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

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.

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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