Student Handout: The Stopping Place Puzzle

If you are going to be a historian, you have to be part puzzle solver. Only in a secondary historical resource, such as a book, textbook or magazine article, has someone put together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of the past, to provide access to the whole picture without much effort on the reader's part.

Historians must decide which puzzle pieces go where, and guess about information that goes missing on pieces that are lost through time. The type and number of puzzle pieces that make up each historical story vary widely.

In determining the story of stopping places along the Bonnechere River, there are almost no pieces to the puzzle that were recorded in real time. This may have been because they were not thought of as significant at the time, just as the history of your local bed and breakfast remains unrecorded. If so, in years to come a curious historian might be lucky to find the odd advertisement for your local B & B and little else.

One valuable source of information is the oral history interview, in which a history student asks questions of someone who can share something of the experience of a time or place. Often such information can be gathered in no other manner, and is most certainly lost once that interviewee dies. These are indeed special puzzle pieces.

The passages that follow are excerpts from interviews of people who lived at, visited or were acquainted with stopping places, mostly along the Bonnechere River in eastern Ontario, about 1900. As you read these memories of days past, you will find that the recollections differ. This may add a complicating dimension to assembling your puzzle. In your own experience, you are probably more conscious of people and things that affect you daily, while less-important elements in your life are not as memorable. Your brother, sister or neighbour probably remembers these same things differently. What might you be able to recall about your neighbourhood sixty years from now, when a young historian comes to ask you to describe the era of your youth?

Excerpts from publications, original documents and old photos are other valuable research tools you will use in researching this project.


Before you begin your research, read Part 2 below to better understand what is required. Once you understand what you will be doing, study the following primary resources to learn about the sights, sounds and tastes of stopping places in early Canada.

1. Read the following interview excerpts:
Passage 1: Hannah Hyland tells Rory MacKay about Stopping Places, 1976 & 1977
Passage 2: Michael Garvey tells Rory MacKay about Stopping Places, 1977
Passage 3: Mary Garvey tells Rory MacKay about Stopping Places, 1976
Passage 4: Henry McGuey tells Rory MacKay about Stopping Places, 1976

2. Read the following publication excerpts:
Excerpt 1: from Life in the lumber Camps of McLachlin Brothers, Arnprior, Ontario by Charles Macnamara, 1940
Excerpt 2: from A History of Killaloe Station by Martin Garvey, 1967
Excerpt 3: from Report, Field Notes and Diary of the Township of Burns by Thomas Bolger, 1874

3: Study the following images and make notes:
Photo 1: Lafleur Stopping Place, circa 1950
Photo 2: McLachlin Brothers Way Order, 1905

Use your research to answer the following questions.

1a) List foods traditionally eaten at stopping places.
b) What foods from nature were used to supplement the food grown on farms and at stopping places?

2. Explain with examples how there was variety in some parts of the meals served, but not in other parts.

3. Explain why there was such a high concentration of stopping places at the Basin. Hint: Think about the locations of these stopping places relative to nearby Killaloe and the logging camps in Algonquin Park.

4a) List five differences between spending the night at a present-day bed and breakfast and overnighting at a traditional stopping place, circa 1900.
b) List two similarities.

5. The meal and lodging tickets ("Way Orders') that men presented at the stopping places as payment for services were printed on blue paper. Why?

6a) Explain why is was difficult to prepare and serve food when one was never certain how many guests would be staying at the stopping place on any given night.
b) List tasks the stopping place family could do to handle this uncertainty.

7a) What was the preferred time of year for buying and hauling food into the Basin?
b) What was the preferred form of transportation?

8) In what quantities were food purchased?

9) What beverage, not available in the lumber camps, might also have attracted men to the stopping places?

Treena Hein, Rory MacKay, Betty Biesenthal
c. 1900
Ontario, CANADA
© 2007, Davenport Centre - Heritage Hall. All Rights Reserved.

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