Sixteen Tons–Carleton Place Man Wins Big!


ottawa ex

Photo of the Ottawa Ex which was  had a lot of rain in 1961 but 595,000 attended-Tennessee Ernie Ford– June Taylor Dancers and eye catching Anita Bryant for the youngsters:)

It was Saturday night in August of 1961, and Franklin John McGregor was quietly sitting in the Carleton Place home of his sister and brother-in-law. He got a phone call which changed his composure– and possibly his life. Franklin had won $25,000 which is about $196,000 today. Minutes before, featured artist Tennessee Ernie Ford had rolled up his coat sleeve in Ottawa and dug down deep into more that 100,000 “Ex” silver dollar tickets to pull out McGregor’s name.

It was a 50,000 to 1 shot– as Franklin had bought just two tickets. After the phone call he just couldn’t believe it. Sunday, he began to–when the local car salesmen began to call him from Bennett’s. He went straight home after the news, and his parents congratulated him. Frank tried to get his father George (Pete) McGregor  (who worked as a mechanic at Uplands) to join him on the trip to Ottawa, but his Dad had been sick, so he declined.
His uncle Merrill Giles of Carleton Place volunteered to drive him to the Exhibition grounds. A friend, Harry Morris of of Carleton Place, who was with him when he bought the ticket, also joined the exursion to Ottawa. Twenty five minutes the three made it to the Coliseum offices of the Ex– but not before Frank’s car broke down. Yup, Frank’s fan belt broke on his 1955 car, and all he could say was that he would like a new car.

He quickly admitted that was all he wanted for now, and in fact, it wouldn’t be a big car or a sports car- he would wait for the new 1962 models. The Citizen also mentioned he was romantically unattached, and had a Grade 9 education, but had toyed with going back to school.

When he got back to Carleton Place to his father’s home on Moore Street a host of friends greeted him and they partied until 4 am. Frank had worked for the same company for five years, and always bought a ticket to win a new home which used to be drawn at the EX sponsored by the Ottawa Shriner’s Club.  In the end Franklin decided to take the cash instead of a house— and with tickets at a dollar each his win was quite the steal!


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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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