~ Summer 2008 Edition ~www.probusperth.ca ~
Probus meets first Wednesday of each month, September to June.

Our next Probus meeting is Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 10 A.M. at the Perth Legion."


P. O. Box 2164,
Perth, Ontario
K7H 3M9

Helen Black

Past President
Keith Brown

Vice President
Ernie Trischuk

Chris McGuire

Don McNaughton

Ian Doig
and Glen Pettinger

Special Events
Denise Mullins

Rod Woolham

Sheila & Mike Hurren

Jeanne Nugent

Colin Stephenson

Exploring the Ancient Rideau ~reviewed by Peter Craske

Ken Watson held the complete and absorbed attention of everyone attending the June meeting as he explained, supported by excellent slides, what the  Rideau area must have looked like over the centuries  up to the time that Colonel By built the canal.

Some 90,000 years ago, a period of continental glaciation took hold. At its peak, 20,000 years ago, the Rideau region was under a kilometre of ice. As climate conditions changed, the glaciers started to decrease in size, retreating to the north. Ancestral Lake Ontario formed at the edge of the retreating glaciers. The outlet for the lake was blocked by ice so a very large lake formed, known as Lake Iroquois, and lasting for about 500 years from 12,500 BC to 12,000 BC. At its peak it extended as far north as Perth and Smiths Falls.

Prior to European settlement, the Rideau Route spanned three watersheds. As today, Newboro, the highest land point separates today’s Upper Rideau Lake from Newboro Lake. To the north, water from Rideau Lake (then one big lake) drained into the Rideau River which flowed north to the Ottawa River. However, unlike today, in the pre-settlement era there were two southern watersheds. One flowed to the Gananoque River. The other to the Cataraqui River, had a much smaller watershed.

1783 marked a significant milestone - the first survey of the Rideau. Lieutenant Gershom French  was ordered to explore the Rideau Route and his aboriginal guide showed him the native canoe route between the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, from Carillon on the Ottawa River, to the Rideau River, up that river to Rideau Lake, portaging over the divide to Newboro Lake, down to Jones Falls, and the Gananoque River.

In 1784 the King’s Mill at Cataraqui Falls was completed, flooding the River in the region now occupied by Colonel By Lake. This was the first known significant man-made alteration of the Rideau Route.

The most significant pre-canal alteration of the Rideau was made in about 1805 by Lemuel Haskins at White Fish Falls (Morton). He built mill dams that flooded the plain allowing canoes to pass through the drowned forests, and can go down in history for not only being the first to connect the Gananoque and Cataraqui watersheds, but by also being the first to provide a working example of a slackwater navigation system on the Rideau Route.
In 1816 and 1823, Lieutenant Joshua Jebb and Samuel Clowes created the most detailed maps of the Rideau Route to that time, showing the various rapids and lakes in reasonably accurate (for the period) detail. These were valuable to Colonel By in the canal construction.

While most of the Rideau River was drowned with the building of the canal, one section,  in Ottawa, still contains elements of what the river
looked like in the pre-canal era. When the canal was built, the section from Hogs Back to Rideau Falls, was bypassed with a canal cut. A dam at the top of the falls has flooded the the Cascade Rapids – but one can still see Billing’s and Stegman’s rapids, almost as they would have appeared in the pre-canal era.

A question period ended the discussion – with lots of participation. Ken was thanked by Bob Black and Bob Taylor.

Personal Profile: Rod MacLean

 Rod MacLean, a descendant of Highland Scots, spent his former years growing up in Washabuck, Nova Scotia. He attended St. Frances Xavier and Nova Scotia Technical College obtaining a Degree in Civil Engineering. Following  university he met Joyce, his wife of 47 years. They have 3  children. Rod and his family have had 13 homes as his work demanded.
Rod worked for 3 years with the Canadian Gypsum Company as a sales engineer for civil engineering test equipment before joining the Military with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He loved working in the service and his military career span 20 years. He worked as base construction engineer on a number of bases, taught at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, and served at command and national head quarters. Rod recalled working at his military office in Montreal during the FLQ crisis of October, 1970 and the tension and unrest that was felt in the city during this period.
Following his retirement from his military career, Rod worked in Hull for 15 years at Indian Affairs Head Quarters. His work with Indian Affairs changed dramatically as the Federal Government devolved to the First Nations control and management of their own affairs. Rod wrote manuals, developed and taught courses on construction and maintenance management. Also with the Department he worked in fire protection, construction safety and lastly as the director of Technology Transfer.
Rod has been retired for 11 years. First, Joyce and Rod moved to Portland, and 3 years ago, they downsized to Perth. In retirement, Rod calls himself a dabbler: he reads, golfs, gardens, fishes, paints in water colours. Come winter, you will find them in Florida or Arizona, living the good life!

Special Events
  1. Wednesday, September 24: Wine Tour of Prince Edward County. w/Heritage Travel. Enjoy a pleasant bus trip down the Loyalist Highway with a ferry ride across the Bay of Picton. We will be visiting Waupoos & Huff wineries. Lunch will be at the Waring House. Members are encouraged to invite their spouses and friends on this trip. Please sign up with Pat at Heritage Travel before September 10th - Cost $90 each (Please pay by Cheque only).
  2. Friday, October 24: Annual Octoberfest! Come out and join us for a wonderful evening! Sign up with Denise at our September meeting.
  3. Friday, December 12: Annual Christmas Dinner! What a great way to begin the Christmas Season! Be sure to sign up early with Denise.

Members of other Probus Clubs are welcome to join our special events. If you have ideas for new events or trips, please talk to Denise Mullins (613-267-3479). Note: For all trips, the bus leaves from the Legion.

From the Management Team Meeting
  • AGM September 3, 2008: The September Probus Meeting includes our Annual General Meeting. The Nominating Committee has proposed the following slate of candidates for positions on the 2008 - 2009 Management Team: President: Ernie Trischuk, Vice President: Bruce Gourley, Past President: Helen Black, Treasurer: Don Sherwin, Secretary: Sheila Clark, Program: Ian Doig & Glen Pettinger, Special Events: Denise Mullins, Membership: Rod Woolham, Newsletter: Vacant, Webmaster: Colin Stephenson, Facilities: Bill & Kathleen Lea, Member at Large: Keith Brown, Financial Review: Don McNaughton.
  • Financial review: a “Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements For Fiscal Year ending July 31, 2008” is attached for your review ~ click here for pdf document. This statement will be discussed at the AGM portion of the meeting on September 3rd, so please bring it with you.
  • Membership: Rod reported that we ended the year with 140 members.
  • Membership Fees: Probus Perth membership fees for the year 2008-09 are due at the first meeting in September. To avoid the fee payment line-ups that normally take place at that meeting, the Management Team is urging members to renew by mail. The membership fees are being held at the reduced rate of $15 per person. There is a renewal form available on our Probus Website ~ click here to access. Please fill out this form and send it together with your cheque to Probus Box 2164, Perth, Ont., K7H 3M9.
  • Newsletter: Colin has agreed to do a one page newsletter for September, that would be a template for future issues. At the AGM, volunteers will be asked to become part of a team to do one or more newsletters during the next year.
  • Webmaster: For 2008/09, Colin will continue to present information about future activities and speakers on our Probus web-site. This is hoped to encourage member participation in meetings and activities.

Speakers' Corner
  • In September , Nancy Scarth - FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE! Nancy Scarth, a keen outdoors woman, first female graduate in engineering (BSc in Engineering Physics) from Queens and later received a degree in Slavic Studies from Ottawa U. She has travelled extensively in the USSR during the last 20 years and will give a slide presentation on her experiences in Siberia.
  • In October Harry Needham, "Five Soldiers that found Ontario"
  • In November General Lewis MacKenzie ~ tentative