Newsletter January 2011

The Rideau Canal has been chosen by experts as one of the best go-to places for Canadian history. In its February-March 2011 issue, Canada’s History magazine has named the Rideau Canal as one of the top ten National Historic Sites in Canada. In the article, author Nelle Oosterom asks readers to imagine planning a summer-long road trip that would take in ten National Historic Sites. Which ones would they choose of the 150 amazing sites administered by Parks Canada?
 
The historical experts at the magazine asked themselves the same question. In deciding on their top ten sites, they based the decision on historical significance and the quality of visitors’ experiences. They also chose sites that represented a broad time period and covered as much of the country as possible. The Rideau Canal was their choice for Ontario’s best National Historic Site. If you were to go on the road trip of these sites, they say, “the stories of Canada would come alive in ways you never thought of.”
The Rideau Canal is joined in this prestigious list by L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, the Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, the Fortifications of Quebec, Quebec, Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba, Batoche, Saskatchewan, the Bar U Ranch, Alberta, Nan Sdins in the Haida Gwaii Islands of British Columbia, and Dawson City in Yukon.
 
The Rideau Canal represents the time period 1827 to the present. In the article, the authors say that the “beauty and recreational value of this 202 kilometre long waterway belies its origins as an early nineteenth century defence strategy.” Under the caption “Things to Do,” they say, “visitors can travel the country by boat to view the scenic countryside, historic towns, and quaint villages of Eastern Ontario. Take in the summer heritage theatre series by Parks Canada Players that brings history to life, with performances in towns or cities along the canal.”
 
We are thrilled that the Rideau Canal has been given this well deserved recognition.

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The year 2011 has brought another treasure from the past into Fancy Free’s collection. This postcard has been found in the collection of Bill Price, an artist based in Florida who loved to visit Fancy Free in the 1930’s and 1940’s with his wife, who had grown up in Smiths Falls and was a dear friend of Margaret Washburn. It was sent by his granddaughter, Robina Laney, who visited in 2010 to see the cottage that her grandparents loved so much. Although undated, this photo shows Fancy Free as it was during the days when Miss Washburn tended gardens that ringed the island, creating a spectacular view of the cottage and its setting. We thought you would enjoy this memento of the twentieth century.