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Local business since 2000

Manotick Walking Tour 2

by Larry Ellis
Photos by Pat Drummond

The original tour was designed by the Rideau Township Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC)

Watson's Mill

Start at Watson's Mill (1859) 5525 Dickinson St.
(Tours 1 & 2 are identical from 1. to 7.)

1. The Cenotaph

The cenotaph just north of Watson's Mill overlooks the Rideau River. It was erected about 1962 by the Legion and Rideau Township. The fence around the cenotaph came from the home of Sir Robert Borden, Canada's Prime Minister during the First World War. We believe his home was on Chapel Street in Ottawa. The fence is identical to that on Parliament Hill and apparently was "left over" from there. The outer fence is part of the original railings from the bridge that used to span the back channel here from 1872 until 1957.

2. A. Y. Jackson Park

Watson's Mill

Across the river is A. Y. Jackson Park, on Arthur Crescent between Millview and Bridge Streets. It is a beautiful quiet park, named in honour of the co-founder of the famous Group of Seven. A. Y. Jackson lived in Manotick from 1956 till 1963, and the park named after him includes a gazebo on the nearby abutment which overlooks the mill. "Pianos in the Park" has placed a piano donated by the Riggs family in the gazeboss for anyone to play. [More information]

3. Veteran's Way, Dickinson Street

The Veteran's Way is an interlocking pathway leading from the cenotaph to the Mill, of bricks that have been purchased by friends and families of veterans from both World Wars. Bricks can still be purchased from the Manotick branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. The flowers and shrubs along the walk have been planted there by and are maintained by the Manotick Horticultural Society.

4. Carriage House / Drive Sheds, 5524 Dickinson Street

Directly across from the Mill beside Dickinson House is what used to be the Mill Drive Sheds, where farmers would tie their horses while having grain ground in the Mill or when shopping in Dickinson's Store.

5. Watson's Mill, 5525 Dickinson Street

Watson's Mill Museum

Watson's Mill was built in 1859-60 by Moss Kent Dickinson and his partner Joseph Merrill Currier. Both men were born in the United States but moved with their families to Canada when they were very young. Both men were involved in shipping and had lumber interests before the building of the Mill. It was then known as Manotick Mill and later Long Island Flouring Mills. The Mill itself is 64 ft. by 46 ft. – built of limestone quarried from the riverbank where the building stands. The walls are 4 ft. thick narrowing by 6 inches at each floor. Power is generated by turbines manufactured in Ottawa at Currier's Foundry.

At the height of operations there were 6 turbines in working order and could generate 1,800 horsepower at a peak. The grind stones are made of very hard quartz and imported from France. The main floor has a few unusual features, like high base boards, plastered walls and fancy caps on the pillars, these place the Mill in a category by itself.

It was during a party celebrating the first anniversary of the Mill's successful operation that Joseph Currier's wife of only six weeks, Ann Crosby, was killed on the second floor. Her long hoop skirts became entangled in a shaft revolving at 120 times per minute; she was hurled against a pillar and was killed instantly. She may be seen from time to time depending on her mood. [More information]

6. Dickinson House, 5522 Dickinson Street (1867)

Dickinson House

Across the street from the Mill is the Dickinson House, built in 1867. It belongs to the classic revival style that was imported into Canada from both England and the United States. It is characterized by gable roofs, symmetrical facades, corner boards and entrance doors with rectangular transoms and sidelights. It was the town's first post office, bank, trading post and general store. In 1870 Dickinson moved his family into the big house from Ottawa to be closer to the Mill.

The house served as campaign headquarters on several occasions for Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister. Dickinson himself was elected as a Member of Parliament for Russell riding in 1882. He was Mayor of Ottawa during 1864, 1865 and 1866. Dickinson died in the big, yellow house in July 1896. [More information]

7. Ayers Building, 1128 Mill Street (1902) / ROSSS

Ayers Building

The building on the corner opposite the Dickinson House was constructed in 1902 to house the Union Bank. It served as a bank until 1963. The Union Bank of Canada received its charter in 1886, operated 329 branches from Quebec to Western Canada and was eventually absorbed by the Royal Bank of Canada in 1925. There is more than $260,000 in bank notes still outstanding. The old building has a certain heritage character about it enhanced by the solid brick walls, flat roof line, and trim on the eaves, semi-circular headed windows and decorative brick on the ground floor. The antique interior has been maintained with high worked baseboards, original window trim, authentic banisters and spindles. The Ayers Building is now a City of Ottawa Unique Heritage Site (2009) and has an Ontario Heritage Designation. It is currently occupied by the Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS).

. . . . . . . Tour #2 diverges from #1 at this point . . . . . . .

8. Knox Presbyterian Church, 5533 Dickinson Street

Knox Presbyterian Church

[5533 Dickinson Square] The church was built of Boyd blocks manufactured and transported from Osgoode to the site by horse and wagon in 1926. This building replaced the old brick church originally built on Long Island in 1877. An addition was added in 1986 when the sanctuary was "turned around" so that the congregation instead of facing south now faces north. Included in the addition were offices, meeting rooms, balcony and washrooms.

9. House at 1126 O'Grady Street

Records indicate the house was built about 1872 by John Williams, with an addition added in 1880 when the town's first bake shop was opened. The basement included wainscoting, ovens and stoking box. The interior of the house has very wide thresholds, leaded windows and decorative wood mouldings.

10. House at 1128 O'Grady Street

This house is the product of the same mason who built the Ayers Building and about the same time - 1903 including the same type of brickwork and detailing. The house has an irregular roof covered with moulded tin to look like shingles. The interior includes two flights of stairs from the main floor to the attic with unique banisters and carved handrails.

11. House at 1130 O'Grady Street

The house was built in the late 1890s. It is of interest because of the hooded dormers, the boxed cornice and star decorative corner brackets on the verandah. Axe hewn beams are still visible in the small cellar. The stucco was added in the 1920s. The local veterinarian was one of the early occupants.

12. House at 1134 O'Grady Street

It seems that the first resident was an undertaker who plied his trade from the home in the late 1800s. The unique stonework was that of a resident as a 1967 centennial project.

13. Manotick United Church, 5567 Manotick Main Street

The building was erected as the Methodist Church in 1903 to replace the structure that had been built in 1877 on a nearby lot that was destroyed by fire in 1902. Most of the stone for the new church came from a quarry in the Limebank area. The church became the United Church at the time of union in 1925. Electricity was installed in 1925 and an addition was made in 1955 to provide additional seating facilities to the sanctuary. More recently an elevator has been installed and renovations made to the chancel and choir seating arrangements.

14. Doctor's House / Main Street Cellar, 5561 Manotick Main Street

Built as a home around 1880 by a wagon maker named John Hicks, the original centre section a simple design but many additions shortly after expanded the building. Red brick with yellow brick trim over the windows, front and side porches and bay window add to the Gothic Revival Style. Gingerbread trim on the eaves and front porch are distinguishing features of this house. At the rear of the house was a two story shed and stable.

Dr. William Leach carried on as the areas family doctor here for over 35 years. It was Dr. Leach who had the north doors of the stable installed as a drive through so he could get out if the main door was blocked with snow. Those were the days when doctors made house calls!

15. Hair Inc., 5559 Manotick Main Street

The house next door to the Doctors House had the original portion erected in the early 1880s with the front addition added in 1902.A small enclosed stairway led to the upper rooms. The house has scalloped shingles, paneled barge board and a unique hand turned quarter wagon wheel under the corner of the front gable. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Stamp moved into the house in 1908 and celebrated their seventy-third wedding anniversary under the same roof.

16. Thomas Cook Trave, 5562 Manotick Main Street

This eye catching building was built about 1900 as a private home and is similar in design to the house across the street (5559 Manotick Main Street). Decorative gingerbread trim under the roof trim adds to its interesting architecture.

17. 5550 Manotick Main Street / In process of restoration

This house was built in 1873 by Captain Peter Davidson. He was active in the militia and the basement windows are barred because gunpowder was stored in the basement at the time of the fear of the Fenian Raids. We wonder when/if this building will ever be restored as expected and planned.

18. Sonny's Manotick Garage, 5549 Manotick Main Street

Manotick Garage

The original garage was built in 1922 by Jack Patterson who recognized the oncoming of the automobile as an opportunity for a new business. This was the first garage in the town; the gas pumps were inside the building with long hoses suspended on rods to reach the vehicle. Many renovations and changes have been made over the years, particularly in the roof line. There have only been three owners over the life of the garage, Mr. Patterson, Bill Campbell for nearly 20 years and Sonny Eve since 1975.

19. Lindsay & McCaffrey, 5546 Manotick Main Street

The original building is small and the boomtown front is typical of the period when built, in the late 1870s. A dress and hat shop operated here before 1900. Since 1928 the business has been known as Lindsay & McCaffrey, General Merchants. When you step inside and see the carefully preserved light fixtures, counters, storage bins and ceiling you are reminded of a bygone era. In years gone by a feed, seed and grain mill was in the rear of the store. Some of the items available were men's work cloths, boots, hardware, farm supplies, harnesses, chewing tobacco and soft drinks. Today the store sells women's and men's clothing, boots, shoes, as well as seed and salt.

20. The Mill Tavern, 5544 Manotick Main Street

The building was originally a home and then a general store until 1948; later the Post Office, and barber shop. The store carried just about every kind of merchandise one could think of including a drug counter at the rear. At the back of the building was an ice house where blocks of ice were stored and sold to villagers who had ice boxes in their kitchens. Many renovations have changed the appearance of the structure over the years. More recently it has been two restaurants, Kelly's Welcome and The Mill Tavern.

21. Manotick Office Pro, 5541 Manotick Main Street

Manotick Office Pro

The building has been a store of one kind or another since being built in the 1880s. It started as a general store then an automobile showroom where the first Chev's in Manotick were on display in 1918. The next business was as a tea room then a gift and variety store and now office supplies and gift shop. The original building was L shaped frame with a verandah.

22. 1138 Tighe Street

With its distinctive bellcast roof and hooded dormers of the 1870s this is one of the most interesting houses in the town. The front portion was log and an addition added in 1902 maintains the classic revival style with high baseboards, wainscoting and moulded trim.

23. 1136 Tighe Street

This is one of the earliest commercial buildings in Manotick. The original section dates back to the 1860s and the front section some 30 years later. It was first occupies by a wagon maker with a paint shop upstairs. Rails and hoist were used to raise carriage, sleighs and buggies to the door still visible on the upper level. From the 1940s on the building was occupied by a hardware store that served the surrounding community. It was during this period that the display windows were added.

End of tour no. 2 – return to Watson's Mill

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