Ontario Cemetery Records
Ontario Census Records
Ontario Church Records
Ontario Court Records
Ontario Genealogy Societies
Ontario Immigration Records
Ontario Indian Tribes
Ontario Land and Maps
Ontario Mailing Lists
Ontario Military Records
Ontario Online Books
Ontario Vital Records
Free Genealogy Forms
Family Group Chart
New Genealogy Data
Family Tree Search
Genealogy Books For Sale
FREE Web Site Hosting at
Delayed Civic Improvements,
Victoria County, Ontario Canada
The last four decades have seen remarkable
developments in the conveniences and amenities of town life.
Electric light, water works, sewerage, paved streets, municipal
charities, and a hospital have all reached mature growth.
The tardiness with which these developments came was due in large
measure to bad municipal financing during the period 1857-1891. For
many years, municipal politicians deliberately disregarded written
and unwritten laws. Debentures were issued for various purposes, but
the councilors, in their desire to curry popular favor by a. low tax
rate, kept taking the money raised to pay off the principal and
diverting it to current expenses. Finally, in 1891, a provincial Act
forced the consolidation of the arrears of debt and payment in full
within thirty-five years. The consolidated debt amounted to
$152,000, of which sum $123,000 had been voted in railway bonuses.
Once civic government had been placed on a sound basis in this
fashion, the provision of modern public utilities was much
Prior to 1880, the streets of Lindsay were without
illumination and citizens who walked abroad at night did so in
imminent peril from mud, thugs, and drunken drivers. The town
council at last decided, in November 1880, to purchase six coal oil
lamps. One of these lamps was placed at the Wellington Street
bridge, one opposite the Midland station, and the other four on Kent
In September 1881, a "Consumers' Gas Company of Lindsay" was formed,
with an authorized capital of $50,000. J. R. Dundas was president
and F. C. Taylor managing director. This new company contracted with
the town to instal 23 gas lamps for street lighting.
Gas, however, was soon to abdicate to electricity. In 1890, B. F.
Reeser of Newmarket established a "Lindsay Electric Light Company,"
which generated power on a fuel system, and was given the street
lighting contract. A rival enterprise, the "Victoria Electric Light
Co., Ltd.," was at once founded by Samuel and Alfred Parkin.
The Parkins were burned out in September 1891; and thereupon bought
up the plant of the Consumers' Gas Company, on the south east corner
of William and Wellington streets, demolished the works, and set up
an electric power station. Competition between the two electric
light companies was keen and both gave service at a loss to the
great benefit of the public but to their own embarrassment. At last,
Thomas Sadler and William Needier came to the financial assistance
of Reeser. They then bought out their rivals and incorporated the
"Light, Heat, and Power Co., of Lindsay, Ltd."
The advantages of hydro-electric power development at Fenelon Falls
were now considered. J. A. Culverwell, of Port Hope, had seen the
prize first and had secured an option on the Smith Estate at Fenelon
Falls; but was checkmated by the adverse report of a supposed
expert. The Lindsay company then stepped in and snatched up the
Work was begun in July 1899 on a $75,000 generation and transmission
system. The chief items in the generating system were an 11-foot
steel flume, two Sampson turbines, and a 400-kilowatt generator. A
three phase current at 550 volts was stepped up to 11,000 volts for
transmission and distributed in Lindsay at 1100 volts. The
contractors were the Wm. Hamilton Mfg. Co., of Peterborough. The
system was formally opened on May 31, 1900.
The municipal fathers now decided that, the rates charged for street
lights were exorbitant and encouraged the formation of a Lindsay Gas
Company, capitalized at $40,000, in July, 1901. The manager, John A.
Burgess, of Toronto, put up a plant on the south west corner of Kent
and Sussex streets. His gas lights were tested in May 1903 by
Professor Ellis and W. H. Stevens, and condemned as hopelessly under
In 1906, another gas venture, the "Gas Power Company," headed by a
Mr. Dancy, of Toronto, was given the lighting franchise and much
municipal encouragement. With this firm's collapse, all struggles
against the electric power company came to an end.
In October, 1911, the question of municipal ownership was brought to
.a head by local Socialists but was decisively rejected when put to
a popular vote.
Since then the Light, Heat, and Power Company has been acquired by
the Seymour Power Company, and still later absorbed into the
Hydro-Electric Power Commission's 44,000-volt Central Ontario (or
more correctly, Trent Valley) circuit.
Search for a Water
No adequate provision of water for drinking,
washing, and fire fighting was made prior to 1892.
For drinking purposes, private wells had to suffice. It was hoped,
at one time, that artesian wells, sufficient for the town, could be
located within the civic limits. In 1887, a heavy flow was found by
Richard Sylvester while drilling an his property on the northwest
corner of Peel Street and Victoria Avenue; and in 1888 the town
council paid $500 to have a test well sunk on Edward Murphy's
pasture lot, on Adelaide Street, just north of the Collegiate
Institute, by Abraham Mosley, of Beaverton. Mosley's auger was
broken and lost at a depth of 140 feet, and, as no water had yet
been discovered, the project was abandoned.
Bathing was ill provided for, except, perhaps, in a bath house built
by Thomas Sadler, jutting into the river about 200 yards east of the
grist mill. Here a bath could be had by paying an admission fee of
ten cents to Peter Forbert, the attendant. Part of the bath was
fitted up to accommodate children, the bottom being covered with a
lattice work of leather straps, thus allowing the water free
circulation and preventing even the smallest child from filtering
The only fire protection was that furnished to the business section
alone by a limited line of pipe and a water wheel at the grist mill
,which was set going whenever an alarm was given.
A change from all this came in 1892 ,when the town entered into an
agreement with a "Lindsay Waterworks Company," backed by Messrs.
Moffatt, Hodgkins, and Clarke, of Watertown, N.Y., whereby the
company was to install a modern waterworks system in return for a
guaranteed franchise for a period of years at $3200 per annum.
Construction began in June 1892 under the superintendence of E. B.
Calkins. An intake filter and a pump house were built on the west
bank of the Scugog at the foot of Mary Street. Two large Deane
pumps, with a daily pumping capacity of 1,000,000 gallons, were
installed, and 7 miles of pipe laid down. For storage and pressure
purposes, a standpipe, 110 feet high and 16 feet in diameter, was
put up at the corner of Jane and Henry streets, on the height of
land near the fair grounds. The system was tested' and accepted by
the town on October 17, 1892.
It soon transpired that the company had gotten itself into financial
embarrassment and the town authorities at last decided to buy up the
waterworks for $60,000 and to place the system under a Board of four
Waterworks Commissioners, consisting of the mayor, ex officio, and
three members elected, one each year, by the rate payers. Since that
time the water service has been extended steadily.
In 1908, experiments were made in water purification by ozone, but
the results were not uniformly satisfactory. The water is now run
through a sand and alum filter and sterilized with chlorine gas.
Town of Lindsay