“In 1860 King Edward VII drank here at this spring among the cedars. As Prince of Wales he was here to lay the corner stone for the Parliament Buildings. He went on a timber raft, then on to Arnprior. A cortage of 20 carriages accompanied him to Almonte to board the train to Kingston, Almonte being the end of steel. At Bennie’s Corners he received a most royal welcome. He stopped for a drink of water and received a cold fresh drink from the spring among the cedars.”
Edward was born in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace. He was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 25 January 1842. He was known as Bertie to the royal family throughout his life.
In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident bonhomie made the tour a great success. He inaugurated the Victoria Bridge, Montreal, across the St Lawrence River, and laid the cornerstone of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. The four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States considerably boosted Edward’s confidence and self-esteem, and had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. At the time, his visit caused much excitement and many local activities were undertaken to commemorate his visit such as this sign, that has been replaced several times. It is also recorded that a maple tree was planted to the east of Union Hall by Mr Stevenson on honour of King Edward’s visit to Canada. Unfortunately, this massive tree was removed when the county garage was constructed by the Hall.