Last August we celebrated the grand opening of Heritage Hall during the 2016 Williamstown Fair. The idea to create a permanent home for history and heritage came about during the Fair’s bicentennial year (2011 to 2012) which was focused on the rich and colourful history of the longest continuous fair in Canada. You don’t have to spend much time in the Village of Williamstown or anywhere in Glengarry County to realize the significance of its history to Canada. Therefore it is only fitting that this year the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society is celebrating Canada’s 150 anniversary throughout the Fair weekend with Heritage Hall as the focal point of this celebration.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following organizations who participated in our inaugural 2016 Heritage Hall program: Glengarry Holstein Club, Glengarry Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum, Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee, St. Andrew’s United Church Williamstown, the Williamstown Green Thumb Horticultural Society, Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame, Glengarry Archives, Glengarry Agricultural Wall of Fame, Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.
Many of our community partner organizations will be returning this year along with a few newcomers. All of these history and heritage organizations will be telling their stories, through exhibits and displays, to the many fairgoers who will come through our gates on the 2017 Fair weekend. Please take some time to visit Heritage Hall during the 2017 Fair and help us celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Friday 11am to 7pm
Saturday 10am to 1:30pm and 3pm to 7pm
Sunday 11am to 5pm
The Bishop’s House
The Bishop’s House in Glengarry is situated on St Raphael’s National Historic Site, nine kilometers north of Williamstown on County Road 18. The central section of the building was built in 1808 for Father Alexander Macdonell who arrived here from Scotland after the Glengarry Fencibles Regiment was disbanded (1802). Macdonell had served as military chaplain with great loyalty to Britain during the Napoleonic War. He was also the driving force in the creation of the 2nd Glengarry Fencibles Regiment raised for the War of 1812. The Military Parade Ground of the Fencibles is on the property in front of his house at St. Raphael’s.
Macdonell became the first Catholic bishop in Upper Canada and administered the church throughout the entire province from 1807 until 1840. He built St. Raphael’s Church, founded Ontario’s first college in St. Raphael’s and served as a Legislative Councillor of Upper Canada. Known as the “Warrior Bishop,” he was named National Historic Person of Canada for his contributions to building the county, the province, and the nation.
Williamstown Green Thumbs
The Williamstown Green Thumb Horticultural Society is pleased to be a participant in the Heritage Hall displays during the Fair weekend. Our short history dates back only 40 years. In that time we have partnered with the Fair Board in a number of activities on the grounds that has helped with the beautification of the grounds and given our society opportunities to promote horticulture in the local area. Some of the projects have been:
- a complete re-work of the landscaping around the main entrance stone gates
- creation of Emily’s garden in the gulley under the pines
- annual planting and maintaining 7 window boxes on the newly renovated Heritage Hall
- plant and maintain two large flower boxes outside the washroom entrances
- host our annual Plant Sale and Flower Show at the Meeting Place
- in 2017, the planting of a Canadian Red Maple Tree on the grounds to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday
These various activities are only possible because of the great relationship between the Fair Board and the Williamstown Green Thumbs.
Glengarry Agricultural Wall of Fame
The Glengarry Agricultural Wall of Fame was organized in 1992, in order to recognize and honour leaders in the agricultural industry of Glengarry. They have been innovators, builders, and contributors of their time and expertise to the farming profession as well as to various community organizations. A wall plaque for each inductee is exhibited at the Metcalfe Centre in Maxville and, currently, over seventy men, women, or groups have been inducted to the Wall of Fame. We are fortunate to be able to bring a number of these plaques to the Heritage Hall each year, so that the general public may view and pay tribute to these prominent agricultural citizens.