Category Archives: carleton place

Take Me Where the Mississippi River Once Flowed– The Hidden Mill River


If you talk to some of the old timers in town they will tell you the Mississippi River once flowed up near Townline in Carleton Place and the powers to be re-routed the river bed to where it now flows. Somewhere down the line stories got mixed up and this week I found out the real story from Jennifer Fenwick Irwin from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum and was really shocked.


The Mississippi River flows around McArthur Island and a man made channel for the Mississippi River was built and re-directed for the McArthur mill. More on that next week. The shocking part was realizing that another channel once lapped the back doors of the old Gillies Mill. Yup–right by the back door and through Bill Bagg’s adjacent property that was once the blacksmith shop for the Gillies Mill. When Bill Bagg bought that house he found an open cistern/well inside his house and it had to be boarded up so no one would get hurt. That made me shiver and think of the film Silence of the Lambs.


So the driveway you see now and the land in front of the river is all fill. That’s right- limestone rock was brought in and they filled the channel up. I guess movements are like rivers. Dipping into them is never the same twice.

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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

What Happened to Bill Brunton’s Roof in Carleton Place?



A month or so ago Bill Brunton had a question about his childhood home at 209 Moffat in Carleton Place. He was 8 years-old when the family moved there in 1972. Bill and his brother were looking around one day in the back of a closet on the second floor and they found a burned stairway leading to nowhere. They wondered if there was a third floor, or an attic, and never did find out the story. I went and took pictures and the first thing I noticed about the area was the majority of homes had Mansard roofs.


The roof of Bill’s family home was flat which was uncharacteristic of the area, the time, and architecture. There was nothing about the house in the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum files, and after a month of searching newspaper archives, I came up with nothing. Bill said the house next door with the grey wood porch was owned by *Winifred McRostie when he lived there. She would pay Bill and his brother in homemade Shortbread cookies for any odd jobs they did for her.

Bill always thought her house was very cool inside. There were stairs right into the kitchen, plus an ornate stairway in the front foyer. Miss McRostie had not changed the decor of the home, and it looked exactly the same until the year 2000 when she passed away.


So what happened to Bill’s roof? I am 99% sure there was a fire in the original Mansard roof. It was a very dangerous style of roof for firefighters responding to fires. Mansard roofs wrap around exterior division walls, allowing fire to spread in the cockloft.(a small loft or attic above the highest finished ceiling of a building)  That would prompt crews to open the ceiling above them prior to entry into units to ensure they are not advancing into a structure with an unknown fire overhead eating away at the chords of a truss supporting overhead weight.


You cannot deny the beauty of a Mansard roof. Everywhere you look in Paris, where it began, the Mansard roof line predominates, heavily contributing to the character of the city. Look around the older parts of Carleton Place– especially around the High Street side streets. See many examples of the once-popular and pervasive French style roofs that began with home owners that wanted the look of their homes to sophisticated and well traveled. Sorry Bill, I could not find the fire, but I am grateful the men of our Ocean Wave Fire Dept. saved the rest of the house.

*Miss Winifred McRostie

S.S. No. 13 Drummond
Flintoff’s School
The first log school, built in 1818, burnt down and a second one was erected 1870 in Drummond Centre with Mr. Stewart as the teacher. It was furnished with one blackboard, a sheepskin for an eraser and five maps on the walls. Twelve students sat in two rows of pine planks. Miss Winifred McRostie was the last teacher in 1929. Next, a modern brick building boasted a library, teacher’s room, two cloakrooms, hot-air furnace, flush toilets, pump room and play area. Start student, Roy Warner won the T. Eaton Co. Cup as Champion Pupil at the Drummond Rural School Fair, the Drummond Centre Women’s Institute prize for highest marks in arithmetic and composition, and the Lawrence James Gold Medal for the highest marks for the Entrance Exams in Lanark West and. In 1952, Mildred Stead Munro taught there for $1700 a year. Mrs. Carmel Fergusson was the last teacher in 1968 when the school closed. She died Nov 14 2000 at 97 years old.



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

Carleton Place and the Industries of Sin


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Former business at the corner of Elgin/Emily and Bridge Street

Fort weeks I checked newspaper archives and there was nothing about tattooing in Carleton Place. I even checked the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and there was nothing in the data base- even under the word “sailor”. So what did people do if they wanted tattoos in Carleton Place? Quite simply they went out of town. I am sure someone was doing them in a back room on some side street- but no one is giving up the information. Carleton Place wanted nothing to do with this industry of sin.

Certain sectors of economic activity are more or less respectable, some more or less acceptable than others. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, and tattoos were the top four in Carleton Place even though were many a crap game being run in the back room of the hotels and businesses on Bridge Street.

Today the industries of sin are: nuclear energy, arms, oil, tobacco and chemicals other less egregiously harmful industries such as the fast-food industries, tourism, pharmaceuticals, insurance, the stock exchange and even banks are also under attack and increasingly branded as “sin” industries.

Body Graphics Tattoo was the first business tattoo business to open up on Carleton Place. Next February 1st 2016 will be exactly 30 years Body Graphics Tattoo has been open in Carleton Place. Believe you me it wasn’t easy. They were not welcome in the town of Carleton Place and had their business on Townline, Charles and then Pete permanently located on Bridge Street.

For those of you body modification novices there is tattoo history in this shop with one of the chairs being formerly owned by Ottawa’s legendary tattoo artist Blue. They even still have some of his old equipment. In the Ottawa Valley Tattoo world that’s like owning Mackenzie’s King’s wardrobe.

Pete’s son now works with him carrying on the family business and has been a local body piercer for over 22 years. Still, it doesn’t matter how times have changed the elder population of Carleton Place still think that devil worshipers work there.

Of course I have  many stories about controversial piercings, but instead of embarrassing anyone to the point of a lawsuit I will tell my own that happened right here in Carleton Place.

The Nose Piercing
I was asked to make and serve Siminel cake one Mothering Sunday after the church service. A Siminel cake is nothing but a glorified light fruit cake covered in Marzipan.  I had just gotten my first nose stud put in that week, and it was becoming loose, and looking a tad infected. After I served the fifth piece of cake, an old man came up to me with a big smile wearing a thick wool allergy ridden sweater. I began to sneeze, and then I let one out that was nothing short of gale force.


Howard McNeely’s Barber Chair that once resided in this location

You can all guess what happened next. That little rhinestone nose stud took one giant leap for mankind, right across the front of the church. I didn’t falter, I did not sway, but I did let out a scream that was heard through out the whole town.
“Don’t anyone move!” I yelled. I have lost my nose stud, and no more cake until it’s found!”
The strange part is no one blinked an eye. Immediately they looked down and tried to find it. One little old lady started picking at something with her cane and said,
“Is this it dear?” and she started to giggle.
She took her cane and launched it across the rug in one fell swoop like she was trying to get a hole in one. I grabbed it, smiled, and resumed the serving of the Siminel Cake.
Would Howard McNeely– whose barber chair once sat in this very building be horrified now that a tattoo parlour sits in his former location? You bet your sweet bippy he would!:)
 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

Did Blind Tom Play in Carleton Place?



You will have to find out on Wednesday July 22 at:

The Ms.-Guided Walking Tour of Bridge Street – Wednesday, July 22

6:45 P.M.-8 P.M.


There is more to the history of Carleton Place than what you have read. Even if you have lived here all your life-you have never heard some of these doozies. Join Linda Seccaspina the evening of July 22 to hear an odd tale about the old Union Bank on Bridge Street. Then it’s across the street to former Dr. Preston’s residence for some medical mayhem potboilers. How about a few tales about body modification as we walk past Body Graphics Tattoo on our way to the Queen’s Hotel?

As you stand in front of the now Queen’s Hotel, you will hear accounts of what really went on at the Chaterton House Hotel when it was one of the most eclectic and theatrically renowned hotels in the area in the 1800’s. Not to mention the few ladies of the night that hung around in the alleyway. Then it is on to Ballygiblin’s across the street for a free dessert(beverages are extra) and a question and answer period, or just plain socializing.

See you then July 22, at 6:45 P.M. in front of Moore House (170 Bridge Street) across from the Carleton Place Town Hall

Approx Time- 645 P.M- 8 P.M

Tickets-$10.00 to support the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Details below!


Angelo Michael Seccaspina – Obituary


  Angelo Michael Seccaspina

                                             May 8, 1949- 2014 

Angelo passed away peacefully on February 8, 2014 at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer. Dear son to Ida (nee Graffi) and the late Eliseo Seccaspina. Husband to Linda (nee Knight) and proud and loving father of Schuyleur and Perry. Beloved father-in-law to Stephanie (nee McGonegal).

Born on the 8th of May 1949 in Udine, Italy he immigrated to Canada in 1951 with his mother to join his father Eliseo in Sudbury, Ontario. There he learned the construction trade from the ground up from his father and became a master at everything he touched.

He excelled in his studies and graduated from Carleton University with a  degree in architecture. Not content to work for others, he built his first building along with his father at the age of 21. The Ultra Mod Apts. still stands today on Paris Street in Sudbury. His brief stint working for others in Ottawa ranged from a job at Minto Construction to being one of Olympia and York’s project managers for the construction of 240 Sparks.

Angelo always believed passionately that if something did not exist, he would create it. Not content with just construction, he opened the eclectic store Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street in downtown Ottawa with his wife Linda in 1974. From there he branched into real estate, slowly amassing his portfolio of properties.

In his spare time Angelo had a passion for hockey and became owner of the Carleton Place Kings Junior B hockey team for a few years while his sons played hockey. Angelo was a very private and compassionate man, and helped many a local businessman in need. He always strongly believed in the town of Carleton Place and invested his interest in many local properties.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” Angelo fought cancer each day like a warrior in battle and never once gave up. He will be sadly missed and always be remembered for his keen business sense and never-ending energy, but more for the love he had for his sons. He knew in his heart parenting was one the hardest jobs you will ever have, but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.

The family would like to thank the nurses and doctors from the Ottawa General Hospital Cancer Treatment Centre, Dr.Roger Drake, and the nurses from Bayshore Home Health Care Services and St. Elizabeths.. Friends are invited to remember Angelo during visitation at the Barker Funeral Home, 19 McArthur Ave, Carleton Place, ON on Thursday February 13th from 5-9.

Donations can be made in memory of Angelo to the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital- 211 Lake Ave E, Carleton Place, ON K7C 1J4

 “See you soon!”

Angel Eyes-The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

High School Confidential — More Vintage Shenanigans at Carleton Place High School



    Please note none of these students in photo were involved

As they say, kids will be kids, and in 1963 disciplinary action was taken against a grade 9 student who was selling CPHS school exams. As this was pre-internet, it became a local scandal, and was all over the Ottawa newspapers. You know what they say about your past following you, and it still does without a cellphone.

It appears the student some how obtained an advance copy of the final grade nine French exam and sold copies to other students for a dollar a piece. High school principal Dr. Dawson said he found out about the incident 10 days before the examination and ordered a brand new exam. I can see the flabbergasted faces of those students who purchased an exam now. The principal added ‘those students have wasted their money for that exam’ which had reportedly been selling like hotcakes up and down the high school halls.

About 140 students in grade 9 were faced with writing a brand new exam that had some scratching their heads how the higher ups found out. I knew before reading it how the guilty student got a copy of it. Remember those trips to the mimeograph machine? You got it Cadilac! The student found a torn up stencil of the exam in a wastebasket. Clever boy pasted it (that’s right pasted–not taped) and then made copies to sell. The name of the student was withheld. Wonder what CEO of what Forbes company that kid is running now?

Reefer Madness at Carleton Place High School

Missy Moo Needs Your Help — Operation Karma


Missie Moo needs your help!

I can never keep up with Missie Moo aka Melissa Marie. She gave up shampoo. She did my food challenge, and not only does she do craft shows and the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market, she does a ton of other stuff. Did I mention she has an autistic son Cashe who she fights for every day for his rights as a human being? That is a whole other blog.

Two days ago she posted on Facebook

Me and Cashe are going to put together care packages for the homeless our goal is to put together 10 bags to hand out. Later today I will be creating a facebook page to try and get some volunteers and donations of items . If no one helps me and Cashe are still going to put together 10 bags. If you would like to help pm me so we can talk donations or your time. keep an eye out for the page. I will also be making lip butter to sell for 5$ 100% of the profits will go to buy things like tooth brushes and combs etc


Then later on…

Making special hand blended one of a kind soap for teachers gifts today! All Cashes teachers have touched him in a special way and i couldn’t ask for better sk teachers.


Yesterday on Facebook

I have raised 300$ in two days! My heart is so so so happy. Me mom and the kids are going tmrw after she gets home from work to pick up the items. We are still in need of 10 reusable grocery bags. I am also looking for other items as well such as 10 combs…10 face cloths ect…I am selling lip chap for 5$ 100% of the proceeds go to buy supplies! I know you all have it in your heart!

My next goal – who can donate some socks! Mens socks a pack or two from Walmart or giant tiger would be lovely!


Missy Moo aka Melissa Marie is seeking your help.  She is collecting items like mens socks, shampoo, lotion, face cloths ect. to put together care packages for the homeless. She and her son Cashe are going to Ottawa to hand them out to the less fortunate in Ottawa. She said she is teaching her children lessons of life.

The Catherine Landry of Lanark county- what can I say?

Items can be dropped of at her booth at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

You can contact her on her Facebook page too.

Here is her OPERATION KARMA page


Available at the cp farmers market tmrw! Or stop by! 5$ 100% of the profits go to care packages for the homeless for Operation Karma a blend of sweet orange, lavender, and peach!


Was it a UFO? A Meteorite or a Fuse Box? A Carleton Place Legend


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Mrs. Buffam had no idea what was going to happen to her Napoleon Street home in Carleton Place on May 26, 1957. In fact her husband Norman was called home early from his fishing trip when his wife crashed through the ceiling after she was thrown from her bed.

So what happened? A unidentified witness said he saw a white ball flash from the sky and hit the house.

Ted Hurdis told me his father said it was a meteorite. Nancy Ford said she heard the cause was a penny in a fuse box. Lorne Hart from the Old Towne Bakery jokingly asked me if I thought it might be a UFO. Mrs. Buffam said she could barely remember what happened, and just heard a fierce crack and an explosion.

Art Hurdis was quoted in the newspaper as hearing a terrible noise while he worked in his stable at the rear of the house. Timbers and plaster began flying into the air, and smoke was seeping out of the lower windows. He pulled Mrs. Buffam over to a couch and headed for the basement where a small fire had started. The interior of the house was in shambles with a gaping ceiling hole where Mrs. Buffam had fallen through.

The back part of the house partially escaped damage, but the stove had moved a fair distance and all the pipes were now twisted. But, there on the kitchen table still lay open jam jars on the table from breakfast. The clock had stopped at five minutes to ten when the explosion occurred. After that horrible day the Buffam family had to split up until arrangements for a new home could be made.

So what happened? Was it a meteorite? A UFO? A bad fuse box? As Mark Twain once said,

The trouble with lightning is, it just ain’t distributed right.”

And now you know what actually happened that particular day in May. It was a crack of lightening that caused all that damage to the Buffam home. But now that we know the facts, do we discredit the other ideas that have been talked about for years? I think each and every one of us are storytellers, and we tell great tales to get what we need. Think of the excuses you once told your parents for why you got home late. No one ever gives it up– so I kind of like the meteorite story. I say we keep that one going. Carry on Carleton Place!

The Spirits Are Alive and Well


A loud noise broke the stillness of the night and goosebumps crawled up my arms. It was no secret the house had a history of ghostly residents, but most remained silent. The dog looked at me closely and didn’t jump at the chance to go check the source either. You couldn’t blame him, but someone had to take care of the situation.

As I walked carefully to the other side of the house what I encountered blew me away in more ways than one. A small framed partition that had been nailed into the wall had blown across the hall to an adjoining bedroom. The space left by the fallen wood was now a black and dense void and I wasn’t about to look towards its interior. Instead, I grabbed a step stool and duct taped it closed. The hall was now filled with a cold crisp breeze, and I quickly left the room, and shut the door.

The next morning my friend looked into the situation and he told me all he could see inside the open void was the roof belonging to the original house. He nailed it back shut and I thought nothing more of it until that afternoon.

A hospital volunteer was visiting with me in the living room and her face turned blank. She turned to me and said:

“Did you see that?”

I had not seen anything, but had most certainly felt the stiff cold breeze that passed between us. She told me she had seen shadows of a little girl and boy run by her and go towards a Christmas tree in the window. Once again I wondered what had come out of (what I now call) the portal in the wall the night before.

The house was eventless the rest of the week until I had many people come to my home on a charity house tour. There were no portals blown, nor shadows of children, but a tiny woman came towards me and grabbed my hand. She smiled and looked at me straight in the eyes and said:

“The spirits are alive and well!”

I had always known that, but now I had some sort of reaffirmation. There would always be life ever after in my home, and that was fine with me. When the event was over I looked at the guest book and there was the woman’s name with a comment she had left in the book:

“The spirits are alive and well!”

I wasn’t afraid as I knew they were here to protect me and the former inhabitants. After all, in the past 30 years I hardly knew they were there.



Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?