Remembering Carleton Place-Not Finger Pointing–Wesley Parsons




Editor’s Note- Have you got something to say about Carleton Place? Good or bad, or maybe even memories. Send me your thoughts if you would like them published.  I can edit them for you.

Contact me Linda  at


 Not Finger Pointing–by Wesley Parsons



I was born in the Carleton Place hospital back in 1971. My mom stayed with my grandmother for a bit when I was first born. Our first place that I have memories of was an apartment up above the Paul Nelson Kodak store at the corner of Bridge and Emily. I remember it was tiny with wood paneled walls. I don’t remember if it was noisy downstairs, but I do remember spending hours looking out that front window at the hustle and bustle of the main street.


Shortly after that we moved to Pattie Drive, where I would spend the next 10 years of my life, being a kid and finding ways to get into trouble. I remember biking across town, back and forth to St. Mary’s for school, and sometimes after school I would stop in and visit my grandma, she worked at Hastie’s on Bridge street. They had a ton of bins and shelves full of aluminum parts for plumbing and heating, interesting tidbits for a boy always looking to make a fort. The store shared a wall with Young’s Variety and my grandma would give me some change and I’d run next door to get some treat or another. I remember he used to carry “Tasty Toothpicks” in cinnamon and they were only a dime.



Paul Nelson from Google Image


Across the street was Stedman’s Five and Dime; they had everything, toys, clothes, and kitchen stuff.  When they brought out their water guns it was a sure sign summer was on the way. There were lots of little treat stores back then, besides Young’s there was the Maple Leaf Dairy, there was the little convenience store on Lake Avenue (now the bakery shop), there was even a small little mom and pop place over on Moffatt, which I’m sure they ran that store right out of their home. My point, to this stroll down memory lane, is this. Hastie’s isn’t there any more, neither is the Kodak (Blacks) store, Stedmans, Youngs, Bill and Elsie’s, or even the Dairy. The downtown has changed, the times have changed and businesses have always opened and closed,  as such is the cycle of life, business or otherwise.



We, as a town, can’t point to our current leadership and say “it’s your fault” our downtown is empty. Just as I don’t think we can blame past leadership for past failed businesses. I’ve been contacted a lot about my previous notes and criticisms over the past couple weeks. I want to go on record and say I’m not blaming the mayor or our council for the shape of our down town. Sadly though, I also can’t applaud them either for the shape of our down town because they really haven’t done anything either way. They haven’t hurt the situation but they certainly haven’t helped it either.


The trend in business style and structure has meant that small business needs to be more adaptable. We know in today’s world, a small business needs to be ‘online’, at least to be found. We know that business needs to streamline and automate and collaborate. These are things that a recent article about the town of Almonte highlighted, specifically in the areas that those downtown businesses are doing well.

What does Almonte have that we don’t have?


Downtown Carleton Place


Almonte in the 70s

The downtown corridor in Almonte is no larger then ours, no prettier that’s for sure. We both have large stone heritage buildings, and a beautiful waterway. If you want to know the differences though, take a stroll down their main-street and then take a stroll down ours.

Picture yourself as a tourist from the city, would you visit their shops on their main-street or would you visit ours? Why are they able to collaborate as a team, how do they pull together to help each other? “A rising tide raises all ships” seems to work over there but have we tried that here? We have the people and the passion…we could and should have the direction and assistance and guidance from the town. So why is Almonte on the rise and Carleton Place on the decline?

edited by- Linda Seccaspina


Jeremy Stinson—The Mom and Pop store on Moffatt was West End or West Side Grocery owned for a time by Wayne Connelly. The family is still in the area. I believe they lived across the street or one street down on Herriott from the store. I remember store closing when I was quite little. (1980?) It is a private home now.


Almonte Featured on Shopify — Of Course I am Jealous

Life Before Digital Cameras in Carleton Place – Remembering Paul Nelson

Stedman’s of Carleton Place 1950s

Stedman’s — Carleton Place Memories

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.

4 responses »

  1. The Mom and Pop store on Moffatt was West End or West Side Grocery owned for a time by Wayne Connelly. The family is still in the area. I believe they lived across the street or one street down on Herriott from the store. I remember store closing when I was quite little. (1980?) It is a private home now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The store that was on Lake Avenue was the first Becker’s store in Carleton Place and the valley. My mom was the manager, Pat Moldowan. She was the one that trained all the managers in the area as she was considered the best and was the regional manager for training new managers. I remember growing up playing store in the back room with all the stock. 🙂


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