History and Historical Attractions

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Long on Celtic heritage, South Glengarry is home to many historical landmarks, museums and churches that are enjoyed by both residents and visitors to the Township.

Glengarry County Archives

The Glengarry County Archives is the largest repository of historical records in Eastern Ontario and contains the foremost collection of history about Glengarry County found anywhere.

Historical Attractions

Martintown Grist Mill

The Martintown Grist Mill was built in 1846 by Alexander McMartin. It is located in the centre of the village of Martintown. Built with local fieldstone, the 4-storey Mill measures 30 by 55 feet. It served the village and region as a custom flour milling operation. The mill operated by water power that was eventually supplemented with a gas engine. Commercial use of the mill ended in 1947. The Mill is now owned by the Martintown Mill Preservation Society and is open to the public on weekends during the summer.

Nor'Westers and Loyalist Museum

The Nor'Westers and Loyalist Museum is a Georgian style structure located in Williamstown. The museum preserves and interprets the history of the United Empire Loyalist migration to Glengarry County and of the Glengarry partners of the North West Company

Sir John Johnson House

The Sir John Johnson Manor House is a National Historical Site located in Williamstown. The building is significant for its architectural design and for being one of the oldest surviving buildings in Ontario. Also important is its historical connection to Sir John Johnson, who encouraged United Empire Loyalists to settle in the St. Lawrence River Valley after the American Revolution. For more information call (613) 347-2356.

St. Raphael's Ruins

Located in St. Raphael's, the ruins were once one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English Canada until a fire consumed the church in 1970. Efforts continue today to stabilize the impressive masonry work found in the outer walls, which continues to attract tourists to the beautiful grounds.

Bishop's House of Glengarry

The Bishop's House of Glengarry was the headquarters of Rev. Alexander Macdonell, a heralded military captain who came to St. Raphael's in 1804 and became Bishop of Upper Canada (Ontario's first Bishop). A major figure in Ontario history, the bishop was declared a National Historic Person of Canada in 1924. This house functioned as the organizational centre for Roman Catholics in Ontario until the 1830s. It housed the College of Iona – Ontario's first college, which was moved to Kingston in 1836. The college was the province's first seminary where young men studied for the priesthood and later led parishes throughout the province.

The Bishop's House is now owned by the Glengarry Fencibles Trust. The Trust is undertaking the careful, respectful rehabilitation of the building and landscape.

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