Saturday, July 1, 2017


Kilsyth is a small village southwest of Owen Sound, where my grandparents lived, and where my parents met.  And where I spent a bit of time as a child, and my wife and I lived for one summer early in our marriage.  They were advertising a 'Canada 150th' celebration, so my son and I went over to see what was going on.

The heart of the village as I knew it was always the general store, which my grandfather took over in 1917 I believe, and ran for about 30 years.  My father, his sister and brother, lived in the attached house, and I have pictures of my elderly Aunt at a gas pump out front.

But the store is a private residence now, so we parked at the church, and walked around pointing out for my son all the old homes that our family had a connection to.

My maternal grandfather was the preacher here, his final church, I think in the 1930's.  My mother was still at home, in her twenties, and that's how my parents met.  By that time my father was back at home, and teaching in the one-room schoolhouse up the road.

The old schoolhouse is a residence now, but my father used to tell stories of teaching 8 grades here, preparing hot meals for lunch, keeping the wood stove going, and of course 'walking to school uphill through the blowing snow both directions'!

The manse next to the church was where my mother and her parents lived.  It's now another private residence.

Down the street is the home of one elderly Aunt.  There were four sisters, and when I knew them, they all lived in the village, including my grandmother.

Another Aunt lived in this house.  One year when I came up from London once a week to teach a night course, I stayed in this house every weekend.  My Aunt was long gone, but her daughter, my second cousin, was here on weekends.

The old stone wall out front is just as I remember it.

And this finally, is my grandparents home.  They had retired from the general store by the time I was born, so this was the house I was brought to as a child.  And then my wife and I lived here for one glorious summer after the last living Aunt died, while the house was put up for sale.

Me memories are of the chickens in this barn, gathering eggs with my Aunt, and picking raspberries in the big garden (which is now all gone).  We boldly walked in the driveway and introduced ourselves, and had a good visit.

The house was an Eaton's Catalogue house I believe, and the new owners have fixed it up nicely.  I think they've added that upstairs dormer.  My wife and I had a truly idyllic summer here in 1975, while I was preparing to talk up my first teaching job in London.

They were getting ready for the celebration parade, so we said good-bye.  We couldn't stay for the parade, as my son was here to do the final walk-through of the house they've purchased an hour west of us.

And today, a week later, they have moved, from Cobalt in northern Ontario, 6 hours away, to a a big old but new-to-them house only an hour and a bit away.  They moved north so our daughter-in-law could go to Northern College to become a Vet Tech.  Having succeeded at that, she starts her new job on Tuesday!  We're so glad to have them living a little closer!


  1. I loved seeing these old homes...they are beautiful as are the churches. And so glad your son and family is nearer. It means so much. And congratulations to your dil.

  2. Gotta love revisiting old areas and remembering old memories...

  3. Nice to be able to re-visit the past in this way. The village where I first lived has been changed beyond recognition so no way of going back there. There can't be many families these days who all live within walking distance of one another.

  4. It's nice the way memories root us to a place, and vice versa. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a wonderful place for a childhood.

  5. Some people say 'you can't go back' because so much changes but I'm glad that many things remain the same in Kilsyth so you can tell this story. Love the chicken barn and the Eaton's house.
    By the way, I remember being taught in a one room 8 grade school, putting wood in the stove, eating hot soups for lunch and walking to and from school with my sisters. :)
    How nice to have your son closer! Kind of like when my daughter moved to Cambridge this spring.

  6. What a lovey old town. And to have your family a little closer, that's just great! :-)

  7. Such a wonderful tour of fond memories, FG. How wonderful to have your son move closer too.

  8. Hello, lovely town and tour. It is great you will have your family living closer. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

  9. Beautiful homes. I'm happy that your son will now be living closer to you.

  10. Great trip that brought back good memories.

  11. it's always bitter sweet to take a walk through your personal history isn't it?
    Strangely enough, this is the second time I've seen mention of this little village today. My brother in laws (new to his family) girlfriend is from there!

  12. It is so nice to go back a relive the memories and see how much things have changed over the years.

  13. I've never heard of that town but it looks quite pretty!

  14. What a great trip down memory lane for you. Looks like a wonderful town to live in.
    I think it is nice that the buildings have people living in them and that everything has been kept up so nicely.

  15. What memories to have. The church is my favourite of these.