Unknown Blind Civil Rights Leader in Carleton Place — Ken London

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Ken London and Schnapps thanks to Doris Blackburn/ Karen Black Chenier photos

 

In the 70’s Carleton Place wasn’t the best provincial ground for Blind Civil Rights. Phyllis Manarey, a 53 year-old-woman who had been blind since 1949 had a store owner in Carleton Place charged after refusing to admit her and her seeing eye dog. Angry, after she was refused entrance, she returned home and called the owner saying she was returning– as he had to let her in by law. She even called the town hall and got no support.

Once again the store owner barred her from coming in even after she showed her blind identification card. Later he was found guilty by a Carleton Place provincial court for violating the Blind Person’s Rights and fined $50 or 30 days in jail.

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The shop keeper, who shall remain nameless, appealed and lost. Later that month Mamarey laid a same charge on a Carleton Place restaurant owner. She said she never had an issue in Ottawa but was shocked Carleton Place was so disrespectful. Ken London, a blind Carleton Place furniture maker began a lobby in 1975 for blind rights legislation.

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Because he had such an issue in Carleton Place he founded the Canadian Association of Guide Dog Owners. He didn’t think laying charges was the way to go, as it only made people hostile. Instead he tried to educate people. London said if no one stands up for blind people’s rights –things will just stay the same. A Carleton Place unknown hero.

 

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Amy Chamney

I remember the St. James’ women’s group (“Family Life”) was hosted at our house by my Mother (Jane Chamney) one evening when Ken London spoke with them, continuing his education outreach. He had a Sheppard at the time as his guide dog. I was around 5 or 6 and of course, wanted to ‘play’ with the dog. He educated me about how service dogs have ‘work’ and ‘play’ time, and I couldn’t play with the dog while it was working for him. At the end of the meeting, however, he did give the dog some play time with me for pets and belly rubs. It’s a lesson I never forgot, and have taught my children the same. It would have been about 1975 or 76.

 

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

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. I remember the St. James’ women’s group (“Family Life”) was hosted at our house by my Mother (Jane Chamney) one evening when Ken London spoke with them, continuing his education outreach. He had a Sheppard at the time as his guide dog. I was around 5 or 6 and of course, wanted to ‘play’ with the dog. He educated me about how service dogs have ‘work’ and ‘play’ time, and I couldn’t play with the dog while it was working for him. At the end of the meeting, however, he did give the dog some play time with me for pets and belly rubs. It’s a lesson I never forgot, and have taught my children the same. It would have been about 1975 or 76.

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