Kenora 1901

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The first year of the twentieth century began Tuesday, January 1 1901 ( See calender below.) The song of the year was Stars and Stripes Forever.

In January 18 1904 Prime Minister Laurier predicted that the 20th century belonged to Canada. That hearty mood had come to Rat Portage by the very beginning of the century. Twenty gold mines are operating with 15 miles of Rat Portage, including,Sultana, MiKado, Black Eagle and Sakoose. In 1897, $25,000.00 of gold bullion was shipped out of Rat Portage. The abnormal wheat crop of the year contributed to a thriving railway business. Flour and lumbering mills are flourishing. The Keenora ran a daily boat service leaving Rat Portage and connecting at Beaver Mills permitting local wholesalers to ply their wares along the river.

Rumors of future businesses abounded from a possible pulp mill being constructed nearby, to the Truro Knitting Mill, producers of heavy woolen underwear used by workers during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s. To this day, the company renamed Stanfield's is widely known as "The Underwear Company. On January 11 1901, in a Column entitled "Popular Wants" in the Rat Portage Miner and Rainy River Journal, the following an advertisement appeared:

Lady agents wanted to take orders for Corsets and underskirts. Good Commission. For full particulars apply to Robinson Corset Co. London, Ontario. Established 1885

From the inside-out Rat Portage, residences were warm and ready. Travellers and Tourism was also thriving. Lake of the Woods was being herald as the best summer resort on the continent . Local hotels advertised as "Houses" were also thriving:

The Central House on Matherson street, opposite the C.P.R. station advertised

Rates of $1.00 to $1.50 per day.
Good Tables, Fine Liquors and Cigars,
Every Accommodations.
J. Beaudro & Son, Props.

The Russell House at the intersection of Main St. South and Second St. South was advertised at Rates from $1.00 to $2.00.

This house has been thoroughly refitted and everything is first-class. The bar is supplied with the choices Liquors and Cigars

J.G. Gaudaur,Proprietor

The Hilliard House on Main St. was not to be out advertised:

The Hilliard House , as usual, will still be kept up to the front rank
of Western Hotels and with addition of 100 Rooms, offers "All the
comforts of Home" to the Traveller and Tourists


The Bar of the Hotel is well supplied with the Choicest Wines, Liquors,
of Cigars, Large and Commodious Sample Rooms for Travellers. When
stopping at Rat Portage be sure and stop at the Hilliard House.

Louis Hilliard, Proprietor.

Main Street.                           -                         Rat Portage

Hilliard House

Hilliard House shown as it was in 1897 Destroyed by fire in January 1902 accessed on September 4 2016

Albion House

The Albion House on the West Side of Matherson Street was built in 1896 and owned by Mary Anne Milligan. She was to become Mary Anne Reddy upon her marriage on October 3 1911m to Joseph Alphones Reddy.

Other Hotels included Sauerbrie House, Ottawa Hotel (The Northland), King Edwards hotel 1895), Norman Hotel

Yes a lot of liquor was poured in Rat Portage. After all the Battle of Rat Portage had been won by those in favour of more not less outlets for liquor. Wine merchants in Rat Portage included George W Drewery, John W. Humble, William McVeigh, Thomas Walsh and Edwin R. Welsmen. McVeigh & Walsh were also the number one suppliers of Cigars. "Smoke "Grandas" Clear Havana Cigars their advertisement shouted from the local newspaper. Prices for boxes 50 cigars sold for $3.00 to $5.50 . Tom Larkin ran a barbershop and Cigar store for part of 1901.

The first Town council meeting of the year on January 3 was also the last meeting of the previous year's council. T.R. Deacon and Dr. A. H. Edmison did not attend the last meeting. Dr Edmison had found his one and only term as a councillor to onerous a task to juggle along with a thriving medical practice. T.R. Deacon would run again for the following year but would fail to make the cut. William McCarthy chaired the meeting. This too would be his last meeting. Nominations for the 1901 year Council had taken place on the last day of the previous year and in addition to D. C. Cameron, A.S. Horswill and A. C. Boyce had been nominated for the Mayor's position but the two declined, giving Cameron the position by acclamation. The attention of the elect rate would have to focus on the election of the town counsellors. : 13 in all let their names stand: existing Councillors W.G. Cameron, Thomas Russell Deacon, Fred A. Hudson, Alexander McQuarrie, former councillors,C.W. Belyea, John Brenchley, C.W. Chadwick, John Bowen Davies, A.S. Horswell and new entrants J.K. Brydon Samuel Brown, George Evans, and M.W. Sleightholm. An incredible selection -if not much diversity of views - almost all hard working, relatively successful merchants, all fairly well known "politicians", no slouches...

Many had friends in the closet City Winnipeg Manitoba.

The first week of the year witnessed a rousing reception at the Hilliard Opera House Friday, January 4th for Sergeant Harold A.C. Machin on his return from the Boer War. The Opera house was decked out in British and Canadian flags with impressive special lighting, and completely filled.

Councillors W.G. Cameron, T.R. Deacon, F. A. Hudson and A. McQuarrie, running in the municipal elections scheduled for the Monday, 3 days later occupied the platform along with current sitting Councillor James Rice, Judge Chappel, Captain David Ferguson, Lieutenant Wood and Chair by the most popular Crown prosecutor, Henry Langford. The band played Citizens of the Queen and struck up God Save the Queen when Machim entered. Oh how great it was to be British! Queen Victoria was to die before the end of the first month bringing to an end the Victoria Era. But the future looked bright for her successor Edward V11 and her loyal British subjects in Rat Portage.

Machim entertained the audience with thrilling accounts of the Battle of Paardeburg fought February 27 1900, Heepnek and Zaud river. He indicated that he was never so proud of "our boys" who broke from the habit of traditional European warfare, who advanced the charge, advancing by fire and manoeuvre in loose formations, making use of cover, rather than the European regulars who advanced into a storm of Mauser bullets.

The results of the town election held January 7th are reported in the Rat Portage Miner and Rainey River Journal on January 11 1901, Page 1:

By Acclamation D. C, Cameron , successful candidates, Fred A. Hudson, J.K. Brydon, W.G. Cameron, C.W. Chadwick, C.W. Belyea, A.S. Horswell

Unsuccessful candidates: John Brenchley, Brown, John Bowen Davies, Thomas Russell Deacon, George E Evans , Alexander McQuarrie, M.W. Sleightholm

Successful candidates in Keewatin were G.H. Kelly by Acclamation, F.H. Armstrong, S. Hansen and William John Craig .

The Post Office

Construction of the new Post Office at 1 Main Street Southis begun in 1899 and completed in 1900. Constructed of locally made bricks, the building provides a feast of architectural details that make the building, one of Kenora's finest.

The local Newspaper

The local newspaper the Rat Portage Miner and Rainey River Journal sold for 5 cents and a subscription could be purchased for $2.00 for a year, $1.00 for a 6 months or $50 for three months. On January 11 1901, it tells the world:

What Rat Portage Wants

Continued Prosperity
Increased Population
A few more enterprising capitalist
those who are not easily discouraged
Pulp Mills and our magnificent power utilized
Our new council to get down to work
Good roads and sidewalks
Some more good mines and locations opened up
More interest in outdoor sports
Bachelors to become benedicts
Citizens patronize home merchants
The C.P.R. to run more freight trains
A few more thousands added to the Miner's subscription list
A few more orderly kids who will be better boys and stop smoking cigarettes
Freedom from epidemics
Good wages and steady work for mechanics
Enough water to float the logs down and keep the mill working day and night all summer
The band to have new uniforms, the Police ditto
Merchants to advertise in the Miner and keep this town at the head of the procession.

Doctors and Dentist

Four Doctors advertised their medical practices all on Main St: Dr. Chapman (over White Manahan), Drs. Edmison & Laidlaw and Dr. David. The Dentists as well located on Main: Dr. N. Schnarr Carmichael Block, D. Marshall and J. M. McFarland (Ottawa Building)


Royal Jubilee Hospital completed in 1897.

Drug Stores & Drugs

Before the agre of regulation amusing advertisements appeared regularly for various remedies for various illnesses or cares (See below).


W. D. Coates had a thriving business. Wood's Drug Store, corner of Fort and Matherson Street advertised in regularly in the Rat Portage Miner. Other Drug Stores Coates and Company.

English Health

-contains the natural aperient constituents
of Ripe Fruit in a palatable effervescing powder
It Cools the Blood,
cures Sick Headaches, Biliousness, Heart Burns
Sourness of Stomach etc Sole Agents


Drug Store

Wood's Drug Store

Cor Fort and Matherson Streets

9 Boils


The Police

The Chief of Police in 1901 was Arthur Woods. His salary was fixed at a Town Council meeting in February at fixed by bylaw at $70 per month (reported in February 8th newspaper). Other members of the force included W.P. Johnson, William Greenwood, Rupert B. Donkin and Dugald McMurphy. The average size of the force including the chief was 5.

The Fireman

Fire Hall

Fire Hall on Main St. (current site of the Library)

An active fire brigade was an extreme necessity in the age of primary wooden buildings and Kenora's volunteer brigade were well recognized for the performance. Chief Eager was head of the fire department for a half year in 1901. In February Constable William Greenwood also received $100 per annum as Chief of the fire brigade and in December an additional $25.00 for extra services. The brigade was essentially a volunteer force. Some of the biggest fire in 1901 included Cameron & Heap's big warehouse, Saturday, May 4th, Fraser Livery Stable, Wednesday May 22.


St. Mary's Residential School opened.

In 1899 witnesses the official opening of the second Central School.


Kenora in 1901 was overtly religious and that religion was Christianity. Seldom did a month go buy without a religious column such as "Living Unto the Lord, Synopsis of an Inspiring Sermon Delivered in Knox Church appearing in the local newspaper. That sermon was delivered by Rev. W. M Rochester who arrived in Rat Portage and was inducted April 1898. With his arrival, activity began which led to the purchase of land and the building of a new Church. Land is purchased at the corner of Second and Keewatin Streets (subsequently renamed Fifth Ave South), the cornerstone laid in September 15 1898 and the new Church is formally opened April 23 1899.

Knoc 1898

Knox Presbyterian Church 1899

In a show of ecumenical spirit all the other Churches were closed on that day and the clergy took part in the opening of the new Church. The Methodist had a churches on "Methodist Hill" on the North West Corner of what was then called Lillie St and First St (subsequently named Third Street South and Fourth avenue South).

Others impressive structures included the Roman Catholic Church on Second Street North and St Alban's Church of England on Main Street.

RC Church

St Alban's

The Baptist had two churches in 1901. The first First Baptist Church located at the corner of Railway St and Fourth Ave S. (subsequent location of Notra Dame- Keewatin - Copperfin -Credit Union.) was opened in 1898. This building was torn down in 1955 and a new Church on 2nd Street S. between Fourth and Fifth Ave. South was opened. Then other Baptist Church was known as the First Scandinavian Baptist Church (Subsequently renamed The Lakeside Baptist Church).

the Lutheran Church on 6th Street South and 3rd Ave South (Modern Street Names) supported by a relatively large Swedish immigrant population many who worked in the saw mill (later to be occupied by the Recreation Centre). Nearly all services were conducted in Swedish. What subsequently became known as "Lakeside" was then called "Swedetown".

Swedish Church

In 1895, The Salvation Army was organized in Rat Portage in 1895. The current building on the West side of Matheson betwwen First St. South and Second St. South was built in 1937.

The Christian Science Society held services Sunday Morning at 613 Second St. S. and a Wednesday Night meeting.


Victoria Rink is built in 1897.

Speed Skating Champion

On February 27 Gabriel Bellefeuille is greeted at the local train station by a crowd of admirers who were there to receive the one mile champion of America which he had recently won in Montreal. The trip to Montreal had cost him $400 which he paid at his own expense. His father Gabriel is a lumberman at Ash Rapids.

Gabriel Bellefeuille

Census and New Residences

March 31 1901 is fixed for the date for the 1901 Census of Canada. Work begins in earnest. Ultimately the population is reported for Rat Portage as 5,202.

The Kendall House located at 127 Fifth Avenue was built. The house , a solid brick structure, symmetrically designed with twin canted bay windows, centred entrance, porch and upper dormers boast 10 foot ceilings on the frst floor and 9 foot ceilings on the second.

Board of Trade Annual Meeting

On April 1 the Board of Trade meets for their annual meeting. E Charles Edgar Neads is elected President and Jacob Hose vice president. Council members for the coming year are George Drewery, William Margach, D.C. Cameron, Frank Gardner, W.A. Weir, John Dean, J.E. Rice and M. Kyle. A lengthy report of the last years President is reported in April 2nd newspaper.

Cameron & Heap




Kenora boasts having the oldest rowing club in North Western Ontario which commenced with the formation of the Rat Portage Rowing Club. The Rat Portage Rowing Club was formed in 1890. In 1892 a boat house was built off Main St. It housed a local dance hall and the curling club. In 1894 the local Rowing Club joined the Minnesota-Winnipeg Rowing Association. John L. Hackett was the first Rat Portage Rower to make his mark on the race circuit but was far surpassed by fellow resident Jake Gaudaur.

Gaudaur began his rowing career while living in Orillia, training with world champion Ned Hanlan from Toronto. He won his first race by the age of 17 in 1875 and by 1886 was recognized as one of the best scullers in North America. In 1896 he won the world singles championship on the Thames River in England. In 1897 he moved to Rat Portage in 1897 where he joined the Rat Portage Rowing Club. He became the proprietor of the very successful Russell House.

The local newspaper on April 19th reported that, contrary to rumors in newspapers in Toronto and Winnipeg, Jake would remain a Rat Portage resident. Gaudaur was a successful business man in Rat Portage and shared the citizens optimism for the bright future of Rat Portage. On his return from a hunting trip he issued a challenge which he sent to the Winnipeg Free Press:

Rat Portage, Ont.
April 22

To give all aspirants for the title of Champion Oarsman of the World an opportunity to make a race with me, I hereby agree to row any man in the world for the championship and a side bet $2500.00 a side, the race to be three miles with a turn and to take place at Rat Portage between the 15th and 20th of August of the present year. As an evidence of good faith upon my part I have to day deposited $500.00 with the Imperial Bank here and anyone wishing to make a match can cover this amount, when preliminaries will be arranged. Any oarsman will be welcomed, but Towns or Rumor,who have done considerable talking,are preferred. Date of Race must be fixed before June 1st.
(sgd.) J.G. GAUDAUR

On May 31 Town puts up the 100 Pounds to cover Gaudaur's deposit. The World sculling championship were held in Rat Portage between Jake Gaudaur and Australian George Towns. Gaudaur was defended by Towns.

The Gun Club

Gun Club was founded in 1900.

The First Victoria Day Holiday

May 24 1901 is fixed as then first "Victoria Day" Holiday to honour the reining monarch. So named in honour of Queen Victoria who passed away in January 1901.



Main St. 1897

Brydon has idea of amalgamating Keewatin and Rat Portage Aug 20. August 26 Miner reports the Keewatin Enterprise is not enthusiastoc about sucgh a amalgamatuon and suggests the whole idea should ceased to be discussed.

Floating Bridge

The neswpaer on August 20 indicates that the flaoting bridge is undafe due to tons of Logs and drift wood washed up against structure.

Aug 23 three CPR Rail riders given a 10 dau head start to leave town.

Citizens Band c onsuctor leaves town

Nov 8 newspaper report on Nov 5 Orange man Celebration

November 5 Perrault & Larkin announce the have leased the Davidson Barbershop & Cigar Store and they wll close their other store.

Nov 15 editorial about Town and coverage of its finances by the Electrict Print

Dec 10 Dr Specer leaves Rev Reddick first sermon

Dec 10 No 1 qwas 5 hours late this morning.

Dec 13 Loyal Orange Lodge Elections for the following year

Dec 13 Council of 6 or 12 Dec 17 the results

The Railway

In 1900 the new CPR Station and roundhouse were completed.

The following individuals gave their occupation as fireman: John P. Black, Ernest Finch, E.A. French, John Gardium, John P. Gibson, John J. Green,John O'Neill, Robert Phillips,Arthur Whitaker and Harry Williams,



Sources may be found at Kenora Bibliography