History Geography Picton
Picton a town in Prince Edward County incorporated in 1837. Prior to 1837 the separate villages of Picton and Hallowell Bridge occupied opposite sides of Picton Bay. Named after General Sir Thomas Picton, Wellington's second-in-command at the Battle of Waterloo, the Town of Picton has a rich history. Sir John A. MacDonald first prime minister of Canada managed a law office for his uncle, Lowther P. MacPherson in Picton.
During World War II, the United Kingdom was under siege and required training facilities outside the British Isles for the thousands of pilots needed for defense. Because of geographical similarities to Great Britain, sparsely populated Prince Edward County was considered an ideal location for an Royal Air Force Bombing and Gunnery School. In the summer of 1940, an aerodrome was constructed and in November 1940 the Royal Canadian Air Force moved in and began small arms training at the facility. In April 1941, the Royal Air Force took over the base as No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School also used to train many of the aviators needed to help defend Britain as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
The Canadian Army continued to maintained a training facility at the old aerodrome after the end of the war. Renamed Camp Picton in 1960 it became a fully operational Army base. In 1966, it was renamed Canadian Forces Base Picton, but this was short-lived because in 1969 the base was closed and sold as part of the consolidation and downsizing of the Canadian military. Portions of the base have been divided up to serve many functions, including conversion of one of the newer barracks sections into a hospital, much of the old base housing is currently occupied as rental homes. The airfield is now the Picton Airport. The original aerodrome facilities were built using different construction methods than most bases built by the Canadian military. The rapid construction meant hangars and other buildings were not designed for longevity, although most still remain standing. The former Camp Picton now serves many diverse functions but the unique appearance of the base makes it a significant, if obscure, historical landmark.
Picton Airport is a general aviation airport used primarily for recreational flying. It's also used regularly in the summer season for Canadian Air Cadet flight training using Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider sailplanes and Bellanca Scout 8GCBC aircraft.
Due to its distinctive appearance, the dilapidated airport has been used as a filming location for several movie productions. External scenes for the made for TV film Haven, starring Natasha Richardson, Colm Feore and Martin Landau were filmed there. It also served as a backdrop for the 1993 CBC production Dieppe, and was the filming location of Bomber Boys and the 2005 reality-TV show Canada's Worst Driver. Many businesses use the facilities, including a hammock outlet, an auction house, and since the late 1970s the local Air Cadet squadron, 851 RC(Air)CS, Prince Edward which left that location in 2004. The airstrip is also the host to various motorsports events, such as those held by the St. Lawrence Auto Club, which regularly runs Solo II racing events in the summer months.
Highway 33, also known as the Loyalist Parkway, passes through the centre of Picton serving as its main link to the larger Ontario highway system. It's the main artery from the Glenora Ferry terminal approximately 10 km from Picton in the east to Carrying Place and the Murray Canal approximately 40 km from Picton as you exit the county in the northwest. Proceeding north-northeast from Picton is County Highway 49 which eventually connects to Highway 401 between Napanee and Shannonville, after passing through a portion of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Highway 33 also connects to Highway 62, which provides a link to the city of Belleville, approximately 30 km to the northwest. The city of Kingston, the eastern terminus of Highway 33, is located approximately 60 km by road east of Picton if you use the year-round Glenora ferry to exit the county travelling east.
At one time, Picton in Prince Edward County was extensively served by a rail system. However, the railway no longer exists. The former rail beds have been converted into recreational trails which wind around the outskirts of Picton and throughout Prince Edward County and used for various purposes year-round.
Picton has extensive small-craft docking facilities and boat launch ramps. There are no facilities for heavy shipping at the tip of the bay, so large commercial vessels are generally not seen in the portion of Picton Bay near Picton. However, east of Picton on the northern shore of the bay there's a concrete plant with industrial docking facilities.
In the past, electrical services had been managed by the local utilities commission. In recent years, this was eliminated and electrical power is now managed by the central Hydro ONE, a Government of Ontario Crown corporation.
There is currently a controversy in the area over the development of upgraded sewage treatment facilities. After consultation with a Kingston, Ontario firm, the council moved forward with a plan to build a multi-million dollar conventional treatment facility. However, there is resistance from local citizens who would prefer a "green" solution in the form of a natural waste water treatment facility such as an engineered wetland. Which system will be implemented remains to be seen, but Picton's current system is seriously outdated and running out of capacity.
September 1st 1800 while young William at the age of 6 was playing outside with his brothers, his Father Robert Macaulay was being pronounced dead by the district coroner. It was an eventful day in history. Unbeknownst to young William, his subsequent inheritance of 500 acres in the Hallowell district on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, would have a great influence on a country which would come to be known as 'Canada'.
Robert Macaulay born in Ornagh, Ireland in 1744 emigrated to the USA as a young man of 20. By the mid 1770s he had attained a sizable estate on Lake Champlain. A man of conviction, he'd been twice detained for aiding the British during the American Revolution.
Fearing for his life and property, he escaped to Canada in 1778. Settling on Carleton Island near Kingston becoming a prominent businessman. As captain of the ‘Associated Loyalists’, he had acquired a great deal of land in the area , including as far over as what is now known as the Municipality of Prince Edward County. In 1791 he moved back to New York met and married Ann Kirby, a woman born in Britain. They settled in Kingston, Ontario raising three sons. Robert did not live long after the birth of his sons and it was upon his death young William’s fate became written in stone.
William was sent overseas for an education at Oxford upon his return, after a brief stay in Hamilton Township, he settled on his land in Hallowell as a missionary. He set about making sure a portion of his land was used to build a school. In 1823 he donated the land for the construction of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, now the Prince Edward County Museum. Paying for much of it’s construction from his own pocket.
In 1827 he was made Rector at Hallowell now Picton, Ontario and in 1831 donated the land for the new courthouse on Union Street where a young Sir John A MacDonald, future prime minister of Canada, practiced law.
William married twice. His first wife, Anne Catherine Geddes, kept extensive diaries of her life during this time period and it is via her meticulous records that much of the grounds and gardens were restored to the 1830s, the time period during which she and William lived in their newly built Neo-classic brick beauty. Anne Catherine died childless in 1849 .
The restoration and décor of the interior of the house is in keeping with the 1850’s, the time period that William and his second wife, Charlotte Levesconte, were first married and had begun a family.
Loyal True Blue Orphanage Prince Edward County Ontario 1901
In 1889 Mrs. Joseph Hilton, a member of Lady Verner True Blue Lodge in Toronto, became concerned that facilities for Protestant orphans were lacking. Through her efforts the appointment of an orphanage board was made in 1890. The idea caught the imagination of True Blue members throughout the province of Ontario and through the initiative of the Picton Lodge property was obtained and on August 23, 1899, the orphanage was declared open at Picton, Ontario.
It soon became apparent that accommodation was far less than required, but the project itself had met with great acceptance by lodge members. By 1916 the Provincial Grand Orange Lodges of Ontario East and West had shown their support and added to the Board of Management in 1919 the property at Richmond Hill was purchased.
In 1920 members of the Ladies Orange Benevolent Association in Ontario East and West joined in the project. On October 22, 1921, the cornerstone was laid for the Richmond Hill building by H.C. Hocken, the then Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Canada, and the unity of the Blue and Orange became visible in the spacious building which was officially opened on Dominion Day, 1923 with W.W. Fitzgerald presiding.
The dedicatory prayer was said by Reverend W.L.L. Lawrence, and giving Grand Lodge approval was the Grand Master of Canada, the Honourable W.D. McPherson K.C., accompanied by H.C. Hocken M.P. The True Blues were represented by George Farley, Grand Master, and the Ladies Orange Benevolent Association was honoured by the presence of Mary Cullum, their founder and first Grand Mistress. The event aroused interest throughout the entire country and to this day citizens of all denominations point with pride to the landmark at Richmond Hill. Each year the Home holds 'Open House', a special occasion when visitors and former residents are welcomed.
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