We Can’t Move our Carleton Place People Out!

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Photo of the Construction of the Findlay Plant on High Street in Carleton Place 1901- The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. The brick construction was built on land sold by the Canada Lumber Company.

Sometimes we think things are really bad until we see times were just as tough years ago. In April of 1954 three industries were struggling. Bates and Innes Textile Mills were hurting, Renfrew Woolens had closed and Findlays was beginning to decline and would end up closing in 1974.  In 1954 a total of $15,000 of week was being paid out in unemployment in Carleton Place that would last 313 days for each employee. Payments varied from $17.10 a week per single man to $24 for a married man.

R. Vernon McCarten of the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce said,

“We can’t move our people out; we’ll have to move something in.”

D.D.Findlay president of Findlay’s Limited voiced his concern about the town. His firm had been making stoves since 1860 and had 319 employees on the payroll in 1953, but it had presently dwindled to 234. He attributed the loss to competition from the United States. Also use of coal and wood ranges on the farm had diminished as propane gas and electric stoves were becoming popular. Bates and Innes were getting very few orders and only operating at 2/3 capacity. Renfrew Mill closed down when the men went on strike putting 75 out of work. Findlay hoped that new business might come to town and pointed out the new 36 bed hospital was opening up and almost entirely paid for and half the cost of the furniture and equipment underwritten.

Some hoped the new shortening of Highway 7 might bring people to live in Carleton Place. The town however applied to the OMB for permission to spend $30,000 to buy 5 acres of land on the east side of town for industrial purposes. When the mills all finally closed it affected people who had never worked at anything else but textiles. There were three generations of Fergusons that worked in the textile industry, and what would their future hold now.

The Findlay Plant closed in 1974.

Bates and Innes ceased operations in 1963, due, in part, to the introduction of synthetic fibres.

Renfrew Woolen Mill closed that year.

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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