2015 Events


Past Events and Presentations from the year 2015

An Annual Christmas Tradition

The Foster-Culloden Display has become a part of Belleville’s history at Christmas time. It was originally on display at the home of Don and Rita Foster on Emily Street in Belleville, whose 19-year old son Billy was killed in a car accident Christmas Eve in 1958 along with his friend Art Culloden. The following year, the Fosters erected a children’s Christmas display on their front lawn in memory of their son, to which thousands of school children and their families have visited over the last fifty plus years.  The display was moved a couple of years ago to the Jane Forrester Park on South Front Street, as part of the City of Belleville’s “Christmas at the Pier” light display on the harbour in November.

Nearing completion

As you can see by the recently-taken photographs below in December,space to receive the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County is moving right along on the second floor of the Belleville Public Library building on Pinnacle Street in Belleville. The rolling files have been installed (top photo)and the carpet is down and the walls painted. The rooms are now ready to receive such furnishings as bookshelves, tables and chairs, where the public will be able to sit and perform research. Photos by Orland French.















Younger in step with Older

An air force contingent marches past a group of students on Station Street in Belleville on its way to the November 11th, 2015 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Belleville Cenotaph. More and more students are participating in growing numbers every year.  Photo by Bill Kennedy.













Archivist Sharon White Retires

Sharon White (pictured below) was presented with a caricature drawing recently at the Heritage Centre in Cannifton. She's retiring from her role as archivist with the City of Belleville Community Archives. The drawing by Belleville artist Susan Moshynski depicts Sharon's welcoming smile, while wearing white gloves as she handles sensitive archival material.  A sketch of the old brick Heritage Centre appears in the background of the picture. The artwork was presented to Sharon by the Society's Board of Directors and by volunteers who assisted Sharon at sharon whitethe archives centre over the years.









Deloro has world's first digital cenotaph

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 website, 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 fighter plane. It also documents the physical presence and sacrifices of Deloro's people during the two world wars, including workers in the mining and processing system. The film was created by Deloro couple, James Aubrey Smith and Laura J. Forth, and is dedicated to the late Lt.-Col. Bob Wigmore, who was interviewed for the 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.  Submitted by Orland French

Steve Paikin:  Man from TV Ontario's 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's annual banquet on October 24, 2015. 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!  Mr. Paikin  also talked about his upcoming book on William G. Davis, former premier of Ontario in the 1970's, who's still living in Brampton and actively engaged in local politics.  Mr. Paiken also discussed some conclusions he's reached about why well-meaning people go into politics. This pleased a number of municipal politicians who were in the audience.



A Short History of Canada's Flag:  how the Maple Leaf trumped beavers, igloos, and the Union Jack

flag history coverThis 16-page booklet in colour tells the 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 among others. Written by Bill Kennedy and edited by Laurel Bishop. Available by mail for $5 a copy or  for a small donation. Multiple copies available for educational purposes at a reduced rate. Click on the Bookstore tab to order.


survey instruments

Instruments now reside at Glanmore

John James Haslett's surveying instruments have returned to Hastings County for permanent display.  Haslett worked on land surveying projects in the county throughout the 1840 to 1850, including townships in North Hastings  and the Hastings Colonization Road. The survey-ing instruments have been donated to the City of Belleville’s Glanmore National Historic Site on Bridge Street East and will be placed on display during Heritage Week in February, 2016.  J. J. 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.

Hearing about Sir James Whitney

Society member and Outlook newsletter editor Donna Fano gave an excellent review of the history of Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf at a Society presentation in the spring. The school opened almost 140 years ago on October, 20, 1870 and has struggled at  times for its very existence. Cash-conscious governments have occasionally threatened to close the school and consolidate its students with those in other locations throughout Ontario. During the Second World War, it was turned into an air force training centre and its students were dispersed throughout Belleville until the war was over. The school is named after  Sir James Pliny Whitney, sixth premier of Ontario from 1905-1914.







Flying the Flag at the Furrow Fair

Once again the Hastings County Historical Society set up shop at the Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match on Chadwick Farms in Tyendinaga Township, just east of Belleville.  Vern Whalen, and Olive and Hal Wilson pictured below (left to right), prepare to greet visitors to the HCHS booth in the County of Hastings tent. The display in the background celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag, the "Maple Leaf". The fair ran earlier this year on August 19 - 20, 2015. 








Artist Manly MacDonald

Charles Beale's book on artist  'Manly E. MacDonald: Interpretor of Old Ontario', is now available for purchase through our website.  Click here for more information on how to order.

Take a tour down Front Street ... during the 1920's !

A poem written in 1924 has a bit of fun with the merchants of the day, as it lists all of the business and enterprises on Belleville's Front Street during the era. Read it in its entirety here

A quarter million plus!

cheque presentationThe Hastings Historical Society proudly turned over a cheque for $251,000 to the City of Belleville on June 15, 2015 as its share of the cost of the new community archives project. The money, raised over nearly a decade of fund-raising, will be used to furnish and equip the archives at its new location in the Belleville Public Library. Soceity President Richard Hughes (left) and campaign chair Orland French (middle) presented the cheque to City of Belleville Treasurer Brian Cousins. The campaign began with Project 100, in which 100 donors contributed $100 each to kick-start the fund.  Further donations from individuals, corporations and foundations led to the fund exceeding its 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, 2015. 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 Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips and Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher. The presentation marked the beginning of construction of the Archives within the Belleville Public Library on Pinnacle Street in Belleville. The Archives, after many years of searching for a permanent location, is expected to open in 2016.  Photo by Donna Fano.

Archives cheque









In Search of Sir John A.

Visitors on the bus tour themed "In Search of Sir John A. Macdonald" last summer, were spellbound by a fascinating dissertation on the history of Old Hay Bay Church south of Napanee, by Society past-president Orland French.  This was French's view of tour participants above from the church pulpit. The first bus tour held on Saturday, May 23, 2015 was again repeated on June 6th.  Participants visited Picton, Hay Bay, Napanee, and finally 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 Methodist Church, built in 1792, and well worth a visit at any time during the summer. It's open from 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 societyThree prominent Tyendinaga residents celebrated at a presentation to the Hastings County Historical Society on May 19, 2015.  Current Tyendinaga Township Reeve Rick Phillips, left, and local historian Jim Kennelly, right, embrace former Township Reeve Margaret Walsh. Kennelly's presentation attracted an audience of approximately 165 listeners mostly from Tyendinaga Township, who came to learn the history of their rural municipality.  Photo by Orland French



PayPal is here!

As of January 1, 2015  you can:

• Buy a book online!

• Renew your membership online!

• Make a donation to the Society online!

All from the convenience of home.  Major credit cards accepted.  See further details wherever you see the PayPal logo displayed on our website. 

Billa Flint:  King of Hastings County

A man who influenced the growth of early Hastings County is the topic of a book launch at the Tweed Heritage Centre from 1-3 p.m. on June 14, 2015.  Canadian author, Armand P. La Barge, wrote the book on Billa Flint:  industrialist, merchant, lumber baron, and member of the first Canadian Senate. Details on how to order the book are available HERE or click on our Bookstore tab for more information.

The Best of Boyce

Local author and historian, Gerald E. Boyce, known as "Gerry" to his friends, has been writing books and various publications and columns for well over half a century. Selections of his works have been published in The Best of Boyce by Paul Kirby of Kirby Books, Bancroft, Ontario.  The photo below shows Gerry on the 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 online through the HCHS Bookstore.  Click here to order or go to Kirby Books at  www.kirbybooks.ca

boyce ook launch









Susanna Moodie returns to Belleville:  for story and pictures, click here

Battling the Winds for a new Monument

On the windy morning of October 9, 2015 an unveiling took place at Myer's Pier on Belleville's harbour front involving Society President Richard Hughes, Mayor Neil Ellis, and Campbell Monument representative Gary Foster who brought back the spirit of Belleville author Susanna Moodie to the Bay of Quinte.

All three organizations above co-operated to restore a century's old marble piece that was part of the original monument which had marked the gravesites of Moodie and her husband John Dunbar in Belleville's Cemetery for well over a hundred years.  The original monument had to be replaced in 2001 due to deterioration.  However, a portion of the original monument was restored and has once again found a permanent home at Freestone Point, on the east side of the marina at Myer's Pier next to the public walking trails.  Below are pictures from the ceremony including dignitaries Richard Hughs on the left (Hastings Historical Society President) and Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis, on the right.

Susanna Moodie Elementary School students likewise attended the unveiling ceremony, below.

Campbell Monuments representative Gary Foster below, gave a detailed description of the story of the Susanna Moodie monument and its restoration.

Gary Foster

Local author-historian Gerald Boyce holds up an original photo of Susanna Moodie and her husband, John Dunbar Moodie, taken in the 1800's (below) 


Workmen below carefull install the century old monument piece into place.

Installation of monument


Celebrating Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th Birthday

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 

Our First Event Held at the Maranatha Auditorium

THE FIRST EVENT arranged by the Society at the new meeting facility, Maranatha, was held on January 20, 2015 and commemorated the 200th birthday of Sir John A Macdonald.  We had Brian and Renee Porter of Brockville as our special guests in the personage of Sir John and Lady Agnes Macdonald.   The event received heavy publicity in several forms:

• posters spread across the city

• repeated placement in the Intelligencer’s coming events pages

• a half-page spread in the Intelligencer by Luke Hendry on the Saturday before the event

• coverage on CJBQ by Mary Thomas on her Newsmaker Sunday program

• repeated coverage on CJBQ on the day of the event, including the news broadcasts and mention by announcers on other programs

AT THE MARANATHA we had booked the "chapel” which seats 120-140 people but on the day, they needed that room for a major event and allocated us to the Youth Room which seats about 120.  Both rooms are fully equipped.  However, when we saw the extensive publicity and many contacts from people, we asked for a larger space and Maranatha offered the main auditorium which seats 750 in full comfort.  They also offered the large entrance area for displays, coffee etc. No extra charge.

AS THIS WAS A BIRTHDAY PARTY, we prepared a very large cake with a photo of Sir John on it and wording for Happy Birthday Sir John A and the date 11 January 1815.  We also ordered two smaller cakes to be cut up and ready to go when the crowd arrived for coffee and cake.  We had three coffee urns all ready to go.  It was decided that the coffee and cake would be offered after the event to complement the social time.

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION for our guests was provided by Williams Hotels. Thanks to a request from Grant Harrison, the Society gained both financially and in the goodwill of the Williams family.

IN THE ENTRANCE AREA we put up a display of historical cartoons of Sir John, prepared by Bill Kennedy, plus posters of the bus tour and coming events.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, we put up a donations box to help cover the cost of the event.  It was considered that people coming out for an entertaining evening would not object to a small donation. We also made a significant amount of money on selling new and used books.

MARY-LYNNE MORGAN set up a bus tour table and reported that she had sold 24 tickets for the bus tours.  The first bus sold out and the second bus had only 38 seats remaining on the second bus.  In addition three people were going to purchase tickets but had to check on the June 6 date before doing so. 

ELIZABETH MITCHELL watched over the membership table and she reported that she processed 16 memberships on the night of which four were new members. In addition she gave out 20 or so copies of Outlook to visitors along with a good numbers of membership forms which might result in additional new members.

ON THE OTHER SIDE of the ledger, the costs for this event were naturally elevated with the extra cost of the guest speaker plus the special cake and the hall rental which will continue each occasion.  However, the income from the various activities will more than offset the additional costs and the benefits in terms of the bus tours and memberships are extra real benefits. In sum, we put on a fabulous evening at no extra cost to the Society.

ALL ASPECTS of the evening produced positive comments from the visitors including the Minus 100+ given by Bill Hunt which told the story of Sir John A’s visit to Belleville in 1876 and on the introduction of Sir John by Vern Whalen and the colourful thank you given by Hal Wilson.  Needless to say the greatest praise was for the guests speakers who truly enthralled the crowd.  But the entire "package” of speakers made for a totally interesting and informative experience for our visitors.

TO CAP IT OFF, the head count for the event was about 225 persons of which the great majority were newcomers, a very important aspect for the Society.  Our usual turnout previously had been in the 75 person range, with a few occasions hitting 100 persons, so the level of 225 set a goal that will be hard to match…but a worthy goal.

PERSONALLY, I want to thank all who assisted in so many ways.  The whole list of helpers would be like listing the whole volunteer team but I would particularly note the amazing cake-cutting talents shown by Diane Sule and Marnie Black. Not easy to satisfy 225 hungry people all arriving at once.  Thanks, everyone.  It was fun. 

Richard Hughes


The Case of the Shrinking Territory

The case of the Incredible Shrinking Tyendinaga Territory captivated an audience of more than a hundred at the February Historical Society Presentation on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. Many in the audience had little idea the land reserved for the Mohawks had diminished so much over the years.

amy cowieThe history of Tyendinaga Territory was presented by Amy Cowie, a researcher for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Amy grew up on the Territory which, as she pointed out in great detail, is somewhat less than was promised more than 200 years ago by the Government of Canada to the First Nations at the time. It was the  story of land being granted by a government to its natives, then the land being eroded over time by the forces of economics, resettlement, and industrial expansion.

The process began during the American Revolution, when the Mohawks sided with the British. This partnership would eventually cost the natives their ancestral homeland of the Mohawk Nation, which was the Mohawk River Valley in what is now New York State. The Mohawks at the time were part of the Iroquois or Six Nation Confederacy.

The Confederacy was officially neutral in the war, but the Mohawks assisted the British when warfare moved into the Mohawk Valley. The British secured the natives' support by offering to restore their homeland after the war, at the expense of the British government. However, in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Britain relinquished the Mohawk homelands to the American rebel forces. There was nothing left to restore. To keep their promise, the British offered members of the Six Nations land in what was then Upper Canada. The Mohawks chose a parcel of land on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, as they were already familiar with that area which had once been controlled by the Six Nation Confederacy. This tract of land is what we know today as the "Tyendinaga Territory", located between Belleville and Napanee along the north shore of the Bay of Quinte.

The first Mohawks to settle in Tyendinaga Territory, representing 20 families or about 100 to 125 people, arrived on May 22, 1784, an event which is re-enacted every year.  Upon arrival, the Mohawks discovered their promised land had already begun shrinking: some of it had been surveyed and already granted to United Empire Loyalist families, who were arriving at the same time. What was left of the land, about 92,700 acres or the approximate size of a township, became known as the "Mohawk Tract". The deed to the land was named "The Simcoe Deed" or Treaty 3 ½ and was executied on April 1, 1793 by then Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe.

The deed specifically stated that the land was given to the “chiefs, warriors, women and people of the said Six Nations.” The inclusion of the reference to women was a very specific reminder to the British government that women played a major role in the affairs of the Iroquois nation, unlike the perceived subjugated role of women at the time under the British system of rule.

United Empire Loyalists continued to arrive in the Bay of Quinte area. Ms. Cowie said that within a span of 23 years from 1820-1843, two-thirds of the treaty land base was lost as the government gave priority to the accommodation of Loyalist settler families.

http://www.hastingshistory.ca/photos/custom/Mohawkflag.jpgThe first thing the government did was to take the equivalent of 52 square miles of land to build a road from Meyers Mills (Belleville) to Napanee, cutting across the Mohawk Tract of land. The roadway cut off the northern reaches of the tract of land, which left those lands vulnerable to conversion for other uses. In 1835, 27,857 acres in the northwest portion were taken away; the rest of the northern portion disappeared in 1843. Over time, the original land grant to the Mohawks was reduced to approximately 18,000 acres from the original 92,700.

The current tract of land deeded to the Mohawks is now a strip of property along the Bay of Quinte, south of the Dundas Highway, which later became known as "Highway 2."  Further development and redeployment of the original land tract has reduced what is now left after the Turton Penn lease in 1835, the Culbertson Tract in 1837, (still a matter of contention), the Village of Shannonville in the 1850s, and later, the Town of Deseronto in the 1890's. 

Land was likewise ceded to the Limestone and Clay Company (1908) and a right-of-way to the Canadian Northern Railway (1910). Since the demise of these companies, their properties have been restored to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Control of the Turton Penn Lease, a 200-acre parcel of land crossing the Salmon River, has also been returned to the Mohawks. The Turton Penn lease, which was agreed upon for 999 years, was sustained with a rental payment of "30 barrels of flour a year", however the Mohawks refused to accept the flour after 1970: the flour was reported to have been of inferior quality. The Mohawks however continued to stay loyal to the Crown. They signed up to fight for the British in the War of 1812, and enlisted to fight for Canada in both World Wars I and II.

The registered population of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte today is approximately 9,000, with 2,200 First Nations people living on the land tract known as the Tyendinaga Territory, east of Belleville. The community is governed by a democratically-elected band council. The conversion from a "hereditary council" to an elected one began shortly after 1867, with the death of the last “life chief” in 1881.  Those who're registered as Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte are entitled to vote at the council’s election, even though they themselves may have never visited or even resided in the Mohawk Territory.

The current chief of the Band Council (as of January 2015) is R. Donald Maracle.  Further information about the Tyendinaga Territory can be obtained from the Kanhiote Library at www.kanhiote.ca  or from the Research Department through the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte at www.mbq-tmt.org

Information last updated: December 31, 2015