Centennial Library opened 1913

Paisley Public Library

Submitted by Miss Nettie Scott

In the year 1888 the citizens of Paisley met and organized a Mechanics Institute to provide reading for those who wished it. Mr. George Henderson was appointed librarian at a salary of $25.00 a year. Anyone who wished to help could donate books for exchange reading and a membership fee of two dollars a year provided for the purchase of new books. The circulating Library was kept on shelves in a store at first.

In November 1889 Miss Sarah MacCallum was appointed Librarian and plans were made to remove books to a small room in the Town Hall. In the year 1900 the name was changed to Paisley Free Public Library; a partition was removed to enlarge the room to the size used for the library with shelving and furniture added as required until the new library was built. Miss Maccallum was Librarian for forty-seven years until her death on May 10th, 1937. Mr. Angus Mowat, Inspector of Libraries for Ontario gave this tribute to Miss MacCallum in the Library Review. “For Forty-seven years Miss MacCallum efficiently filled the position of Librarian and secretary of the Library Board. Her wide knowledge of the best in literature was shown in her wise choice of books suitable to develop a love of reading for people of all ages, and the books on the library shelves are a memorial of her. Her going is a loss to the community but it can be truly said;

"God calls our loved ones, but we lose not wholly
What He has given,
They live on earth in thought and deed
As in His Heaven.”

Miss Ruby Irving was appointed Librarian and the Library remained closed for a month while the books were catalogued and re-classified according to the Dewey Decimal System then in use in Ontario Public Libraries. ln May Miss Irving resigned and in May 1939 Miss Sadie Anness wasappointed Librarian until November 1942.



In December 1942 Miss Nettie Scott became Librarian and remained in office over twenty-four years. During that time the Bruce County Library was organized and later united with the Regional Library which still brings an exchange of books by bookmobile every four months.

Mr. Jas. H. Steele who was always interested in the Library, left a legacy of five thousand dollars, designated in his will to be used in building a library. The Library Board and the Town Council made the building of a new Library a centennial project in 1967 and the new Centennial Library, modern and fully equipped was officially opened on June 17th 1967 with Mrs. Rodger Hood as Librarian.

The Readers of this community are well served with books and magazines and local newspapers available as desired. When Mrs. Hood resigned in 1971 Mrs. Sydney Patterson became the capable Librarian and carries on the services of a Library for town and community.


Interior of the old Library in the Town Hall. Seated is Librarian J. B. Scott. Picture on the wall is thar of Miss Sarah MacCallum. Librarian for 47 years.

Paisley Fire Department

The passing on August 31, 1887 of By Law #162 of the Village of Paisley authorizing the expenditure of $5 500. on a waterworks system for fire protection was the first move toward the formation of a fire department. This sum soon proved inadequate. By Law #179 for a further $2000. was defeated. However By Law #184 for $1000. was passed later due at least partly to the fact that Chesley with no fire equipment lost $160,000. out of its $218,000 assessment in a fire just after the Paisley law was defeated. A contract was given to Killey Hunting and Barrow of Hamilton for $4850. to supply and install the steam engine, water pipes and six hydrants.

A well was dug in the basement of the pump house and a pipe from this well to the Saugeen a few feet away guaranteed unlimited water. The pump house building including the digging of the well, bricks, lumber and 800 feet of hose cost $1497.99. Total cost $6347.99.

The hose tower was constructed a few years later.

The steam engine which operated the pumps was a model of efficiency. It had four cylinders, two low pressure and two high pressure. The steam entered the high pressure cylinder first and on discharge entered the low pressure cylinder and in this way was used twice before being released. Even after being released a patented steam injector was used to reclaim 60% of the exhaust steam and recycle it through the boiler. Slabs were used as fuel at a cost of $1.00 per cord (4 ft. lengths). 2-8 inch pumps were used which delivered 600 gallons per minute at over 100 pounds per square inch.

Hose reels to carry the hose to the fire were stored in the upper storey of the building and hauled to the scene of the fire by the firemen.
A hook and ladder company was formed Feb. 20, 1889. Foreman Adam Scott, 1st Assistant Foremen F. Dealtry. There were 35 members. The main duties of this Company were rescue work and demolition of buildings to prevent the spread of fires. The Albatross Hose Company was formed at a meeting of the citizens in Nov. 1888. Chief C. Briggs, 2nd. Chief A. Mcgraw, Captain W. Hogg with 10 men.

The first serious fire for the Albatross Hose Company was a dwelling near the foundry in which David Birk, age 11, burned to death. He had been awakened by his mother but failed to leave his room while she was arousing the rest of the family and sounding the alarm. This was the second fatality in a fire in Paisley. Edwin Ballantyne had burned to death in his bed, Oct. 16, 1887, a year before the formation of the Albatross Hose Co.

The first major fire encountered was in the business block south of the Hanna House (Howe’s Garage) in which 15 businesses and dwellings were damaged with a loss estimated at $42,750. However due to the efficiency of the waterworks system (360,000 gals. were pumped) and the fire dept., the fire was extinguished in about 6 hours and much of the goods saved.

The hose reels and ladder carts were used until the purchase of the first fire truck in 1946, ending 58 years of service.

Many costly fires have been fought over the years since the purchase of this first mobile pumper.

New Fire Truck

In Feb. 1973, the department took delivery of a new pumper, capable of pumping 625 gallons per minute and carrying 600 gallons of water plus 1600 ft. of hose, ladders, emergency lighting equipment and a portable pump.

The 1946 pumper is being maintained in service as a stand by to the later model.

Paisley and Fistrict Firehall on Goldie St.

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An Historic Album of Paisley
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