Scott Gillies


ROUTE TO THE PAST: When Ingersoll went dry

Throughout our town’s history there have been many different hotels and taverns in operation. One estimate brings the number up to 22 serving the needs of local patrons and travelers alike. Mind you, not all of these businesses were in operation at the same time. But with all of this apparent interest and support for alcoholic establishments, it’s

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Basket & Box Company once a going concern

Today there is nothing to mark a once thriving business in Ingersoll; only a vacant lot marks the former location of a one-time going concern which added significantly to the economics of the town and contributed to the overall well-being of the tender fruit industry in Ontario.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Elizabeth Rothwell came to town from Ireland

All too often history is told from the male perspective. Perhaps that is why it is called history and not herstory. To rectify that habit, this week’s column looks at life in early Ingersoll from a woman’s perspective, or at least from my own interpretation of a woman’s viewpoint based on 19th century correspondence written by Mrs. Elizabeth Rothwe

ROUTE TO THE PAST: When the circus came to town

We know the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Likewise, you can’t judge a house by its exterior. We don’t always know what hidden gems lie dormant within the walls and attics of all the homes in Ingersoll, but occasionally surprises surface to our attention.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: 'Broadcasting' Ingersoll news

Newspapers of today are changing the ways in which world affairs, current events and local happenings are recorded and reported to the public in a more digital format. Keeping up with the times is essential.

The Daly House later became known as the Ingersoll Inn.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: On the death of Francis Robinson

Of all the 20-plus hotels that once operated in Ingersoll, there was one that operated for decades on the same corner as the present Ingersoll Town Hall and Ingersoll branch of the Oxford County Library. This was the Daly House, once owned and operated by Absalom Daly. In later years it was known to everyone in town as the Ingersoll Inn.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Cycling through town and history

“Shifting Gears” might be a suitable title for this week’s column however by examining the history of the bicycle we learn that in the earliest versions of this mode of transportation, no gears were involved whatsoever.

Tom Johnston

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Tom Johnston, pipe major for Black Watch Regiment

One hundred years ago the men of Ingersoll and the rest of Oxford County were facing a dilemma. Should they join the 168th Battalion or not? If they chose not to sign up, then they had to face the criticism of their neighbours, wives and children. The majority chose the former.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: OJ Mitchell built the 'ultimate' bed spring

For a good night’s sleep, look for a bed spring made here in Ingersoll by the firm of Mitchell and Company. Such might be the content of an advertisement in the Ingersoll Chronicle or the Ingersoll Tribune around 1905. For your final ride to Boot Hill, the chances were equally great that the hearse would have also been made by the same firm.

George Mason's theatre was on the south side of King Street, between Thames and Oxford.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: George Mason was an Ingersoll capitalist

Sixty years ago this April, noted Ingersoll capitalist George Mason was enjoying a well-deserved retirement. Looking back over a prominent career in town, he must have been satisfied with all that he had accomplished and all that he had given to the town.

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Francis Pegahmagabow a decorated soldier

Driving north of Parry Sound, along Highway 69, you pass through an area known as the Shawanaga Reserve, an area that has been home to the Ojibway for countless centuries. Ironically, this community of rugged beauty near the town of Nobel and its association with the creator of the international peace prize, was the birthplace of Canada’s deadliest

Sir Frederick Banting

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Sir Frederick Banting died 75 years ago

Seventy five years ago Canadians, Americans and other peoples around the world were united in grief. The United States was still neutral about entering the Second World War, but there was another war which had been waged for centuries and which had been brought under control by a Canadian group of doctors. The death of one of those scientists was t

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Fire on Parliament Hill

One hundred years ago, while Canada was in the midst of the Great War, another tragedy struck Canadians from every walk of life. On Feb. 3, 1916, fire engulfed the House of Commons and all but destroyed our seat of Federal Government.

Lawren Harris

ROUTE TO THE PAST: Lawren Harris had Ingersoll connections

Forty-six years ago, on January 29, 1970, Canada lost one of its most influential artists when Lawren Stewart Harris passed away in Vancouver. World-famous as the founding member and oft described leader of the Group of Seven, this internationally recognized artist had Ingersoll connections.