The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

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The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

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For a few years I have heard all about “The Rock of Carleton Place” in the Mississippi River in between Riverside and Centennial Park. When I saw Bill Brunton mention on Facebook that he was going to swim out to it on Sunday I asked him to take a picture. A lot of local folks like Tom Bryce said they spent a lot of time on that rock.  Bill said it was put there by a receding Glacier a couple hundred thousand years ago, so I hope it is or we have more than climate change to worry about! Bill figured it was underwater about 10 meters from the shore at Centennial Park and Tracey Thoms said it was still there.

So today Bill found it for us, and now we are documenting it for all that do no know or remember that rock. It’s part of Carleton Place!

Bill Brunton When I was at the Beach it was pretty funny. I swam out thinking I would just step into ” The Rock” nope, twice I got out and then finally told a guy what I was trying to find. Not one person there (10+) knew what I was talking about. They said they lived in town so I told them about it and then I found it.

If you swim out and look back at the park the new reference point is the net on the Soccer Pitch lol.  I swam out and found it, then I swam out with one arm holding the Phone/Camera in 3 plastic bags. I noticed the current while swimming with one arm and couldn’t find the rock right away the second time. Now if I went I could swim right to it! 

Thank you Bill!

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Norma Rotzal Used to swim to “the rock” from the Riverside Park all the time as a kid.

Ray Paquette That was another “rite of passage”, to be able to swim to the “rock” from the beach in Riverside Park. The swim to “the rock” from Centennial was no big deal (spoken like a long time “south sider”!!!).

Ruth Drummond Right on Ray. The event of the day was to swim across the river,sit on the rock for a rest ,then swim back. So proud when you could do it.

Lizzie Brunton About 8ft wide and 6ft high…had lots of fun on that rock..doing back flips, trying to stay on it when there was 15 kids pushing and shoving lol–First time I went I couldn’t find it…the river was so high and I’m sure it was 10 feet below..very frustrating lol but I eventually got there

Sandy Iwaniw—When I first came to CP, we had a st. Bernard/Lab cross who loved the water. We lived on Moffatt St. Then so many a summer evening we’d take him to Centennial Park and the river for a swim. He found the big rock right away and used to swim out and stand on it. If it hadn’t been for him, I might not have known about the big rock either.

Jane Churchill Pushing and shoving??? How did we ever survive??? Lmao

Susan Fraser Navin Haven’t seen that rock in many years!! Oh what fun we had!!
Jennifer Carr-TomsJust found “the rock” last week and my 12 year old son is loving it. Of course it’s all about being the king of the rock!
Wendy LeBlanc- We kids of the late 1950s and early 60s always called it ‘The Big Rock’ – never anything else. It was a rite of passage to be able to swim well enough to start out at Riverside Park, swim across and find it. At that time, there was no park on the other side of the river and certainly no lifeguard

Jennie Thom I used to swim out to the rock every time I swam at Centennial beach, and that was often.

Amber Boucher It was our break spot when swimming across from beach to beach.

Julie Carey I grew up on Moffatt street as Bill’s neighbour and we swam to the rock
Philip Lee I remember it well. Some of us who took lifeguard training even attempted to swim across underwater. To be honest I don’t recall if we actually managed to do it. 😀
Linda Gallipeau-Johnston Remember the first time I made it across – thought I was supergirl!
Philip Lee I remember it well. Some of us who took lifeguard training even attempted to swim across underwater. To be honest I don’t recall if we actually managed to do it. 
Dan Williams asked– but while cutting through the kiln we used to look for diving stones. Does anybody else remember these. We used to take them with us when we went swimming. The idea was you would toss them in the water and then go under to try to find them and bring them back up and do it again. The river was deeper in some places than others and some times you couldn’t stay under long enough to find them so you had to keep picking up smallish chunks of limestone to use since it would glitter even underwater. Small things indeed!

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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.

7 responses »

  1. When I first came to CP, we had a st. Bernard/Lab cross who loved the water. We lived on Moffatt St. Then so many a summer evening we’d take him to Centennial Park and the river for a swim. He found the big rock right away and used to swim out and stand on it. If it hadn’t been for him, I might not have known about the big rock either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are correct Wendy, “The Big Rock” was a must on both sides of the river! If you were swimming from either side the big rock was always the goal! Great fun and games, I can’t imagine a kid in town who wouldn’t know about it!! I would bet that this is the first time that it has been written about! A big part of growing up if you swam! Also swam from the concrete steps from the empty (at the time) dirt parking lot beside where Findlays or swim to the dam from the little park near the Powerhouse, occasionally off the roof of the Powerhouse (over the strands of barbed wire) to the water in front), the “new” bridge on highway #7 but best of all was in the tunnel where the water was released to the river! There was a ledge to get there and the water 💦 was as filled with bubbles, the waterway was shallow (perhaps 5’ or so) but the aerated water pushed you to the surface and would carry you downstream hopefully as far as the railroad bridge depending on the depth of the river althouthough there were many times when the river was only knee deep but we loved it anyway……. most of these places were theoretically “off limits” and I can distinctly hear my Mom saying “if Wayne Robertson jumped off the #7 bridge does that mean you would too?” The answer of course was “yes” but I knew that was not the answer she was soliciting so I had to bite my tongue 👅 not to say it! BAHAHAHA……..MEMORIES!!

    Wendy LeBlanc will see the humour in it as I’m sure she probably heard the same questions being asked at her house!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I swam across this summer. I told the lifeguard when she told me to stay inside the buoys (just like in the old days and just like in the old days I ignored her) the first time I swam across I was nearly 7 and now I’m nearly 70. I just had to know if I could still do it. I made it so all is well!

    Like

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