Discover how some of the areas around Glengarry got their names!
Alexandria: named in honour of Right Reverend Alexander McDonell (1762-1840), who was the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada. The town was settled about 1803, known earlier as ‘Priest’s Mills’. During the late 1800s, Alexandria was famous for the ‘Glengarry Buggy’ made there by the Munro and McIntosh Alexandria Carriage Company.
Athol: probably named after the original village in Scotland. Athol was a busy centre from 1850-70. The public school was featured in Glengarry School Days by author Ralph Connor. A replica of the school could be seen at Upper Canada Village.
Applehill: named because the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) ran through an apple orchard owned by Sandy Kennedy. It was once known as ‘Caravan’s Corners’.
Bainsville: first known as Bain’s Field, which is said to have been named after a McBain. There was a railway that went through the area in 1855.
Breadalbane: named after a Breadalbane town in Loch Tay region of Perthshire. It was settled by Scottish pioneers from the area prior to 1816, which was when the first Baptist church was opened.
Brodie: named for John Brodie, the only Covenanter among the group that settled there in about 1815 and founded a church for the religion. A Covenanter was part of a Scottish Presbyterian movement who’s members signed a contract, and by doing so promised to keep their religion from being changed by outside innovations. William Jamieson, an early settler of Brodie, invented a stoning machine to help farmers remove large boulders from their fields, one of which can be viewed in the museum’s collection.
Dalkeith: settled on river De Graisse and was originally known as ‘Robertson’s Mills’. The Clan Robertson had bought land in the area and brought family and workers to help build up the town. By the 1850s, the area was known as Dalkieth, which was the area of Scotland the Robertson family originated from.
Dominionville: the original village started at Notfield. There were two picnics held in the village to celebrate Confederation of 1867, and the name was chosen in honor of the New Dominion of Canada.
Dunvegan: from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye in Skye, Scotland. The name is believed to mean ‘little fort’ in Gaelic, but may have a Norse (Norwegian language) origin. The Kenyon Village dates from 1804, the local post office opened in 1862.
Fassifern: Fassifern, Scotland was originally populated by a large number of clan Cameron. When many Cameron members came to Canada, they decided to honour their native village by naming it Fassifern. In Scotland, the village was formerly home to Dr. Archibald Cameron, a clan hero, executed in 1745.
Fiske’s Corner: called so because a Hughie MacMillan nicknamed Fiske had a store here. Many other rural hamlets around the area also got their names from people or their nicknames. The hamlet also had a cheese factory and blacksmith shop, but was more the focal point of a community rather than a village.
Glen Sandfield: John Sandfield MacDonald was the First Premier of Ontario, born in Glengarry. He was responsible for both the creation of the University of Toronto and the settlement of any southern Ontario counties by giving out extremely cheap land grants to European settlers. The word ‘Glen’ is Gaelic, meaning a stream shaped in a distinctive glacial U.
Glen Robertson: in the pioneer days was known as ‘Charlie Roy’s Corner’ but later got its official name from David Robertson, an early warden for the council of the town.
Glengarry: was named for the Glen in Invernesshire, Scotland past which the Garry river floes. Many of the Counties first settlers came from that area to Canada in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Greenfield: Greenfield was settled in 1815-1820, predominantly by members of the clan MacDonnell. Many of these MacDonnell’s came from an area in Scotland called ‘Greenfield’. The name was carried over. The village boomed in 1880 with the arrival of the railroad, but population has rapidly decreased within the last century.
Kirk Hill: The Gaelic word ‘Kirk’ is translated to ‘Church’ in English. This name reflects the location of the village’s first church, St. Columba Presbyterian (who was a Scottish saint) which is located on a hill. Formerly, this area was known as ‘Glenelg’ for the village the settlers left.
Laggan: The land for Laggan was purchased in April, 1826 by Donald Cattanach, a Scottish native. Cattanach named his community in honour of his former home back in Invernesshiere, Scotland
Lochiel: Lochiel was established in the early 1820’s, near the end of the first wave of Celtic immigrants to Glengarry. When first populated, it had a large number of Cameron’s. Thus, the village was named for the chief of Clan Cameron, Lochiel, though it was commonly referred to as “Glen James” and “Quigley’s Corners”.
Lorne: Lorne is a traditional Scottish name, popularized in Canada due to the Marquess of Lorne (John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll) who was the Governor General of Canada, 1878-1883.
Martintown: Like many small communities in pioneer times, the creation of a grist mill is the only thing that truly brought a village to economic sustainability. In this case, John McMartin opened his mill in 1846 on the Raisin River. He was honoured by having the village named after him—Martintown.
Maxville: Though a misleading name (‘Max’ being German and ‘Ville’ being French) Maxville was settled by Scottish immigrants in 1815-1820. Due to the large number of Celts in the area, it was decided that the area would be called “Macsville” in honor of the traditional Scottish surname prefix ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac’ (Mac being Gaelic for ‘Son of”). This was then changed to today’s “Maxville”.
Munro’s Mill: This former community is now considered to be a ghost town, the result of a fire that destroyed its two mills and effectively starved it from economic growth. The original family was Munro, who created the first grist mill in 1860.
St. Elmo: St. Elmo was named by Revd. John Fraser (or his daughter) in 1880, after he bought a portion of what was formerly referred to as ‘Indian Lands’. The name ‘St. Elmo’ was inspired by a novel bearing the same name, penned by American author Augusta Jane Evans in 1866. His justification for the name was that it was both simple and short
St. Raphael’s: This community was founded in 1786 when 500 Scottish Highlanders, led by Fr. Alexander MacDonnell, who, after settling, erected a church within a few years. The St. Raphael’s stone church was the oldest Roman Catholic Church in English Canada. Traditionally, St. Raphael is one of seven archangels that Catholics believe stand before the throne of the Lord. He is also the patron saint of the blind, as well as nurses and doctors.