Burning Down the House — Literally in Lanark County

Burning Down the House — Literally in Lanark County


I love it when people contact me about information we can add to the stories about Carleton Place and the surrounding area. Yesterday Thomas Echlin left a comment on my WordPress page and a link. Frankly, I was horrified after I read it.

“The Sawyer house was burned down for a music video”


Yes, Basia Bulat, a Toronto folk singer, lip-synched the lyrics to her latest song in 2008, while the Sawyer house burned down.

At about 8 p.m. Sunday night, a crowd gathered across the road from the 1800s-era building to watch a pyrotechnics technician lace the house with gasoline and explosives. Within seconds, the house was fully engulfed in flames, while television cameras filmed the blaze and the actors nearby.

“They were looking for a site and they heard about our place,” explained Ed Weaver, who owns the Herron Mills property with his wife, Debbie.

 During the Doors Open Lanark Highlands event, which included the former mill site in Herron Mills, the Weavers opened the door to Anthony Seck of Anthony Seck Productions.
 “(The site) fit the video that he wanted to do,” Ed said.
As the house burned, Debbie Weaver, who has lived in Herron Mills for a couple of years, couldn’t hold back tears. She and her husband both agreed that the building was a danger and had to go, but she also admitted earlier in the day that she expected to cry as she watched it burn. Ed said the building was a danger and he and Debbie had problems with people breaking into the building, stealing trim and wainscoting.

Ed said he and Debbie had problems with people breaking into the building, stealing trim and wainscoting.

“My wife kicked two people out of there last week,” he added.

Seck has produced videos for indie artists such as Feist and Broken Social Scene.

Seeing such a large production in Herron Mills, along with three fire trucks from the Middleville fire station to prevent the fire from spreading, brought out a group of local residents to watch the building burn.


In the end a pile of debris that used to be the Sawyer’s house in Herron Mills was still smouldering on Monday morning, hours after the crew on a music-video shoot wrapped up and headed home. And so was the end of the Sawyer house and any memories it held. So much history and it went down while local residents watched the fire burning.


Herron’s Mills Bridge Closed 1935

Herron’s School Names Names Names

The Gillies Home in the Ghost Town of Herron’s Mills

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. HI Linda, I love your posts and feel the same as you about old things. I wanted to say Hi especially because we are the new owners of Herron Mills. It is really a magical place.
    We’ve been learning the history slowly for the past four years. Its pretty amazing.
    I was so sad when the Weavers showed us the video of the house burning. The foundation of that old house is still there with the burnt timbers sitting on top. They also pushed the old silo down which is so sad.
    I sometimes sit in Mary’s room and imagine how she felt living there. She must have been an amazing woman. We are still looking for a picture of her.
    We would love to chat with you sometime about it all.


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