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The Foundry Chimney – A monument to the long-gone Paisley Agricultural Works

October 2020

In the north end of the Village of Paisley, Ontario, in a small park called Willow Creek Park, stands a tall brick chimney. While seemingly out of place, this lonely chimney is a monument to a long vanished foundry known as the Paisley Agricultural Works.

Originally opened around 1860 as Laidlaw’s Foundry, it was a huge two-storey building that took up the land that now makes up Willow Creek Park.

John Stewart purchased the foundry in the late 1860s, re-naming it the Paisley Agricultural Works. The building contained both machinery for production, with a show room at the north end of the building to display the finished products. Storage and living quarters for some of the sixty workers took up the upper floor.

Stewart, born in Perth, Scotland in 1808, had already earned a place in Canadian history when he took up arms against the Family Compact with William Lyon Mackenzie in the Rebellion of 1837, a crime for which he was pardoned by Queen Victoria in 1842.

While the foundry produced an assortment of iron products for both inside and outside the home, it specialized in producing farm machinery, such as straw cutters, turnip cutters, the celebrated “Harvest Queen” reaper, the unrivalled “Sellar Plow”, gang plows, horse rakes, combined scufflers for scuffling and hilling potatoes, single and double turnip seeders. All kinds of repairing and jobbing were also done, with engine repairing being a specialty.

Like many industries, the larger companies eventually overshadow the smaller ones, and Paisley Agricultural Works was no different. Competition from large agricultural manufacturers like Massey-Harris eventually led to the closure of Paisley Agricultural Works.

The foundry remained standing for several years, but was eventually demolished in 1923, leaving only a single chimney. The property itself was sold to the Village of Paisley in 1928, who turned it into a public park.

Sources: http://www.deeprootstalltrees.com/PaisleyAlbum/Industry.shtml, https://paisleyvillage.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/pdc_her_bro_0609.pdf, http://sites.rootsweb.com/~onbcgs/bcgstwpelderslie.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paisley,_Ontario, https://paisleyvillage.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2009-09-Advocate.pdf.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-foundry-chimney-a-monument-to-the-long-gone-paisley-agricultural-works/

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