(By Donald Fraser, Victoria, B.C.)
I see the old town, under its energetic mayor and council, is making an effort to attract manufacturing industries and thereby increase the population. More than forty years ago, the population was considered in the neighborhood of two thousand; the town has grown, but not nearly as much as it should have in that time. It is idle to recount the reasons for this. In older days everything was hand made, and markets were local. Now, everything is machine made, and the markets are the four quarters of the globe. Another thing : In old days there were only two markets for the farmer’s produce, Perth and Ottawa. Now the trade is intercepted, rival towns have sprung up and the old town cut out. Carleton Place, Smith’s Falls, Lanark, etc., were only villages when Perth was considered a very substantial town. For years I gave Smith’s Falls all the banking facilities it required, between trains on Saturday afternoons. Now all this is changed.
To succeed you must manufacture something of universal consumption, and then over-advertise and under-sell all competitors. A glance at some of the old time industries which gave Perth a reputation and a name as a respectable and satisfactory place to live in : Rutherford‘s waggon shop, Tom Farmer‘s blacksmith shop, Cornelius Farmer, blacksmith; Neil Campbell, axes; George Cox, waggons and ploughs; Tait‘s blacksmith shop; Felix Harishaw, blacksmith; Holliday‘s tannery, Jamieson‘s harness shop, Ned. Dougherty, harness shop; Canwith‘s brewery, Korry‘s axe factory, Kilpatrick‘s tannery, Templeton‘s tannery, Miller‘s foundry, Shaw‘s foundry, Lillie‘s foundry, Hunter‘s carriage works, James Lafferty, blacksmith; Lett James, blacksmith,; John Bell, blacksmith; Dick Walker‘s and John Rodgers‘ pork packing establishments, Publow‘s waggon shop, and Haggart‘s mills, were hives of industry; the flour mill in charge of Donald McIntosh, the oatmeal mill in charge of David Mitchell, the saw mill in charge of James Leggatt, and the carding mill in charge of Dick Code. And what a business there was in teaming lumber during winter to McLaren‘s on the Rideau! There seemed to be employment for everybody, and no strikes.
As I look back upon the old times I see we were a very highly favored community. Our creative comforts were well looked after by such men as Ralph Smith, Owen Stanley, John Rodgers and George Barrie, butchers. For bakers we had James Allan and J.K. Fairbairn. If our temporary affairs got mixed up we had men like T.M. Radenhurst, Daniel McMartin, W.O. Buell, McNairn Shaw, Judge Deacon and Donald Fraser to straighten them out. And our spiritual affairs were in the hands of Revds. Mr. Bell, Michael Harris, Father McDonagh, Dr. Bain, and J.B. Duncan, and our physicians were Dr. Wilson, and Dr. Nichol. I trust there are many still in Perth who remember these names.