Rideau Lakes launches new historical documentary

Black and white photograph of Fettercairn Island around 1916 – 1918. Photograph taken of Soldier’s Convalescent Camp at Fettercairn Island/Indian Lake, Chaffey’s Lock, Ontario from 1916 – 1918. Photo credit: lindaseccaspina.wordpress.com
Posted on: December 14, 2021

The Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee of the Township of Rideau Lakes (MHAC) has partnered with historian and filmmaker Allison Margot Smith in the creation of a new documentary telling the story of Fettercairn Island. 

On Indian Lake, just north of Chaffey’s Lock, in the Township of Rideau Lakes, is an island that came to have a hospital for returning soldiers from WWI — The Great War. These soldiers suffered from PTSD, which at the time was called Shell Shock. Called Fettercairn, the hospital was established in the family cottage owned Agnes Etherington (nee Richardson).

The film entitled, “Fettercairn WWI on Indian Lake” is the second historical documentary to be launched as a result of the partnership. The first documentary, released earlier this year, entitled, “The Big Breakthrough” featured the Rideau Canal. The construction of the Rideau Canal cost a great deal, not only in terms of money, but also in lives and time. Colonel John By employed an unusual method at Newboro Lock to drastically reduce these losses – the Big Breakthrough. Both films can be seen on the Township’s YouTube Channel, or on the website at rideaulakes.ca/documentaries.

MHAC Committee chair, Sue Warren, called the new film, “Excellent” and says, “These documentaries are an important step in preserving our local heritage and we are thrilled to have Allison Margot Smith creating films that celebrate the remarkable history of Rideau Lakes.” 

Mayor Arie Hoogenboom remarked, “The Township of Rideau Lakes is excited to place its history on a world stage through these engaging online films. Thanks to all the volunteers on the MHAC Committee and its partners for producing the documentaries.”

Article by Janelle Labelle