Celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary with just a loonie admission to the Lennox and Addington County Museum, Napanee. During July and August, the County Museum is host to “In the Money”, a travelling exhibit from the Bank of Canada. This fun and engaging exhibit explores how paper is made, compares security and printing features and provides insight into ancient coins and notes. Through interactive stations and displays, visitors will explore a behind-the-scenes glimpse of modern methods for developing, testing and producing secure innovative bank notes. Can good engraving foil a counterfeiter? What are those little holograms for? Visitors will have a chance to fold a polymer note and measure how many times it has already been folded, tilt the bills to watch vibrant colour changes of their holograph foils and inspect a polymer note that has been folded many times.
Lennox and Addington County has a notable link with paper currency. The Museum will also display one of the early promissory notes printed for issue by the Freeholders Bank of the Midland District at Bath in 1837. The beautifully engraved promissory notes of five and twenty-five shillings were printed by a New York firm.
In 1837, sixty-three subscribers formed the Freeholders Bank of the Midland District at Bath as an alternative to the Bank of Upper Canada and the Commercial Bank of the Midland District in Kingston. The Bath venture was part of a movement to establish banks under deeds of settlement, without formal incorporation. Many prominent local names were among the subscribers: Benjamin Ham, William Sills, Peter Davy, Samuel Clark, John Hawley, Hammel Madden, John V. Detlor, Phillip J. Roblin, Joshua R. Lockwood and Elijah Huffman. The articles of partnership were printed in a pamphlet distributed to the membership. Notes were to be issued by the Company, based on conveyance of the borrower’s right, title and interest in freehold property, and were payable in twelve months. The borrower, in return, was to give the Cashier of the Company a promissory note for the amount borrowed, due nine months after the note was issue. The Company would renew the promissory note as long as may be required by the borrower, on the security of real property.
When the Provincial Legislature passed an Act to protect the public from the injury of private banking, Peter Davy and 386 freeholders petitioned the Legislative Assembly to be allowed to continue. To their disappointment, the bank was directed to wind up its affairs. James Fraser, William Sills and Benjamin Ham were appointed commissioners to settle the affairs of the bank. By November 1838, their dream had vanished.
In addition to “In the Money”, visitors will have an opportunity to view the Museum’s Canada 150 exhibits featuring what Canada wore at its milestone birthdays. In 1867, a collection of colonies along the St. Lawrence River in British North America were reshaped into a country with a common national identity. Growing national pride was reflected in fashion. Gigantic crinoline skirts, popularized by European fashion leaders, were also seen on the streets in the emerging urban areas in the young, energetic country.
A unique portrait of Napanee a few years before Confederation is presented in the work of photographer Stephen Benson (1843-1901). Benson came from Loyalist roots, and his father John Benson (1808-1882), served as Reeve of the Village of Napanee in 1855 and Clerk from 1860-1862. Reproduced from wet collodion glass negatives, Benson’s images give us a first hand glimpse into what Napanee was like as Confederation dawned. It was a promising decade. Lennox and Addington had come of age and was in the throws of separating from Frontenac and incorporating as an independent County. John Stevenson, Reeve of the Village of Napanee, was the Provisional Warden. His trend setting Italianate mansion set amid the tall pines on the western ridge looked down over the growing town. Trade and commerce were at it centre and merchant stalls were being built along the length of the Town Hall. Below the falls, Stevenson launched a new schooner, appropriately named the John Stevenson. The Campbell House, a splendid new brick Italianate building, had recently been built opposite the Town Hall and to the north of the Hall, a new spired stone church replaced an earlier chapel on the site of the Eastern Methodist Church (Trinity). In 1867, Stevenson, then Warden of the newly independent County, was appointed speaker of the new Ontario Legislature.
Then, fast forward a century to 1967 when Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary. It is a time well remembered by boomers when the “Jackie”, popularized by Jackie Kennedy, the mini and the hippie were popular. Representations of these styles are displayed in the foyer cases, adjacent to “In the Money.”
The Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives is located at 97 Thomas Street East in Napanee. Find out more about this exhibit and other events at www.countymuseum.ca. All this and more for just a loonie!