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Portland cement was renowned for being much stronger cement than prior lime mortars. The fine grayish powder contained clay and sand aggregates which, when heated to a high temperature, created the much desired cement.
In 1902 the Lakefield Portland Cement Company opened a cement plant in Lakefield, Ontario. Three years later the Belleville Portland Cement Company opened a plant at Point Anne in the Bay of Quinte area South of Belleville. And finally in 1908 the Lehigh Portland Cement Company opened a plant three kilometers east of the Belleville plant.
Montreal based Canada Portland Cement Company created the Canada Cement Company in 1909 and began initiating mergers with the three smaller Southern Ontario plants. The Lakefield plant became known as Canada Cement Plant Number 7 and continued operating for a few more years. The Belleville operations were consolidated to the Lehigh plant at the other end of the Bay of Quinte in 1914 and became known as Canada Plant Number 5.
During the time that both plants were in operation, a company town had developed in an area between the two locations. The town had schools, an Orange Lodge, churches and approximately 100 worker’s homes. There were two grocery stores operated by G.J. Graves and R. Howard. Two general stores were operated by F. Malek and Grimmon & McConnell.
During the early 1900’s there were close to 30 cement plants operating in Ontario. Through mergers and closures, that number eventually dwindled down to three. The Number 5 plant remained operational throughout it all and would remain the second largest cement plant in all of Canada. Annual production was in the range of 16 million bags of cement.
Number 5 Plant saw a slowdown in business during the 1930’s however business boomed after World War II. Two new kilns were added and the population grew to over 660 residents. The company ensured that the residents had adequate facilties with a clubhouse, tennis courts, a ball diamond, and an outdoor hockey rink with a heated change room. Canada Cement sponsored a softball team that won the Ontario championship for their level in 1939 -- the "Canada Cementmen".
Between the end of World War II and the 1970’s, the population slowly declined. By 1968 there were two schools and three churches but the town store which was owned by the Macdonald family, closed due to lack of business.
Then, in 1973, the cement plant operations were moved to Bath, Ontario after a merger between Canada Cement and Lafarge Cement North America in 1970. Residents were offered the option to buy the company homes; what wasn’t sold was subsequently demolished along with the plant. However, several privately owned homes in the community are still there, and decendents of people who worked at the plant still visit the village.
Famous residents were many: #1 NHL hall-of-famer, Bobby Hull born here in 1939, #2 Dennis Hull of Team Canada 72 fame, #3 painter, Manley McDonald, #4 world champ boat racer, Murney Carter.
Today Canada Cement Lafarge uses the site for aggregate materials. The site is located South of Belleville. Take Highway 62 south through Belleville until you reach Highway 2. Take Highway 2 east until you reach Point Anne Road. Once on Point Anne Road (south) travel to the shores of the bay. The first townsite is about 3 km west while the second townsite is at the eastern end of the road across from the Lafarge plant.