1951 – Arena Women’s Committee

Between 1937 and 1951, the youth of Brockville and the organized Hockey teams were without a covered or artificial ice arena. The previous 23-year-old all-wood arena on the west side of Gilmore St. had suffered a sudden and suspicious fire, which destroyed it on January 17, 1937. The fire department found it engulfed in flames before they could do anything, and in 2 hours it was completely destroyed. The fire was blamed on an arsonist whose string of local fires later included the old Opera House (now the Arts Centre).

After many years of natural ice outdoor skating and a lengthy world war, efforts were started in 1945 by volunteer committees to work toward building a new ice rink for the town. After two failed groups gave up the task, the town council and alderman Jack Regua set to work again late in 1947. After involving numerous individuals, including the Women’s Division pictured here, the Ways & Means Committee managed to raise over $150,000, which was augmented by $60,000 from the tax rolls. In April 1950, Mayor Fred Reynolds turned the first sod, and the Pyramid Construction Co. started work of the new Rotary Memorial Civic Centre, located on the same site.  It was later opened with a official ceremony on February 25th, 1951.

Women’s Division Committee

25 February 1951

Photo of Women's Committee

Back Row (from left):
Marjorie Bogart,   Margaret McLean,   Hilda? (Mrs. Alfred) MacDonald,   Peggy Reid,   Jean McLean,   Eileen Moorehouse,   Mrs. Cecil Robinson,   Edna? (Mrs. Mac) Johnson,  and   Jean? (Mrs. Bob) Graham.

  Front Row (from left):
Laura Winford,   Noreen Kelly,   Nellie Kelly,   Mina Glover,   Rena Miller,   Esme Pyke,   Evelyn Davison,   Kathleen Cook,  and   Theresa Aikens.

Brockville Loves a Parade

King St E (at Market St.) - Firemen's Parade (ca1890)


In the 1890s, it was common for groups of volunteer firemen from many of the towns in Eastern Ontario and New York State to gather for their annual massed parade and firefighting skills competition. This parade was photographed as the parade passed Brockville’s city hall at Market St.


Circus Parade ca1898

ca. 1895

This a circus parade which probably started at the GTR station, came down Perth St., went along the main street, and is headed for the open grounds used for circuses in the east end of town. The photograph was taken from the top of the Weatherhead Block at King St. E. & Market Square E. The name of the circus company is hard to determine.


Court House Ave - May Day Parade ca.1905

ca. 1905

I believe this children’s parade took place on one of the May Day Celebrations that took place in Brockville on May 1st each year. You may be able to see that the majority of the walkers are young girls wearing white dresses. There is also a small number of boys in the parade. No doubt many of their parents are lining the sides of Court House Ave.



ca. 1915

During World War One the troops stationed in Brockville and the local Brockville Rifles, 41st Battalion would parade down Brockville’s King Street.


King St Brockville WWI parade

ca. 1917

Another WWI parade down King Street.


King St W , Brockville, ON- Victory Loan Parade - June-1-1941

June 1, 1941

This is a view of a Victory Loan Parade during WWII on King St. W., looking east from Kincaid St.



A parade between the wars showing two of the RCMP officers that were stationed in Brockville and the drummers of the 41st Battalion (Brockville Rifles). The building in the background were seldom photographed. The block is just west of Bethune St. on the north side.  All these buildings have been replaced.


Rowing Club parade on King St a - 1956


The parade which celebrated the return to Brockville of the rowers of the Brockville Rowing Club who represented Canada at the Royal Henley-on-Thames competition in Britain in 1956.  The local young men who went over were: Dave Mathieson, Twink Fodey (cox), Vince Rooney, Jack Rooney, Al McBratney, Mike Ford, Dennis Delaney, Jerry McInrue, Robert Campton, Bob Billings, and Moe Cody. Their coach was Ralph Gifford.


King St Parade


In the 1960s, one of the yearly summertime parades which travelled along King St. This view shows the new Woolworth’s store on the north side.  Large cround would line the street. The photographer was standing on the canopy that was mounted over the entrance of the Revere Hotel.


The Hon. Albert Norton Richards

The following article was written in 1880 by John Charles Dent, journalist and historian, (born at Kendal, England, 8 Nov 1841; died at Toronto 27 Sept 1888) for the Canadian Portrait Gallery.

After a newspaper career abroad and in Toronto, Dent became a freelance writer.   His most successful book was the illustrated 4-vol. Canadian Portrait Gallery (1880-81) in which he wrote 185 of its 204 sketches.

In The Last Forty Years: Canada since the Union of 1841 (2 vols., 1881) and the more partisan The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion (2 vols., 1885), he sided with moderate reformers.   John King, W.L. Mackenzie’s son-in-law, attacked him in The Other Side of the “Story” (1886).   Later, however, Dent thought that responsible government had made Canadian politics corrupt. A convinced free trader and lifelong admirer of John Bright, he insisted on economy and probity in government. In addition to history, Dent also wrote fiction, much of which was published posthumously.


Albert N. Richards

Albert N. Richards  about 1880


The Hon. Albert N. Richards

2nd Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia  1876-81

Mr. Richards is the youngest son of the late Stephen Richards, of Brockville, and a brother of the Hon. William Buell Richards, ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Dominion.

Albert Norton Richards was born at Brockville, Upper Canada, on the 8th of December, 1822. Like his elder brothers, William and Stephen, he received his early education at the famous Johnstown District Grammar School, and embraced the legal profession as his calling in life. He studied law in the office of his brother William, with whom he entered into partnership after his call to the Bar in Michaelmas Term, 1848.

Though perhaps somewhat less conspicuous at the Bar than his partner, he took a high position, and was distinguished for the acumen and soundness of judgment which seem to be inherent in every member of his family. After his brother’s elevation to the Bench, he himself continued to practise at Brockville. His business was large and profitable.

He took a keen interest in politics, and was identified with the Reform Party. He did not seek Parliamentary distinction, however, until the year 1861, when he was an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of South Leeds in the Legislative Assembly of Canada—his successful opponent being Mr. Benjamin Tett.

At the general election of 1863 he again offered himself in opposition to the same candidate, and on this occasion was returned at the head of the poll. In the month of December following he accepted office in the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion Administration, as Solicitor-General for Canada West in 1863-64. He was at the same time created a Queen’s Counsel.

Albert N. Richards, MP- Soliciter-General for Canada West

Albert N. Richards, MP
– Solicitor-General for Canada West

Upon returning to his constituents for re-election, after accepting office, he was compelled to encounter the full strength of the Conservative Party. The Government of the day existed by a mere thread, their majority averaging one, two and three, and it was felt that if Mr. Richards could be defeated the Government must resign.

The constituency of South Leeds was invaded by all the principal speakers and agents of the Conservative Party, headed by the Hon. John A. Macdonald and the late Mr. D’Arcy McGee, and no stone was left unturned to defeat the new Solicitor-General. The result was the defeat of the latter by D. Ford Jones, the Conservative candidate, by a majority of five votes.

Mr. Richards, after the resignation of the Government, remained out of public life until 1867, when he unsuccessfully contested his old seat for the House of Commons with the late Lieutenant-Governor John W. Crawford, the latter being elected by a majority of thirty-nine.

In 1869 Mr. Richards was offered by the Government of Sir John Macdonald, the office of Attorney-General in the Provincial Government which Mr. Macdougall, as Lieutenant-Governor of the Northwest Territories, was about to establish at Fort Garry. Mr. Richards accepted the office, and accompanied Mr. Macdougall on his well-known journey, until stopped by Louis Riel at Stinking River.

In the following year he visited British Columbia on public business, and in 1871 he again visited that Province, this time for the benefit of the health of his children, eight of whom he had lost by death during his residence at Brockville.

At the general election of 1872, Mr. Richards made another and a successful appeal to the electors of South Leeds, and was returned to the House of Commons. He held his seat until January, 1874; when, being absent from the country, on a visit to British Columbia, he was unable to return in time to be nominated for his old constituency, and South Leeds became lost to the Reform Party.

Mr. Richards continued to reside in British Columbia, and for several years was the official Legal Agent of the Dominion Government in that Province. He took an active part in endeavouring to bring about various much-needed law reforms, as to several of which he was ultimately successful.

On the 29th of July, 1875, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, a position which he has ever since held. His sterling qualities have obtained recognition, and he has won great popularity.

He has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married on the 17th of October, 1849, was Frances Chaffey, daughter of the late Benjamin Chaffey, formerly of Staffordshire, England. This lady died in April, 1853. On the 12th of August, 1854, he married Ellen Chaffey Chislett, daughter of the late John Chislett, also of Staffordshire. His second wife still survives.

Lt.-Gov. Albert N. Richards

Lt.-Gov. Albert N. Richards