~ February 2010 Edition
~ Contributing Editor Ian Doig ~


P. O. Box 2164,
Perth, Ontario
K7H 3M9
Probus meets the first Wednesday of each month, Sept. to June.

Bruce Gourley
613-283- 5967

Past President
Ernie Trischuk

Vice President
Mike Else

Sheila Clark

Don Sherwin

Ian Doig
and Glen Pettinger

Special Events
Glen Pettinger
and Mary Kilgour

Jean Crowley

Member at Large
Keith Brown

Bill & Kathleen Lea

Colin Stephenson

As the years fly by, how many of us have noticed that others tend to mumble incomprehensibly while we, on the other hand, enunciate as clearly as we ever have? Sadly, our voice projection capabilities may not be as good as we think they are particularly for those of our demographic. We have, in fact, received a number of comments about the difficulty of hearing the unamplified content of our meetings. Thankfully we do have a solution ~ our portable microphone. Out of respect for the majority of us who seem to have auditory challenges, we would therefore urge all who wish to make comments or raise questions to use our portable microphone while speaking. In other words, we would like to invoke the following practice at our future meetings: no mic ~ no speak.

"Whiskey and Wickedness"

Larry Cotton
This month’s speaker was Larry Cotton, who, fortified by a snort of Wisers Deluxe, presented us with a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of early Perth. We all have a mental picture of the role liquor played in the life in those times, but when we learn a bit more about the conditions and mores under which the people then lived the reasons for this becomes more evident.

Larry mentioned some of the legislation in force at the time, such as The Scolding Wives Act, which provided that a wife who was found to have scolded her husband for, say, spending all the family money in the tavern, was liable to a fine, with the proviso that repeat offenders could be placed in a public pillory!

There was a death rate of 50% amongst workers on the building of the Rideau Canal, caused by factors such as over-consumption of alcohol (often of unbelievable strength by today’s standards), and diseases such as malaria.

Partly in order to stiffen the loyalties of the population of southern Upper (and Lower) Canada, which at that time was populated largely by American-born “Loyalists”, the settlement of British military personnel was encouraged. This included not only veterans of the North American conflict but also from the Napoleonic wars of Europe, as H.M.Government feared the consequences of large numbers of demobilized soldiers, unemployed and discontented, filling the streets of the Old Country. Hence, many half-pay officers and men were settled in what is now Lanark County, bringing with them their customary entitlement to a daily rum or beer ration that was established in law! Hotels and inns sprang up, not only to cater to the societal leaders as they moved about the settlements but also to house new settlers until they had cleared a bit of their land and erected accommodations of their own. And hostelries, of course, served “Ardent Spirits”.

How “ardent” they were we can perhaps grasp when we see that the Temperance Act of 1864 legislated the reduction of the proof strength of beer – to 80%! On top of this the Irish settlers brought with them their propensity for “recreational violence”; violent behaviour without malice aforethought, but simply for the fun of, say, hitting a passer-by over the head with a club! This of course, spawned a round of “vigilante justice”, with what were, in effect, “goon squads” “maintaining the peace” in the various communities; “The Slashers” in Perth…. “The Thrashers” in Smiths Falls.

Eventually the “Sabbath Day Act” was passed, which demanded that taverns be closed from 7:00 pm on Fridays to 5:00 am on Mondays. But of course apothecaries could remain open on the weekends, and were licensed to dispense alcohol “for medicinal purposes”!

All this encouraged the rise of the temperance movement, led by the Methodist Church. In 1874 the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement moved north from the United States, and in 1916 prohibition brought an era to a close, along with Perth’s taverns, breweries and internationally-renowned single malt scotch whisky distilleries. Ahhh… - the place hasn’t been the same since!

Speakers' Corner
  • March - Jorgan Hoeven, Director of Corporate & Environmental Services for the Town of Perth, to discuss the Wilson Street Redevelopment and other infrastructure programs.
  • April - Bob Pearson of Exploritas, formerly Elderhostel, to talk about their travel programs.
  • May - the Historica Fair Re-enactment of the War of 1812
  • June - Jim Gilpin on his experiences in World War II.

Special Events

  • March 18, 2009 ~ Probus Dinner & Theatre Night. Meet for dinner at 5:45pm upstairs at the Stone Cellar ($20) and at 8pm at the Studio Theatre for the thriller "Laura" ($15). Reservations: March Probus meeting, Bookworm (267-8773) or John Gittens (johngittens@gmail.com). More information attached.
  • May 27, 2010 ~ Trip to see "The 39 Steps" at 1,000 Island Playhouse in Gananoque. Matinee performance, gourmet boxed lunch on the deck. More information and signup at the March meeting.
  • May 18, 2010 ~ Spring Fling (the annual regional Probus social event) will be held at the The Best Western Parkway Inn in Cornwall.
  • June 2010 ~ Annual Golf Tournament

Management Team Notes
  • Don Sherwin will be presenting the attached mid-year financial review at the March meeting.
  • Many thanks to Ian Doig for his contributions to this edition. The contributing editor for the March Bulletin will be Orion Clark.
  • Don McDiarmid is planning to offer his self introduction in March.
  • Wanted: Probian contributing editor and photographer for the May edition.

Self-introduction ~ Natalie Gibb-Carsley
Natalie Gibb-Carsley

Natalie Gibb-Carsley was born in Winnipeg, and raised in what we would now call a “one-parent family”, because her father, a medical doctor, was serving in Hong Kong as medical officer to the Royal Winnipeg Grenadiers. As we all know, on Christmas 1939 that city fell to the Japanese invaders, and he and the rest of the survivors of the battle spent the next five years enduring the horrors of Japanese internment.

Her father stayed in the military after the war, which resulted in Natalie and her extended family moving to Ottawa. From here it was a short step to McGill University, where she met John when they were both in their second year. (Parenthetically, it was also there, and at that time when John and I crossed paths, when I was being rushed by his fraternity!)

After graduation they moved to Perth and joined the staff of PCI as teachers. Their first two children were born here during this period. Then it was off to Europe, where John taught at Lahr and Metz for three years. On their return to Perth Nathalie taught English and Art at PDCI, and also did a stint on CBC radio with Mary Cook.

Always active in the community, Nathalie has served on the Board of Perth Day Care, the Perth and Tay Valley Planning Boards, is on her second term on the Library Board and is an active member of the University Women. Her hobbies include reading, painting watercolours, bicycling and, in addition to all these, she manages to find the time to be a member of a writing circle!

To see what is playing in Perth, we suggest you go to:



Mid-year Financial Report

(Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements

from Aug. 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010)



Bank balance @ Aug. 1, 2009








Surplus, Wakefield train trip


Total Income







Hall rental


Projector screen (1/3 share)


Probus Centre insurance   


Wreath for Cenotaph, Nov.11




Speakers' gifts/lunches


Name tags & pins


Postage/post box


Office supplies


Past Pres. gift




Loss, Xmas party


Bank charges


Total Expenses




Bank balance @ January 31, 2010




Forecast of additional expenses to July 31, 2010




Forecast of bank balance @ July 31, 2010



D. Sherwin, Treasurer,

Feb. 9, 2010