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Bonfield and Rutherglen, Ontario: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards

Greetings from Crystal Springs Lodge in Bonfield, Ontario Highlighting in vintage postcards the history of towns and townships in the greater Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami areas of Northern Ontario, Canada and including the Nipissing District and portions of the Parry Sound district which are in the “Blue Sky Region.” These Canadian postcards are shown in digital museum format for educational purposes. If you have images or historical information which you’d like to share with our virtual museum, feel free to do so. To navigate these pages, mouse over the top navigation bar. Drop-down menus will appear of the areas of interest. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. Close the larger image before opening another thumbnail. The occasional duplicates for sale can be found using the search box on the main (home) page of VintagePostcards.org. This is an ongoing project; comments and questions to the webmaster at webmaster - at sign - vintagepostcards.org are welcome.

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Bonfield, Ontario:

Bonfield Postage Stamp, 1897

This split-ring cancel on a three-cent Queen stamp, postmarked in 1897, is the earliest Bonfield collectible we have. The Bonfield post office at 107 Railway St., Bonfield, opened on 1 February 1883 with with M. Scott as postmaster. John Cahill was the postmaster when this stamp was cancelled in Bonfield in 1897.

 
Duncan McIntyre, CCR Financier and CNR Vice-President

From 1878 to 1881, the Central Canada Railway (CCR) slowly laid track westward up the Ottawa Valley to near present-day Bonfield. (Bonfield was originally named Callander Station, after Callander, Scotland, the home town of Duncan McIntyre, — seen at left — the principal financier behind the CCR. However, due to confusion with the nearby town of Callander, Callander Station was renamed as Bonfield.) When the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was formed on 15 February 1881, it had an eastern terminus near the eastern shore of Lake Nipissing, near North Bay. While the complete survey had not been finalized at that time, plans were to begin construction of the CPR westward from a connection with the CCR. The CCR was absorbed by the CPR on 9 June 1881. In the Spring of 1882, in Bonfield township in what is known as the Ottawa Valley Railway’s “North Bay Subdivision,” the CPR began westward construction toward Lake Nipissing and, ultimately, the West Coast. And thus the “first spike” in Sir John A. MacDonald’s National Dream was driven. Learn more about Sir MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister, who united the nation and was instrumental in developing Canada’s national railroad system. More information on the railroad can be found in Pierre Berton’s seminal Canadian history books, The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 and The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885.

Bonfield Overview, with Railroad Tracks and Lake Nosbonsing Bonfield, Esso Gas Station 1 Bonfield, Esso Gas Station 2 Bonfield, Battling Moose Statue at Esso Gas Station, Roadside Canadiana
Bonfield, Sunnyside Camp on Lake Nosbonsing Bonfield, Birch Hill Camp on Lake Nosbonsing Bonfield, Lake Nosbonsing

Rutherglen, Ontario:

Rutherglen, Victorian Cottage c. 1904-1918

Was this the CPR train station at Rutherglen? Shirley Church has written in with detailed memories of life in Rutherglen. She writes: “I am originally from Rutherglen and heard my father, aunts and uncles talk about the Rutherglen Station for years. I have one aunt left alive and I am sure she would remember it.

“As far as I know, part of the original building still stands today. It is on Park Street, which runs behind the local store on the highway. The building is now a house but it stands less than a stone’s throw from the [CPR] railway tracks, with the municipal road running right in front of it. A man named Francis Clouthier lived there for years until he passed a couple of years ago. Not sure who lives there now. The local general store is called Gagne’s Red & White by the locals but it has not been a ‘Red & White’ store for many years. I think it sells mainly building materials now.

 

“My father talked about walking out to meet the train when he was a young man. Although he never rode on a train ’til many years later, it was a way to pass a Saturday night in a small country community. Of course, all the young adults would congregate there to talk over the local gossip and share the week’s events. As a young child, I can recall my parents gathering to play cards and talk over the ‘old days,’ to which the goings on at the Rutherglen Station were always part of the talk.”

“I hope this helps a bit to explain the postcard…it reminds me of the stories I heard on those cold winter nights as people gathered close to our wood stove with the sounds of ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ in the background as they visited away. As I looked at the picture, I could see the gang walking down to the station and sitting around chatting away as someone with an old Brownie camera click[ed] a picture of them. Hummm…wonder who the people in this photograph are…perhaps their families still have roots in Rutherglen? Would be nice to know!!”

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Old antique postcards tell the stories of North Bay, Temagami, Bear Island, Bonfield, Callander and Corbeil, Commanda, the Ferguson Highway (Highway 11), Lavigne and Verner, Marten River, Alderdale, Monetville and Noëlville, Nipissing Village, Powassan, and Trout Creek, Sturgeon Falls, Sundridge, Trout Lake, Restoule, South River, Tilden Lake, Dokis, Rutherglen, Trout Mills and other areas of interest. Read the story of Frederic Remington’s moose hunt, taken over 100 years ago near Mattawa, or see an Orangemen Parade. See a rare collection of New Ontario Brewery artifacts.

 

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For collectors of vintage postcards, old postcards and the antique postcard. Deltiology, the hobby of collecting vintage postcards, is one of the fastest-growing collectibles hobbies. Old postcard collections interest collectors of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera; collectables such as old vintage postcards are used by museums and historians to document what was.

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