What Happened the Day the Circus Left Carleton Place



Page from the Chatterton House Hotel (Queens Hotel) in Carleton Place. Not sure if it was the popular Hargreaves Circus that came through town many times, but the signature belonged to one of the travelling shows. –  Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

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The Ottawa Free Press published a story the first week of August in 1907 about a mysterious disappearance of R. F. Blair the former manager of the Union Bank of Carleton Place. They reported that his body was found in a field near Perth on Tuesday the 16th. The Central Canadian says the Carleton Place papers knew about him all the time. Blair left Carleton Place the day the Hargreaves Circus was leaving town.


Officials of the Union Bank were in Carleton Place and intended to counsel him and remove him to a Quebec town. Blair suspected his dismal future and fled. His bicycle was found later at the Perth station unclaimed, and it was recognized as belonging to Blair. Mr. Blair is believed to be alive, and his wife and friends are waiting to hear from him.

Mr. Blair was never heard from after that day. Did he ride his bicycle along side the Hargreaves circus, leave it in Perth, and continue on with the circus?

A new branch of the Union Bank of Canada was in operation in Carleton Place in 1900, in addition to the longer established branch of the Bank of Ottawa. The current Royal Bank of Canada, originally the Union Bank of Canada, is constructed of concrete blocks fabricated to resemble stone. Traces of two styles of former lettering remain about the columns.

harThe Hargreaves Circus led by Thomas Hargreaves with his mud and Railroad Circus was out of Chester, Pa. until 1910. Circuses were the norm in those days causing great excitement in town when they came. Missing husbands were also the norm also in those days, as I found many classified ads of wives looking for their husbands and lamenting “since you’ve been gone”.


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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