Historic Sites, Personal, Surrounding Areas

Local Historic Sites: Willowbank Cemetery

May 015

P.S. this is the first of my historic site visit posts. This one was done really on the fly, but I promise future ones will have more information and be generally better planned out. Stay tuned!

Last week while going to Gananoque to visit the kitties at the Humane Society, I had the opportunity to stop at Willowbank Cemetery. My reasons for doing this were twofold: one, I love exploring old cemeteries so much that if left to my own devices I’d probably stay in there for three and a half hours and forget to eat lunch; and two, one of my very favourite local history people, Joel Stone, is buried there.

My sister was slightly cranky and wanted to get home, so I had to act fast. Willowbank Cemetery is a sizeable place, and I had no idea where Joel Stone’s grave was located. I also wanted to look around a bit (and we had the perfect day for cemetery-exploring, cloudy with a slight drizzle). Luckily I had brought my camera along, so I snapped a few photos for you to look at…

(my photo)

(my photo)

Willowbank is kind of a picture-perfect cemetery. It’s situated in a gently hilly area and is full of mature trees, giving lots of opportunity for dramatic landscaping, made more so with a crumbling headstone or two. The grounds are overall well-maintained and it feels almost more like a nice park than a graveyard. The location also has an interesting history (especially relating to Kingston), as detailed in the plaque below:

(my photo)

(my photo)

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18th Century, 19th Century, Institutions, People, Surrounding Areas

Hunky Guys of Kingston’s Past, Part One

It can be easy to see historical figures as people who seem somehow disconnected from a personality. Sometimes you just can’t get excited about the old guy in the portrait, despite the laurels to his name, and history starts to appear ever more dull. Well, that doesn’t always have to be the case. To spice things up a bit – inspired by this Tumblr and others – I bring you five men from Kingston and the area who not only made history, but looked great doing it. Yes, it’s Hunky Guys of Kingston’s Past!

Due to the surprising amount of stuff that these guys did in their lives, I’ve needed to break up this post into two sections. The next one will be coming shortly. They’re arranged broadly in chronological order, for lack of a better method.

Anyway, here is Part One. Enjoy!

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20th Century, Buildings, Businesses

The Failed Chateau Rideau

This never happened.

This never happened.

As I was searching for a new topic to write about, I came across a short article written by Brian S. Osborne on the Kingston Historical Society website. Entitled “Kingston’s Chateau Rideau,” it briefly goes over the short life and death of the hotel pictured above. Yes, only pictured. It was never built.

It reminded me that a few months ago I had found, on Archive.org, the original booklet advertising the potential for such a hotel in Kingston, so that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today! (Research on the internet is shamefully easy…)

You might think that this hotel looks rather large and unwieldy for Kingston, which is probably true. But in the early twentieth century, when the Chateau Rideau was proposed, tourism in the Thousand Islands by prominent Canadians and Americans, as well as by simple pleasure-seekers, was quite high. For Kingston, an “if you build it they will come” approach may have seemed like a good way to capitalize on the traffic coming through the area.

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