Alice Powers came to Cantley as a teacher in 1924. After marrying Maynard McGlashan in 1925, she devoted herself to raising a family and running the McGlashan General Store at Wilson’s Corner. At the heart of the community, the two-story wooden building was home to a general store, post office, and the McGlashan family residence.
Alice had her hands full raising a family and running a business with none of the modern conveniences we rely on today. The store, for example, did not receive electricity until 1948. Then, on a dark morning in late January of 1938, her strength was truly tested. At 5:00 a.m. while snow was falling, the roads were blocked solid, and Alice’s husband and two-year-old son, both very ill, were staying with family in Ottawa, the building caught fire. Despite the community’s best efforts with a bucket brigade, it burnt to the ground. Everything was lost.
Alice took her eight-year-old son across the road to stay at Mrs. Lawlis’s boarding house, where a broken window pane allowed snow in onto the bed as they slept. Within days of the fire, Alice had set up a temporary general store and post office in the boarding house living room. Soon, she moved the operation to a small house on the store property, where she carried on until a new store was built. There was barely a pause in service as, supported by her neighbours, Alice showed tremendous strength and determination in the face of a disaster that could easily have robbed Wilson’s Corner of an important community hub.
Video: In January 1928, a devastative fire destroyed the McGlashan General Store in Wilson’s Corner. Alice sets out to reopen a temporary store in a neighbour’s home. To view video of Alice’s life click HERE [PHOTO: COURTESY OF PETER McGLASHAN]