History Committee

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Introduction

Happy 131st Birthday, Franklin Carmichael for May 4th, 2021. Fellow Orillians are on a quest to learn more about you.

Carmichael was a Renaissance man: husband, father, teacher, philosopher, artist in oil, watercolour and graphite, designer of book jackets, illustrator of books, expert at traditional printing methods, leading edge technician in mechanized printing, concert musician playing bassoon, cello and flute and founder of Canadian art movements.

I once asked my wife, Anne, so when your ancestors first travelled to the Orillia/Oro area in the early 1830s, how did they get here?  It was a time when there were not many roads and much of the travel overland was on foot.  Trans-Atlantic Steamships were not in common use, so ocean travel meant sailing ships and smaller sailing vessels on the inland routes.  The question of how travel to this area has evolved over the years is an interesting one. 

This is the story of the Taits, as told by guest contributor William Leslie.

 

William Tait, his wife Mary and family, including their son Andrew, left Scotland in 1848 for Canada, travelling from Liverpool to New York City, up the Hudson River and the Erie Canal, finally crossing from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Upper Canada, in 1860. Andrew was 21 years old.

 

Some Orillians have settled successfully in other parts of Canada.  For decades, Calgary, Alberta, has been a draw to generations seeking to make their way in the world.

Eric Lafferty Harvie was the most successful Orillians ever to make his way in Alberta. Because of land deals associated with petroleum, Eric Harvie became a wealthy philanthropist to arts organizations. His passions were the arts and collecting history related artifacts. He is reported to have said he wanted to die broke.