People of Carleton Place — Clara Hemphill

People of Carleton Place — Clara Hemphill

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Monday, August 24, 1992

It’s a lawn sale like no other.

Since 1981 Clara Hemphill of Carleton Place hasbeen holding a lawn sale on her one-acre Lake Park Road property every Saturday and Sunday from May to the end of September. It begins around 9 a.m. and “goes until they quit coming.” All articles are donated and include dishes, toys and a huge quantity of new and used clothing. There are no prices. Customers choose what they need, then donate whatever they can. All proceeds go to the Terry Fox Run for cancer research.

Over the years, Clara has raised more than $13,000. Her goal this summer is $2,000. Clara, who’s just shy of 67, says’she doesn’t mind giving up her weekends to work at the sale. “It’s a lot of work but it’s very social too . . . It’s become a hobby for my senior years.”

Clara was inspired by Terry Fox as he ran his Marathon of Hope across Canada in 1980. Together with a niece who was battling cancer, she organized the first lawn sale with a goal of $175. It mushroomed and within five weeks she collected more than $1,300. As well as the annual lawn sale, Clara has become actively involved in organizing the Terry Fox Run in Carleton Place every September and runs in it as well.

She travelled to Thunder Bay in 1990 as Terry’s parents, Betty and Roily Fox, traced their son’s footsteps. Clara has since become friends with them and they correspond regularly. “This (lawn sale) started out of tragedy, but now I’m having fun with it,” she says. At the end of September, all the leftovers go to the Salvation Army. But Clara makes sure she keeps a reserve to start the sale the following summer. She says the sale not only raises money, it provides an opportunity for many people to get what they need at reasonable prices. “The recession is why this sale has snowballed.”

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada09 Jun 1989, Fri  •  Page 3

CARLETON PLACE – She takes it with her everywhere she goes. If she forgets it she could die. “It” is an oxygen mask. And 63-year-old Clara Hemphill is determined to. raise people’s awareness of the need to clean up the environment that she is so sensitive to. So almost every weekend she takes to the road in her van boldly painted with the message “Environmental Clean-up Needed Now.” Since spring, Hemphill has been passing out. literature from the ministry of the environment and telling people how to help build a safer environment. Hemphill and her husband Stanley, who drives the van.have travelled from their home in Carleton Place to towns in Ontario and the United States to get the word out. And they do not plan on slowing down, with Manitoba and Prince Edward Island their next targets.

A member of the County of Lanark’s Environmental Action Network (C.L.E.A.N), formed in February, Clara has helped organize Saturday’s environmental walk to clean up the roads from Balderson to Perth. “We will put on our rubber gloves and pick up all the garbage we see on the way,” she said. ” I just want people to know they can do something to improve the environment on a volunteer basis, without costing taxpayers a lot.. of money,” she said. Clara realized just how harmful the environment can be when she was living in Deschenes, Quebec 31 years ago. Her neighbor’s property was strewn with garbage and she stepped on a rusty nail and got tetanus. She says her immunity to chemicals was weakened as a result, leaving her environmnen-tally hypersensitive, a condition the 1985 Thomson Commision Report on Environmental Hypersensitive Disorders said is triggered by pollutants in the environment and affects the central nervous system.

The report said those who suffer from the condition have an adverse reaction to chemicals and foods at levels normally tolerated by others. Since then she’s had to be careful of what she eats, drinks or inhales. She never drives with open windows to ensure harmful pollutants stay outside of the car. She requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep in a dust-free room each night. Alcohol is out. So are a lot of disinfectants. She buys chemical-free foods, and grows a lot of her own fruits and vegetables. She rotates her diet to ensure a harmful chemical does not build up in her body. She wears the mask when she is in a polluted area, like a city or near a gas station, but says “the mask only allows me to es environment cape from the contaminated area.” She says two of the chemicals most harmful to the environment are oven sprays and plumbing material, adding “either of those would kill me in an hour.”

She uses baking soda to clean her oven, and says other people can do the same. She decided to set up her project of travelling in her van and raising public awareness about the environment last fall, after she had a bad reaction from a mix of acid rain and some chemicals used for spraying brush along the roadway. “It affected my brain and I had short term memory loss,” said Hemphill. In another incident after applying a flea spray to her dog her face swelled up and she was so bloated she was almost unrecognizable. It took her several weeks to recover. Hemphill said “I will keep on doing this until I make a difference to this precious environment.”

People of Carleton Place–Karel Versteeg- Peter van Rossum 1957

People of Carleton Place — James Perry of Park Ave

People of Carleton Place — Wayne Foote — Sheila Coynes Scrapbook

Remembering People of Carleton Place —Clara Morris

People of Carleton Place– John Porter Prospect Carleton Place

The Curious World of Bill Bagg — The Gillies Blacksmith Shop

People of Carleton Place — John Flett

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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