Avonmore

Avonmore is a picturesque town offering residents services and programs throughout the year in effect, promoting a healthy lifestyle and an active social community.   Located 25 kilometres north-west of Cornwall and 75 kilometres south-east of Ottawa, a quick 45-minute drive brings you to the nation’s capital.  Right in the middle of Ontario’s main streets, Avonmore is 15 minutes north of Highway 401, and 15 minutes south of the Trans-Canada Highway (417).  Getting anywhere is easy but living in Avonmore you’re already where you want to be.

Thanks to the hard work of community volunteers Avonmore offers the following programs and services to family, friends, neighbours and guests:

  • The outdoor Avonmore Community Pool offering seasonal swimming lessons
  • The outdoor skating rink
  • Organized sports programs like soccer, baseball etc.
  • North Stormont Place
  • Avonmore Fire Department
  • Public parks
  • Annual community events such as the Avonmore Fair, Canada Day celebrations, Christmas House Tour etc.

Other services available include:

  • Avonmore Library
  • United and Presbyterian Churches
  • Medical Office
  • Roxmore Public School
  • Tagwi Secondary School

 History

Avonmore is a pleasant, scenic village of around 330 inhabitants nestled in the heart of North Stormont.

Long famous for its large and well-kept Victorian homes on maple-canopied streets, it still retains much of its early charm, especially along leafy, tree-lined Main Street, stretching for over a kilometre between Highway 43 on the south and the Montreal-Toronto mainline of the CPR, the village’s northern boundary.

Located 25 kilometres north-west of Cornwall and the St. Lawrence Seaway and 75 kilometres south-east of Ottawa, a quick 45-minute drive to the nation’s capital, “the loveliest village of the plain” is 15 minutes north of Ontario’s Main Street, Highway 401, and 15 minutes south of the Trans-Canada Highway (417).

The community was founded by John Hough in the Spring of 1842.

In 1966, the Avonmore Fire Department was officially organized

In 1991, following a community struggle that gained national attention, Avonmore residents not only saved their Post Office, but soon after in 1995 received Canada’s first self-service fully-automated Post Office.

“Hough’s Corners”

The town’s founding father built a log homestead near the banks of the Payne River and named the little clearing “Hough’s Corners”. Within a few years, probably just prior to 1850, John Hough built the first sawmill on the banks of the Payne and soon came up with the more imposing “Hough’s Mills” as a more fitting name for his settlement. The community’s founder was a versatile jack-of-all-trades, serving as doctor, undertaker, justice of the peace, lay preacher, storekeeper, and housebuilder.

By 1854, regular stagecoach service to Moulinette and Moose Creek had been established and a decade later, on April 1, 1864, the settlement received its first Post Office, and with it its first officially-recognized name, Avonmore (Gaelic for “Great River”). The first Postmaster was Elias Shaver, the community’s other renaissance man, who was also a farmer, blacksmith, tanner, carriage manufacturer, and rival Justice of the Peace.

Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886

Avonmore grew slowly during the early years following Confederation, but the arrival of the O&Q (Ontario and Quebec) Montreal-Toronto branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 turned the sleepy settlement into a boomtown overnight and the growth continued unabated until the First World War.

Avonmore High School

By 1913 Avonmore’s first Community (IOOF) Hall had been completed, and in that same year the renowned Avonmore High School opened its doors. The School’s Cadet Corps was legendary: in 1948 alone it was the best in Ontario, Canada, and the British Commonwealth in marksmanship.

The ancestral home of k.d. lang on Fairview Drive; its two community newspapers, Rural Route and the County Times; its two restaurants, Patsy’s Diner and Rockin’ Ronda’s, Garnet Robertson Construction and Dale Coleman Construction, Amsing Cartage, Delaney Bus Lines, the one and only Robinson Motors, Bush Insurance Brokers, and last but by no means least, Barkley’s Store, a community tradition of old-fashioned friendly service in a heritage setting since 1908, now featuring as well a fully-equipped LCBO Agency Store.

By Murray Barkley
March 2001