Category Archives: Brockville

B is for Brockville ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

B is for Brockville

B is for Brockville

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back in Canada today, Eastern Ontario to be precise. Today’s city is Brockville (also my hometown).

Located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, there’s plenty to see in the summer when the lakers and ocean-going ships sail by. Also near the waterfront is our newly opened tourist attraction, the railway tunnel.

B is for Brockville

This was Canada’s first railway tunnel, and was completed in the 1860s. It stretched from the waterfront, under what is now city hall and emerged from underground at Pearl Street.

For years it was closed up but a group of enterprising individuals, got together, secured grants, and with a lot of hard work restored this  piece of our history and opened it to the public last summer.


The MacDonald-Robertson union…

Margaret MacDonald & John Robertson

If you noticed in my previous post on The Robertsons, my grandparents shared the same birthday… month and day anyway. They were both born on August 12th. Maybe grouse hunting has nothing to do with the moniker “The Glorious Twelfth”. Maybe it’s to do with John and Margaret. Not likely but it is a fun sort of fact.

The children were all born at Weets, Wardhouse by Insch (quite the address, eh?)

I’ll begin the oldest of John and Margaret’s children and work down to the youngest.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson Sep 2, 1903-Sep 19, 1942


Thomas Robertson
Thomas Robertson Sep 2, 1903-Sep 19, 1942

Thomas was a Lance Corporal in the Canadian military and was killed in a motorcycle accident in British Columbia. He left a wife and an unborn child when he died.

William Robertson

William “Waddie” remained in Scotland his entire life and stayed in the area where he was born. He was born on Oct 7, 1904 and later on joined and served with the Gordon Highlanders during WWII. William died on Aug 9, 1977.

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin was born on Nov 9, 1905 and came to Canada when he was 19 on the S.S. Montcalm bound for Winnipeg, Manitoba. The ship arrived in Quebec on May 3, 1926. Uncle Benji rode and raced motorcycles and won a number of championships. He died on Oct 22, 1990.

George Robertson

George was born on Jan 14, 1907. He was the oldest of the five Robertson children who were sent to the Orphan Homes of Scotland when it became too much for Grandpa Robertson (sometime between the time my grandmother died and 1917, he had a stroke) and children from his first marriage to cope. George came to Canada in 1922 on board the Cameronia and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Mar 7th. He died on Apr 24, 1965 at his home in Moose Creek, Ontario.

Barbara Robertson

Barbara was born on Sep 10, 1908. She was the oldest of the two Robertson sisters sent to the Orphan Homes of Scotland. She sailed on the Letitia and arrived in Quebec on Jul 25, 1925. Despite the fact that she came to Canada the same year as her brother, Andrew, the children sailed in two parties. The boys were one group and they sailed earlier in the year when the seas would be rougher and the girls in the summer when weather would be more favourable. She was married across the river in Ogdensburg, New York and made her home in Brockville, Ontario. She died on Feb 21, 1990.

Andrew Knight Beattie Robertson

Andrew Knight Beattie Robertson Dec 9, 1909-Jul 21, 1983

Until now, none of the children had middle names. Andrew was the first. And further back in the family history, there was an Andrew Knight Beattie. But I digress..

Andrew was born on Dec 9, 1909. He, too, was sent to the Orphan Homes of Scotland, coming to Canada in 1925 on board the Athenia. The ship arrived on April 4th. Andrew served in the military with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. He died at his home in Brockville, Ontario on Jul 21, 1983.

Christina Mcdonald Robertson

Christina Mcdonald Robertson Mar 25, 1911-Apr 13, 1982

Christina “Chrissie” as she was known as, was born on Mar 25, 1911. Although she had been sent to the Orphan Homes of Scotland, she didn’t emigrate to Canada for health reasons. She had TB and although it wasn’t active or infectious, she was deemed unsuitable to make the voyage. After she became old enough to leave the homes, she was taken on in employment as a domestic servant for the Superintendent at the time, a Mr Douglas. Chrissie married in Glasgow and died in Dundee on Apr 13, 1982.

Peter Robertson

Peter Robertson Jun 23, 1912-Apr 1, 1988

Peter was born on Jun 23, 1912. It was the ‘middle’ children who were to be sent off to the Orphan Homes of Scotland which meant, he should go, and my father being younger should have stayed at Weets. From what I’ve been told, the son from the first marriage who took over the farm liked Peter more than my father. Sad but true. But then, had my father not come to Canada, he wouldn’t have met my mother and I would be here to tell you this story…

Peter remained in Scotland and worked on farms around Weets and Insch. When he retired from farm work, he moved to nearby Huntly and died there on Apr 1, 1988.

Robert Anderson Robertson

Robert Anderson Robertson Jul 30, 1913-Apr 29, 1969
Robert and Chrissie at The Orphan Homes of Scotland in 1930 shortly before my father sailed

Robert (my father) was born on Jul 30, 1913. In the paragraph about Peter, I mention the events that lead to my dad coming to Canada rather than Uncle Peter. Normally, in the Orphan Homes of Scotland the boys and girls were houses in separate accommodations. Boys even had to make appointments to visit their sisters with the house mother and even then it was done outside under supervision.

My father sailed to Canada on the Letitia, arrived in Halifax on Apr 6, 1930. From there he came the rest of the way to Fairknowe Home in Brockville by train.

1930 Boys Party on the steps of Fairknowe Home. My father is first left in the second row

On June 18, 1930, the same day that he received his first placement in Canada, his father died.

My father served with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders during WWII. He worked at Phillips Cables (Phillips Plant as we know it) until shortly before his death (result of a workplace injury) on Apr 29, 1969.

Angus Mcdonald Robertson

Angus Mcdonald Robertson Jan 7, 1915-Feb 1984

Angus was also known as “Donald” which led to much confusion when researching the family. I always thought they were two different people. He was born on Jan 7, 1915 and lost his mother to complications from the measles in December of that year. I know he served in the military and I’m guessing it was the Royal Navy, given his uniform.

Peter, Robert, Chrissie & Angus at the latter’s wedding

Angus got married in uniform and his three siblings who were able to, attended. My father was able to get leave to attend. And doesn’t he look dashing in his kilt?

After his time in the military, Angus worked for a cooperative. He died in Feb 1984 (note to self – I must get the exact date).

The Cottages at The Orphan Homes of Scotland

Hardly what I would refer to as a cottage. These places are enormous! Not quite as big as a mansion, but they are definitely villas. In their day, they would have had six to seven bedrooms and housed up to twenty children. Boys had a house mother and father. The girls a house mother.

My father and his brothers, George and Andrew, stayed here in Broadfield Home (Cottage 1)
My father’s sisters, Barbara and Christina (Chrissie), stayed here in Leven Home (Cottage 13)

With all these aunts and uncles, I’ve got plenty of cousins… and would you believe I’ve not met all of them yet.


Canada Day 2015!

canada's flag

Happy Canada Day!

It seems strange for a Bank Holiday to fall in the middle of the week but that’s where July 1st happened to land in 2015. So work for two days, celebrate Canada Day,  then go back to work for two more. celebrations in my hometown will be more special than in years gone by. I’m not evens sure what’s planned for today in my hometown of Brockville. Pretty sad isn’t it? Live here and don’t know what’s going on?

I’ve heard something about a straw-beary picnic at, I believe, Hardy Park and as in previous years, I’m guessing the day the day will end with a fireworks display.

Hoards of people will walk or drive by our house headed to the waterfront to watch the display and get eaten by mosquitoes which have been terrible so far this year. Us? We can walk across the street and see them from there (should we be so desirous).

I have some writing I NEED to get done and a book to finish reading and another to start and review. Maybe, I’ll spend the day doing that.

Where do you live in Canada? How will you celebrate the day?



Friends of the Brockville Public Library presented their first merrybookmas at the 1000 Islands Mall, 2399 Parkedale Avenue, Brockville – 14th December, 2013.

I always take a photograph of my table once I get it set up but as luck would have it, my phone didn’t have enough oomph left to take a photo. Tried hubby’s, his automatically shut down the battery was so low. However, all was not lost. I took my iPad with me (fully charged) which does have a camera in it.

This was the first event where I had to provide my own table. OH picked up a folding 4′ long one back in early to mid November so that I’d have it. It worked beautifully! Doesn’t my set up look great?

merrbookmas table

merrybookmas tableAlso, the handcart he picked up was a dream to load everything on to wheel my table and boxes of books and other accoutrements in and out of the mall. We didn’t have to provide chairs, but we took our own anyway and I’m glad we did.

This was a first for, not just the Friends of the Brockville Public Library, but for me, too. This was the first time at any event that The Consequences Collection out sold A Shadow in the Past. I even had one couple who couldn’t decide which book to buy so they bought one of each – his and hers.

We didn’t stay stuck out here in the middle of the mall all day. We moved over in front of one of the closed storefronts so people could only walk by in front of us. I had visions of the table getting jostled and my display toppled or people trying to walk behind us to look at the store’s sale display would be bumping us all day. I don’t know if that was a good thing or not, but I felt more comfortable knowing people couldn’t walk behind me.

The final sales tally … 7 copies of The Consequences Collection and 3 copies of A Shadow in the Past.

I think it was a very successful day, don’t you?


After the Wedgewood Author Series launch of The Consequences Collection

The Wedgewood Author Series – The Consequences Collection

consequences coverThe weather on October 26th wasn’t conducive to anyone venturing out yet a few brave souls joined me as I launched my short story anthology – The Consequences Collection.

In the week leading up to my launch, I sold three print copies and one kindle version. These sales were to folks who couldn’t make it to the launch and one person who needed the versatility of the kindle to enlarge the font.

One lady who came to my launch, I found out was a friend of my aunt’s during high school, so we had a lovely chat before things got underway.

I spoke a wee bit about how my anthology came to be, how I got my fantastic cover image,  then read from the title story, Consequences, which was originally written for the one and only storefront writing contest in Brockville.

consequences launch 1
Talking about The Consequences Collection

Afterwards, I fielded questions from the intimate group gathered in the media room at The Wedgewood Retirement Resort.

consequences launch 2
Working the room during the Q&A session

Then came time to sell books. Like I said, it was a small crowd but everyone there bought a book. And remember the lady who was a friend of my aunt? Well, she REALLY wanted a copy of A Shadow in the Past, so I sold her the copy that had travelled up mountains, to pubs, stone circles and ruined castles on our trip to Scotland (the only one I had with me) and she was happy as a clam.

consequences launch 3
Signing yet another copy of The Consequences Collection

At the end of the day, I sold and signed eight copies of The Consequences Connection and one copy of A Shadow in the Past. The next day, I sold two more copies at my writers’ group meeting. My end sales – 13 paperbacks, 1 kindle.

Where to buy The Consequences Collection:





Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook.

It was twenty years ago today…

And no it’s nothing to do with Sgt Pepper teaching the band to play.

It was twenty years ago today (on this date is more accurate), I first set foot on Scottish soil. I had wanted to do this for quite some time but it never seemed to be even the remotest possibility. But, this year I had an extra year’s holiday leave from my job so it was “I’m doing it.”

We weren’t in a position for the entire family to go on this adventure so my hubby stayed home with our two young children and off I went.

There were a lot of firsts on this trip.

  • First time flying. Yup, my first time and I’m going on my own and crossing the ocean. I’ve never done anything by halves before, so why start at that point in my life?
  • First time in Scotland.
  • First time meeting family that I knew of but had only written to (and not email) and exchanged Christmas cards with.
  • First trip to the orphanage where my father and four of his siblings were raised.
  • First time seeing where he was born and staying at Earlsfield Farm.
  • Maybe most importantly of all, first time driving on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car and shifting gears with the wrong hand.

See what I mean about a lot of firsts?

Cottage 1 Quarriers Village - Broadfield Home
My father and his brothers, George and Andy, stayed here in Broadfield Home (Cottage 1).
Cottage 13 - Quarriers Village
My father’s sisters, Barbara and Christina, stayed here in Cottage 13

When I first drove by the signpost for Weets on my way to Earlsfield Farm just outside Kennethmont, I got all weepy. Weets was where my father was born.

The road to Weets
Scenery near Kennethmont

From the first time I clapped eyes on this spooky old hulk, I fell in love with it. I bet those old stone walls are filled with stories and maybe even a ghost or two. What do you think?

The ruins of Wardhouse mansion.

So that’s my twenty years ago adventure. Being on my own, I spent all my time behind the camera, and to this day I’m still more comfortable on that side.

What were some of your “huge” firsts? I’d love to hear about them.


Canada Day 2013!

canada's flag

Happy Canada Day!

This year’s Canada Day celebrations in my hometown will be more special than in years gone by. This year, the Canadian flag celebrates it’s 50th year, but perhaps even more special, it was born here in Brockville.

Our local newspaper, The Recorder and Times, featured an article on the subject and the huge flag and dedication ceremony that will take place at 3:00 pm today. You can read the article here.

As in previous years, the day will end with a fireworks display.

Where do you live in Canada? How will you celebrate the day?

Leeds County Books signing – recap and photos

My book signing for A Shadow in the Past at Leeds County Books on Saturday, Feb 9th didn’t come to be until earlier last week. I was forewarned that Saturdays in the winter in the downtown are dead but I was determined to do it. Sometimes, I’m too stubborn for my own good but in this case it paid off.

I publicized it on my Facebook pages, in the groups I belong to on Facebook, set up an event there (as did the bookstore), followed by an email campaign to catch the people I know that aren’t on social media. But I didn’t stop there, I posted the event on my blog, Snap Brockville, BNTVNews (with the help of Dale Elliott), TV Cogeco, and Courtney, owner of Leeds County Books, got my signing up at (our local newspaper’s online presence). I even did up posters and had them put up in a few locations around town.

Until I became a published author, I never really thought of myself as the entrepreneurial type. But, when needs must, we do what we have to do. My marketing strategy was take advantage of Valentine’s Day coming up. Romance and intrigue set in Scotland? Who could resist?

My table set-up in the bookstore.

You’ll see one of my laminated posters on the table. My novel’s cover image, blurb, and quotes from readers are there for everyone to see. And a coffee cup with a big red heart filled with Hershey’s Kisses. There were even some A Shadow in the Past bookmarks and postcards! How about that tartan table cover? What better accent for a book set in Scotland than tartan?

Decked out in red as part of the Valentine’s Day look, looking very pleased with myself when I was down to the last book.

In the end, I sold three copies of my novel, A Shadow in the Past, leaving the bookstore down to their last copy. However, I had taken a box of books with me (as a contingency plan) so I left a further ten copies with them.

The icing on the cake was when I was leaving the grocery store with my hubby and we stopped at the floral department (he bought me roses) and during the course of the conversation with the gal (I’ve known her for years), I sold another copy of my book!

How was that for an unexpected result?

Today is Read in the Bathtub Day!

And what better way to celebrate it than to pop in to my book signing and get your own copy of A Shadow in the Past at Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West, Brockville, ON.

View Larger Map

By Bruno Cordioli from Milano, Italy [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
a shadow in the past cover 500x773A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

So why not buy yourself a book (preferably mine), run a bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine (or your tipple of choice) and escape for some self-indulgence.

Do you read in the bathtub?



heartsJust in time for Valentine’s Day! I’ll be at Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West, Brockville, ON from 1:00-3:00 pm on Saturday February 9th signing copies of my debut novel – A Shadow in the Past.

Haven’t found the perfect gift yet? Give your Valentine romance and intrigue set in Scotland…

a shadow in the past cover 500x773Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

Readers are saying:

I loved this Scottish time-slip novel. A great story expertly told.

Ms. Robertson-King has a gift for capturing dialogue that is familiar to today’s audience while remaining true to historical details that enrich her stories.

Great book and a very pro-active publisher!

A Shadow in the Past is a period drama/time travel combined with romance. The author’s research into life in Victorian Scotland, alongside her study of the horrors of being incarcerated in an asylum, is exceptional. The book is a must-read for me.

A Shadow of the Past brought a unique new voice to time travel.

A Shadow in the Past is an amazing story and the way author has described it, it’s really fantastic. When you read the book, you feel as if all this is happening right in front of you!

Fabulous book! A lovely adventure full of surprises!

Awesome book can’t wait for the sequel.

Awesome Book!

Fantastic book set in my home country. Well written and easy to follow and read.

Outlander for Young Adults.

And what a great story developed.

A charming time-slip love story with vivid description and authenticity throughout!

A great first novel and I will look forward to reading more books by Melanie Robertson-King in the future.

If you’re not in the area, don’t despair. You can order A Shadow in the Past from the following:

4RV Publishing:


Barnes & Noble: