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Collecting Covid-19 Stories

Detail from Government of Canada Covid-19 leaflet, 2020The Community Archives is planning to create a record of our region’s experience of the coronavirus crisis and we need the help of local residents, businesses, and organizations.

Have you taken photographs recording Hastings County or Belleville’s responses to the crisis? Would you be willing to make a record of your own experience?

Here are some questions to consider, if you would like to share your story. You can write down your responses, or you might prefer to make a video or audio recording of your thoughts on the topic.

  1. How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted your daily life?
  2. Have you had any experiences of providing or receiving healthcare during the crisis?
  3. Have there been any unexpected benefits of Covid-19?
  4. Have your interactions with your neighbours changed?
  5. Have you taken up any new hobbies?
  6. How have your eating habits been affected?
  7. What is the strangest thing that happened to you as a result of the Covid-19 crisis?

You can email your photographs or stories to the archives at archives@cabhc.ca. Let us know if you are happy for your contributions to be shared with other people right away, or if you would prefer them to be made available after a certain date.

By | May 26th, 2020|News|1 Comment

Archives from home

If you are missing interacting with archival materials while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place, a new project from the Community Archives might be of interest to you. We have scanned the 1871 Hastings County assessment roll and would like your help in making the names in it available to the public.

Each municipality in the county of Hastings sent a copy of its assessment roll to the county authorities. The rolls list each occupier of lands, with details of the property, its value, and additional information such as the occupation of the individual, how many people were in their household and even how many sheep, horses and cattle they owned.

Transcribing the information in these records gives us a picture of the way Hastings County had been settled by 1871, and expands on the information available to us from the national census which was taken in the same year.

How does it work?

The images for each municipality have been saved as individual PDF files. Some are easier to read than others (they were all compiled by different municipal clerks). As an example, here is the first page of the assessment for Carlow/Mayo Township, whose clerk had a clear hand and which only has three pages of information to copy out.

Detail of Carlow/Mayo assessment roll

For each township, there is also a data entry form in the form of a Google spreadsheet which anyone can contribute to. Here is the link to the Carlow/Mayo one.

Each page in the township’s assessment has its own tab in the spreadsheet, circled here in red.

If you would like to take part in this project, please edit the data entry forms online (links to the all the PDFs and the online forms are in the table below). If you would rather not work online, there is also an Excel spreadsheet to download, which you can complete (one form for each page) and email to the archives.

Contact the archives if you have any questions about the project.

Note on names: some of the townships have names listed in reverse order (Abbott, Jane for example). In those cases, please write out the names in natural order (Jane Abbott) in the spreadsheet, so that they will be easier for people to find.

Help with names: the 1869-1870 Directory for the County of Hastings is available online from the Internet Archive. This has an alphabetical listing of names of individuals for each township, which is useful for checking the spelling of names that might be hard to read in the assessment roll.

Municipality Image file Data-entry form Progress
Bangor, Herschel, McClure, Monteagle and Wicklow [10 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Bangor, Herschel, McClure, Monteagle and Wicklow townships Data entry form for Bangor, Herschel, McClure, Monteagle and Wicklow townships Complete!
Carlow and Mayo [3 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Carlow and Mayo townships Data entry form for Carlow and Mayo In progress
Elzevir [18 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Elzevir township Elzevir data entry form In progress
Hungerford [39 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Hungerford Township Data entry form for Hungerford Township In progress
Huntingdon [19 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Huntingdon township Data entry form for Huntingdon Township In progress
Madoc [27 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Madoc township Data entry form for Madoc Township In progress
Marmora and Lake [23 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Marmora and Lake township Data entry form for Marmora and Lake township In progress
Rawdon [27 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Rawdon Township Data entry form for Rawdon Township In progress
Sidney [43 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Sidney Township Data entry form for Sidney Township In progress
Stirling [8 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Stirling Data entry form for Stirling In progress
Thurlow [48 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Thurlow Township Data entry form for Thurlow township In progress
Trenton [21 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Trenton Data entry form for Trenton In progress
Tudor, Wollaston, Limerick and Cashel [10 pages] PDF file of 1871 assessment roll for Tudor, Wollaston, Limerick and Cashel Data entry form for Tudor, Wollaston, Limerick and Cashel In progress
Tyendinaga [52 pages] 1871 assessment roll for Tyendinaga township Data entry form for Tyendinaga township In progress
By | March 26th, 2020|Featured item, News|2 Comments

Say Cheese!

Space in archives is a constant concern: we are always going to run out of shelf space for holdings at some point. One way of not using up space too quickly is to try to avoid adding duplicate materials to our collections. The more complete our catalogues, the easier this becomes, which is one reason we have been prioritizing getting our online catalogues as comprehensive as possible. A large part of our photograph digitization project was identifying duplicate images and only sharing one photograph online, as far as we are able.

Back in January we received a donation of a photograph of a 1950s baseball team made up of employees from Stephens-Adamson, the Belleville manufacturer of conveying equipment.

The team included Gordon Cooney (fifth from left at the back) and the photograph was taken in front of a fountain that used to stand at the Quinte Exhibition grounds in Belleville.

Baseball team


Today another photograph arrived at the Community Archives, and at first sight it seemed to be the same image.


Neither image is perfect: one has a crease across it, and the other is slightly marked with a stain. A closer look showed that they are not actually prints from the same negative.

Compare the photographs of this man, standing in front of the fountain in both images:

Comparison of facial expressionsUndoubtedly it is the same person, but with a very different expression on his face. Looks like we will be keeping both of these photographs, after all!

We don’t know exactly when this photograph was taken, or the identities of any of the people in it, apart from Gordon Cooney. Please let us know if you can identify any of the players, or if you have any information about the team.

By | February 19th, 2020|Featured item, News|3 Comments

Double Deckers in Quinte

British Travel Association greeting

A recent transfer of records from the City of Belleville included an intriguing framed item from the British Travel Association, bringing warm greetings to the Mayor and People of Belleville through the medium of the Good Will Caravan of London Buses. The item has been duly added to the Community Archives (reference number CB 6/09) and we have done some more research online and in our newspaper collection to tease out its history.

Tourism from North America has always been a significant source of income to Great Britain, as this article from the Ontario Intelligencer in 1952 makes clear:

Tourist dollars from North America in UK

Visitors from Canada, States Spent 22,500,000 Pounds in Britain in ’51
Canadian Press Staff Writer .
LONDON (CP)—Visitors from Canada and the United States spent an estimated 22,250,000 pounds in Britain during 1951, not including fares, says the 24th annual report of the British Travel and Holidays Association.
Tourist traffic again represented one of the country’s chief sources of earning Canadian and American dollars. One-third of Britain’s total tourist receipts came from the United States or Canada.
Some 36,000 Canadians visited Britain in 1951, an increase of 5.7 per cent over the previous year. The report notes, however, that there was a tendency for them to spend more time on the continent
than previously. Canadians entering the United Kingdom in 1951 spent 5,950,000 pounds, including fares.
U. S. visitors spent 26,400,000 pounds including fare payments, a sum greater than any of Britain’s visible exports to the United States and equivalent to 20 per cent of all Britain’s physical exports there.
In order of importance in earning U.S. dollars for Britain are: tourists, whisky, woollen yarns and manufactured products, vehicles, other textile manufactures (excluding silk), machinery, . pottery, glass, cotton yarns and manufactures.
Britain expects to make 120,000,000. pounds from the tourist business during 1952 largely in Canadian and U.S. dollars.

The Good Will Caravan of London Buses was part of a campaign by the British Travel Association, in co-operation with London Transport, to encourage more Americans and Canadians to visit the United Kingdom. In 1950 a similar tour had visited European countries to promote the 1951 Festival of Britain, travelling 4,000 miles/6,500 kilometres.

The 1952 tour had started in America in March. This British Pathé news item shows the arrival of the three brand new London Buses in New York:

The buses travelled west to Los Angeles and San Francisco via Cincinnati, Dallas, and Albuquerque, then east again via Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago. While still in America, it was decided to extend the 8,000 mile/13,000km tour to include eastern Canada. The buses visited London, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

The buses arrived in Trenton on July 30th, 1952 and in Belleville on the following day. An advertisement in the Ontario Intelligencer on July 30th promoted the Belleville visit:

London Buses advertisment

Three of London England’s
Famous Double Deck Buses
from 10.00 a.m. till 12.00 noon
They bring to you greetings and good wishes
from the heart of the Commonwealth. To some
of you they are old friends, turning up where
least expected. To many they are just something
you have read about. But old friends or new
acquaintances, they are an interesting part of old
London, and you will like to see them and
perhaps ride in one of them.
You will like the Cockney Crews that bring
these buses to you. Come along and meet
them. These Crews and thousands like
them braved the blitzes and the blackouts
and they have already driven from
coast to coast to come and
see your town. The British Travel
Association and the London
Transport Executive are
delighted to send you this
goodwill Cavalcade and their
London Crews.

The newspaper reported on the visits the following day:

Buses visit Trenton

British Buses Stop in Town – For Short Visit
TRENTON. — Speaking of big ones fishermen Charlie Hilton and Bill O’Malley of Trenton, caught a salmon trout worthwhile bragging about. They were fishing at Buck Lake the other day and hooked a 15-pound beauty. They were surprised at, the size of the huskie and the fight it put up. It took them just three minutes to heave the big fellow over the side and into their boat. They were using copper line about 150 feet down.
The three British buses travelling United States and Canada arrived here yesterday afternoon, after making a 60 mile detour at Brighton. They came by the back road from Stirling because the bridge crossing the Trent river is not high enough to allow double decked buses to pass.
E. T.Bonny, Osterjey, Isleworth, Middlesex, and a crew driving and maintaining the trams, were greeted here by Mayor Kenneth J. Couch and a delegation from, the town. Mr. Bonny said it. was interesting to note that in London, Canada, the entourage had received the biggest reception. Some 2,800 persons were taken for rides during the stopover there. The expedition was sponsored by the British Travel Association.
Already the three buses with accompanying maintenance vehicles have travelled 9,500 miles across the United States from New York to Los Angeles and back across the country into Canada. At the “hole in the wall” on No. 2 highway at Newcastle the buses scraped through with a half inch to spare.
In Trenton several hundred were taken on sight seeing tours.

Buses visit Belleville

Double Decker London Buses, Personnel on Goodwill Tour Of Ontario Welcomed by City
Double decker London Transport buses on the final lap of a 10,000-mile goodwill tour through United States and Canada provided a tinge of nostalgia for many Belleville and district residents from “over home” when they stopped in the city overnight.
The three double decker buses off the streets of Old London arrived in the city last evening and this morning were viewed by several thousand local residents. Many took the advantage of a short ride in one of the buses and a big percentage of the people. viewing the buses were former English people who had come to Canada to live.
It was a bit of Old England as the Cockney voices answered questions of dozens of interested persons who crowded into the market square area while the buses were on display. People who had visited England or former residents who had not been back home in years sought out the English drivers and conductors with questions relating to “over home” or about the tour.
Kiddies Get Big Kick
Local kiddies got a big kick out of their upper deck ride about the city and the bus did a roaring business during the several hours, in which free rides were offered.
One of the buses was fitted out as a display vehicle with the top deck fitted out with colored pictures of typical English scenery and other points of interest.
Travelling with the buses is a personnel of 22 including drivers, mechanics and representatives of. the British Travel Association, which with London Transport, are joint sponsors of the tour.
The party left England about the middle of March and toured the United States and are returning by way of Canada. They will be away from England about five months.
“Not a holiday, but a real experience,” was the way one of the Cockney drivers described
the trip.
At a civic reception tendered the touring personnel held at the city hall. Mr. Harry Price, public relations representative for the tour, explained that. insofar as Canada was concerned the trip was a goodwill tour. “The American phase of the tour was more of an educational nature,” he said;
Welcomed by Mayor
Mayor A. M. Haig expressed the official welcome to the tdUr personnel and assured that anything concerning England was dear to the hearts of most residents of this city and district.
Attending the reception were most of the city aldermen; heads of civic bodies and presidents of various service clubs and other organizations. Coffee and doughnuts were served by the ladies of the city hall staff.’
Following their arrival in the city last night, Mr. Price, Edwin Hills and Edwin T. Bonny, mechanical supervisor, were entertained to dinner by the Industrial Commission.
The high double decker English buses are not built for Canadian highways, it has been found by their drivers, who have to make numerous; detours around low bridges and subways.
Had to Make Detour
For instance they could not get under the highway bridge at Trenton and had to go north around by Campbellford to get across the Trent River.
Double, decker buses are favored in England because of their high seating capacity-56 passengers—with compact dimensions. It is explained that short highly manoeuvrable vehicles are essential in many of England’s old cities and towns with their traffic congested, narrow winding streets and sharp corners.
They are powered with 125 horsepower diesel engines. London Transport has 7,250 double deck buses, and another 1,000 single deckers.

The buses returned to England in August 1952 and entered normal service in London. One of the buses was acquired by the London Bus Museum in 1977 and has been restored to its condition at the time of the 1952 tour. It is now on display at the museum.

RT2775 (photo by Peter Zabek, courtesy of the London Bus Museum)

Does anyone remember the visit of the buses to Trenton or Belleville?

Further reading:
Transport for London Corporate Archives Research Guide No 40: Overseas Bus Tours
London Bus Museum 1952 AEC Regent III bus – RT2775

By | September 9th, 2019|Featured item, News|1 Comment

10,000 (and counting!)

This week the Community Archives has passed a numerical milestone in our photographic digitization project, with the uploading of our ten thousandth image to the photo-sharing website, Flickr. Our project began with the sharing of the Grace Waters photograph album, showing scenes of nursing during the First World War. This image was the first one added to Flickr, in August 2015.

Group of nurses in First World War uniforms

Grace B. Waters album

Since then, a range of summer students and volunteers have been helping to scan, describe, and share the extensive collection of photographs amassed by the Hastings County Historical Society from 1957 to 2010. The photographs record buildings (many now vanished), people, and local events, all now available to browse from the comfort of your own internet connection.

The 10,000th image records a significant moment in the Hastings County Historical Society’s own history: the 1961 opening of the first Hastings County Museum in the former Registry Office building on Church Street in Belleville. Gerry Boyce can be seen on the extreme right of the photograph. Since its foundation, the Historical Society has been a powerful force for the care of local history of all kinds and at the Community Archives we are proud to be able to share the results of their work over the past 60 years.

Opening of the Hastings County Museum

HC08237: Opening of Hastings County Museum, August 9th, 1961

Tips on using Flickr

If you are new to using Flickr, we have compiled a brief guide here to help you navigate the site. Flickr holds photographs from some 75 million people, so it is useful to know how to just search one account, like that of the Community Archives.

First of all, you’ll want to navigate to the home page of the account. In our case that would be flickr.com/photos/cabhc. There is a search box at the top of the page, but this searches all of Flickr, so you’ll want to limit that, which you can do by clicking on the small magnifying glass just above the photographs:

Flickr home page

This will change the search so that it only looks across the pictures in the Community Archives’ holdings. You’ll see that the search box changes slightly, with the name of the collection appearing at the start of the box:

We hope you have fun exploring the photographs and look forward to sharing many more in the years to come!

By | June 13th, 2019|Featured item, News|2 Comments

Local Link to a London Disaster

On January 6th, 1898, the Weekly Intelligencer reported on a disaster which had taken place in the city of London, Ontario, three days earlier

Intelligencer report on the London Disaster of 1898


Awful Calamity at a Municipal Meeting in London.


The Winners in the Municipal Battle Had Gathered in the City Hall to Listen to Speeches by the Successful Candidates – The Platform and Floor Gave Way and Twenty-Three Were Carried to Death – The Dead and Injured.


F. Heaman, C. Beckit, E. Luxton, N. Carrothers, R. Leigh, S. Harris, A. Phillips, L. W. Burk, W. J. Smith, W. C. Talbot, John Turner, Benjamin J. Nash, J. W. Borland, Frank Robinson, W. H. Dell, Stephen Williams, Ben Jacques, O. Bruce, James McLean, John Fellows, John Burridge, Allen Towe, Unknown Man.


Geo. Yates, Reporter, Joshua Darch, H. Passmore, Reporter, Thomas Blanch, Ald. Robt. Carrothers, Mayor Wilson, – Burges, W. Gray, leg broken, – Fleming, arm broken, Ald. Neil Cooper, internal injuries, H. Van Wyck, head cut.

London, Jan. 4.- During the height of a triumphal after-election meeting, 23 people were thrown to their death by the fiving way of a floor in the City Hall last night. Scores were injured, and the hospitals of the city are crowded with the dying and dead.

London, Ont., Jan. 5.- London’s pall of sorrow darkened and hung heavy over the city yesterday. From the masts of the city flags waved at half-mast in dolorous silence, and citizens spoke in whispers as they realized the magnitude of the disaster which had in a moment blotted out the lives of 23 people who the evening before were jubilant with life.

From all sections of the country came messages of sympathy, showing how deeply the calamity had touched the hearts of the people of Canada.

Upon the streets the disaster was the sole topic of conversation. The cause for it was earnestly discussed by the citizens…

[Drawing] Mayor-Elect J. D. Wilson, M. D., Whose election was being celebrated.

One of the people killed in this disaster had a Hastings County connection. Leander Ward Burke was born in Huntingdon Township in around 1859 and grew up with his parents, James Gilbert Burke and Charlotte Jane (Vandervoort) on their farm on lot 10 of the fifth concession. By 1888 both James and Charlotte had died and Leander was living in London in 1890, working as an agent for a life assurance company.

Burke’s death was registered with those of his fellow accident victims. Ironically, the ‘name of physician in attendance’ is Dr. John D. Wilson, the very man whose election everyone at the event had been celebrating, and who had himself been injured in the disaster.

Death registrations for accident victims

Death registrations for accident victims

After the disaster at City Hall, Leander’s body was returned to Hastings County and he was buried in the Moira Cemetery.

The Community Archives holds a tinted tintype photograph of Leander Burke, taken when he was conducting a group of girls near Maynooth, Ontario. This item was donated to the Hastings County Historical Society by Hazel Hutchinson of Stirling, Ontario, in September 1974.

HC04943: Leander Burke with choir near Maynooth, Ontario

By | June 5th, 2019|Featured item, News|0 Comments

May events

Archivists in Community Archives reading room Earlier this month, we were delighted to be able to host archivists from across Ontario at the Archives Association of Ontario’s annual conference, which was held in Belleville for the first time. The Community Archives was the venue for the First Timers’ Reception, pictured here, where newcomers to the event were welcomed and encouraged to get to know each other with a game of ‘human bingo’. It is quite surprising how noisy a group of archivists can sound when they get together…

On Thursday, May 30th, the Community Archives will be taking part in the Older Adult Information Fair at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre in Belleville. We will be sharing information on researching the history of a property, and there will be a prize draw to enter. If you are in the area, please call in to find out more about our work and how we can help you.

Older Adult Information Fair poster

By | May 23rd, 2019|News|0 Comments

New book on Belleville in the First World War

Laurel Bishop signing copies of her bookThe culmination of four years of work was celebrated today by Community Archives volunteer, Laurel Bishop. Laurel’s research on life in Belleville during the First World War is familiar to regular visitors to the Community Archives’ website, where from 2014 to 2018 she has been sharing edited newspaper reports 100 years after their first publication.

These reports have now been selected, edited, and compiled into book form and published by the Hastings County Historical Society. The book’s title is Belleville in the First World War: Reports from the Intelligencer. The volume is available here in the Community Archives, at a price of $30.

Congratulations to Laurel on the incredible amount of work she has put in to this project.

Cpver of "Belleville in the First World War"

By | April 23rd, 2019|Intelligencer WW1 Local News, News, World War 1|0 Comments

True or False?

With the end of our ‘The Tales We Tell…’ exhibit, we are now able to reveal the winners of the pictures and which ones were fact, which ones fiction.

Of the eighteen images, six had true stories attached to them, while the remainder were either completely fabricated or were a mixture of some true elements with a fair sprinkling of false ones.

Prize winners

Congratulations to our eighteen winners, pictured here with their prizes: John, John, Susan, Caleb, Philip, Brenda, Julia, Niall, Eveline, Helen, Denise, Adam, Colleen, Nancy, Jody, Terry, Andrea, and Lorie.

The true stories were the ones attached to the following pictures:

HC00854 'Bug House' on Dundas Street East, Belleville. HC00854 – The ‘Bug House’ (Dominion Entomology Lab) on Dundas Street East, Belleville
1888-1900 Fire Insurance map of Belleville, sheet 4. Belleville Fire Insurance map of 1888-1900
Belleville Hardware Company buildings, Pinnacle Street. HC00899 Belleville Hardware Company buildings, Pinnacle Street, c.1911
Raising of lightship, Muskegon. James F. Anderson negative 337B, raising of lightship at Muskegon, Michigan, 1911
Members of the Circle Six orchestra DESHIS-08-04 Members of the Circle Six Orchestra, c.1927
Horse and mule and three people with 'Votes for Women' sign. HC04638 Burrowes family members with ‘Votes for Women’ sign
By | February 26th, 2019|News|0 Comments

The Tales We Tell…

Archives, museums, libraries, and galleries generally pride themselves on the accuracy of the information they provide to their users. Careful research is carried out and the general public trust the staff of these institutions to explain their contents in a reliable way.

Historical materials often only survive by chance: some of these fragments of the past find their way into collecting institutions like the Community Archives or Glanmore National Historic Site, but many do not. And historians, librarians, archivists, and curators are human beings who can be mistaken, deceived, or dishonest, just like everybody else.

‘The Tales We Tell…’ exhibit

We are living in a world where truth can be hard to determine. In our first ever show in the John M. Parrott Gallery, we are sharing a series of images from the Community Archives with accompanying stories. These stories contain a lot of facts and some of them are true. But there are also some complete fabrications.

We are inviting people to explore our exhibit and to see if they can tell fact from fiction. We are also inviting them to think about who they can trust, and about the stories that cannot be told, because fragments of evidence about those people did not survive into the present, or were never created in the first place.

If you like any of the pictures, we are offering them as prizes in a draw at the end of the show. Entrants just need to tell us which stories they think are true, and which picture they would like to take home with them. On February 14th we will draw the winners’ names.

Thank you to Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios for making our images look so beautiful, and to Trevor Pross, Holly Dewar, and Susan Holland of the Belleville Public Library and John M. Parrott Gallery for the opportunity of putting on this exhibit. Additional thanks to Community Archives volunteers Trevor Parsons and Marilyn Wood for helping to come up with stories for some of the images.

By | January 4th, 2019|News|4 Comments