair ran August 19-20.











Charles Beale's book on artist Manly MacDonald now available through this website. Click HERE

Tour Front Street in 1924!

A poem written in 1924 has a bit of fun with the merchants of the day as it lists all the enterprises on Belleville's Front Street. Check it out HERE

A quarter million dollars plus

cheque presentationThe Historical Society proudly turned over a cheque for $251,000 to the City of Belleville on June 15 as its share of the cost of the new community archives. The money, raised over nearly a decade of fund-raising, will be used to furnish and equip the archives. President Richard Hughes, left, and campaign chair Orland French presented the cheque to City Treasurer Brian Cousins. The campaign began with Project 100, in which 100 donors contributed $100 each to kick-start the fund. Many donations later, from individuals, corporations and foundations, the fund exceeded the goal of $250,000. A ceremonial cheque presented earlier was set at $268,000, which incorporated monies already spent on equipment for the archives in its present location in Cannifton. Construction on the new site within the library building has begun and should be finished by November. Photo by Bill Kennedy.

We made it – $268,000!

The Hastings County Historical Society exceeded its promise to deliver a quarter of a million dollars to help build a new community archives for Belleville and Hastings County. At a ceremony on Thursday, Orland French, chair of the Society's capital campaign, presented a cheque for $268,000 to County Warden Rick Phillips and Mayor Taso Christopher. The presentation marked the beginning of construction of the Archives within the library building on Pinnacle Street, Belleville. The Archives, after many years of searching for a permanent roost, are expected to open in November. Currently they are functioning at the Heritage Centre on Cannifton Road. Photo by Donna Fano.

Archives cheque



At Old Hay Bay Church

Visitors on bus tours In Search of Sir John A. Macdonald were spellbound by a fascinating dissertation on the history of Old Hay Bay Church, which was told by past-president Orland French who also wrote this blurb. This was French's view from the pulpit. The first bus tour on Saturday, May 23 was repeated on June 6. It visited Picton, Hay Bay, Napanee and Kingston where Macdonald once had a presence. At Hay Bay, Macdonald was a young boy when his father Hugh operated a store next to the church. A cairn marks the location which is now a boat launching ramp. Old Hay Bay Church is Canada's oldest extant Methodist Church, built in 1792 and well worth a visit at any time during the summer. It is open 9-5 every day and wonderful tales of its history are told by resident custodians.

OHBC bus tour group



Tyendinaga Trio

Tyendinaga presentation at historical societyThese three prominent Tyendinagians celebrated a successful presentation to the Hastings County Historical Society on May 19. Reeve Rick Phillips, left, and local historian Jim Kennelly, right, embrace former reeve Margaret Walsh. Kennelly's presentation attracted an audience that filled the auditorium at Maranatha. About 165 people, a majority from Tyendinaga Township, jammed the room to explore the history of their rural municipality.

Photo by Orland French


PayPal Is Here!

Now you can:

•buy a book

•renew your membership

•make a contribution to the Society

through PayPal! Details on appropriate pages.


Billa Flint – King of Hastings County

A new book on the man with much influence on the growth of early Hastings County is coming out on June 14 in a book launch at the Tweed Heritage Centre, 1-3 p.m. Armand P. La Barge has prepared a new publication on Billa Flint, industrialist, merchant, lumber baron and member of the first Canadian Senate. More details HERE. Order it through this website by using PayPal.


The Best of Boyce

Gerald E. Boyce, better known as Gerry, has been writing books, pamphlets and various columns for over half a century. Selections of his works have been published in The Best of Boyce by Paul Kirby of Kirby Books, Bancroft. The photo below shows Gerry, on right, with Paul Kirby at the book launch in the lobby of the Belleville Public Library on December 6, 2014. The book is available for $19.95 through the HCHS on-line bookstore on this site (click HERE) or through www.kirbybooks.ca

boyce ook launch










Susanna Moodie Returns to Belleville Harbour

Pictures and story HERE

Important Notice

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was this website. Please bear with us as we upgrade, improve, renew and expand our presence on the Web. We expect to make frequent revisions and additions, giving you good reason to come back to visit us again and again. Will the site ever be finished? Probably not, but that's a good sign. As long as our Historical Society is vibrant and growing, we will have more to report. – The Webmaster

Online Outlook archives available HERE

Our Sponsors
Recent News
A Bridge of Remembrance
Const. Thomas Kehoe of Bancroft may soon be honoured with a bridge named after him, 86 years after he was killed while on duty. He was run down by a ...Full Story
Sunday, April 12
Old Ormsby Heritage Church
If you're looking for a church service with a difference, consider these three at The Old Ormsby Heritage Church, in the little community of ...Full Story
Sunday, April 12
Tall Pointy Tower Wins Big!
Congratulations to the City of Belleville for receiving the Ontario Architectural Association's Landmark Designation Award. The award recognizes ...Full Story
Saturday, March 28