businesses


The Ontario Temperance Act was passed on April 27th, 1916, banning the sale of alcohol in the province apart from for medicinal, religious or scientific purposes from September 16th. This had an impact on the local hotel business, as this extract from the minutes of Deseronto Town Council on this day in 1916 makes clear:

William Myles's request to Council

Mr. W. N. Myles of the Deseronto House Hotel being present, it was moved by the Reeve, seconded by Councillor Richardson, that he be heard.
Mr. Myles stated he was now keeping a standard hotel and requested the Council to grant him a license to keep two or more billiard tables. Councillor Hunt said at the present time it was revenue we are after as the cutting off of liquor licenses left the town in a bad monetary shape. He was in favour of the application. The Reeve also stated that he was in favour of granting the application.
Moved by Councillor Hunt, seconded by the Reeve, that Mr.Myles be granted the privilege he asked on payment of the usual fee. Carried.

A “standard hotel” was one where the hotel-keeper was

…entitled to sell all non-intoxicating drinks and beverages, cigars, cigarettes and tobacco, and to conduct an ice cream or general restaurant or café without further or other license

according to the terms of the Act.

Deseronto House Hotel

Deseronto House Hotel

William Myles maintained his association with billiard tables: in the 1921 census he was living in Thomas Street with an occupation of ‘Amusements’, working as an employee in a pool room. He retired to Hamilton and died there on December 31st, 1927 at the age of 69. He lived long enough to see the Ontario Temperance Act repealed: in March 1927.

CIBC in October 2012 (from Google Streetview)

Deseronto CIBC in October 2012 (from Google Streetview)

The CIBC branch in Deseronto will be closing its doors for good this summer, bringing to an end more than 120 years of banking history in the town.

The Bank of Montreal was the first firm to open a bank in Deseronto: Herbert Osborne took this photograph of its original Main Street branch in around 1895:

Bank of Montreal, c.1895

Bank of Montreal, c.1895

In 1904 the Bank of Montreal built a new structure at Centre and Main on the corner of the park lot.

DESCOM-06-23

DESCOM-06-23

Shortly after the Bank of Montreal opened its new building, the Standard Bank opened a branch in Deseronto, in September 1905. Seventeen years later, a new brick building, the current CIBC branch, was constructed on the south side of Main Street. Here is the bank under construction:

2009.26 CIBC-09-02

2009.26 CIBC-09-02

And here is the finished building in the 1920s:

2009.26 CIBC-09-15

2009.26 CIBC-09-15

In 1928 the Standard Bank was taken over by the Canadian Bank of Commerce. During the Great Depression it was common practice for banks to rationalize their branches and transfer customers to another firm. The Bank of Montreal closed down in 1932 and its customers were moved to the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

This is how the building looked in 1933:

2009.26 CIBC-09-17

2009.26 CIBC-09-17

The Bank of Montreal building was taken over by the Town of Deseronto and became the Town Hall in 1945, with Council holding its first meeting there on November 15th of that year. In 1961 the Canadian Bank of Commerce merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada to become the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The CIBC Deseronto branch celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005.

2015.09 two pairs of glasses made by Canada Optical

After the iron we featured a few weeks ago, here are two more examples of Deseronto-made items. These glasses frames were manufactured at the Canada Optical Company’s factory on Main Street in Deseronto, the building which was until recently the Deseronto Fleamarket and which originally contained drying kilns for the Rathbun Company’s lumber business. It is marked number 15 on the detail of the 1895 map below:

Dry kilns and sash factory. c.1895

According to an article in the Quinte Scanner newspaper of October 4th, 1972 this building had several other uses between these two:

The building which is occupied by Canada Optical at present housed a match factory in the 1920’s, a meat packing plant in the early ’30’s and a cheese factory after that. Canada Optical started operations in 1946; in 1947 an extension was added to the factory, this consisted of an old hanger from the nearby wartime airfield.

At this time the firm was called the Canada Zyl Company, (it is still known by this name to local residents) and was producing four or five different types of spectacle frames in only two colours. They were made of a highly inflammable material and had to be stored in thick walled buildings well away from the main plant.

Here is how the building looked in 1972:

The factory moved from this location in 1996 to a building at the airport on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. It closed down in 2002.

Thanks to Andrea Hinz for the donation of these frames, another piece of Deseronto’s manufacturing past.

“High Diving”: aircraft crashed in the Bay of Quinte

A report from the Napanee Express of November 15th, 1918, four days after the signing of the Armistice.

One result of the signing of the armistice will be the immediate close of the two aviation camps at Deseronto, Camp Mohawk and Camp Rathbun. The commanding officers received instructions Monday morning from Ottawa to make arrangements for the demobilization of the force and the safe storage of machines and equipment. The engines are being taken out of the planes, coated with vaseline and being stored away. This work it is expected will be finished in about two weeks, and then the camp will be abandoned except by caretakers.

It was decided some months ago to make use of the camps at Deseronto all winter, and not send the men south for training the same as had been done last year. It as the intention to install elaborate heating and sanitation systems so that the men would be comfortable during the cold weather. About a month ago, however, the authorities at Ottawa, apparently ordered the discontinuation of the work.

The aviation camps have been popular resorts for sight seers the past two years, and the planes have been a frequent spectacle manoeuvering over our town. The men also have been welcome visitors to the town on many occasions. They were of a superior class, always well conducted and gentlemanly. Their departure will mean a social and sentimental, as well as a real business loss to the merchants of Deseronto.

Did you miss the chance to explore Deseronto’s Doors Open sites on May 28, 2011? Or perhaps you weren’t able to visit all of them?

Fear not! We’ve made all the Deseronto site brochures available here for you to look at. Just click on the images below to get a large version that you can print off or read online.

Deseronto Cemetery [site 22]
Camp Rathbun [site 23]
St. Mark’s Hall [site 24]
Grace United Church [site 25]
Public Works Garage: former aircraft hangar [site 26]
Naylor’s Theatre [site 27]
Deseronto Post Office [site 28]
Deseronto Town Hall [site 29]
Rathbun Memorial Park [site 30]
McGlade Funeral Home [site 31]
Foresters’ Island [site 32]
Former industrial sites [site 33]
Church of the Redeemer [site 34]
St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church [site 35]
Founding of Deseronto [site 36]

Detail of 2011.03

One of the Archives’ first new accessions of 2011 was a map of Hastings County, transferred by colleagues at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives. Surrounding the map are mini-business directories for Belleville, Deseronto, Frankford, Madoc, Shannonville, Stirling and Tweed. The photo shows the businesses listed for Deseronto, which suggest that the map dates from the 1940s (as that was when Evan Gardner’s funeral home was in operation). It must have been much simpler to remember telephone numbers, back then…

Ed Roach’s butcher shop is fondly remembered by many local people. One of our oral history interviewees remarked that Ed always promised that his meat was “as tender as a woman’s heart”.

Rainbow Protex Ltd.

This photograph shows a stand at a trade show in the 1920s or 1930s. The company represented is Rainbow Protex, a manufacturer of auto top dressings and boot and shoe polish. At this period, car roofs were usually made of fabric that had been coated with rubber. To keep them looking good and to protect the rubber from the effects of sunlight and cold or wet weather, black oil-based varnishes known as auto top dressings were applied to their surfaces.

This particular company’s head office was in Toronto, but (according to the photograph) the factory that produced the polishes and dressings was in Deseronto. One of the men in the photograph is William Macdonald Mackintosh, a chemist, originally from Liverpool in England (U.S. patent no. 771,257 was issued in 1904 for his ‘Compound for Waterproofing Fabrics’). Mackintosh’s granddaughter got in touch with the Archives recently, asking whether we had any information about the company for which Mackintosh was working.

We don’t have any details about the firm in the Archives, so, with her permission, we are sharing this copy of Martha Mackintosh’s photograph here, in case anyone can tell as more about this particular company. We would like to know exactly where in Deseronto its factory was and when it was in operation. Please comment if you can help!

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