The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String


Noreen Young

Hi Diddle Day

Hi Diddle Day was a CBC Ottawa production designed to entertain and inform young viewers from 1968-1969. The uniquely-produced series starred a number of puppet characters (created, manipulated and voiced by Noreen Young) who lived in an unusual household. The setting was a remodeled Victorian house in Crabgrass, a typical small Canadian community (Carleton Place). In the house lived Mrs. Dibble, and a host of zany puppet characters. Other puppets were Basil the Beagle, Durwood the Dragon, Wolfgang Von Wolf, Granny, Chico The Crow, a French-Canadian moose called Ti, Lucy Goose and others.


Mayor Gertrude Diddle, the star of the 1970s CBC children’s show Hi Diddle Day, became an object of fascination for Ronnie Burkett, a devoted fan of the show. “She was the most outrageous, gayest, campiest puppet in history at the time.” Her creator Noreen Young would later meet Burkett, promising to leave Mrs. Diddle to him in her will. But Burkett was far too impatient to wait for Young’s demise and so one day the puppet arrived in the mail. “She’s my muse. She can’t be topped.” He says he’s always had a version of Mrs. Diddle in his shows.

A regular on the show was the mailman, Mr. Post, played by Bob Gardiner. Musician Wyn Canty appearred occasionally as music teacher. There were also guest appearances by experts in the fields of music, art, science, entertainment and sports. The show was originally seen only in Ottawa, Montreal and the Maritimes. By 1970, its popularity led CBC to turn it into a national children’s series.

puppethSince 1981 I have lived in the Hi-Diddle-Day House, and because of my love of Noreen Young’s talent I have created a small shrine in one room to the puppets of Hi-Diddle-Day. I actually own one of Noreen’s older puppets and proudly march in the Puppets Up! parade each year in Almonte that she created. That’s because with a puppet I can get away with a lot more:)– in reality I guess I am just a puppet who can see the strings.
See you at Puppets Up! this weekend in Almonte!

Wikipedia–Noreen Isabel Young, CM (born May 10, 1952) is a Canadian producer and puppeteer, and is still actively involved in puppeteering through her corporation Noreen Young Productions.[1] Young grew up in Ottawa, Ontario.

A Noreen Young caricature puppet


She was the creator of Under the Umbrella Tree, a popular CBC Television children’s series that ran from 1987-1993 on the CBC and on the Disney Channel from 1993-1997,[2] and was also the puppeteer for “Dodie”, a character on Sesame Park, the Canadian version ofSesame Street.[3] Her puppet characters also appeared on many TVOntario productions including Readalong and Telefrancais.

Young featured in the second Care Bears television special, 1984’s The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine.

She is also known for her caricature puppets of public figures such as former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, CBC news anchorPeter Mansbridge and hockey commentator Don Cherry, and of prominent personalities from her hometown of Almonte, Ontario. She currently serves as artistic director of the Puppets Up international puppet festival, held annually in Almonte.[4]

She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995–Noreen Young will be honoured by the Canadian Institute for Child Health on November 18th at the 16th Annual Crayons and Cravats Gala for her tireless energy and dedication to the use of puppetry to teach and entertain children.


Image result for linda seccaspina elvis

Me on the cover of Screamin Mamas magazine from Florida that I write for. That is one of Noreen Young’s original puppets that I cherish.



 In ode to Noreen..The original Balderson cow in the background.. I called her Baldy Welsh after the Carleton Place Canoe great– because her udders swing both way. One must have whimsy…

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

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.

6 responses »

  1. I..LOVE that you live in this house. I remember Hi Diddle Day vividly, even though I was only three when I watched it…it made that kind of impression on me. Noreen Young’s puppets are a special sort of memory maker…immediately recognizable. I’m searching high and low for any film clips of Hi Diddle Day. I wonder if any exist? thanks for the story 🙂

  2. How could such a rich history be forgotten by the town? Shameful, I watched Hi Diddle Day, in the day it was BIG.

  3. I was born in 1950 and was always an old child. Only one TV channel in the Maritimes so shows were impossible to miss.The humor in Hi-Diddle-Day was cleaver but skewed. Sort of Rocky & Bullwinkle without the cold war paranoia. As good if not better than anything at the time. I knew there were more than a few chuckles in store.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s