Life Before Digital Cameras in Carleton Place – Remembering Paul Nelson



Last week I remembered Paul Nelson when I walked down Bridge Street past his former store. Like anyone who has passed, we forget cherished members of the community way too fast. As I glanced at his online obituary; it was way too short for such a wonderful man.

Paul Nelson cherished, long time member of the Carleton Place Community, passed away Monday, February 28, 2011.
He is survived by his partner Sharon, his family, friends and loyal employees. He will be missed by all.
Funeral service will be held at the Jewish Community Memorial Chapel. 1771 Cuba Ave, Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 12 noon with interment at the Jewish Memorial Gardens, Bank Street, Ottawa

Paul Nelson’s old photo store on Bridge Street used to be Nate’s Delicatessen, which was run by his parents. After his parents retired,  he took the location over and turned it into Paul Nelson Photo. I had the pleasure of speaking with him many times, and he was not only a talented photographer, but also just a really nice person who went out of his way for his customers.


 Photo- MIllstone News

Gail Sheen MacDonald worked with Nelson for five months at his photo store on Coleman Street and told me,
“He had the most wonderful knowledge of photography of any man I’ve ever met, and he was a brilliant man. He was smart, well travelled. Paul knew everybody and went the extra mile for his customers.”

He was also known for his extensive collection of antique camera equipment, and only had a small portion of the collection on public display at his store. He loved collecting old cameras and old photo equipment, which he hoped, one day, to become part of a museum collection.


Photo by Terry Poulos


Art Flint was quoted in the local newspaper after his death and said,

“I told him he should have retired after he closed down his shop (on Bridge Street),” before he moved to the Service Ontario centre at the old train station on Coleman Street. He just wanted to keep working.”

I will always remember Paul as a warm and caring person, always with a smile on his face. His unique sense of humour and outlook on life was well respected. Like Rob Probert said, “we all became a better person for having known Paul”.

In February of 2011 we lost a wonderful, kind, and compassionate man.  Paul Nelson is still missed in our community today. Truly, he was at the end of an era. Now we don’t bother to enjoy old photos. We just take photos on our phone, store them forever, because it’s all about having easy access. Each time I walk down Bridge Street and pass his old store I will never forget hearing his laugh coming from inside the store. After all he and I both shared the same thoughts:

“A day without laughter is wasted”

I am a better person for having known him and a sadder person because of his passing.

Gail Sheen MacDonald

Shane Wm Edwards sent me this note- There was a plaque put up at the old train station for Paul. How wonderful is that?



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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