We Didn’t Start the Fire Carleton Place? Oh Yes we did!



Photo-John Rayner– Have you been to Stalwarts?Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum walking tour Thursday, July 21, 2016- Have you ever been to the museum?



You don’t need to agree with me- in fact, if we all agreed to agree, life would be quite boring. But this an Op-Ed essay, and my opinions are conceived from what I have been observing, and doing historical research writing about the town of Carleton Place.


If you haven’t noticed, Carleton Place has been “sinking into the mud” for decades. People like to point fingers at every Tom, Dick, and Harry— but, did you know that the Carleton Place council throughout history hasn’t changed much. There were once even riots at the Victoria Public School because citizens on each side of the Central Bridge were fighting over to which area a school should go to.


Then there were the councilmen from years back having issues with the Findlay’s and they kept that grudge up for years. They finally got payback by demolishing a Findlay stone home on High Street. Two skids of stone were supposed to be saved from that historical home only to find out this year it was tossed years ago like leftovers on McArthur Island.

A century or so ago our local council did not grant water rights to a burgeoning Rosamond Mill- and they left for Almonte. How about the proposed Findlay property development that went nowhere, and the list goes on. There, there are the ones that got away to keep Carleton Place forever off a “must visit’’ list– and now, those offers lost have been breeding into the hundreds.

The Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette, this week and last, had front-page news about our local BIA and “politics”- and gossip says there is more to come. I also question the issue of town staff being paid to research a local citizen lest they be in breach, unless it’s robbery or murder, instead of focusing on our problems at hand.

What problems they ask?

I am tired of hearing that the Main Street is ‘coming back’. Coming back from what? I hear very little about increased business- I see no crowds on the street. Am I wrong? Am I missing something? All I see are still empty storefronts and buildings for sale on MLS listings. Tell me I am wrong-I want to be wrong.

We do have some jewels on that street-but are people frequenting them?  Have you gone into The Granary and seen what a world class store that it has become? Have you ever talked to Krista at Apple Cheeks? What about the gals at Wisteria, or Nancy from Nancy’s Impressions? Do you know we have a world-class designer at The Dress Shop? Or, have you experienced someone who really understands your feet at Graham’s Shoes and lived real customer service? What about the new restaurant, Chesswood, or our other restaurants? Of course money is at a premium, but what if we took turns to help support our businesses.


So am I complaining? I hope readers do not view this as complaints- I’d rather say I am trying to point out an alarming issue that grows dire by the day. Are other small towns having our problems? Of course they are, but that does mean we have to follow them?


I got tired this week of spending most of my day trying to promote Carleton Place and hearing invalid- none-water-holding statements and complaints. It has become very clear to me that people would rather complain than support their town and that saddens me greatly. No matter what anyone seems to do, no one listens, and they just love to pass the buck. You know why? It’s so much easier to put your head in the sand, ignore the house on fire, and just hope someone has cleaned up the ashes when you finally come up for air.


I am not going to stop writing about history, but as for local Carleton Place “promotion”, I kind of hit the wall this week. I sat there exasperated, knowing no matter what I did, or how hard I stomped and screamed, I could not foresee ANY change in this town- especially with the history–especially, with an alleged divided council, and especially, with a town that fights change every darn step of the way– and I have history to back me up to prove the point.


That past and current history has put a horrible damper on Carleton Place leading an exceptional life- and getting on lists of places that tourists should come and visit. It is a complete denial of responsibility, and all of us are simply continuing to excuse ourselves from being responsible for our town and its well being— and especially for its future.


You can NOW read my historical musings daily on The Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook pageThe Tales of Carleton Place has been shut down due to the author becoming very sad and exasperated about the fate of our town.



The Riot on Edmund Street –Schools in Carleton Place

The Carleton Place House That Disappeared

So What Happened to The Findlay House Stone?

The Exact Reason Rosamond Left Carleton Place

Commercial Centre Planned for Findlay Site



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.

6 responses »

  1. Hi Linda

    You are truly banging your head against a brick wall. We had a few significant changes to town council in the last election, and I believe all for the better except one or two. I think they have done a reasonable job in maintaining the status quo, but I really don’t see any difference otherwise, They are experiencing awesome growth on the home and dwelling levels, but not much in the line of businesses. I am absolutely dumbfounded that 3 buildings such as Almonte Firetrucks, The old Brick and DRS are all empty. The town staff apparently aren’t alarmed about this because they are growing the tax base, (I know quite a few people who moved here and then left because our taxes are so high). The only business that was discussing coming here, was the Chocolate people, and we wouldn’t let them in. Our BIA and Business Development people do not even hold seminars that I am aware of, to help people with startups, which is why, when a lot of people try, they fail.You can make changes to the town council every few years, but you are stuck with town staff when they pass their probation period. Most as far as I am concerned, have no vision. There is no reason to draw business here because we have Walmart and Home Depot. Sadly that has ruined a lot of the small town heritage, as it has in many small towns.


    • I know I am banging my head against wall.. but I will keep banging it LOLOL.. and there were more things turned down which I do believe will be in our local paper soon– or I hope to hell it will be.. There is no vision– and it sucks. If I had run my business like that I would have been closed in a month. All I can keep doing is talking.. Love ya and thank you a million time for comments as that is what we need. and loud


  2. I am a supporter of our small town and it’s businesses but I also believe it is important to support the town’s history. Council has to find away to support business while maintaining the town’s history. Change is if fickle but it can be done while still acknowledging the history that built this town.


  3. I love the murals on some of the walls of the businesses in CP. They advertise some of the old businesses and never do you drive down the main street, that you don’t see something or have a recollection of something that happened and it is tweaked by a sign or a mural. I am very thankful to have such a strong heritage here, and so many fond memories of CP. I realize times do change, but with the inevitable joining of Hwy 7 to Ottawa, as we build closer and closer, we will someday lose that rich heritage we have, and be swallowed up like Nepean was when it became part of Ottawa. It is important to us, and our kids to try to keep what we have, as long as we can. Sadly, with no vision whatsoever, I feel CP will someday, very soon, be swallowed up. It is already being referred to as a bedroom community of Ottawa. Sad to lose that heritage, but it really is a reality.


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