Fenelon Falls is a village in Ontario, Canada, part of the city of Kawartha Lakes. Nicknamed the "Jewel of the Kawarthas," it has a population of 1,800 permanent inhabitants, which swells in the summer due to tourism and cottaging. Fenelon Falls is home to lock 34 on the Trent-Severn Waterway between Sturgeon Lake and Cameron Lake. It is primarily a tourist town and therefore is most active during the summer season. The main street of Fenelon Falls is called Colborne Street.
The eponymous falls are hidden from plain view, because the main road crosses over the river just upstream; however, the falls are easily viewed from a nearby restaurant or from a path on the north band of the Fenelon River. The falls powers an hydro-electric dam, which diverts some of the falls' flow.
Fenelon Falls, originally named Cameron's Falls, was renamed after the township, which was named after François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon (1641-1715, not to be confused with his more famous half-brother of the same name), who founded a mission on the Bay of Quinté.
The village of Fenelon Falls was incorporated in 1874. In 1876, the Victoria Railway reached Fenelon Falls. This line was taken over by the Midland Railway of Canada circa 1880, then absorbed into the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in 1893. In 1885, construction of the lock between Cameron and Sturgeon lake began. In 1923, CN took over the former GTR, operating the line until the burning of McLaren's Creek bridge near Lindsay in 1980 cut off the north end of the Haliburton Subdivision. In 1983, the line was abandoned with the track being removed by 1984. The line eventually became a public multi-use trail.
The Fenelon Falls Museum, open seasonally from May through October, is housed in the 1837 squared-timber home of James Wallis.
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Victoria County