Chamber of Commerce Then and Now in Carleton Place

Chamber of Commerce Then and Now in Carleton Place


Photo Amber Marshall-Campbell Chamber of Commerce Gala- The Grand Hotel October 2019

History is the narrative that gives meaning, sense and an explanatory force from the past into the present. So tonight I will remind you of some of this year’s Carleton Place 200th activities and compare it to Carleton Place past. I would like to think that it might have crossed a local business person’s mind for one brief second years ago that things would change a great deal in years to come in Carleton Place.

2019 is set to go down as one of the most exciting years in Carleton Place as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first settlers arriving in our community. This year we had 8 Come Home to Carleton Place Celebration Events, 15 additional CP 200th Community Events and 17 Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum Events. It was said that it was the busiest summer that Carleton Place ever had and the pile of hats thrown on my bed in the month of July attested to that fact. We still have the time capsules yet to do, the Community Oven and the Santa Claus Parade and the Mississippi Mudds Retrospect to our 200th– so just to remind everyone– we are not done yet.


On January 26, 2019 we had the Carleton Place Winter Carnival and in January of 1956 the Ottawa Citizen reported that the ‘glamourous’ Miss Carole Mcintyre  daughter of G. E. McIntyre of Lake Ave West won Miss Eastern Ontario at the Perth Winter Carnival. Some were worried there might be shenanigans afoot as yet another Carleton Place gal Joan Hendry was crowned Miss Eastern Ontario the next year in 1957. In 1960 the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce, assisted by the Ladies Auxiliary, agreed to sponsor and select the town’s representative for the Eastern Ontario Snow Queen contest to be held in Perth on February 20,1960.  It was noted that a Carleton Place girl did not win that year.


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1960’s Fashion Shows– Once a Huge Extravaganza!

From April 5-7, 2019 The Carleton Place Spring Home & Fashion Show was held at the arena and in the same month of 1969 sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Chamber of Commerce annual fashion shows began hosted by Mary Cook to raise money to provide Red Cross swimming instruction, lifeguards and maintenance of Riverside Park for 400 Carleton Place children during the summer. The town had the only Ladies Auxiliary in the Chamber of Commerce organization in Canada, and in 1975, then Mayor Eldon Henderson, asked the Chamber to take over some of the duties of the town hall because the mail load was getting too much for the town hall staff. Can you imagine that?  “You’ve got mail!”



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
28 Nov 1928, Wed  •  Page 35


On July 26, 2019 the Carleton Place Trivia Night was sponsored by the Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce held at the arena. In the same month in 1928 the newspaper reported that it was claimed by the business officials of Carleton Place that there were almost as many former residents of Carleton Place living in Ottawa as there were in Carleton Place that year. Prominent citizens of Carleton Place thought that the town was just a trifle too close to Ottawa for the town’s own good. If it were only a hundred miles away they thought, they might have a far better chance of rapid expansion. If they only saw Carleton Place today that piece of trivia might have fell by the wayside.


On July 27, 2019 we had the Jason Blaine Concert and in the same month in 1952–the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce, headed by town councillor’s wife Mrs. Homer Tripp began Saturday night dances in the Town Hall that drew an average of 500 teenagers from here and the neighbouring towns of Smiths Falls, Perth and other communities each and every week.



 “It was good for the youngsters and good for Carleton Place”, they all said.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Feb 1958, Tue  •  Page 14


The Chamber’s Ladies Auxiliary also  introduced one of the first craft shows to the town as well as the  annual old-time fiddling and step-dancing competition.


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The Chamber of Commerce’s Amazing Race

In July 28 of 2019 we had the first Carleton Place Amazing Race held at the Market Square and in the same month in 1956 the Carleton Place Canoe Club had the first annual 7 mile race from Almonte to the Carleton Place Town Hall. The only notable person from Carleton Place to ever come near the top every year during those races was Dave Findlay. In 1959 the Chamber of Commerce took over and in 1963– the Annual Seven-Mile Road Race ran under the sponsorship of the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce. That year, three additional events were added. The top award given out was the Queens Hotel Trophy which was allegedly filled with beer.



Parades in Carleton Place– Your 200th memory.. late 1950s Photo Lorraine Nephin

Two of our largest events this year  were the Monster Bingo in July with 279 people at the arena and the RCMP Musical Ride in September where almost 3,000 people filled the CPHS track. The largest crowd ever to hit Carleton Place was over 5,000 people in July 1959 at Riverside Park for the County Orange Celebration where the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce took out a 1/3 page ad in the Ottawa Journal along with 50 local merchants to welcome everyone to the huge event and come visit Carleton Place.






Carleton Place Christmas Parade– It was a fairy tale theme. We did Snow White had to drive to Montreal to get the costumes. Ralph Shaw as Prince Charming–Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade Photos


Our Carleton Place parades have always been a success, and it was no different this year for our 200th parade and Classic Car Parade. Did you know that in 1962 the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce decided to make the Santa Claus Parade an annual event? John Patterson was appointed chairman of a committee in the chamber and that year they decided to investigate the possibility of organizing a Junior Chamber of Commerce in Carleton Place.



Jennifer, Joanne and Syd at the Carleton Place & District Triva Night

Determination, hard work, under the 200th committee with the help of The BIA, the Chamber, the Museum the 200th volunteers, town staff and Joanne Henderson proved that dreams do come true if one is willing to work hard. What was just dreams at the beginning of the year turned into more than I ever could have ever imagined and has cause excitement for our town. Excitement that I hope never dies down.


But just like our historical past and our incredible 200th it takes all of us to continue the same trends as our residents of Carleton Place did throughout the town’s history:

They promoted local.. they shopped local.. they spent local and they enjoyed local. Now the Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce in 2019 encourages you to: Be a #shoplocalcp warrior! 1. Visit your favourite business 2. take a picture with your local purchase 3. share your picture on social media with #shoplocalcp and repeat!


 - 70041156_10156966747487690_6148585480561623040_n (1).jpgPhoto courtesy Peter Bradley–The Cook Girls – The Mary Cook Girls- Peter Bradley



Related reading..

Start here at number 16 and carry on down Bridge Street and businesses past

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series–Volume 16– Newman’s Hall

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.

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