Tag Archives: 1980s

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I still have my original crimping iron from the first day of the “Regretful HairStyles 80s” era. It’s the colour of pink candy floss and works better than anything new on the market. When it comes to crazy hair and makeup, no decade trumps the 1980s– but throwing this crimping iron in the trash can is out of the question at this point in my life. They say ‘Old is not gold’, but honestly this crimping iron is along for the ride like the wine coolers, the cassettes and the mall. So do I still crimp or curl my hair? Personally, I always try not to anger the beast, and most days my life is held together by a single bobby pin.

Regretfully, I lost a vintage 1920s Marcel curling iron in my hair styling repertoire that I found in my Grandparent’s barn on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. It was part wood and part metal and should have had a danger sign on it. Vintage curling irons were once heated on the fire or the stove for the most part, so I used my grandmother’s wood stove to warm it up. I was warned never to curl your hair with a vintage curling apparatus as they are dangerous and you can burn your hair off, and might even singe your scalp. Each time I used it my grandmother would get hysterical and tell me to be careful. In the hair salons of days past they used to try it on a piece of paper first before they curled their clients’ hair. Why am I thinking there must have been a few minor salon fires in those days?

My grandmother, Mary Louise Deller Knight got her first perm when she immigrated to Canada and it really didn’t go very well. She kept telling the hairdresser her hair hurt under one of those over-sized dryers and no one listened. It was a sad day after that my friends. Mary loved to control everything in her life, and sad to say you can’t. That’s why hair was put on your head to remind you of that very thing. So after they lifted the lid,  a lot of Mary’s hair fell out and eventually grew back very thinly.

Mary tried every potion and lotion known to man and finally she gave up, and that’s when Eva Gabor came into her life. They always say that beauty comes from inside– inside a hair salon actually– and we would make quarterly trips to Montreal to buy her Eva Gabor wigs and I never ever discussed it. When she asked me questions about certain styles I chose my words very wisely—until her golden years. That’s when she plopped those wigs on her head sideways, backwards, and any other position known to man, and someone had to tell her. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, just remember that no one really has control over their lives and your hair is here to remind you about that fact. On great days it swings like the hair in an old Breck commercial and on the bad days it’s frizzy and wavy when you can expect a day of total loss of control. You are as strong as the hairspray you use and always remind folks that the messy bun you are sporting actually took 18,501 tries. Thank you to the past few weeks of Canadian humidity– I always wanted to look likeThe Lion King said no one ever. Your comb is not a wand.

In the end my grandmother made me promise that when she died to make sure her wig was on her head straight which I did. Dead or alive– you need to look like you are not having a bad hair day, as after all, no one is looking at your shoes.

Documenting Fran Rintoul — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital 1988

Documenting Fran Rintoul — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital 1988
1988 Carleton Place Canadian

What’s in the Cornerstone at the Carleton Place Hospital?

Clippings of the Opening of the Carleton Place Hospital February 14 1955

Chuck Norris Does Live in Carleton Place—Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) Auxiliary

Sitting in the Emergency Ward at the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital

Maybe We Should Film Oak Island in Carleton Place? The Day the Money Disappeared

1980 Statistics for The Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital

The Day We Lost Hand in Carleton Place — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital

Walking Around Carleton Place 1986

Walking Around Carleton Place 1986
my collection- Linda Seccaspina

Carleton Place is haunted. But not by pale, moaning spectres that stand at the foot of the bed and rattle chains. The town’s ghosts appear as faint outlines of gothic windows on old St. Andrew’s Church, a third-floor false window at the Leland Hotel, and gas fixtures shaped like lion’s heads on the walls of the old Town Hall.

These buildings are just a few of the many clues to the past that lie quietly around the town, forgotten and overlooked by visitors and residents alike. But a local historical group has put together a walking tour of the town to dig up these ghosts and unearth their tales.

The picturesque town, about a half-hour’s drive west of Ottawa, has a population of a bit more than 6,000. The committee has linked 36 of the town’s oldest sites in the tour, and is distributing more than 5,000 brochures that illustrate and describe them. The stroll through history, which takes about an hour at a leisurely pace, starts at the old Town Hall on Bridge Street, and loops around the Mississippi riverfront area where the town first began. First stop is Town Hall, built in 1895. Like a castle surveying the river, it features roof pinnacles, wrought-iron cresting and tiny dormers with metal flags.


The building has seen an eclectic assortment of occupants: over the years, policemen and librarians, actors and firefighters have passed beneath the carved stone flowers on the entrance’s huge archway. Inside is a wood-panelled council chamber and opera hall with a raked stage and 90-year-old plywood chairs.

Photo- Linda Seccaspina

Across the river, one immediately notices the late Dr. Johnston’s mansion with its tower, gable and arched windows. But the hurried observer might miss the relics across the street. These four plain-looking buildings feature false fronts extensions of the front wall with nothing behind. Read-Summers of Carleton Place Past — Memories of Gooffy’s? The buildings were built in the boomtown days of the 1850s, when Carleton Place was on the railway line linking Halifax to Vancouver, and the railroad employed hundreds of people. read –Dr. Johnson Downing and Ferril I Presume? Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 12 a

no longer stands

The old Leland Hotel continues this theme of pretence, but adds a wrinkle of its own – a false window on the third floor with only empty sky behind. Around the corner on Bell Street, a dark old building sags with age, its wooden shutters hanging open at a crazy slant. This is the old Peden Store, built about 1845 and the oldest structure on the tour. With merchandise at street level and living space upstairs, it was a typical store of the mid-19th century.

Over on the corner of George and Edmund streets is the original Town Hall, built about 1872. It was conv -ted to a school about 10 years later. For a while it housed the town’s jail, and there are stories of wide-eyed students peering around their books at guards dragging handcuffed horse thieves down the hall.

Down the street and over the river is the McArthur Mill, built about 1871. Originally a woolen mill powered by a turbine fitted with wooden teeth, the building now shelters several high-tech electronics firms. Up the river is another clue to the origin of Mill Street’s name. The Boulton Brown Mill, built in 1823, is made up of three stone buildings and is dominated by the five-storey roller process and elevator built in 1885. The original millstone, which was hacked out of local granite, lies across the street. The mill is being renovated into an 11-unit condominium.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
16 Mar 1927, Wed  •  Page 11

If you’re lucky, not all the Carleton Place history you’ll find on the tour is clapboard, or stone and mortar. For example, you could meet 86-year-old Alan Swayne strolling down Judson Street on his way to one of his thrice-weekly swims. A resident for more than 60 years, he still remembers a cold February day in 1927. It was five o’clock, and his shift at the McArthur Mill had just ended. He was looking forward to dinner and then lacing up his skates for a hockey match that evening.

From the door of the mill, Swayne could see the railway line that spanned the river, and the sound of the Pembroke local thundering towards it made him look up. But what he saw made him forget about dinner and hockey and made him race towards the bridge. There was a woman thrashing in the icy water. “I threw off some clothes, jumped in and pulled her out,” says Swayne matter-of-factly, leaning on his cane. Read-John Alan Hope Swayne — Local Hero

The woman was safe, Swayne was freezing, and his co-workers escorted their new hero back to the mill. “They put me in a hot dryer to warm me up,” he says. “Then someone gave me a drink, and that was it.” He never made it to the hockey game. When Swayne walks out Judson and down Mill Street, he can see the old mill and most of the buildings that have stood in Carleton Place for more than 100 years. Swayne remembers, and sees what many others would overlook. Read –Working in the Grist Mill

Harold Silver photo
Thanks to Jeannie and Nic Maennling for looking after the museum for some of its life. We used to have a good crowd at the CP Historical Society.. and Ill remember it always.


The Coachmen Return!!! Born to be Wild Circa 1985

The Coachmen Return!!!  Born to be Wild Circa 1985



First there was —Dance Hall Days with The Coachmen — Photo from Donovan and Stan Hastie 


Then came the 80s!!!!


Photos-linda gallipeau-johnston



Photos-linda gallipeau-johnston


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Photos-linda gallipeau-johnston





A new photo-Wayne Hedderson-1985 at the CPHS Football Reunion!



Llew Lloyd After you posted this the first time , I checked an old yearbook and found a picture of a group that preceded this one , ” The Bonaventures” . Included in that photo were Jack Shail , his brother Wayne and Terry Giffin . I also remember going to a highschool dance pre Coachmen that ” The Viscounts ” played at . Later on Ron Latham played drums for another ” garage band ” group, that perhaps one of your followers remembers the name of 


Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Bob White Chris Nolan played in the band Triva and later on in years they were called Equinox. The band I recalled where Chris Nolan Dave Hastie Greg Wright Paul Williams Shane Turner was with them occasionally Shane the Elvis songs They played a number of gigs at the Arena.

Bill Brown Shane Turner on the left? Paul Williams on the drum kit.


BOB WHITE– You should arrange for the band to get together for a night!!

Dance Hall Days with The Coachmen

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

Scrapbook Photos of Cowansville




See the side entrance of the Continental store on the hill.


Agnes Rychard of Cowansville sent me these photos a very long time ago. They were among newspaper clippings from the 80s– however these photos might have been taken earlier. I found them today in an old book so I am sharing them, and anyone who knows Agnes knows she has more documented things about Cowansville than the historians do..:)





This was my Grandfather Crittenden’s house in the 40s and 50s on Albert Street. It no longer exists. Agnes Rychard used to live in this house and my mother lived on the ground floor when she was a child.  It is historically known as the old Cowan home.


Me in front of the old Cowan house at 6 months when I was brought over for a visit.



The old Beattie home on Main Street


The New Ottawa Hotel aka The Maurice Hotel on the Main Street 1985. You can see the old Canadian Tire store in the distance.





Built about 1870 it was first called The Ottawa Hotel in 1885 and after a fire in 1927 it was rebuilt on the same site and became known as The New Ottawa Hotel. In the 1950’s Mr. Maurice owned it and became The Maurice Hotel. Now it is a senior home called le Manoir Cowan.


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News



The Day We Lost Hand in Carleton Place — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital



During the last week of May in 1980 a crowd of 350 people jammed into the Carleton Place town hall auditorium one evening. They listened and left angry after their mission was to find out why the directors decided to close the four-bed obstetrics unit at the end of June that year. They never really got a straight answer.

All the facts brought out at that meeting supported the decision to refer maternity cases to the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Meanwhile “back at the legislative ranch” Ontario Health Minister Dennis Timbrell said he too supported the closure of the Carleton Place obstetrical unit.

Timbrell insisted that an obstetrical unit was not handling enough births, and the current obstetrical unit might actually jeopardize the health of newly born Carleton Place area babies. Births had dropped in 1980 from the last 20 year period of 165 per year to 113. A quarter of these births were being done by cesarean section, and that concerned the powers to be.


  Brenda Hall-Carleton Place– May we remember her. The Carleton Place & District a Memorial Hospital Foundation has a wonderful bursary fund in Brenda Halls name that supports local CP students heading into post secondary Nursing programs.

Dr. Cliff Dobb added quickly that it wasn’t that the skill of local doctors had declined, but the hospitals in Ottawa had improved dramatically. They now had better equipped centres, fetal heart monitors manned by trained staff enabling more natural deliveries. Reverend Bob Hill opposed closing the local unit and questioned the decision, arguing that some communities of comparable size had fought the Ministry of Health to keep their obstetrics unit open and won.

Our Carleton Place hospital board made its decision solely on the basis of a recommendation from the medical fraternity. But, with no decision from the community, the decision was divisive and destructive said Rev Hill.

A  Carleton Place resident gynecologist associated with the Queensway Carleton hospital said the decision was based on the principal that many lives as possible should be saved at birth. The Civic Hospital also assured everyone that their obstetrics unit was being expanded, and that staff members were anxious to do all they couold to ease local concerns about giving birth in a strange hospital.

On the plus side the administrator of the Carleton Place hospital, Frank Shikurski, said the Carleton Place hospital would be pushing to provide better services with particular attention to emergency and out patient services. No matter what was said, it came as little consolation to those whose gut feeling was still that their community hospital would be a poorer facility without a unit where local mothers could have babies. Are we any better off today?


Karen Dorman- I remember Dr. ROY telling me that they deserved an unbroken nights sleep. He was just one of the Drs. that didn’t want to do it anymore. I agree it was funny how Almonte always seemed to get the money. At the beginning the Drs. here wouldn’t refer patients to Almonte but that changed quickly.

Ted Hurdis  oh I know and most of the Dr.s that let it go didn’t even stay practising here.😡
Gail Grabe The “theory” at the time was that Obstetrics was becoming a specialty requiring obstetricians and that G.P.’s were no longer able to handle that service in future. Complications could lead to legal problems etc., that was the thinking at the time. Ottawa had all the bells and whistles, neonatal care, equipment, specialists. So sad we lost it.
Jim Amy Kirkpatrick Thank God both my kids were born in CP 1976 and 1978. Csection with Dr Roy and Dr Ferguson. So blessed

Marilyn White At that time a lot of people were going to Ottawa to have an obstetrician and when not doing enough birthing it was more risky for the Drs.and better equipment was becoming necessary to prevent doing cesareans.