With photography by

Ottawa Valley  |   Brudenell  |   Newfoundout  |   Esmonde  |   Balaclava  |   Grant  |   Lemieux

St. Joseph-the-worker, with sleeves rolled up and wearing a careworn expression, appears to be standing guard over Esmonde’s Catholic Church. In fact, after much debate, it faces westward down the Opeongo Road. During the statue’s commission — thought to be in the 1980s — it was debated as to the direction it would face since St. Joseph’s parish includes people from both Dacre, to the southeast, and Griffith, to the southwest. To split the difference, St. Joseph would have to face south. In the end, the community did not want the sainted statue to face southward into the bush where, in the words of a local, there was nothing.

Esmonde is just one of several communities built along the historic line. It boasted a school and Catholic Church, and for awhile, a post office. But, once the land was farmed out the settlers moved on. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church continues to offer mass to this day.

External links:
• Black and white Photography
• Ghosttownpix.com
• Rural Revolution
• "Away" by Jane Uurquart (book)