The Vennachar Memorial Church in Vennachar, Ontario is a small unassuming building, tucked away in the forests of Addington Highlands. The Church has withstood the hands of time and the ravages of fire, and has become a symbol of the perseverance and steadfast nature of the early residents.
The village of Vennachar began in the 1860's, a result of the colonization roads that were being built and the free land grants to anyone wishing to settle there. It is difficult to trace the meaning of the name but it could be in reference to Loch Venachar in Scotland, since many of the new settlers were from Scotland, England and Ireland.
By 1865 the village had a post office, school, and church. In 1875 the Vennachar Methodist Episcopal church was built and by 1900 the village had a hotel; the Vennachar House, as well as several sawmills and a cheese factory.
Most of the forests around Vennachar had been logged out leaving large stumps in the ground. Fires were not uncommon, often started by lightening strikes or a careless farmer. The spring of 1903 had been a particularly dry spring. The fire that began that morning destroyed thousands of acres of forest and farmland. Many families were forced to flee from their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Everything in the path of the fire was destroyed, including the village of Vennachar.
When the smoke cleared and the resident's were able to survey the damage they were shocked to find the Vennachar church and one house still standing. The fire had destroyed everything for miles around and for some unknown reason had spared the church.
It has been more than a hundred years since that fateful day and the village of Vennachar, once a bustling pioneer community is now considered a ghost town. The Vennachar Memorial Church and a small country store are all that remain.
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