McDonalds Corners was named after two brothers, Alex and Duncan McDonald from the highlands in Scotland. They were the first settlers here in 1821. In 1862, the brothers registered the town plan of McDonalds Corners. Despite a petition around 1900 to have the name changed to "Minto", after the Governor-General at the time, the name remained unchanged. However, even today people still refer to this charming village as, “The Hill,” and the name lives on as the title for the village store. At one time, the village was a thriving community, supporting travellers. There were three hotels, a blacksmith shop, two village stores, two churches and a coffin maker and funeral business.
For a time, the village was called “Granny Cumming’s Corners”, after an elderly grandmother who arrived with her children and grandchildren in the early 1820s. It was later renamed Watsons Corners after William Watson who ran the Watson Inn and was the first postmaster.
Cedar was plentiful in this area, and it was easy to split into rails with an ax. Also, cedar was durable. However, the rocky Canadian Shield made it almost impossible to dig holes for the posts. A farmer invented a set of 4 uprights to form a pyramid, and a system of wiring them together to form a sturdy fence with 4 rails. The fence was patented, and that is the reason the name became the Lanark County Patent Fence. You will see these fences on your route throughout the McDonalds Corners Country Tour.
Dalhousie Lake, Dalhousie Township, and Dalhousie Library were all named after Lord Dalhousie who visited the area in the 1820s. During the Napoleonic wars, Lord Dalhousie was one of Wellington’s generals. From 1820 to 1828, he was the Governor-In-Chief of Canada, and lived in Nova Scotia. The question is, “What was the name of Dalhousie Lake before Lord Dalhousie.” In 1998, Dalhousie Township was absorbed into Lanark Highlands Township.