Women Who Made a Difference in Carleton Place — Mrs. Lim of the New York Cafe


From Lives of the FamilyHarry and Mrs. Lim had an arranged marriage in 1922. In 1929, the Lim family settled in Carleton Place with their Canadian-born children, Mary, Allan and Bill. Harry bought the New York Café from its Chinese owners. The couple’s sixth and last child, Kay, was born in Carleton Place.


In 1940, Harry died of tuberculosis. His widow stepped in and carried on running the café. In some places it has been written that Allan decided that it would be best if he left school after his sixteenth birthday and helped his mother at the café. Not sure if he did or not. So that her children could continue in school rather than dropping out to work in the café, Mrs. Lim (Helen) hired married women in town to help. They, in turn, were happy tobe working. These women became wonderful friends of the family.

Some of the employee’s surnames were Mrs. Tom Whelan, Mrs. Majaury and Mrs. Van and their first names Joyce, Margaret, Ethel and Jacqueline (Jackie). Not all, but most of the women hired by Mrs. Lim were widowed like herself. Their shared marital status helped to form a bond of friendship in the kitchen. Mrs. Whelan shed tears when Mrs. Lim announced that she would be moving away. They learned to communicate rather well in spite of the language barrier.  The story of the Lim family had one sad chapter. Upon the repeal of the Exclusion Act in 1947, Mrs. Lim hoped to re-unite with her daughters born overseas and bring them to Canada. Sadly, during the war she’d lost contact with them. She was unable to locate them. In 1951, s. Lim sold the New York Café and moved to Toronto. In 1960, fire destroyed the café. Its owners did not rebuild.


Thank you Mrs. Lim for caring and insisting the women of Carleton Place help your business. A tip of the hat to you! Photos from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum More can be read here about The New York Cafe in Carleton Place. Stories of Our Town

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women helping women in Carleton Place
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 11 Dec 1942, Fri, Page 24

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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