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Point Anne

History

Town site photo

Foundations

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

During the late 19th and early 20th century, the portland cement industry was positively booming. Portland cement, now a staple in today's building industry, first hit the markets 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 swallow, 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.

While the two company plants were still operating, a new independent community arose between the two company towns. The new village served to connect both of the adjacent communities by offering schools, churches, an Orange Lodge as well as around 100 new homes. The community included two grocery stores, operated by G.J. Graves and R. Howard, two general stores run by F. Malek and Grimmon & McConnell and a notions store operated by J. & G. Harb. Even though the new village was independent, Point Anne was still a cement town. Many of the buildings, including the houses, were built from decorative cement blocks, a style that is considered rare and unique in North America to this day.

During the 1920s there were close to a couple of dozen cement plants operating in Ontario. A series of amalgamations reduced that number to a mere three. Plant No. 5 was one of the fortunate survivors. Following a downturn in the construction industry during the 1930s, the industry roared back to life after the end of the World War II. The huge post-war construction boom saw the expansion of the plant, the addition of two new kilns and a jump in population to more than 660 residents. Point Anne was also the birthplace of hockey legend and superstar, Bobby Hull, in 1939.

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 homes 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 Canada now operates the site as an aggregate facility.