200th Anniversary Celebrations


Welcome to the Drummond/North Elmsley’s
200th Anniversary Celebrations

In 2016, The Township of Drummond/North Elmsley, along with
Beckwith,Tay Valley and the Town of Perth, will celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Perth Military Settlement.

Activities are slated to take place in all four municipalities from
the fall of 2015 through 2016 and include such things as car
and bike rallies, food history, a commemorative quilting
exhibition, pioneer era re-enactments, winter carnivals, the
Perth Kilt Run, Tay River and Canal activities, and musical and
Theatre events. Some events will be delivered jointly by all
of the municipalities, including a Homecoming Program to
welcome expatriates, house tours, and recognition of legacy farms.

It promises to be a remarkable celebration of the area’s rich history
that will honour forbears, celebrate accomplishments and recognize the hardships and dedication of the pioneers.


Why Celebrate?

Through these celebrations we want to bring together new and long-time residents and visitors alike with the following goals in mind:

  • To celebrate the history and settlement of the Township;
  • To establish and develop a pride of place;
  • To honour the original pioneer families settled here and those who were here before;
  • To promote an appreciation for the history of the Township;
  • To acknowledge the historical presence of the Algonquin First Nations;
  • To develop a database of our past;
  • To leave a legacy that benefits the Township both now and into the future;
  • To promote economic development and tourism opportunities.


Events to celebrate in 2016

Drummond/North Elmsley’s 200th Anniversary Committee is planning a list of exciting events and projects to celebrate the Townships history and citizens...

Historical Mapping Project  - launch date January 8, 2016

Telling the story of the settling of the Perth Military Settlement consisting of the original townships of Bathurst, Drummond, Beckwith and the Town of Perth. Employing digital mapping technology and resurrected original maps of the survey of 1815, the project shows the settlement of the soldiers and settlers by individual lot, concession, names of the original and subsequent families and telling their stories for a lasting on-line legacy on the history of the current municipalities.


Pioneer Maple Days, April 2nd - 3rd, 2016

Drummond/North Elmsley maple syrup producers-Temples, Oliver’s Maple Works and Coutt’s Country Flavours will team up to offer a special Pioneer Maple Day on their properties where visitors can experience farm life on a rural property as it was 200 years earlier. Activities such as sheep shearing, wagon rides, maple syrup production and of course taffy on the snow will be available.

Together with the open houses, Bethel United Church located at 1502 Rideau Ferry Road will host a pancake and maple syrup breakfast on April 2nd from 8 am to 1 pm. Tickets available at the door (Adults:$10,Children 6-12 years:$5 and under 6 years: free).

The three sugar bushes are also offering a D/NE 200th Anniversary Commemorative  bottle of Maple Syrup 500ml for $15; limited supply.

Drummond/North Elmsley Heritage Day May 28th  photos courtesy of Linda Van Alstine

This is the Township’s signature event and will include an afternoon of entertainment and pioneer games as well as displays and booths that tell the story of Drummond/North Elmsley and its people. The event will be highlighted by a cedar rail fence demonstration by a prominent local craftsman and unveiling of an interpretive panel describing the importance of this local specialty. The free event will be hosted at the Municipal Office in Port Elmsley and will be fully accessible to all.  Refreshments will be served.

Celebrate Balderson, July 9th-10th

The Celebrate Balderson weekend is a two day event promoting the dairy heritage of the area and Balderson’s most famous export. It will be highlighted by the display of a replica of the Mammoth cheese, which was a 22,000 pound curd produced from the milk of local farmers that originally traveled to the World’s Fair 1893 in Chicago. The celebration will be a locally and volunteer driven occasion put on with the help of the Lanark Milk Committee, local 4-H clubs, churches and residents.

Discover Drummond Day, September 18

Discover Drummond Day is a road tour and social event organized by Drummond residents to celebrate the history and pride of the community. The first part of the day will be a road tour to visit historically significant places in the township including local farms, churches, hamlets and cemeteries. Maps will be provided and the self-guided tour will be over the course of the afternoon.  Everyone is invited to a get together at the Ferguson Falls Hall afterwards for a meal and an evening of entertainment.  There will be door prizes and a performance from the musical group Memory Lane.

*Due to hall limitations, only 100 tickets available.

Picture of the cover of the NEW North Elmsley History book - a door to the pastNorth Elmsley History Book

Two years ago, a group of four people volunteered to write a book about the township of North Elmsley.  North Elmsley Township: Doorway to the Past is near completion!


Travel back in time to 1816 to discover who the first settlers were, and how they shaped the development of the township into the 1860’s, and beyond.  Follow the historical, municipal and genealogical progression of the township, and be surprised and delighted by what you discover!

Only a limited number of books will be printed at a cost of $30.00 each.  Bridge support has been provided by Drummond/North Elmsley Township.  Net proceeds will go to Archives Lanark for the unlimited use of their original material and resources, and to assist in furthering their mandate to preserve history.

Book Launch to be held at the Township office on December 13th at 3pm

Settlers Trail (Collaboration with Tay Valley)

The Settler’s Trail project commemorates the route of the original trek by the pioneer settlers, War of 1812 veterans and others from Brockville to the Perth Military Settlement.  The inauguration of the trail and unveiling of an interpretive panel will take place June 17th 2016 at the Rideau Ferry Dock Bridge, close to the actual embarkment. Signs will also be installed in strategic locations.

Picture of the three levels for farm legacy recognition

Legacy Farm Recognition
(Collaboration with Tay Valley)







The legacy farms project recognizes farms in both Drummond/North Elmsley and Tay Valley. Eligible properties will be recognized with an interpretive plaque to be delivered in the fall of 2015 and a public recognition at the Heritage Day.

To be considered for a Legacy Farm designation, a farm property must have remained in the same family to the present day. While the property does not need to be actively farmed, properties need to be a minimum of 50 acres in size and categories of 100 years, 150 years and 200 years will be recognized.

Township History

Drummond, North Elmsley, Bathurst, Beckwith and Goulbourn Townships, as well as the townsite of Perth, were surveyed at this time as the original Perth Military Settlement.  This was intended to open up greater settlement in the interior (inland from the St. Lawrence River) following the War of 1812 and many of the settlers were veterans from that war and the Napoleonic Wars, as well as their families.  Pioneers, coming from the south and east opened up homesteads and with the arrival of these settlers and continued settlement in North Elmsley Township, both Drummond and North Elmsley grew substantially.  Along with this growth came farming, forestry and industry and our founding townships evolved into the dynamic rural communities they are today.

Did you know?

North Elmsley…

  • that some of the first settlers were Captain O’Brien, Lieut. Pelton, Lieut. Alexander Fraser, John Campbell, John Smith, Alexander Morrison, John Hay, George Oliver and Benjamin Brown, Thomas and William John McLean;
  • that before a bridge was built at Rideau Ferry, people,horses, cattle and produce were ferried across the river by a large flat bottomed boat (scow ) propelled by oars and cable;
  • that in 1876, a teacher at McLean’s School earned $160.00 per annum;
  • that the Last Fatal Duel was fought in North Elmsley Township…not Perth;
  • that Dr. Margaret O’Hara, a native of Port Elmsley, was one of the first women to graduate in medicine from Queen’s University, Kingston (c.1880);
  • Port Elmsley was first named Barbadoes after the birth place of Samuel Weatherhead, who was connected through marriage to Benedict Arnold.


  • that Drummond Township was named after Lieut. General Sir Gordon Drummond;
  • that some early settlers were Ensign Gould, Henry McDonald, J. Balderson, Jas. McNiece, Wm. Horricks, Thos. McCaffery, James McGarry, John Mallock, Peter Campbell, Donald Campbell, and Peter McLaren;
  • that in 1875, Drummond had nine taverns, one at Prestonvale, three at Ferguson’s Falls , two at Innisville, and one near Drummond Centre;
  • that the founding meeting of the Balderson Cheese Factory was in February, 1881;
  • that the first school in Drummond Township was built in 1817, not far from the present Drummond Central School.The teacher was Duncan McCormick.

How you can help…


The 200th committee always welcomes community members to our meetings and volunteers for our events. No historical background or experience is necessary, except for an interest in the history of the township. We generally meet the 4th Thursday of the month, at the Township office in Port Elmsley.

Contact Karl Grenke to confirm meeting schedule, and we hope to see you there.
For a summary of recent Committee Meetings please click here


Donate Today

Donations of time, supplies and money for our 200th program are greatly appreciated by our community partners.

Contributions can be made to the Drummond/North Elmsley 200th celebrations specifically or to The Joint Committee between Townships where there will be promotional opportunities available across municipalities. Tax receipts will be available.

Click here for our Sponsorship Page.

Big thanks to our valuable sponsors who help make these events happen. Without their generosity some activities would not be able to occur.

Drummond/North Elmsley 200th Anniversary Local Sponsors:

McCullough’s Landing
207 McCullough’s Landing Road,
Perth, ON 


Ron & Diana Coutts of Coutts Country Flavors
1230 Port Elmsley Road,
Rideau Ferry, ON

Glenview Iron & Metal
3954 HWY 43 West
Smiths Falls, ON

Picture of Egg Farmers Ontario Logo
Picture of Ema Lee Fashions Logo
104 Fallbrook Rd., 
Balderson, ON 

Joint 200th Anniversary Sponsors:

Picture of Code Contruction Logo
285 Code Rd,
Perth, ON
  Picture of Egg Farmers Ontario Logo

Picture of Perth Septic Service Logo 
2762 Drummond Concession 7,
Perth, ON


Picture of K James Construction logo

125 Rideau Street,
Perth, ON 

Picture of Ema Lee Fashions Logo
104 Fallbrook Rd., 
Balderson, ON 


picture of the government of canada logo

For more information or to contribute please contact:

Karl Grenke/Planner
Township of Drummond/North Elmsley
310 Port Elmsley Road, RR 5 Perth , ON

For those interested in contributing  to the Joint Committee please contact Tay Valley Tel: 613-267-5353


Limited Edition
200th Anniversary
Commemorative Calendar

Picture of the 200th Anniversary Calendar


Sold Out
Proceeds are going towards funding a History Scholarship.

Join us on FACEBOOK!


For a list of all the events that are taking place across the four municipalities, please visit: 200th Anniversary event list or visit:

Other participants:

For more information on events or how to contribute please contact :

Karl Grenke
Township of Drummond/North Elmsley
310 Port Elmsley Road, RR 5 Perth, ON

Picture of the  Reeve, Aubrey Churchill
Reeve's Message:
It is my pleasure to invite you to join in the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the founding and settlement of what is now Drummond/North Elmsley Township.

Since 1816, our Township has grown into a forward-looking rural community.We have always valued our heritage and the contributions of the original settlers, as well as the Algonquins who have long been here and those who have come since and contributed to who we are today. The upcoming 200th celebrations give us a great opportunity to learn about and pay tribute to our unique cultures and experiences from all parts of Drummond and North Elmsley.

On behalf of Council, I invite you to learn more about the planning underway for this event and to participate in whichever way you can.  If your organization is planning an event in 2016, I encourage you to consider adopting  a heritage theme or  getting involved with one of the activities being planned.  By joining the celebration, you will benefit from the use of the Drummond/North Elmsley 200th Anniversary logo and promotion of your event through the Township’s website and an increased public profile.

Together, we can make 2016 a year to remember!

Aubrey Churchill
Drummond/North Elmsley


Historical picture of the Original North Elmsley Township Hall, built in 1854, was located on Hwy 43 near Station Rd.

Original North Elmsley Township Hall, built in 1854, was located on Hwy 43 near Station Rd.


Picture of P.M Campbell with horses and his son Lindsay Campbell in the background-courtesy of Robert Campbell

Balderson: P.M Campbell with horses and his son Lindsay Campbell in the background-courtesy of Robert Campbell


Picture of Prestonvale School SS #16
Prestonvale School SS #16


Historical picture of Oliver's Ferry, August 30, 1830 by James Pattison Cockburn-courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, 1989-259-1


Oliver's Ferry, August 30, 1830 by James Pattison Cockburn-courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, 1989-259-1


Historical Map of the Tay Canal

The Tay Canal was a huge venture for it's time, that brought many benefits to the surrounding area.

Picture of the Balderson Cheese factory was established in 1881 by local dairy farmers of Lanark County.-courtesy of Archives Lanark

Balderson Cheese factory was established in 1881 by local dairy farmers of Lanark County.-courtesy of Archives Lanark


PIcture of Threshing Bee at David McLean's farm on Con. 1 Drummond. c.1900-courtesy of Archives Lanark

Threshing Bee at David McLean's farm on Con. 1 Drummond. c.1900-courtesy of Archives Lanark


PIcture of a map showing the original Perth  Settlement

Map showing original Perth Settlement area.
Click on image to enlarge