Spencerville, Ontario

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The mill at Spencerville was long an economic backbone of the village, but these days it is a restored heritage landmark.

The village of Spencerville is a rural community located in Eastern Ontario, about 80 kilometres southwest of downtown Ottawa on Highway 416. The village lies within the amalgamated municipality of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal township, in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. The South Nation River runs through the southern portion of the village.

Spencerville is a historical village with many old houses, churches, farms, and cemeteries; most notable being the old mill. Every autumn, the Spencerville Fair is held here, which has been an annual event for over a century. The village's proximity to Ottawa has allowed the local businesses to prosper in recent years, and has lead to an influx of new housing projects in the surrounding area.


Peleg Spencer first built a wooden dam near the site in 1811.[1]Peleg and David Spencer built mills on the banks of the South Nation River, which enabled the economic development of a small pioneer community. The community contained a variety of small industries by the middle of the 19th century. It was the site of an annual agricultural fair.[2]

The village's best-recognized landmark is the Spencerville Mill, a restored, heritage gristmill on the South Nation River. By 1864, Robert Fairbairn had built a stone gristmill on the north side of the river and installed a steam engine to allow the mill to operate year-round. Fairburn had purchased the property from David Spencer, the father of his wife Mercy, who in turn had acquired a saw and gristmill from his father Peleg Spencer.

The Spencerville Fair[edit]

Main article: Spencerville Fair

The Spencerville Fair is a long-standing end-of-summer tradition in Spencerville and it's surrounding area; organized by the Spencerville Agricultural Society. The first fair was held in 1855, over 150 years ago, and is still an annual event held every fall.[3] The countryside surrounding the village of Spencerville remains largely agricultural, with many dairy, beef, poultry, and hog farms contributing to the local economy. The rural and agricultural roots of Spencerville are still important within the community, and are showcased during the fair, which features agriculture and livestock exhibits, poultry and small animal shows and local art exhibits. Today, the fair also has a midway, and adult entertainment tent featuring a bar and live entertainment.

In 1854, the Leeds and Grenville County Council passed a resolution granting the founding of agricultural societies within the two counties, including the Township of Edwardsburg Agricultural Society. In 1855, the first fair was held on the south side of the Nation River on property settled by David Spencer.[4]

Other annual events[edit]

Another popular event is 'A Country Christmas Remembered', which since its inception in 2004 has decorated the mill, select heritage homes and businesses around the community in the manner of 1930s-era small rural village at Christmas time. The two-day event features family-oriented events, food, crafts, displays, carolling, choirs, shopping, and entertainment and has begun to attract visitors from outlying areas.

Beginning in June 2004, Spencerville also began hosting another new annual event, the Veterans Memorial Highland Games, featuring highland games, piping and drumming and other events.[5]

Amentities and services[edit]

Spencerville has just one main intersection, but it has a number of businesses and services that seem out of proportion to its size.

The village has an elementary school, a public library, a Canada Post outlet, a restaurant, laundromat, two general stores, a gas bar that offers Beer Store and Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) products, a Royal Bank branch, a home heating and cooling dealer, a heritage restoration and construction business, a mechanic's garage, a small engine repair shop, an insurance company, a computer store, a funeral home, senior-living apartments, a Royal Canadian Legion branch and several home-based businesses. In addition, a Home Hardware franchise is located just outside of the village limits.

Four churches are found in the community: Spencerville United Church, St. Laurence O'Toole Catholic Church, St. Barnabas Anglican Catholic Church, and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

In recent years, a sleek new $1.066-million span has been built to replace the rusting girder bridge that once crossed the South Nation River into the village proper. The bridge project was completed under the former Canada-Ontario Rural Infrastructure Fund.

Spencerville also has an arena that hosts minor league hockey tournaments from across Ontario, and also offers public skating..The land for the arena was donated by the Spencerville Agricultural Society and the arena was constructed by volunteers. The newer buildings on the fairgrounds were built by the George Drummond family of Drummond's gas franchises.


  1. ^ "Spencerville Mill History". 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/userfiles/HTML/nts_1_5872_1.html Ontario Heritage Trust Founding of Spencerville
  3. ^ http://www.spencervillefair.ca/history.html
  4. ^ "Spencerville Fair History". The Grenville Historical Society, Prescott Journal and The Recorder and Times. June 16, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Veterans Memorial Highland Gamers and Celtic Festival". Veternams Memorial Highland Games. 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°50′30″N 75°32′50″W / 44.84167°N 75.54722°W / 44.84167; -75.54722