Point Anne, Ontario
Point Anne is a ghost town on the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ontario, Canada. It was the birthplace of hockey greats Bobby Hull and Dennis Hull, as well as painter Manley MacDonald. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Portland cement industry was positively booming. Portland cement, now a staple in today's building industry, first hit the market in the late 1800s and instantly captured worldwide attention. The product was much harder and far more durable than the earlier lime mortars and the world couldn't get enough of it.
In 1905, the Belleville Portland Cement Company built a new plant and company town just south of the town of Belleville. Three years later, another company, the Lehigh Portland Cement Company followed with a second plant and company town 3 kilometres east of the first plant. The following year, in 1909, the Canada Portland Cement Company, which had been quietly buying up as many companies as it could, acquired both plants. In 1914, the company consolidated operations and closed the older of the two plants. The sole remaining plant, Canada Cement Plant No. 5, remained the community's only major employer for the next 60 years.
The Village of Point Anne, lies approximately 4 miles east of Belleville Ontario, Canada, south off Hwy #2. The original Point Anne Lane was constructed in 1837. It proceeded straight up the hill instead of around it as the "s" turn does today. The new road was built in 1932. Canada Cement Company (Lafarge) commenced operating in the area of Point Anne after merging with 3 smaller cement companies. It was then called Canada Cement in 1914. In 1936 the original plant was enlarged, and then enlarged again in 1948 and 1953. It produced 17 million bags of Portland Cement a year. Most of the people of Point Anne worked for Canada Cement. Point Anne was a company village, with a clubhouse, tennis courts and a baseball diamond with cement dug outs and scoreboard. There was also a large outdoor hockey rink with boards, which the two famous Hull boys used as kids. There was a nice swimming beach, and of course, the fishing boat houses. The east end of the village or "Lehigh," was named after the Lehigh Cement Company, who once operated in the east-end before Canada Cement took it over. The west-end was known as the upper end and extended almost to Horse Point. There were several private homes west of the cement plant. There where six large houses along the gravel road going to the baseball park, known as "Foreman's Row." Further west along this road, there were four duplexes and two bungalows on the south side, and four more duplexes on the north side. The street was referred to as "Hunktown" and was primarily occupied by Hungarians and other Europeans.
Bay St. was south of Back St., with two duplexes on each side of the road. Centre St. ran parallel to Back St. and Front St. It was all connected by gravel roads. Front St. had sixteen duplexes, half on the north side, and the other half on the south side. The water and hydro for Front and Centre streets was supplied by the Cement company. On the north side of Front St. was a large hill that made a great toboggan hill for the village kids to use in the winter. There were two schools, a public school built in 1909 in the west-end (now an apartment building), and a two-room Catholic school built in 1955. After the closure of the plant in the early 1970s, all of the company houses were bulldozed along with the clubhouse, tennis courts, hockey rink, baseball diamond and fields. The roads to the beach were torn up and blocked.
There are several private houses still around the Point Anne area owned by the families that have lived there for generations. St. John's Anglican church (1913 -1974) and hall was demolished shortly after the plant closed. There was an old Catholic church in the west-end from 1910 to 1954. St. Anne's Catholic church and school was used from 1955 - 1973. It was sold to a private family. The United Church existed from 1920 - 1973 and was demolished in 1990. In the west-end there was Rouluf's grocery store from 1922 - 1947, and then McConnell's Grocery store, which opened in 1917 and closed in 1955. There was a barber shop at McConnell's store operated by Herb VanOrder. Laurie Bradshaw was the barber after Mr. VanOrder. There was also the MacDonald General Store from 1926 to 1946. It was located where the Thurlow firehall is now and also had a gas pump. In 1946, J. W. MacLaurin took over the MacDonald store. He operated it until it closed in 1957. There was an Orange Lodge built in 1934 that burned in 1947 and was rebuilt; it is now a private home. The post office was run by Donald MacDonald just west of the school from 1906 to 1946. Then John MacLaurin took over its operation from 1946 to 1957. In 1957, Annie Guay took over, running it out of her family's home on Front St. until 1970. Point Anne's demise came swiftly and abruptly. The plant was closed in 1973, following a merger between the Canada Cement Company and Lafarge Cement North America in 1970. All operations were transferred to the newer plant in nearby Bath.
It was all over for Point Anne. Some of the houses and other buildings were sold to residents. Those that couldn't be sold, along with the plant, were subsequently demolished.
With few employment prospects available in Point Anne, many of the residents chose to leave. Today, a portion of the old section remains partially occupied, while a new incarnation of Point Anne slowly inches northward towards Belleville. Lafarge operated the site as an aggregate facility until the spring of 2009. The facility is now operated by Coco Paving.