Comba’s -The Scariest Building in Carleton Place?



All photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


In the early days the school children used to cross over to the other side of Bridge Street to avoid the Leslie Building as it always had a certain mystique about it. Before Comba’s the building housed a series of funeral directors. Alan Barker, one of the funeral directors and furniture store owner, used to tease the kids by standing outside the building and inviting the kids in as he rubbed his hands together.  Those delivering flower arrangements would also endure his dark humour as he would stand behind the door  and as they opened it, Barker would yell “Boo”

Comba Furniture began in the furniture business as a second hand store and at one time had one of the largest stocked stores in the Ottawa Valley. They used to carry Vilas Furniture (that was made in my hometown of Cowansville, Quebec) and ran credit for his customers. Gemmil Comba was a veteran of the first great war and his son Stewart was also a veteran of the second world war. Daughter Joan married William Collie Jr.  of Appleton in October of 1940,  and daughter Bev looked after the Record and Drape dept.

The local kids shopping with their parents used to love running up the creaky stairs to the third floor and remarked that it always seemed spooky up there. Maybe that was because the embalming had always been done on the third floor when the building had been in the funeral business.

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Photo-Linda Seccaspina

In 1948 they carried Glidden paints and many lines of goods from records, drapes, novelties, rugs, bedding ,refrigerators and electrical appliances. From all the ads I found in the newspaper archives, Comba believed in Canadian made products and he carried the Canadian made Spartan Televisions and Addison appliances.  They sold everything ypu needed for the home, and their personal belief was always giving good service to the people of Carleton Place.


oriolesThe Carleton Place Orioles were: Leader was: Clinton Drader, H.A. Gill, Fanklin Boyd, Clyde Emmerson, John Ball, G.W. Comba– Photo by Canada Hardy’s Studio- Carleton Place 1932. Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Gemmil was also a member of The Carleton Place Orioles,  past president of the Canadian Legion Branch 192 of Carleton Place, and installed his son Stewart as president in 1952. Stewart retired as a past Legion president in 1959, and was instrumental in getting the new Legion building built in 1960. Gem was also mayor of Carleton Place, and in April of 1957, he went to Germany and England for two months to seek out industrial contacts for the town of Carleton Place.

Comba’s became Stewart’s briefly in the late 1980’s before being purchased by Joyce Murray and then becoming “Murray’s Furniture”.


What do you remember about Comba’s?– Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum













Related reading:

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

Do You Know What I Found?

Win a House in Carleton Place!

Smooth Criminals in Carleton Place –The Robberies on Bridge Street

The Emporium of Life — Joyce Murray


Blaine Cornell-I remember Comba’s being located in the building where The Blossom Shop is at the corner of Mill and Bridge. This was in the 1950’s.

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston— I have 78 records from over 60 years ago purchased at Stewart Comba’s furniture store. There was a place at the back with a wall of records with manilla covers. My Mom used to take us there and we could listen to the record in the store before buying. (She also remembers it being on the corner of Mill and Bridge)

COMBA, Stewart Wesley 1919-2009 Furniture Store Owner– Veteran WWII Peacefully at the Carleton Place Hospital, on Wednesday March 25, 2009 at the age of 90. Beloved husband of the late Edith Comba (nee Giles). Dear father of Carol (Richard Scott). Much loved grandfather of Leslie Huber, Martin Puckett and David Puckett. Cherished great-grandpa of Anna, Caitlin, Emily and Matthew. Survived by sisters Joan Collie (late William) of Toronto and Beverley (Ron Salisbury) of London, Ontario. Friends may call at the ALAN R. BARKER FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., and on Friday from 12 noon until the funeral service in the chapel at 2:00 p.m. with Fr. David Andrew officiating. Interment later in the spring at St. James Anglican Cemetery. For those who wish, a donation to the charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family – See more at:


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.

2 responses »

  1. I remember Comba’s being located in the building where the flower shop is at the corner of Mill and Bridge. This was in the 1950’s.

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