The rugged beauty of the Township of Addington Highlands is an inspiration to its 2,400 year-round residents; 3,500 seasonal residents; and thousands of annual visitors. Its 142,000 hectares of land (70% Crown land) is a panorama of crystal clear lakes, rivers and streams; abundant forests and trails; rolling hills; multi-coloured, jagged rocks; and spectacular night skies. The township’s unspoiled natural landscapes inspire the creativity of many artisans and Addington Highlands is home to a vibrant arts and artists community.
Addington Highlands was formed by an amalgamation (1998) of the Townships of Kaladar, Anglesea, and Effingham and Denbigh, Abinger and Ashby. “Kaladar” is believed to be derived from an Irish palace or estate, likely in County Kildare (David Scott, Ontario Place Names).
In the 1860’s, Kaladar and Anglesea were united as municipal entities and were later joined by Effingham. Anglesea memorialized Henry William Paget, Marquis of Anglesea, denoting the Isle of Anglesea in Wales. Effingham was named in honour of Henry Howard, Earl of Effingham, taken from the village of Effingham in Surrey, England. Ashby Township was named after a market town in Leicestershire, England. Denbigh’s name came from Denbighshire in Wales and Abinger took its name from Abinger in Surrey, England.
For a few decades, settlers travelled up the Addington Road to set down roots and try to carve farmsteads from the forests (Frank Edwards, The Smiling Wilderness). The construction of the Addington Road started in 1854 , under the supervision of Aylsworth B. Perry, and was completed in 1864, the same year that the Court House edifice was completed in the County seat of Napanee. Aylsworth Perry’s brother, Ebeneezer, was appointed land agent and later became Warden of the County in 1872.
As Orland French states in his book, Lennox & Addington, “The northern regions of Lennox & Addington are poor agricultural areas but support healthy forests of deciduous and coniferous trees.” Most pioneer farm families in the northern townships supplemented their meagre incomes with lumbering in the winter. As Frank Edwards points out in The Smiling Wilderness, life in the lumber camps was rough – the work was hard and dangerous; the food was sparse and monotonous; and the log shanties were uncomfortable and draughty.
Another venture in the northern townships, although never very profitable, was nevertheless exciting and fraught with mysterious tales of curses, fires, floods and murders. This was the mining initiative. Gold was discovered in Kaladar Township, near Flinton, by the Golden Fleece Mining Company, in 1881. Other examples included the Jewell Ruby Mine developed in Ashby Township to mine garnet. There was even an adjacent resort named “Jewellville”. The Star of the East Gold Mine and the Ore Chimney Mine, although just over the county line in Frontenac, impacted the lives of folks in Cloyne and the surrounding area. The Ore Chimney Mine is remembered for its construction and operation of its own power structure, on the Skootamatta River, with a system of three dams.
Transportation infrastructure, including the building of the Ottawa to Toronto section of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880’s and the Depression project building Highway 7 in the 1930’s brought brief periods of prosperity to the area. The township is now linked by Highway 41 to the multi-lane 401 Highway, the primary east-west transportation corridor through the province of Ontario.
Addington Highlands is the “roof of Eastern Ontario” and the “gateway to Eastern Ontario’s renowned natural paradise” (Orland French, Lennox & Addington). Mazinaw Lake has been a popular tourist destination for nearly 100 years. The Bon Echo Inn, built and opened in 1913, attracted visitors from Ottawa, Toronto and Northern United States. Although the inn was destroyed by fire in 1936, its history is kept alive by the Friends of Bon Echo Park. The Township of Addington Highlands and the County of Lennox & Addington continue to solicit the development of four-season destination resorts in the township.
Map of the Township of Addington Highlands