Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Honour Roll of Veterans, Portland, Rideau Lakes Township, ON

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A war memorial in Portland-on-the-Rideau overlooks Hwy 15 at Colborne Street, in front of Emmanuel Anglican Church. The Honour Roll lists WW1 and WW2 veterans from the community. A cross marks those killed in action – 7 of 53 men in WW1.

And that is the sum total of information I can find about the monument. The combined lists on each plaque indicate that they date from after WW2. The list of monuments in To Mark Our Place includes a stele at Portland, but there is no reference to it in other standard databases. It does not rate a mention in the Heritage Tour of Portland, published by the Township of Rideau Lakes.

The Heritage Tour does include Clare Dowsett House, at the corner of Perth and Mary’s Streets (misspelled Claire Dowsett on the WW1 plaque):

Once makers of fine wagons and carriages, the Dowsett family adapted their talents to the making of fine boats as summer cottages came to dot the shores and islands of the Big Rideau. Dowsett boats became renowned across the continent and the family continued in this business until the mid-1900’s. In 1926, Clare Dowsett and his father built this fine home as the wedding abode for Clare and his bride.* Inside and out, this 1½ storey home reflects the meticulous care, craftsmanship and passion of renowned boat-wrights who broke with local architecture of their time. The naturally-dried butternut shiplap siding is still draft-free after three-quarters of a century. Europa-style shingles grace the gables. The wooden sashes of the 9 over 1 windows still rise and close freely for July breezes and seal against the January blasts. Long before energy and conservation were buzz words, the Dowsetts positioned most windows on the south and west sides, away from cold winter gales off the Big Rideau. But on the windward side, two small diamond quarry windows act as nautical port holes through which to view the lake. Another port looks out from the foyer beside the front entrance. The family colours of yellow and green have historic maritime significance and the concrete foundation was once painted blue to represent the sea, nurture and nature for all boats. Truly, love poetry in architecture!

(* She would be Agnes Helen Annetta (Amanda) Findlay)

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Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at

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