Did You Know Where Happy Valley was in Carleton Place?





From an article in Prohibition Canada

To say that not everyone in Canada supported prohibition is an enormous understatement.  One has to understand that when prohibition was enacted in most provinces, it was the circumstances of the referendums (many men were at war, many women were voting, it was seen as being patriotic to support prohibition) that tipped the vote on the side of majority.  Nevertheless, liquor was banned, yet many still wanted liquor.

There were numerous ways to get around the system of provincial prohibition, and just hide from the government.  Some of these places and tactics include: doctors’ prescriptions, speakeasies, or blind pigs, and bootlegging among others.  One way people tried to obtain alcohol legally was through a doctor’s prescription.  If given a doctor’s prescription, that person could go to the local drugstore and fill the prescription by buying alcohol, as at the time it was common to drink alcohol if one was sick.

In Ontario from 1923-1924, doctors had issued a total of 810,000 prescriptions for alcohol, which would seem suspicious, but the outbreak of the Spanish Flu at the time accounted for many actually being ill and others pretending they had influenza just for the liquor.  As public sale of alcohol was outlawed, the drinking went underground to private places not everyone could access.

Speakeasies, or blind pigs, were private saloons set up during prohibition that were accessible only by password and were highly popular because they were bootlegging (the sale of alcohol as a beverage) at a time were alcohol was not as easy to come by.  Despite the fact that the sale of alcohol was banned, these speakeasies still obtained good liquor from brewers and distillers through bribery, and falsified contracts.  Though not all liquor going around at that time was good liquor, some who could not obtain real liquor, produced their own moonshine, which was homemade liquor.



So, we have read about an area around Santiago Street called Chiselville in the 1800s a few months ago. But where was Happy Valley? Well chances are if you talk to someone who has lived her a spell, they will tell you that Happy Valley was just off Townline Street in the Lanark and Carleton Street area, where you could get yourself some illegal booze no questions asked.

I am still waiting for some stories to come out of the locals to write about this area–so if you know of any stories about the white lightening of Carleton Place do tell please. I am all ears!




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal07 Apr 1950, FriPage 12

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.

10 responses »

  1. In the 1960s and earlier Happy Valley Carleton Place started at the end of Neelon Street. Neelon Street ended at Lisgar Stree then. One side of Happy Valley went from Neelon to the Mississippi River. As you walk toward the river from Neelon, to the right was Happy Valley, to the left was the town dump. The soccer fields are built over the town dump and the arena is where Happy Valley begins. Happy Valley extends over Begley Street and Patterson Crescent to the new Curling Club, all were open fields and wooded area. It ended around McNeely Ave. where farmland began and there was no McNeely Ave on that side of Lake Avene then, just a farmers road. I believe it was called Happy Valley because War Vets suffering what is now know as PTSD, then had no treatment or diagnosis and were left to their own to deal with the traumas of war. Here is where they went to escape their trauma, in a bottle of wine. Our then treatment of Vets a sad disgrace on our society. But as a small child it was a wonder land of nature that I lived, grew and explored in.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Good question. This is my understanding. You may want to review it with people who lived in the area. I lived at 12 Neelon. I was a kid so….. John Edwards was a year or two older than me so people of that era, or older, may be able to verify the accuracy of my memories.


      • Sure, post it. I’m involved with researching the ships made in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia. we have several hundred names and are now looking to find their stories. The people who built them, sailed them, where they sailed etc. Is this a good forum to start gathering hundreds of different stories?


  2. Linda there seems to be two threads to this. The other thread is much more active and has refreshed my memory on Happy Valley, or more accurately Treasure Valley. My response in the other thread was:
    What an active blog! Glad I returned to see if my comments were posted. Wendy LeBlanc is correct the area I described was Treasure Valley. I’d forgotten about Sh1t Creek until reading Joann Voyce comments. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.


    • Peter.. all is well– Happy Valley was the first blog.. the comments are on the most recent one.. so now we know is was Treasure Valley and will add that.. This is why we do this.. we gather info.. 🙂


  3. Yes the area off Neelin was Treasure Valley. We used to hunt rabbits and shoot ground hogs with bows and later 22’s right behind the hospital! Dumb I know but we did. The community center sits at the start now. and it went out to the Arklan. Happy Valley as you stated was off the Town Line. Art was the local bootlegger. and he served many of us. I remember my son running out a while back and he went to Art’s. Art recognized him and mentioned to Matt that he had now served three generations of our family. Poor Art was devastated when the laws changed and you could buy booze on Sunday legally. He couldn’t figure out how a man was supposed to make an honest living. Just passed Art’s at the end of the street was Bill and Mary Flynn’s house. Yep Jerry’s grand parents! I picked my father up many a Sunday night there so he could get home and get some sleep and go to work Monday morning at Findlay’s. If he didn’t make it on time he would be “called up on the carpet”. Aah the good old days!


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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