Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

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Once upon a time the Carleton Place citizens of the 1890’s lined up on the Lake Park dock waiting to board the steamship “Carleton”. It ran regular trips between Lake Park Lodge on Mississippi Lake and the town docks located near the Hawthorne Mill at the end of Charles Street. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.  The dining room could seat several hundred at a time.

“The little steamer Mississippi is now making regular trips between Carleton Place and Innisville, carrying freight and passengers.  Excursion parties desirous of seeing the lakes, or fishing, shooting ducks, gathering berries, etcetera, can have the use of the boat at reasonable charges.” Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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1899

1946

No finer food this side of new York City!

QueensRoyalHotel

The popular Lake Park Hotel owned its own steam boat at the time which was called “Lillian B.” which was 40 feet in length.  At the time, there was also smaller privately owned  steamboats which were own by individuals and traveled up and down the Mississippi for pleasure and business.

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Lake Park Lodge Postcard-Bytown or Bust

lake4The Lake Park Lodge now as it sits empty.

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Jul 1901, Thu,  Page 6

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Lake Park Lodge dock that greeted many visitors at one time- Photo of Dock and Lake Park by Linda Seccaspina

Clipping from the Carleton Place Canadian by MARY COOK submitted by Leona Kidd to the Beckwith Heritage site.

A BACKWARDS GLANCE ‐ The golden years of Lake Park Lodge By Mary Cook

The original Queen’s Royal Hotel at Lake Park has a romantic and colorful history, and its story would take much more space than The Canadian editors allow me.  But the Larsen era, which is still within memory reach of many of us, can be noted as a period in time when the grand old lodge was revitalized and brought back to life. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.

The resort even sported a race track, and some older historians remember when the horses were transported from Carleton Place via the grand old steamers of the day. Telling the story of the Hotel’s early days would take many trips to the Archives, and would evolve into a history of an era that many of us have only read about – the glorious mid‐1800’s when Carleton Place was a thriving mill town and places like the Queen’s Royal Hotel offered a welcomed respite for the elite of the community. But let us move on to another era … an era after the old original hotel ceased to operate and the property lay dormant and forgotten. Sven Larsen was a big man who lived in Toronto with his wife Ella and family.  He looked every inch the Danish gentleman.  He loved well‐creased beige flannels and navy blue blazers and three‐piece suits.  His wife once modelled hats in Denmark, and she carried that flair for fashion to her new country.  The bigger the hat the better…and they had to be adorned with beautiful flowers and decorations and worn at a rakish angle for impact.

They were an imposing couple that day when they drove into Lake Park road and came upon the homestead farm of Mr. Hay, Sr. They wanted to move their family out of the city.  They longed for a piece of land where they could raise chickens and enjoy the tranquillity of country life.  Mr. Hay directed them to the abandoned lodge down the road.   There was little more than a lane leading to the old hotel.  The building was much in need of repair before it could even be considered liveable. Lil Robinson, a daughter, remembers it as a drafty, old barn of a place with no electricity or plumbing, and had no screens on the windows.  Mile high hay completely encircled the rambling building.  The year was 1937.  Sven had to hire a man with a scythe to cut the grass, and that first summer millions of mosquitoes almost sent the family back to Toronto. The hard‐working Larsens immediately went into the chicken business, and every member had to do his share.  In the meantime, Sven who was a born salesman continued to represent a casket company out of Toronto, and as well, peddled Books of Knowledge.  It is suspected now, so many years later, that the casket job was not kept on as a money‐making project, but rather as a topic of conversation which stopped many a person in his track.  “You travel a good deal, Mr. Larsen, what do you do?”  He’d cast a piercing eye in the direction of the questioner.  “I design and sell coffins”.  Usually the inquisitor moved quickly away.

But when it came to selling books of knowledge, Sven was right in his element.  He loved reading, and he felt the only road to success was through the pages of books.  He felt in his heart that every time he sold a set of the Books of Knowledge he was contributing to they buyer’s future.  During the Depression Mr. Larsen was to spend nine months on the year on the road.    Eric Larsen, or Sonny, as he was known to everyone in the Carleton Place area, was tall, slim, handsome and with a head of golden hair that sent most young girls’ hearts fluttering.  He was the youngest of the Larsen family.  In 1946, nine years after the family moved to the area, Eric talked his parents into letting him reopen the Lodge as a hotel and dance hall.   There was great excitement in the community.  The older people had visions of the revival of that grand old hotel, and the young people of the 40’s saw the Lodge as a wonderful fun place to go where the music of the day would be standard fare, and a walk to the beach not 500 yards away would guarantee a romantic interlude for the “going steadies”. It was everything everyone had hoped it would be.

From the day Lake Park Lodge reopened its doors, the young people of Carleton Place beat a path to the dance hall.  Many had no transportation, but that wasn’t a deterrent.  They walked out the dirt road there and back. And its reputation as a good overnight lodge grew too.  Tourists came form everywhere, for a weekend to two weeks at a time.  They came from all over the continent and Europe.  The meals were excellent.  Mrs. Larsen was an outstanding cook and hearty Danish dishes blended in with Canadian on the menu. The nickelodeon belted out the hits of the day and you danced to “In the Mood” and “Stardust” for a nickel.  Daughter Lil remembers the business as a family affair.  “I had to make all the desserts” she recalls. Mrs. Larsen was a friend to all the hundreds of young people who were frequent customers.  More than one Carleton Place man will remember arriving at the Lodge “a little worse for wear”.  Although the Lodge was dry, many young people arrived with their own supply, which Mrs. Larsen frowned on.  But she was also realistic.   She couldn’t stop the young men from bringing the booze out in their cars, but she could make sure they went home sober.  So she’d take them into the kitchen sink and put their heads under the cold water tap until they sobered up and then she sent them home to their unsuspecting parents.

The Lodge flourished as a popular spot for the community’s young people.  During the summer it was the place to go every night after working at the dime store, or at your summer job in the foundry.  You could rent a boat for a quarter and row down the river on a moonlit night.  The war was over and the soldiers were coming home. They too flocked to the popular night spot. And then the first of several tragedies struck the Larsen family.  Sonny, the affable good looking son died tragically in a car accident.  A son‐in‐law and grandchild drowned.  And in 1956 the building the Larsens so lovingly restored burned to the ground.  Son‐in‐law Cark Jorgenson said the wood structure went up like a tinder box.  There were no fire hydrants, and the volunteer brigade tried to feed their hoses through the ice for water, but all the family could do was stand outside and watch it go up in flames. Gone was the Larsens era!  It was rebuilt, but it was never the same.  The senior Larsens were getting older, and they hung on for awhile, but too much had changed. Son‐in‐law Carl built and rented cottages and the senior Larsens stayed on, but the romance of the Lodge went up in flames the day of the fire. Sven Larsen died in 1970, his wife in 1978. Both Carl and Lil said the older Larsens loved the place.  Their hearts and souls were in the business.   They did everything they could to bring a sense of glamour and fun to the Lodge….from Mrs. Larsen’s fortune‐ telling to dressing up in hilarious Hallowe’en costumes.

 

 - Queen's Royal Once Again Popular Tourist Centre...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  30 Jun 1948, Wed,  Page 8

 

 - , . ,: Carleton Place. Mat i The Lake Park...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 May 1893, Mon,  Page 6

 

 - LAKE PARK, CARLETON PLACE. OssSseos Plane, Jesy...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 Jul 1905, Sat,  Page 11

 

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1899, Sat  •  Page 6

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.

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