The Day the Cheque Company Bounced in Carleton Place







Photo- Tom Edwards–This is when mom, Ilene Edwards, worked at Rolarks for a short period of time. This is a card she received, when she was leaving, from some of the people she worked with. It appears that she worked the 4-12 shift. I remember when she was working there, because my dad was the cream corn and bologna king. I think  I had that every night for supper.


In February of 1977 Rolark Cheque Services announced they were closing their plant, forcing 93 employees to either move to Toronto or lose their jobs. The company had been manufacturing custom cheques since 1962. In an ironic twist, this was the same property that the Dunlops had sold part of their property for.

The reason for closing was because the complete cheque making service business was restructuring and had forced the shutdown. Previously they had filled orders for delivery for companies from coast to coast from Carleton Place, but now the banks ordered their cheques from the various regions across Canada. Of 93 employees, only 15 key personnel would be offered employment and relocation expenses in Toronto. Others who wanted to move at their own costs would be guaranteed jobs in Toronto.

Mary Cook wrote an article for the Ottawa Citizen in March of 1977 and said for most the future was uncertain and grim.. The announcement was met with grief and dismay in the town of Carleton Place. The phasing out of the plant was done over a 5-6 months period. Mayor Ted LeMaistre said it was a great shock to him, and he felt for the employees and families.

Rolark was a division of Rolph Clark Stone Ltd in Montreal. Rolph-Clark-Stone Limited was a Toronto-based lithographic and fine printing company. It was founded in 1849 by Joseph Thomas, Frank Rolph and David Smith under the name Rolph, Smith & Co. In 1904, a merger with T.J. Clark resulted in Rolph & Clark Limited. It was in 1917 that a final amalgamation with William Stone produced Rolph-Clark-Stone Limited.


In October of 1977 the  townspeople were pleasantly surprised when Blue Grass Inc of Carlisle Ky. said the company would be moving into the empty 35,000 square feet Rolark building to begin Canadian production of Speedo swimwear. They hoped to employ 100 people.




Files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum




Photo from Keith Giffin-

Rolark Cheque Service men”s fastball team riverside park grandstand,a lot of great times had there. Picture by Bunny Townend 1968-69 Gerry Townend–Bill Graham–Brent Purdy–Keith Giffin–Steve Wilson–Carl Townend–Charlie Clark–Charlie Purdy–Nick Burgess–Dave Jameison Harold McNeely Pat Timmons

Llew Lloyd –Thanks for sharing this Keith. Brings back some great memories of the old grandstand and the Carleton Place Industrial Fastball League

I must share one story . The man in the upper right corner is the coach of the team , Charlie Clark . One game when we played Rolarks they were short players and Charlie had to play . There came a point in the game when Charlie got into an argument with the umpire , Harry ” Runt ” Paquette . Yes , Ray Paquette‘s dad . Harry had no choice but to throw Charlie out of the game . Not a big problem for Charlie , he was the coach so he just sat on the bench and heckled Harry further . Harry then threw him out of the ballpark . Charlie then took a position along the first base fence line , a location known at that time as ” whisky row ” . Now the heckling had an audience . At this point Harry had had enough and banned Charlie from Riverside Park , ” for life ” . A few years after this incident the Grandstand was torn down . Not sure how this affected Charlie’s banishment.




Gloria Rattray Wilson The man being interviewed on the left was Mr. Gordon Thomas, who was my boss when I worked there. He was The Plant Manager in the 70’s


Keith Giffin Mr. Bob Leatherbarrel was the manager of Rolark Cheque Service . Bob Lay was the plant Forman , Mrs. Lorne Potter , Mig was the sec. When I worked at Rolark I was hired on at the Hawthorne mill as a guillotine operator, cutting paper. In the early 1970,s before I left Rolark , Mr. Leatherbarrel had been let go,

Marie WilsonThanks to Mrs. Potter, I worked here during the summer of 1970 as a proofreader. I was a student at Queen’s University at the time and the money I made that summer (with lots of overtime) paid for my third year of university. Great work experience — touched base with many former students at C.P. High School.




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.

5 responses »

  1. our father Bill Spencer was transferred from Rolark Cheque service in Toronto to the new Rolark in 1967 where is was the manager in the Bindry department. My brother, sister and myself went on to also work there. Also this is where I met my future husband, Ian Thorpe. Good times with a group of great community people. Sad loss for all of us. However I did go on to work for Speedo swimwear for the next 12 years till they went back to Kentucky. Thanks for the memories


  2. Thanks to Mrs. Potter, I worked here during the summer of 1970 as a proofreader. I was a student at Queen’s University at the time and the money I made that summer (with lots of overtime) paid for my third year of university. Great work experience — touched base with many former students at C.P. High School.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first job out of High School. Sweeping floors on midnights at Rolarks 1966. Fortunately my job prospects improve greatly in 1967 when I went to work at Leigh!


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