Former Township of Airy
SAINT ANTHONY LUMBER CO. WHITNEY
In July of 1895 the Saint Anthony Lumber Company opened the saw mill in Whitney to cut the huge pine timber that was being hauled in from Algonquin Park by rail on the J.R. Booth, Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway. In 1902 the St. Anthony Lumber Company decided to build its own railway to Opeongo. A distance of 15 miles, the work was put in the hands of Ottawa contractor Thomas McLaughlin. The road was in operation by June, l903. The following year, it was reported that 2,000 logs a day were arriving at the Whitney mill over this line. In 1913 the mill was sold to the Dennis Canadian Company which closed in l922. In l923, the lights literally went out in Whitney when the mill burnt. The yard and some houses had electricity from the mill generator, but that was lost until hydro arrived in l952.
This private post card was owned by Harry L. Holstein. The card was printed in Germany around 1908. Postage required at that time was .01 cent in Canada or the United States, and .02 cents foreign.
WHITNEY POST OFFICE
This Post Office was located on Ottawa Street at the residence of Kiely’s. The Home is now owned by Jack and Karen Borrowman. The Post Master at that time was Miss. Kiely, she passed away in 1936, at that time the Post Office moved across the street to Ned Cannons house, now owned by Fred and Heather Caloren. The new Post Master became Eva Cannon.
1st BELL TELEPHONE OFFICE IN WHITNEY
The office was located at Tom and Theresa Cannons house. In the photograph below on the left, is Miss E. Craig, Bell Traffic Instructor from North Bay, center is Theresa Cannon who received most of her training in Powassan, other than her commercial training, which was completed in North Bay. Her daughter Joan Cannon was trained in Sundridge. The office was operated from l952 to 1963, it was then moved to a new building owned by Bell, which is still in operation. The telephone system formerly was operated by the Department of Lands and Forests at the East Gate of Algonquin Provincial Park.
RED CROSS OUTPOST
Located in Whitney, built by Saint Anthony Lumber Company, opened as a Red Cross Outpost around 1920 or earlier. Doctor McKay was the local Doctor at that time until Doctor Gilbert Post moved up from Madawaska and started his practice in Whitney around l936. The outpost closed its doors in December of l965 when Doctor Post at the age of 61 past away. This outpost was famous for locals of having their tonsils removed back as far as l922, also a number of local residents were born at this Outpost / Hospital. The building was located on 1st Avenue, which became Ottawa Street. The building is now owned by David Kay and Steven Dunsford.
WHITNEY C.N. STATION
Built around 1900, the railway station was a busy place, as J. R. Booth’s dream of a route to the Canadian West appeared to come true. In addition to train loads of logs and cut lumber, prairie wheat and passenger traffic rolled through, sometimes at a rate of 20 trains per day. The station was closed in late sixties and torn down in the seventies by contract with Jack Brown, who at that time was still distributing from his gas station, the parcels that came in by rail.
AIRY BECAME INCORPORATED AS A TOWNSHIP
In October of 1961 the Township of Airy became incorporated as a municipality. The first voters list was posted on 3rd day of November l961. In January of l962 the first Council meeting was held at Saint Martins Parish Hall.
Philip Roche was elected as Reeve, while Fred Bordowitz, Don Shields, Jack Brown, Eugene Bissonnette was elected as Councillors. The Clerk-Treasurer was Dominic Palbiskie. Also present at the meeting was Adolph Pecoskie of Combermere, Assessor, appointed by Department of Municipal Affairs.
Sabine Township was considered as a huge area of lake and forest that saw one of the last waves of pioneer settlements in Eastern Ontario, the Polish immigrants during the First World War.
Sabine never developed a lasting town, but grew up along an early pioneer trail. The trail was called “the Old North Road” it took settlers, lumbermen and farmers from Maynooth in Hastings County to the South, to Madawaska and the Opeongo Settlement Road in the north. This road was also referred to as the Hastings Road.
Tom Coghlan one of the settlers in the late l870,s at Mackenzie lake, operated a boarding house and stable for stopovers. In 1883 one of the first houses on the property burnt. Coghlan rebuilt, opening the first Post Office in the region north of Maynooth on December 1st, 1887. The Post Office remained at Mackenzie Lake until 1925.
When the Central Ontario Railway was being built through Hastings County to Bancroft, the company decided to extend the line another 41.7 miles further to a small Hamlet named Wallace. It was approximately 14 miles short of Whitney, the railroad never did connect, although the Dennis Canadian Company started building a line from Whitney, with the intention of joining the two lines, it stopped about 3 miles short, at Amable Creek. This line was sold in 1923.
Wallace was considered as the Polish settlement of Sabine Township, with many of the settlers being “Kashub” people, from the border of old Imperial Prussia, presently known as Poland. The Polish families came to Wallace shortly after the railway arrived, around l911. At that time Wallace had become a shipping point for a handful of farmers and a bit of lumber. It got its name from the survey engineer of the line, Mr. Wallace. As the Polish immigrants were Roman Catholic, they were served by irregular visits from the Priest of Whitney. Around 1937 service was being held in part of John Craftchick’s store on a regular basis, until 1940 when a mission church was built. A community centre was built beside the church a few years later. From 1943 to 1952, McRae hauled his lumber by truck, from his mill at Hay Lake to Wallace, where it was loaded on the boxcars and shipped out. In the 50,s, every Wednesday the train would arrive, bring in deliveries, stop for an hour, turn around at the “Y” beside Joseph Lavalley’s farm, and head back with the loaded boxcars. By l960 the line between Lake St. Peter and Wallace was shut down. Approximately the same time in 1960 the church was closed and torn down. Presently the graveyard is still maintained by local residents. The community centre is owned by the Lavalley family, and still in used to hold their family events.
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