Let the Merchants take over Carleton Place and Almonte?



First Town Council – Carleton Place – 1890-1892. Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

This was an interesting piece in the Almonte Gazette–90 years of it online here

Almonte Gazette 1903

The Carleton Place Herald suggested in 1903 that the Merchants’ Association of that town take a hand in the municipal elections and outline a ticket of businesses, and enlist a group of businessmen to take charge as the town’s councilmen. Run the town they wrote in both newspapers– as most citizens were displeased on how both towns were being run.

Why could not Almonte Merchants’ Association do the same here the Almonte Gazette asked? Their board  of Trade a few years ago did some good work along this line, and similar good work might be done once again by the Merchants’ Association.

“While we have a good representation at the council board for the past few years, the interests of the town would not suffer if a larger number of the businessmen who are dependent upon the prosperity of the town for the success of their enterprises had a hand on the helm of the town’s affairs”.

Makes sense to me….


Almonte Council–no date– from Almonte.com

But would we have enjoyed true success with businessmen of that era if they had been in charge? We are only to be reminded by the powerful George Cadbury who gave his female workers upon the time of their marriage: a carnation, a Bible and the heave ho from their job. After all–very few women were in professional fields as they were all needed to provide a dozen or so offspring quickly, and then die young from exhaustion.


Then there were the “Scrooges’ of the business fleet who prospered-yet the middle class still gave away 10% of their income. But, there were people like Andrew Carnegie who believed that a man who died rich was a disgrace and paid for over 2,811 libraries such as the one in Smiths Falls. Now that would have worked with someone like him leading the flock.
historical (1).jpg

Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American, whose fortune was estimated at half a billion dollars, spent $43,000,000 to establish libraries throughout the world. In 1902, G. F. McKim, of Smiths Falls, wrote to Carnegie requesting a library grant. A grant of $11,000, which never had to be paid back to the Carnegie Foundation, was used to build the first library. In the minutes of the first recorded Library Board meeting we read, “On the 25th of January, 1902, Mr. G.F. McKim had a letter from Andrew Carnegie, Esq., 5 Fifty-First Street, New York, in answer to a letter asking for $10,000.00 for a public library, saying that he would give that amount if the town would provide a site and agree to maintain the library.”

A committee, consisting of C.B.Frost, F.I. Frost and W.H. Frost, matched Carnegie’s grant penny for penny. The Frost committee paid out $500 a year for 20 years to pay for the upkeep of the library. Town Council also paid an annual grant of $500 for the same purpose. An additional committee consisting of Mayor James S. Gould, G.I. Frost and G.F. McKim, supervised the construction. The first stone was laid on June 3, 1903, and the building was completed February 25, 1904.

Smiths Falls had the honor of showing Carnegie the very first of the libraries he had donated to, during his first visit to Canada. On the mantel in the reading room of the library there was a photograph of him in a frame. He noticed it and offered to put his autograph on it. In an instant it was out of the frame and borrowing a pen he wrote: “A rare pleasure to visit a library I have given. Success to Smiths Falls.”

The autographed picture was lost to the library for many years and after an exhaustive search was rediscovered during the 2002 restoration project. The portrait now hangs of the wall in the library to commemorate his visit.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

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.

3 responses »

  1. There are two types of business philosophies. One was used by Terry Mathews, an atheist, to make $ 2 billion, so far. The other was used by Jim Pattison, a Pentecostal, to make $ 4 billion, in decline. Terry’s is called trust and outcome. Pattison’s is called process and control. Terry’s relies on our advanced cognitive ability. Pattison’s exploits our subhuman thinking process driven by fear. The advantage of Terry’s is it creates lots of employees who, like Terry, are wealthy enough to retire but don’t. They continue on to do innovative things with their lives, like Terry. They are interested so interesting. They are inquisitive.

    Governments can not be run like a JIm Pattison business because most things are more complex than they seem. If we had no empathy the Jim Pattison model would be ok. Unlike Jim Pattison most of us have empathy. Most don’t need a vengeful God to pretend we care about an others suffering. Most are better off in a trust and outcome organization. They are empowered to challenge myths.

    Like the deadly myth that a businessman can run a government. Ask Flynt Michigan moms with babies poisoned by lead in the towns drinking water. It’s poison because of the process and control businessman who was elected as conservative governor because he has business experience. People, unfortunately, are not spread sheet numbers. If you treat them that way you murder them. Maybe that is why he is a Christian conservative politician. He has no innate empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

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