Shanly is an unincorporated place and Compact Rural Community in the township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in easternOntario, Canada. The village is about one hour south of Ottawa and around 7 miles north-west of Cardinal. Shanly is centred around the intersection of County Road 22, also known as Shanly Road, and County Road 21. Formerly these roads were the Nine Mile Road and the Seventh Concession, respectively. The community was settled during the 1800s, primarily as an agricultural community, and was at its height during the latter half of the 19th century, when many farms and a few businesses and factories were in operation. As of the 2000s, the rural area surrounding the main intersection consists of mostly residential properties and a few family farms. The village is also home to a few businesses and two churches.
In the 1840s, the village that would later become Shanly was called Moore’s Settlement, however the meaning of this name is allegedly lost to time. From the 1800s until the 1970s, County Road 22 ran north from Cardinal and ended at the intersection of County Road 21, continuing north again to the west of this junction; early into settlement, the junction was commonly referred to as simply “the Corner” by locals. By the 1860s the community was renamed to Wallace’s Corner, Wallace being the surname of a large local family who were one of the first to settle here in 1827. The village was renamed Shanly in 1885 after Walter Shanly, a prominent local political figure who was responsible for establishing the community’s post office.
The land which currently makes up the village changed hands many times during the beginning of the 19th century before being settled. Some families, including the Wallace family, first established permanent homesteads here during the 1820s. For the first half of the 1800s the community consisted primarily of family farms and homes, and residents sustained themselves almost entirely through agricultural means. By the 1830s, the settlement had grown large enough in population to require its own schoolhouse. Shanly continued to grow in population, and by mid-century had established a post office and a Wesleyan-Methodist church. The post office was established on February 1, 1865, with a man named William Clark as the first postmaster.
In the mid-1800s the Loyal Orange Institution, a Protestant fraternal organization, had a group based in Shanly known collectively as the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1227. The Orange Lodge constructed a hall in 1869, calling the building Dufferin Lodge. The two-storey frame structure consisted of an upper-level meeting hall and a lower-level drive shed. This hall was replaced in 1889, when new hall was constructed for their meetings in a new location. In 1949, the Orange Lodge tore down the hall after purchasing the Workman’s Hall from the Shanly United Church (formerly the Wesleyan-Methodist), which was used for meeting into the 1990s.
By the mid-to-late 1800s, the population of Shanly had reached around 160 individuals. By the 1880s, the village was home to numerous pioneer industries and businesses including a blacksmith, a harness shop, a cooperage, a carpentry and woodworking shop, a tin shop, a hay and grain dealer, and a grocery store which adjoined the post office. Additionally, the village was home to a second church by the late-1800s, which was of Anglican denomination. Most of the residents during the end of the century still sought an income through agriculture, with some residents being listed in business directories as employed as builders.
During the late-1800s, Shanly was home to two cheese factories. The first factory was constructed on the east-side of County Road 22 around forty rods north from the village’s main intersection, and was operated by two local men. The cheese from the first factory was shipped to Brockville for sale. It is unclear when exactly the first cheese factory was constructed or closed. The structure was demolished sometime after its closure. The second cheese factory was constructed east of the intersection, and was built around 1890. The second factory was called the Shanly Cheese Factory and operated for over 50 years. According to a statement from 1910, the factory had produced 21,337 pounds of cheese in the month of September. In 1901, the Shanly Cheese Factory received recognition at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York for its quality product. The second factory was originally owned by multiple shareholders before being sold off to an individual named Thomas Johnston at an unknown date. Johnston owned the cheese factory until its closure. In August 1952, the Shanly Cheese Factory was destroyed by fire and was not rebuilt.
As with most of the other communities in Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, organized team sports were a crucial part of the community’s social scene in the late-1800s and into the early 20th century. Shanly was home to a rugby team during this time, with their own designated and maintained rugby field located on a local family’s property. Tournaments or matches were played against teams from neighbouring communities or townships which drew crowds from throughout the area, and were considered significant community events. The results of the matches were widely reported in newspapers from Edwardsburgh/Cardinal and the nearby townships.
At the start of the 1900s Shanly remained a stable community in terms of its population and active businesses, however the post office closed in 1913 and the Anglican church closed in 1921. The last wave of immigration occurred immediately following World War II, when several Dutch families came to the area. By the mid-twentieth century the village began to experience a decline in prosperity. Around this time the pioneer industries, such as the cooperage, harness shop and blacksmith, became obsolete and ceased operation along with the cheese factories. For half a century, from around 1920 until 1972, absolutely no new houses were constructed in Shanly. In 1964, a modern public elementary school was built to amalgamate the schoolhouses of the surrounding area which were being phased out.
The general store, located at the main intersection, remained open until the 1970s. During the later years of its operation, around the 1930s onward, the store was damaged and then repaired several times when cars failing to stop at the intersection drove into the building. In 1973, the general store and former post office were demolished when County Road 22 was rerouted, creating a four-way intersection with County Road 21 at the former junction.