The day after the Montebello visit, Gail, Peggy and I took off in the car once more! First stop was at the Hogsback Falls, and the weir above them that prevents flooding caused by the construction of a dam that diverts the water from the Rideau river into the canal! The falls incidentally were also created by the construction of the dam raising the water level and replacing the rapids that had been there originally! Sound complicated? Apparently it was, in the 1820s when construction of the dam took place! It fell apart three times and one contractor resigned before they got it right!
Further along the Rideau river is the 19th century Watson’s Mill in the township of Manotick, a historic and very attractive place indeed. The Mill itself was constructed in 1859/60 by a Mr Dickinson and his business partner Joseph Currier, who I will mention again later.
Machinery on the top of the dam moves across it in order to open and close the weir gates
It was Dickinson who called the place Manotick, and the mill, though called the Long Island Mill at first, soon took this name, until a later worker in the 20th century bought the place and changed the name to his own - Watson’s Mill.
The square in front honours Dickinson’s name, and across it, opposite the mill, is the house where the Dickinsons lived, painted in my favourite colours too. Unfortunately unlike the mill, it was closed for the season, so we had to be content with the outside view. It is a beautiful clapboard house with all the appearance of an elegant British Georgian house. After 30 years of mill ownership Harry Watson sold the mill to the local conservation authority who have restored the workings to their original condition of 1860 and now run the mill as a tourist attraction, with a series of actual milling days operating through the year from late spring to early autumn.
Of course the mill has to have its ghost story and the ghost in question is that of Ann Crosby, wife of James Currier who was the partner of Moss Dickinson at the start of the mill. Ann, aged 20, had only been married to James for a month when the first anniversary of the mill was celebrated. Ann was touring the mill when her skirt got caught in a revolving turbine. She was flung back against a support pillar and killed. Currier was so distraught by the accident that he quite lost interest in the mill. He sold his shares to Dickinson and left the town. Those who have seen a ghostly apparition at the mill say it was a tall flaxen-haired young woman. Is it Ann?
The conservation authority restored the exterior of this next property …
The Miller’s Oven, now a cafe run by the town’s senior citizens – we had a wonderful strawberry shortcake and cup of tea there - was once the general store, telegraph office, post office, and later a hall upstairs with barber shop below, and even a public library and pool room!
This little house, the Mill Street florist, dates from 1877 and was built by Moss Dickinson for his workers. It used to stand on the roadside but was moved back at some later stage. It is also in the style of Dickinson’s own house – very classical in appearance.
Ahhh! Those trees! The colours!
Just then the school bus came round the corner and stopped to release some homebound students. I liked the way the Stop sign at the side of the bus unfolded out to warn any other road users that there are children about. At the front too, a lever swings out to warn the children not to cross in front of the bus. Our school buses are not dedicated to carrying just school children, but are also in general service, but I think these two safety features could be employed over here. I know of a few terrible accidents that have happened when either the bus driver or overtaking car drivers have been unaware of road crossers.
Have I said yet about the amount of trees there are over here? It’s wonderful! Even in the cities there are avenues of trees all over the pl;ace!
So then we headed off to Ottawa where we were meeting up with Peggy’s daughter, Pascale, and going for supper. She chose a lovely Italian restaurant in the city’s downtown market area where we had a lovely meal, and afterwards as we passed a street stall on the way back to the car, I was persuaded to try another local delicacy…..
They are a kind of deep fried elongated pancake, with cinnamon sugar sprinkled over – well that’s what I had. There were other choices of toppings too but that was the basic. Mmmmmm! (Licks lips at the thought!) Yes, I would be quite happy to try another of those!
Talk again soon.