Events & Dates

Special Dates of Note

Up-Coming Meetings & Events for Kawartha Branch:

Kawartha Branch Meeting: Sunday, Apr. 21, 2024 (via Zoom)

On Sunday, April 21st, at 2:00pm in the Peterborough Activity Haven, we will welcome Gordon Pitts, a journalist with 40 years of experience in Canadian daily newspapers, and a prize-winning author of books of Canadian biography and history.

Having retired from the Globe and Mail a decade ago, he has written eight books drawing on the history of his home county of Hastings and its communities. His books include The Rise and Fall of J.C. Dale: A Family, a House and the Madoc Bank Bust of 1914, and Who Killed Charlie St. Charles? Mavericks and Murderers in the Country North of Madoc.

His topic will be all about his latest and eighth book, The Rise and Fall of J.C. Dale: A Family, a House and the Madoc Bank Bust of 1914.


From the Belleville Intelligencer:

Acclaimed journalist and Madoc native Gordon Pitts said in a recent interview that his latest book, called The Rise and Fall of J.C. Dale, was “a labour of love.” The warm, knowledgeable and skillful writing certainly backs up his comment. As a journalist, Pitts has held positions at the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Globe and Mail, plus other publications, and a teaching position at Brighton’s East Northumberland Secondary School, where he met his wife, Elaine, the librarian. The book talks about an incident that royally shook not just the Madoc community, but a wide swath of Hastings County from customers in Belleville through to Maynooth.

Making this book more interesting is the fact that, as a young lad who attended both public and secondary school in Madoc, Pitts has personal memories of many of the people and the community most involved. In his retirement, Pitts continues to work as a free-lance journalist, focusing on finance-based stories, which was his key role as a full-time employee. This also is his eighth local history book, reflecting his hobby in this area.

“I don’t write books for the money,’ he said. This book involves a strong business motif, tracing early banking institutions, especially the small privately-operated banks in many rural communities more than a hundred years ago.

The story stems from a significant event at the Madoc Dale Bank, a financial institution that the community had come to trust and rely on. On April Fool’s Day, April 1, 1914, the bank did not open at its usual hour, with a sign on the door reading “payment stopped for 10 days”. That sign generated ominous feelings amongst the bank’s 1,400 depositors.

For farmers, it was coming on seeding time and they relied on the bank for advance funds. J.C. (Jimmy) Dale, was a man who had earned community trust in numerous roles for many years. All of a sudden he had disappeared, leaving a shuttered bank behind. A sum of $2,000 was also recorded as missing.

The news spread like wildfire among customers and the region, to Marmora and through North Hastings. Also left behind was a ravishingly beautiful mansion Dale had built for his family, called the Dale House, which went into abandonment and became a playground for local youngsters in that state, until various new owners took it over.

Contact Bob McBride by email to request the Zoom registration link.