Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 3- St. Andrew’s to Central School

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 3- St. Andrew’s to Central School



Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Read in the series

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 1– Canadian Tire to The Moose

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 2- Milano Pizza to Milady Dress Shop

church-opendoors-1-Family-2St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church–PCCWeb Photo

39 Bridge Street Carleton Place Carleton Place

Joann Voyce said:  “Tomorrow June 4th, 2017 is the 130th anniversary of the laying of the corner stone at St Andrews and I am speaking about the history of St Andrews. Come join them!

The congregation was organized by *Rev. George Buchanan removed in 1869 from Beckwith 7th Line Presbyterian Church of Scotland to Carleton Place Old Kirk which stands at St. Paul and William Streets.  In July of 1886 John Gillies donated the land for the church. Mr. G.W. Willoughby got the contract to erect the church and Moffat and Co. did the carpentry work.

The present St. Andrew’s Church building on Bridge Street was dedicated January 1888 by Rev. D.J. MacDonnel of Toronto, and its corner stone laid by the Rev. George M. Grant, Principal of Queen’s University, and dedicated June 4 of 1887. The current Minister is Rev. Barry Carr.

In 2017 a deal is set to close on July 4,  and the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church building in Carleton Place will a new owner — Ministries Without Borders/All Nations Church. The property was listed on Feb. 17 with Tim Lee of Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc., and it attracted a lot of interest including being offered to the town. For an extended read on St Andrew’s read: For the Love of St. Andrew’s– 130th Anniversary

38 Bridge Street Carleton Place Ontario

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38 Bridge Street Carleton Place Ontario

The building at 38 Bridge Street was originally owned by a Gemmil, but no first name was given. For a short time in the 1920s Hassan Abdallah (known far and wide for Santa visits at his store) operated his general store in this little building next to Central School that was built circa 1890.  Later on Abdallah moved farther up the street, and it was noted that Swan’s bakery (John Swan) was here for a time as well. I have little mention of the Swan’s except that his son Al Swan played for a short time on the Carleton Place baseball team with our very iconic own “Lefty Hill” in the 30s.



Just found this.. Clipped from The Ottawa Journal14 Nov 1899, TuePage 2


In 1936 a local ad it said that G.A. Cox ran the Central Candy Store at 24 Bridge Street–”located near Central School”.  So, whether the street numbers changed after that, or was the Central Candy store located in the empty parking lot where there were two buildings that were torn down? Hopefully we will solve that mystery, as there was no mention on Lloyd Hughes Main Street list either of a G.A. Cox..

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Thomas Stevenson and his half sister Miss Brisland then operated a grocery store in that location. The store was red tar paper brick back then with the big Central School fence separating the properties. After Mr. Stevenson gave up his business, Mrs. Mulvey carried on until it was turned into a residence occupied by Preston and Laura Shail. In 1975, the Shails made 38 Bridge Street into a residence and now the Smith family run a barbershop on the first floor and there are apartments on the second floor.

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Photo-Ted Hurdis–Aunt Mae bottom left and uncle Frank top right. I read somewhere that Frank had a grocery store perhaps prior to the restaurant? Sorry I don’t remember mom telling me the name. Author’s Note-Because of the “red tar paper brick appearance” of the building and the step– I am wondering if this is in front of the candy store and the windows were changed? Opinions?

Ray Paquette remembers the “Patience of Job” shown by Mrs. Mulvey as they pondered what to buy with the nickel they had, not a small sum in his youth. Everything seemed to be “2 for a penny”, or “three for a penny” so the decisions made at Mulvey’s was often our first lesson in personal financial management. The right decision could fill the little paper bag that our purchases were stowed in!

Marilyn White– Went to candy store a lot. There really were so many choices. It was great going to Central school and having the store right there. Ray is so right about her being very patient.

Llew Lloyd– I remember the grab bags plus a jaw breaker gumball machine that had one special coloured ball in it . if that ball dropped you won a special prize.

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston– She was a sweet lady – those were the days of penny candy – imagine getting 2 3 or 4 or even 5 candies for a penny – I am surprised we could work at all in the afternoons with all the sugar buzz – oh wait! I couldn’t……and I actually do not remember a single thing about the rest of the store – just the candy display.

Carleton Place Trivial Pursuit Notes from Ted Hurdis

My other great aunt Mae Mulvey ran a restaurant right beside this building —right where the Maclyments lived.  I don’t remember what it was called though. Interesting side note she was an extra in one of the first “moving picture shows: One Million BC it was called I think. Aunt Mae had one of the first coloured televisions in town. The third one I believe hahaha it was so exciting.

Thelma Robinson was my aunt. Aunt Thelma and uncle Sandy had the candy store. Interesting side not before coming to Carleton Place Uncle Sandy also owned the Superior restaurant in Almonte.

Current Owners–Ike and Dot Smith from The Barber Shop-38 Bridge St Carleton Place — 613-818-2028.




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal03 Jun 1949, FriPage 23



43 Bridge Street Carleton Place The Leslie/ Comba Building


Leslie Building Bridge Street- 1887 Toronto Globe & Mail


Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


43 Bridge Street Carleton Place The Leslie/ Comba Building

This is my favourite building in Carleton Place as this three storey building is a one of a kind on Bridge Street for being the only building to have a façade of tin. 

Jacob Leslie began his furniture and undertaking business in 1873. In 1878 the records show that Leslie moved to the building at 43 Bridge Street which is located across from the Central Public School. The present building was constructed in 1895, however it sustained a fire in March 1899. The back of the building is said to have collapsed also in the 1950s but I will add that information after I talk to Blaine Cornell.

In 1915, W.H. Matthews took over Leslie’s Furniture and Undertaking and he also served as Mayor of Carleton Place between 1928 and 1929. Mr. Matthews employed Mr. Cullen and Sam Torrence, but he also hired another undertaker by the name of Ed Fleming when he moved to Carleton Place with his wife Doris. After Fleming worked with Matthews for some time he left and began his own funeral parlour on Lake Ave West.




In 1950 the building saw a change of ownership and Alan R. Barker took over and operated there until 1962 and then moved to McArthur Street.  Ray Paquette said after Mr. Matthews operated a furniture store and undertaking business he sold to Alan Barker who continued operating both businesses. One of the staff with the Matthews store was a Mr. Fulford whose son Billy was a chum of mine at Central School. A furniture business was next when Stewart Comba and his wife Edith Giles moved to the Leslie building after he moved from the Taylor block where The Blossom Shop now exists.




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 deprtment.



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The local kids shopping with their parents used to love running up the creaky stairs of the old building 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.

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 you needed for the home, and their personal belief was always giving good service to the people of Carleton Place.


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Joyce Murray was the 3rd registered owner of the building in 1995 (Steward Comba rented it out to others, but they were never owners of the building).  Murray’s  Furniture became known as the spot to shop when they moved into the Leslie block if you wanted something different. She admits she was thinking about the Old Canadian Tire Building on Beckwith at one point as she felt things might be better suited to one floor. But, she was personally advised not to do it because of environmental concerns, and was glad she didn’t. She sold the building in 2005 and moved her business to Murray’s Flea Market on High Street.

I wrote a story about the old Leslie building in my book Titling the Kilt and Joyce confirms there were ghosts that resided on the second floor where they used to keep the coffins in former years. Joyce told me tales of missing scissors and shadows seen on the closed circuit TV that could not be explained. But she paid them no mind, as they weren’t evil spirits because they always made sure to return the things they “borrowed”.

In 2006, the Leslie Block housed a party supply store called Let’s Party and later the Bridge Street building went under interior renovations and Little Paws Gift & Thrift is on the first floor and the upper floors are apartments.



Vicki, Noella, Joyce and Shannon



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal17 Aug 1899, ThuPage 7




Related reading

Tales From the Leslie Building

Comba’s -The Scariest Building in Carleton Place?

The Day the Comba Building Sold-Taylor Block

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

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

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979


42 Bridge Street Carleton Place





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42 Bridge Street Carleton Place–Central School and the current Post Office





The children in these photos attended Central School on Bridge Street, where the post office is now located. It was taken between 1918 and 1920. Both Photos-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Circa-1842, 1870, 1962-1963

In the 1850s, parents had to pay what was called school rates and school attendance was not compulsory. The 8 room stone Central Public School was built in 1870 and then in 1876 it was rebuilt and sat in the middle of this large corner lot.

This site was the first Carleton Place Common School that replaced the original form of the 1870 central school that was originally built to form the letter T so a single teacher could watch all the pupils.  In 1919 alterations and additions were also added to the Central School.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal25 Sep 1919, ThuPage 17


In July 1, 1962 the school had to be vacated because the site had been purchased for the new post office. “The Carleton Place School Board voted to demolish the building in 1963 because of increasing maintenance costs, lack of playground space and the cost of implementing necessary changes for fire safety. The School Board received $45,000 for the property in 1962, which was used to build an eleven room addition to Caldwell Street Public School”. (Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum)


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Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–Back row: Roger Easson, Jack McLaughlin, Bobby Richardson, Brian Clifford, Bobby Besbitt, Teddy Letts, Tim Walford, Alan Dryden. Third row: Jean Baker, Joan Baker, Christine Corneil, Lan Ann Cachrane, Linda Johnston, Deborah Johnston, Linda Miner, Cathy McNeely. Second row: Brian Saunders, Allan Parier, Allan Stevens, Barry Richardson, Victor Bennett, Paul McDowall, Steven Dickie, Ricky Caylis. Front Row: Keith Jinkinson, Ruth Wilson, Diana Wilson, Raymond Coulon, Bonnie Rasinhurg, Ross Trimble, Carol Ann Dalton, Gerald Beyers. The teacher is Miss Ollie Robertson.


Marj Whyte in her notations in 2001 mentioned some teachers during her attendance at Central School. They were: Mrs. Peter Stewart, Margaret Galvin, Lillian Leach, Verna Devlin, Jennie Playfair, Margaret Sturgeon, Minnie McEwen and J.D. McAdam was the principal.

Ted Hurdis said he didn’t attend Central School, but the school used to hold tombollas there. He said he wasn’t sure about the definition of “Tombolla” but it was a fun money raiser with a kids fish pond and various other games of skill and chance. Author’s Note-To this day I still call small fairs *tombollas and no one knows what the heck I am talking about.

Marilyn White- I went there for 6 years. Boys and girls had their own entrances and the boys played on one side and girls on the other. 1952-1958. Great having candy store beside it. When you were in grade 6 which the principle taught, you got a chance to ring the bell out of the window for recess, start of school and end of school.

Ray Paquette Remember Mr. Munro the custodian? The faint smell of coal gas on a frosty winter morning accompanied by the wall of warmth as you entered the school.



Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-This clock originally hung in the front hall of the Central School on Bridge Street. Manufactured by the Ansonia Clock Company of New York, it was the school’s official timepiece. Winnifred McRostie was born in Carleton Place in 1902, attended local schools and became a teacher. She taught for many years at Central School, well past normal retirement age. Principal Alton Cassidy presented this clock to McRostie upon her retirement from teaching. It hung in her Moffat Street home until her death at the age of 98 in 2000.



sch1.jpgThe end of the Central School– Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Sirotek Construction and Company filed on the low bid at $174,470 on the Carleton Place building on the demolition of Central School and Douglas Bremmer contractors and Builders Ltd at $204,447 filed the highest tender.


The Post Office’s architectural style is not as significant as Central School was but this building still is unique as there are no other buildings constructed in a similar fashion. In 1968 an addition was added to the post office on the west side even thought it had only been built a few years prior.




*Tombola-noun. British. A game in which people pick tickets out of a revolving drum and certain tickets win immediate prizes, typically played at a fete or fair. ‘entrance includes a tombola and raffle’ mass noun ‘traditional games such as tombola or bingo

Related Reading:

The ‘Crowded House’ of Central School in Carleton Place

The Central School Piano

The Mystery in the Central School in Carleton Place

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down-Prince of Wales School High Street







Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Read in the series

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 1– Canadian Tire to The Moose

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 2- Milano Pizza to Milady Dress Shop

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Carleton Place — A Valley Town at Confederation 

In Canada’s Year of Confederation, the busy sawmill village of Carleton Place had a population of about 700 people. Many citizens were sons and daughters of the Scottish emigrants who had settled the area in the 1820’s.Most of the town’s buildings stood on the north side of the Mississippi River, with only about 12 houses on the south.

Shops on Bell, Mill and Bridge Street were open from 6 am to 10 pm and the average work day for laborers was 11 hours! Want to know more about what Carleton Place (formerly Morphy’s Falls) looked like in 1867?

Read more in the Carleton Place Community Information Guide or stop by the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and check out their summer exhibition.


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.

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