Much to entertain Stuart Brink and Len Trembley spoke to audiences on the wagon rides Sat., Sept. 22 during the Russell Heritage Day.

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Staff
RUSSELL – An enthusiastic crowd circulated through Russell Village last Saturday as the Russell and District Historical Society presented 2018 Heritage Day. The special theme was “Call the Doctor”.

Society member Harry Baker estimated numbers were down compared to last year and wasn’t sure exactly why. It certainly wasn’t about that day’s weather which was perfect. However, it may have partly been about Friday storms which wreaked havoc in the greater Ottawa area, including power outages in Russell and vicinity.

Picture of the past
Rita and Dr. Gerry Heymans were dressed in traditional garb during the Hertiage Day festivities. Van Dusen photos

Visitors got to look around the Keith Boyd Community Museum complex located in the former Russell fire hall and the relocated Baptist church at the corner of Church and Concession streets; they were welcomed at the “Old Doctors’ House”, now owned by Rob Bryden, right across the street; they got to take horse-drawn wagon rides during which they were enlightened by members of the Russell Association for the Performing Arts; they were entertained by the Russell Community Band; and they got Dr. Gerry Heymans take on 128 years of medical service in Russell delivered at Russell Meadows.

In a talk accompanied with power point, Doc Heymans, now retired from family practice, reviewed some of the many highlights of his career which started when he took over the practice of Dr. Frank Kinnaird who spent 40 years living and working at the Doctors House. Doc Kinnaird replaced Dr. Dugald MacDougall who spent 50 years in the same location; Doc Heymans relocated to the Russell Medical Centre on Craig Street.

On board the wagon, RAPA members Len Trembley and Stuart Brink read from an original play by Sandra McNeil depicting the bygone days of Kinnaird and MacDougall. The wagon stopped at MacDougall Park which the doctor initiated in what was once a local garbage dump.

At the Doctors’ House, visitors entered into the waiting room and examining room which remain largely intact and examined old empty bottles once full and kept in the dispensary. Doc MacDougall practiced in the days before a hospital existed in Winchester when major procedures would have been conducted right on the premises.

Under Bryden, health care returned to the old house. He’s a registered massage therapist providing treatment in the same examining room.