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The Origins and the Staff

The firm’s origins date back to 1967, when the late Ronald MacFarlane, Q.C.,a World War II veteran, offered Harry Clarke a job. Mr. Clarke was also sought after by a large Toronto law firm, but it was Mr. MacFarlane who was prepared to fund a year in England to study, among other things.

Colin Wright joined the firm in 1977. From there, Clarke & Wright has continued to grow to meet the needs of Gananoque and the surrounding area. We are now a firm of four lawyers with three support staff. We offer a combined legal experience of over 100 years with no sign of slowing down.

The Building

The firm’s main two-storey structure dates from about 1857, when it was built with limestone on the front and sandstone on the other three sides. At one time it was flanked by a stone mansion to the east and by the King Street School to the west, but both have long since disappeared. The survival of Robinson House is attributable to four women: Mrs. James Robinson, one of the builders, who was widowed in

1891, but stayed on in the house until her death in 1917; her daughter-in-law, Janet Robinson, who lived  there until 1953; one of her granddaughters, Janet Brown, who continued on until 1968. And her surviving granddaughter, Agnes Rogers, who sold it to Ronald MacFarlane and Harry Clarke for the practice of law. A single storey addition was constructed at the rear in 1977. In 1986 that addition was completely destroyed by fire. Much of the old house was badly damaged, but was structurally saved by a door which had been fortuitously closed. In the same year the addition was rebuilt and the house was completely renovated. The memory of the fire is preserved by the singed pages of many of the books in the firm’s library.

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