And the Radical Literary Beat Goes On …..


In 1962 I officially became a Beatnik at the age of 11. There were no official notices, no immediate black clothing; I just got up one morning and started to write bad poetry and that was that. The primary inspiration was the fact that my father said that Jack Kerouac was a bad influence on young people. That was enough for me and I admired how he angered some people in “On the Road”, telling everyone they were going to die. Kerouac was very popular where I lived in Quebec because his parents were ‘joual’* speaking French Canadians. Of course they eventually moved to Massachusetts but his official name was Jean Louis Kerouac and that was enough for the French Canadian people I knew.



All photos and text by Linda Seccaspina 2016


My Beatnik outfit of choice was a green wool crew neck sweater that barely covered my derriere, red tights and a matching beret. There were no smoke filled finger-snapping caves of poetry where I lived so I created my own. Constantly carrying a notebook I wrote silly poems about boys, the moon and love so true. Creatively speaking I had no worldly visions that my words should have been obscenity motivated instead of pink laced trimmed. I simply sat in my room that I had painted deep turquoise with a long black cigarette holder in my mouth as I wrote. Of course there were no cigarettes in it but from the day I opened my store in 1974 until I closed it in 1997 I carried a vast variety of cigarette holders. I always blamed it on my weekend beatnik youth.


In 1964 I watched my Grandfather abandon his Reader Digest Condensed books for Marshall McLuhan. I had no idea what he was talking about after reading a chapter of the well worn paperback. Grampy would slowly try to explain all about McLuhan’s meaning of the light bulb while I talked about The Beatles. He would then playfully hit me on the head with the book and ask me to check the condition of my inner light bulb. Seeing my Grandfather was fairly conservative I wondered how he knew about this man and figured that he must have seen him on the TV show Front Page Challenge*. Grampy’s interests did not venture anywhere else unless Pierre Berton* talked about someone or they were on The Ed Sullivan Show. As I write this, McLuhan still puzzles me but the words of The Beatles are still with me to this very day.





In the 60’s my friends and I took the bus to Montreal on Saturdays and would hand out flowers and words of peace at the Place Ville Marie plaza. People would come up to the “girl with the flowers in her hair” and the long winded words and ask if ‘she’ was from San Francisco. I would just smile from ear to ear as that was the highest compliment anyone could give me.


Protest songs turned to Leonard Cohen and I constantly analyzed his poetry. Day after day in the latter 60’s I would sit in the CNR station in Montreal and watch people go by. I would read Cohen’s poetry books over and over and wish I was his beloved “Suzanne.” In a dark smoke filled bar on Mountain Street I would sit and listen to hours of bad poetry yet performing my own was out of the question. In my mind I could never beat Cohen nor the other radical literary masters so my words remained silent. Years later I would meet Cohen on a flight to Los Angeles with his then much younger girlfriend Rebecca DeMornay. I took his hand by the baggage turnstile and told him of my love for his work in the 60’s. He smiled, and said softly,


“My dear the years have been kind to you”.


With those words I suddenly felt old but happy and never strayed from appreciating the minds of radical literary geniuses. As Herbert Huncke once said to Allen Ginsberg,

“Sure I’m old, and I’m evil, and I’m ugly, and I’m tired. But that isn’t it. I’ve been this way for ten years, and I’m all down the main line.”


And so the beat goes on…


Photos and text: Linda Seccaspina 2011


* Joual- A dialect of Canadian French characterized by nonstandard pronunciations and grammar, and the presence of English loanwords and syntactic patterns.

*Front Page Challenge was a long-running Canadian panel game about current events and history. Created by comedy writer/performer John Aylesworth and produced and aired by CBC Television, the series ran from 1957 to 1995.


*Pierre Berton– (July 12, 1920 – November 30, 2004) was a noted Canadian author of non-fiction, especially Canadiana and Canadian history, and was a well-known television personality and journalist.

An accomplished storyteller, Berton was one of Canada’s most prolific and popular authors. He wrote 50 books, including ones on popular culture, Canadian history, critiques of mainstream religion, anthologies, children’s books and historical works for youth. He popularized Canadian history.



The Abandoned Smiths Falls Hospital 2011




Year/Format: 1910, Picture



This was found online posted at 10/8/2011 1:34 AM by- Sweets

A few friends and I decided to visit the old abandoned hospital about an hour or two before the sun was going down (great light!) to take pictures. When we got there, three young girls were standing outside giggling (maybe 12 years old)
They told us that the building is haunted and wouldn’t go in. Someone else must have been there recently because one of the doors was wide open. Anyways we explored the floors (not the basement though.. I wish we would have). They mostly were all the same.. empty rooms maybe some curtains, a lot of peeling paint, a few toilets and bathtubs. When we got to the top floor it was covered in dead birds so we didn’t explore that floor either. A little further up there was a room full of pipes and stuff like that with another door that led to the roof of the building. Not much up there except some empty beer bottles and a nice view.

Outside of the building

a couple of the rooms

Here is that room full of pipes that leads to the roof


Here is a picture from outside, there was a big smoke stack or something.. this part is actually on a smaller building which is right beside the large one. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a POE for that building. (I’d like to imagine it full of all sorts of medical equipment and brains in jars, & a strange old man..)

One of the bathrooms

a better view of how large the building is


this was one of the areas that was not just a normal room. It must have been either a common room or for the staff, I think across the hall or somewhere near was another area that looked like it might have been a kitchen


Related reading:

Photographer Finds Money in a Local Abandoned Home

The Abandoned Farm House in Carleton Place — Disappearing Farms

The Church that Died

Inside the Old Honey Pot — The Henderson Apiaries Carleton Place

Burning Down the House — Literally in Lanark County

Investigating the Basement of the Carleton Place Canadian – If These Walls Could Talk

Channeling John Gillies

The Kick and Push Town of Folger



Found online by Clay 70

Folger was founded along the Kingston and Pembroke Railway —the Kick and Push Railway Trail. This railway was founded by the Kingston and Pembroke Iron Mining Company and came to Folger around the 1880’s. Wilbur and Robertsville to the south were founded on iron mining. Folger happened to have some of the best farming soil in the Lanark Highlands with 45 feet deep in clay and iron and so it was a logical place to start a village as well. Folger was another location named for promoters of the K & P. The Folgers were prominent Kingston businessmen who were engaged in shipping, banking, railroading and mining. B.W. Folger was for many years General Manager of the K & P.

This was a community which depended heavily on the railroad to support its lumber and mining interests. One local man recalls that “there was a dead end siding out there called Mopeville. Cars were known to run right off the end of the track at times, and they had a heck of a time getting them back on.”

The coming of the K & P enabled area men to go hunting further afield than before, for the northern part of the line was especially good for that purpose.

Today, only one elderly couple still live here. I got all the info. about the ghost settlement from them (Norman and Lillian Sweeney). The Sweeney’s settled here in 1960, 3 yrs prior to the railway lines being lifted, which forced Folger into ghosttownhood.

The village was founded in the 1880’s as a farming community. It grew to include a train station, a store, a sawmill, a post office, a school and homes. The mining company surveyed 70 lots from Lavant Station northward to Folger.

When the Sweeney’s moved here in 1960 the town was still in good stead. There were 6 families and the farms were still prospering. Hydro power had come in 1951. However, with the end of the trains running north of Snow Rd. in 1963 and with the lifting of the railway tracks in 1970 the hamlet went bust. It was once bragged that the village grew the highest corn stocks in all of Lanark County. There were also 50 or more head of cattle which grazed the open hilly fields. In 1960 the taxes were incredibly cheap. Would you believe for 200 acres the annual bill was only $9?


97329942.jpgK&P Hiking Trail at the South Levant Road, former site of the K&P Levant train …


The Sweeney’s built their present home in 1975, which replaced their previous structure built in 1887. Here they raised their 9 kids. The kids went to school in Calabogie and elsewhere. A school bus did eventually come to Folger to pick up the kids way back in the bush in 1968. This didn’t last long, though apparently another bus came to pick up school kids in the 1990’s.

You would think playing sports would have been an impossibility considering the distances to larger communities. However, three of the Sweeney boys became pitchers for the Lavant baseball team. The local kids also used to dam up the Clyde River in the winter. It ran right through the village and so it offered the only spot to play hockey.

The road into Folger is amazingly well-plowed in the winter and has been for many years. The only snow issue occured during a huge storm in 1971.

For some extra income Lillian used to send homemade cans of cream to Toronto. Then when Coleman’s came to Carleton Place a truck was sent twice a week to pick up her cream cans. Norman worked the farm and also had stints with the army and Ontario Hydro. Norman served in WW2 in the Italian campaign against the Germans.

By the 1980’s the village was a full-fledged ghost town. Much of the former open fields had been slowly reclaimed by the forest. Today, in the Sweeney’s retirement they have the comfort of satellite tv and a phone line, which they finally got in 2007. Their Hummingbird feeders are often frequented by many of their tiny, feathered friends.

To get to Folger take the Kick and Push Trail northward from Lavant Station. When you see an abandoned brown home on the right (built circa 1930), across the creek, you are in downtown Folger. 



The Kick and Push Railway


The Kingston and Pembroke Railway (K & P) was a Canadian railway that operated in eastern Ontario. The railway was seen as a business opportunity by business people in Kingston, Pembroke, Montreal and New York. It would support the lumber (especially pine lumber which was in high demand across Canada and the United States) and mining industries, as well as the agricultural economy in eastern Ontario.

Incorporated in 1871, the K&P was intended to run from Kingston to Pembroke. By 1884, approximately 180 km of mainline and sidings had been laid, reaching Renfrew where it ceased after 12 years of construction. The K & P never did reach Pembroke. On January 1, 1913, the K & P Railroad officially became part of the CPR. The line was gradually abandoned beginning in the 1950s, with the last operating section from Kingston to Tichborne closing in 1986. The K & P is affectionately remembered as the Kick and Push railroad.

Can You Fix Downtown Carleton Place by Rebranding? An Op-Ed



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In my life I have seen many businesses come and go. I have watched many change their name or branding and less than a year later the business would close. Don’t get me wrong re-branding does work in some cases, but if you don’t get rid of the dirty bathwater you are not going to go anywhere.


Contrary to what some believe — it just shouldn’t be changing a tagline or a logo and should not be a promotional nor an advertising campaign. That would only offer quick-fix solutions to the problems already at hand. You don’t choose where to shop or buy because of a logo or slogan. Of course marketing is useful in a long-term brand strategy–but it just isn’t enough sometimes as brands and especially downtown areas are built on the product they offer, not just marketing.


A town or city always speaks through the behaviour of its citizens or businesses. Campaigns that just focus on words and images fail, because they don’t change the behaviour. There are no quick fixes and only when change is visible should you start to brand.


So what kind of product do we have to market here in downtown Carleton Place? What makes us worth a special trip to shop or sets us apart from everyone else? Brands are built on product, not just marketing. We need to start working on the reality of what we have or what we can offer on the Main Street first– not the image. You never “roll out” your brand until you can deliver on the promise and frankly, we have a long way to go– and it could take years. Do some merchants have that long?



This was an excellent  opinion by Sarah Cavanagh


 You know I wish everyone well because their success will be Carleton Place’s success but I’m disappointed that the Downtown Carleton Place board doesn’t better represent the actual businesses downtown. There is a real lack of retail representation. It’s all a little one sided in my opinion.
As I commented previously – we will continue to spin our wheels because everyone seems so focused on making a name for themselves or taking down their perceived “opponent” that they do not stop long enough to let an idea come to fruition. There’s no follow through. There’s no unbiased decision making. Money is tossed into things like “rebranding” which seems a little self serving and at the end of the day is just new lipstick on an old pig.
None of the non-glamorous work ever gets done. It takes 5-7 for real economic change to occur but every 2-4yrs someone is tossing it all and starting again. And spin and repeat and spin and repeat. The issues and solutions are pretty simple….what the town needs is an unbiased liaison position to coordinate the efforts of the mayor’s office, council, BIA, Chamber etc…be the mediator and go between and to have one vision and offer consistency despite the changes internally in all these groups.



Online Comments.. 

Micheal Luigi PacittoAs someone who makes a good chunk of my living on rebranding people, (photo, video and graphics) I 100% agree with the statement that a brand starts from the product, and that the brand is there to be a promise.

In our neck of the woods, we spent a few million dollars on beautification of “Old Town” it didn’t do anything as there wasn’t really much different. The promise was there, but not the delivery.

BUT if there was an old downtown experience, then the beautification would be the beacon that would guide shoppers constantly back to the experience.

Best of luck! with so many chefs in the kitchen, and so many different bureaucratic processes that have to be respected and worked within… it’s a huge challenge!



Carleton Place BIA board to enact ‘radical’ changes–Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette

By Tara Gesner


Tales From the Methodist Church in Perth


2617819_origOld Armories in Perth- now Methodist Church – 144 Gore Street East In 1821 a small log chapel was erected by the Methodists in Perth on this site- Perth Tourism

Perth Courier, March 20, 1891

  1. A. Consitt, Census Commissioner for S. Lanark left for Ottawa on Tuesday to receive from the district chief census officer instructions in regard to taking the census in S. Lanark.

Albert Page, barrister will return to Brockville from Smith’s Falls and open a law office.

Last week the old house on Gore Street opposite the Methodist Church was torn down and now nothing marks its site but an old time stone chimney and a heap of broken plaster and other rubbish.  The building and lot were owned by John McMaster, merchant, who considered that by this time it had outlasted its day and generation.  The house was one of the very oldest in the town having been built in the year 1816 by the late Alexander Matheson who drew the lot from the government.  The house was built when all around was dense bush and its composition shows that the best of material available was used in its construction.  The building, of course, was of logs and they were beech, maple and elms.  The rafters were of hickory and were sound as if they had been just cut after their position 76 years ago.

Perth Courier, March 27, 1891

History of an Old House

John W. Adams, one of our veteran residents, has furnished us with some additional information about the old McMaster house opposite the Methodist church which was torn down not long ago.  He says the house was built in 1817 by the late Alexander Matheson, a clerk in the government office here in the first year of the settlement.  It was soon afterwards occupied for a year or more as the rectory  by the late Rev. Michael Harris, Church of England minister and later on was used as a private school by the late Benjamin Tett, M.P. of Newboro, father-in-law of Judge Senkler of Perth.  Afterwards it was bought by the late Mr. McMaster and the property yet remains in the possession of the family.

The original owner Mr. Matheson drew a 100 acre farm on the 2nd Concession Bathurst near Perth and removed there soon afterwards receiving the appointment of lockmaster in Smith’s Falls and took up residence there.  His son-in-law Josias Richey, P.L.S. succeeded him as the owner of the Tay River farm and afterwards as lockmaster at the Falls.  Mr. Adams remembers, when a boy, drawing a load of oats to the old house for Mr. Harris and emptying them in a bin in an upper chamber.

The mice must have hulled a share of the oats for when the house was taken down this spring a quantity of oats chaff was found under the floor at this spot.  Among the old stagers who resided in Perth about this time, Col. Marshall, a half pay officer who drew the acre plot in town now occupied by Miss Rutherford and lived there for several years.  He moved out to Lanark and then out west and last week a notice appeared in the Courier of the death of his son Dr. James A. Marshall of Chicago at the age of 81 years.  The old Colonel, who had been an officer in the Light Dragoons, canvassed the city—about the time of the division of the Bathurst District—for a seat in Parliament but did not apparently go to the polls, the fight being between Col. De Lisle and Hon. William Morris.  Capt. Sherwood, a surveyor who laid out the townships of Dalhousie and Lanark, etc., was also a parliamentary aspirant but nothing came of it

Katherine Hepburn Did Eat Brownies




I was looking for my brownie recipe called The Best Adult Brownie online to make this weekend. While I was browsing Google I came across a Brownie recipe that was conceived by Katherine Hepburn. Not only was there a recipe but a darn good story to go along with it.


The recipe comes from a letter to the editor of the New York Times on July 6, 2003. In the letter, Hepburn’s New York neighbor Heather Henderson recalled her first memorable meeting with Katharine. At the time, Heather was threatening to quit her studies at Bryn Mawr, Katharine’s Alma mater. Heather’s father, who had noticed that Katharine lived nearby, slipped a letter into her mail slot, begging her to talk some sense into his daughter. Katharine called Heather at 7:30am the next morning and lectured her on the stupidity of her decision. The two arranged to meet for tea. Katharine convinced Heather to stick it out at Bryn Mawr. This began a series of casual meetings between Katharine and the Henderson family.


One day, Heather’s father heard that Katharine had been in a car accident and was recovering. He stopped by her place to bring her a batch of brownies. Hepburn tasted them and balked. “Too much flour! And don’t overbake them! They should be moist, not cakey!” As always, Katharine was opinionated and brutally honest. She rattled off her own brownie recipe while Heather’s father scribbled notes. The recipe appears below, with a few of my own notes in the baking instructions.

Heather took away three pieces of advice from her acquaintance with Katharine Hepburn:


Never quit.
Be yourself.
Don’t put too much flour in your brownies.




I like Katherine do not put much flour in my Brownies either, as Katherine once said:


“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun!”


Katherine Hepburn Brownies
Recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (via Brown Eyed Baker)


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour, salt and chopped walnuts. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow the pan of brownies to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.


Let’s Talk About the Loon in the Room


14054113_1150097068422849_2165151857361182239_n (1).jpgPhoto Lost Ottawa

Last week Lost Ottawa posted this question:

A Saturday Drive, a Roadside Attraction, and a Lost Ottawa Evening Puzzler, too!

You are heading for Westport. You turn off Highway 15 and you get to Newboro. And there you see behind a barbed-wire fence an imprisoned 20 foot-high duck — correction, loon.

Anyone know the story behind the duck?

Well there were comments– first one being that it was a loon not a duck.

llan DaviesI used to own the old house beside the loon, and walked past it every day going to the post office. The house was built in about 1875, and there were iron mines in the area around that time. The well water in the taps still gets its rusty colour because of that.

Barb Orr RenaudIt is a loon and has been there for years although it didn’t always have a fence around it.

Kathy BobynIt was used as a float in Canada Day parades.



Photo year 2000–by Nan Lowe

So what can our Lanark County folks add to this story– so we can offer our theories to Lost Ottawa.