Tag Archives: al capone

To Trespass or Not to Trespass??? Ghosts of Al Capone?

To Trespass or Not to Trespass??? Ghosts of Al Capone?

A Hart in ThaiA Hart in Thai –We searched the forest for Al Capone’s Secret Last Hide Out in Canada. After talking to a few locals of the where about, then to go here and there getting lost but after 2 hours driving in circles we found it! Its on Private Property and we did get caught. But after got permission to video and photograph the outside and interior. We didn’t venture into the basement as to dangerous. The cabin is huge many rooms and bedrooms and beautiful fireplace. Low escape windows and suppose to have secret tunnel in basement. Its in the forest no river and lakes near?

At 4:32 in the YouTube video the police show up so please realize that this is Private Property and it chould be respected. IT IS UNSAFE

Renfrew , Ontario. Canada. photo NOT MINE from the site
March 30, 2016  · 

At 4:32 in the YouTube video the police show up so please realize that this is Private Property and it should be respected.

There has always been a rumor that has been circulated around the Ottawa Valley that Al Capone may just have had a secret hideaway deep within the Madawaska Valley. I knew that Al Capone spent some time in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and heck, they even spotted him in Kemptville! The rum runners created a tunnel system in Moose Jaw so the bad folks could shuffle from one building to the other without their derrieres freezing off off in the dead of winter. Of course there was a rumour that he did that in Carleton Place, Ontario at the Queen’s Hotel too.

Mike ToporowskyThe Moose Jaw story is probably correct. The only difference is that the tunnels existed already. They were created during a time when Chinese immigrants were charged a head tax. The Chinese community laboured to create these tunnels to stay out of sight, decades before Al Capone and crew arrived

The legend (and even has been advertised) that some local Lanark County residents have claimed they saw Capone and Jack Demsey frequenting Lake Park Lodge and even the Queen’s Hotel. Seeing the man sold tons of illegal liquour from Canada, there is probably some slight truth to the rumour.


The tunnels were used for gambling, prostitution and warehousing illegal booze. Some tunnels went right under your local CPR stations and opened into a shed in the rail yards. That way it was possible to load and unload rail cars without any risk of being seen by the police. Rotgut whisky was made locally, but all the good stuff came from the Bronfman distillery in Montreal.

So one day I saw a 2016 posting and photo’s about Capone’s Hideway on What’s Up Renfrew, Ontario and decided to share it in my local history groups. It’s not every day that you see things like that right? Five years later (2021) I received quite an angry email from a woman who thought I took the photos. She proceeded to tell me that she was going to call the police because I had been trespassing. She also insisted the log cabin had nothing to do with Al Capone and that I had must have jumped the fence as I seemed to be very close to the building in the photo, and I was in big trouble with her lawyers.


my gangsta cane

Well the day she emailed me was my birthday and I had just turned 70. I have a weak right leg and use a cane. But don’t clock me out just yet, my cane is silver glitter but yes, my fence jumpin’ days are long over. I live through the rest of you, so keep those cards and letters coming as they say LOLOL. It took a couple of emails, but she finally realized I was just a writer, and not Nancy Drew. BUT, let this be a lesson in getting permission first please on unoccupied properties.

So yes, I believe that Capone was in Carleton Place and especially near Casey’s Hill (get this near Letterkenny Road) ( no, this not a typo). Even though these gangsters insisted they did not come to Canada, I am sure they did. Have you ever read about Billy the Boodler who showed up in Carleton Place? read-Billy the Boodler Comes to Carleton Place Or what about the cow shoes?? Read-Did The Bootleggers in Lanark County Wear Cow Shoes? I mean there has to be something there right?

Read-Did The Bootleggers in Lanark County Wear Cow Shoes?

For more than forty years, that reputation alone was enough to keep Capone’s Quadeville hideout a virtual secret from the rest of the world.

The secluded hideout was established in the 1930’s just north of Quadeville. Well hidden off Letterkenny Road, members of Capone’s gang sought sanctuary here from rival gangs and the police.

Quadeville is a short distance east of the small town of Combermere. This secret hideout has become a fascinating story over the years for many local residents and visitors to the area.

A long, sturdy, log building was built by local carpenters to the specifications laid down by Capone’s second-in-command; one of Capone’s star gunmen. The building no longer looks like the fortress it once was when Capone’s gang was there. It has since been converted and furnished as a summer home. At one time, it was owned by Harvey and Rene Mesdag of Toronto.

The building and property has since been sold several times. It is presently owned by someone of Pembroke. It’s windows and doors boarded up from the present day vandals. Carved initials can be seen on the log exterior. Anything of value left inside the building is now pretty much ruined.

According to the Mission House Museum, it is also rumored that a former property owner, who also provided the pine logs for the structure, became uneasy over non-payment. He decided to go to Toledo and presented himself at the gangsters’ headquarters. Unexpectedly, he was met by a ‘front’ man.

Once there, the Canadian was grilled by one of Capone’s lieutenants, who happened to be wearing a holstered handgun. “Now we can settle this matter between ourselves in the back office or you can come and take it up directly with the big boss at 10 o’clock sharp.” These were the two choices he was given. The words were loaded with menace. The Canadian replied that he would return and talk to the boss.

Next, he walked quickly to his waiting cab where the nervous driver warned him to get back to Canada as fast as he could. And so he did just that. That Canadian was August Quade and the amount of money owing to him was $1,500 which was a pile of money in the 30’s. It is interesting to note that no one ever saw Capone at the hideaway or in stores in the area. Read the rest here CLICK

National Post
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
25 Oct 2001, Thu  •  Page 6

Canada’s allure as safe haven made famous by Capone Roy MacGregor north of Quadeville, Ont. It’s not hard to see the attraction if you happen to be on the run. The fortress chalet sits on the side of a difficult hill, surrounded below by impossible swamp and beyond by impenetrable bush. The windows now either broken or partially covered by plywood afford a perfect view of the winding laneway and, beyond the Private Property sign, the narrow road that heads south toward the sleepy little village and north to nowhere. The basement windows are kicked in, and the hidden tunnel that some locals claim exits at a secret spot far back in the deep woods may be home now to a family of raccoons.

But once, so they claim, the legendary Chicago gangster Al Capone, hid out here in the deep Canadian forest 180 kilometres east of Ottawa, having fled America until it was safe to go home again. Many Americans honest, law-abiding Americans are said to be looking north once again for safe refuge from everything from hijacked airliners last month to anthrax this month to fears, even, from nuclear terrorism in an increasingly uncertain future. Last week, CBC Radio reported that there has been a significant rise in U.S. inquiries coming into Toronto-area real estate offices, most from large city dwellers looking for condominiums with low-risk addresses. Marinas in the New York City area are besieged by buyers looking for used boats in which they might, if necessary, escape north to the Maritimes.

The Ottawa Citizen reported this past weekend on a new “survival” trend: small-centre Americans making sure they have money and food cached in fully tanked cars, ready to flee for the Canadian border at the first sign of new trouble. “I feel very safe there,” Rhode Island banker Georgina Cormier told the newspaper. “There is a sense of safety and security when I go to Canada. If I had to go somewhere, that’s where I would want to be.” Al Capone may have felt the same even if Old Scarface did once tell a reporter, “I don’t even know what street Canada’s on.” Some Saskatchewan oldtimers have long maintained that, in fact, Capone knew River Street in downtown Moose Jaw as well as he knew the back alleys around Chicago’s infamous Lexington Hotel. According to Moose Jaw leg end, Ca pone’s gangsters moved into an underground maze of tun nels originally built by Chinese immigrants hiding out to avoid pay ing Canada’s notorious “head tax.” Capone is said to have liked Moose Jaw’s proximity to the U.S. border, and with prohibition ending there nine years earlier than it would in the States, the little Prairie city made an excellent centre out of which to run his expanding bootlegging operations.

Laurence Moon Mulhn, an el derly Moose Jaw resident, claimed several years ago that he used to earn 200 tips running errands for the gangsters, and another local said her barber father used to be called down into the tunnels to cut Capone’s hair. Those tunnels, excavated, cleaned up and lighted, are now called “Little Chicago,” and are Moose Jaw’s top tourism draw. There has, however, never been any documented proof that this happened, or even that the notori ous gangster ever visited any part of Canada. Capone, however, despite the best efforts of a 300-man special detective unit to find him, went missing for three months in the summer of 1926. Some said he was in Wisconsin. Others thought Michigan. A few even claimed he’d fled to Italy.

There are people around Quadeville who think he came here but not until the early 1940s when Capone was finally released from the prison where he’d been serving time for income tax invasion. According to local legend, the cabin on the side of the hill was built, to specifications, out of huge squared pine timber in 1942. The man who built it travelled to the States to collect on an outstanding construction bill for $1,500, only to be threatened by a gun-carrying henchman and told that “Da Boss” would deal directly with him later, in the day. The builder turned tail, ran back to Quadeville, and the outstanding account was never again mentioned.

Madawaska Valley historian Harry Walker wrote about the cabin and the Capone connection decades ago, but could quote no sources, since area oldtimers refused to speak on the record about what they’d seen and heard of the cabin. They did talk to him, however even when Walker showed up with a former county warden to serve as witness and he came to believe that there was indeed something to the Capone legend. “Even today,” Walker wrote in the early 1970s, “the memory of the event instills fear in those who came in contact with the gangsters.” But other investigations by the Eganville Leader and The Toronto Star not surprisingly produced no concrete evidence. After his release from prison, Capone was seriously debilitated by the effects of syphilis and was often hospitalized.

He died after a long illness in 1947. It is hard to imagine him roughing it in the Canadian bush during those years, far from the comforts of electricity and running water. But historical fact seems to matter little to those who say they remember big limousines heading out Letterkenny Road, beautiful women, big men in fancy suits and a particular man the local kids were told to call “Uncle Al.” A few kilometres down Highway 15 at Latchford Bridge, the nearest village to Quadeville, 79-year-old Leonard Moysey stops raking his leaves and offers a unique perspective on it all.

Moysey grew up in Moose Jaw and would have been a youngster there in the very years Capone was supposedly hiding out in the tunnels beneath River Street “When we were kids,” he says, “we never knew anything about that. Never heard a word about Al Capone. It was all talk that developed later, way after the war.” Moysey believes that the stories of Moose Jaw and Quadeville are both seriously flawed, made up by wishful thinkers and over-extended imaginations. The abandoned cabin may merely be a northern version of the infamous “Secret Vault” of Capone’s that was found during a Chicago excavation 15 years ago and ceremoniously opened by Geraldo Rivera on national television only to discover there was nothing inside.

Back in Quadeville, the men gathered over morning coffee at Kauffeldt’s little rural post office are more interested in talking about the current state of the world the news on television, the moose hunt than they are in going on the record about any possibility that Al Capone ever lived up the road. “We used to go up there when we were young lads,” says one coffee drinker, “but we never saw nothin’. “Once the rumours started about it being Al Capone’s place, people started breaking in. But I don’t know what they thought they might find there’s nothing there.” But that, of course, in fall of 2001, is precisely the attraction. National Post

Did You Ever Hear About the Hole in the Wall? Prohibition 1920s

Johnny J. McGregor — Still Buster and Mayor

Constable Frank Rose – Moonshine, Indians, Raids, Drunks and Dances –The Buchanan Scrapbooks

Bathtub Gin Makes Mr. Bubble Go Flat

Did You Know Where Happy Valley was in Carleton Place?

Headbangers Arrested in Calgary Sewer – Canadian Insanity Needs to Go Viral!


Last night I wrote about a possible tunnel under the Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place that was built under Al Capone’s reign and it made me recall this story i wrote in 2012. Another piece of Canadian history?

August 20,2012

A long time ago my sons were addicted to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it was known they fictitiously resided in a sewer. It wasn’t your ordinary sewer location like those in Jennifer Toth’s book The Mole People;  it actually looked like something you could call home. So what possessed five Calgary, Alberta headbangers to suddenly call the local sewer “party central” this past weekend?

This piece of insanity was originaly broadcast Saturday night during the 10 o’clock Canadian CTV news and obviously no one else believed it or cared,  because you cannot find it on any media source except  the CTV news video site. I think this stupidity needs to go viral.

A local Calgary man living in the Deer Run suburbs decided to go for that one last evening smoke before bedtime and noticed a strange man lifting a man hole cover. When he saw  the long-haired figure having an Orson Welles moment similar to those Norwegian rats Calgary and Medicine Hat, Alberta have a problem with; he decided it needed to be reported.

Intrigued and concerned the man immediately called 911 while loud music began pouring up from the sewer into the night. The police arrived and then called the fire department (was it because they had bigger ladders?) who hauled the men out one by one as seen in the video. Partying in a sewer system isn’t the brightest idea, but the fact the men only received a ticket for removing a man hole cover is way beyond me. Personally, since we no longer have stocks;  I call for public indignation, shame and honestly- what were these people smoking?

Original News Video from CTV

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

Is There a Secret Tunnel in Carleton Place?


Today’s theme is pirates and bad guys. Two from the 1000 Island region and one who might have slept here. I just thought they all kind of tied in together—and it felt like a pirate sort of day.


There is no doubt that Al Capone spent some time in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, and even near Barry’s Bay. Heck, they even spotted him in Kemptville! The rum runners created a tunnel system in Moose Jaw so the bad folks could shuffle from one building to the other without their derrieres freezing off off in the dead of winter.


There is legend (and even been advertised) that some local residents have claimed they saw Capone and Jack Demsey frequent Lake Park Lodge and even the Queen’s Hotel. Seeing the man sold tons of illegal liquour from Canada, there is probably some slight truth to the rumour.


There is a story that has been told to me several times the past few weeks now of a possible tunnel that existed under the Queen’s Hotel.  I asked Tina Miller of the Carleton Place Miller family who has historic ties with the Queen’s Hotel and she said no one knew about anything about that possibility But then again, for more than 75 years,  Moose Jaw city officials denied rumours of a network of tunnels located under their city. Access to these tunnels was usually gained from the basements of buildings. The tunnels acquired a whole new purpose in the 1920s, when the United States and much of Canada was embarked on Prohibition.



The tunnels were used for gambling, prostitution and warehousing illegal booze. Some tunnels went right under the local CPR stations and opened into a shed in the rail yards. That way it was possible to load and unload rail cars without any risk of being seen by the police. Rotgut whisky was made locally, but all the good stuff came from the Bronfman distillery in Montreal.  In the1970s, Moose Jaw local officials denied the existence of the tunnels one last time. The denials became difficult to maintain when part of the Main Street collapsed, leaving an unsuspecting motorist planted in a deep hole. I have found nothing to the fact in the media archives about Al Capone being in this area, except the  stories I have been told . Unlike most stories, this particular message content never changes. One has to ask themselves if such tunnels once existed.

UPDATE: Dusty Pettes from Ballygiblins just told me: “I remembered to ask about bootlegging tunnel in the Queens. Apparently there is a bricked over area in the basement that could be a tunnel.”

Stay tuned we might be doing a report from the Queen’s basement..


“I don’t even know what street Canada is on,” American mobster Al Capone famously told police, claiming that he had never visited, nor knew anything about, the country to the north

Some photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

This story reminded me of another Canadian story that happened in 2012

Headbangers Arrested in Calgary Sewer – Canadian Insanity Needs to Go Viral!

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

Lake Park Lodge –  Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

lake park

Once upon a time the Carleton Place citizens of the 1890’s lined up on the Lake Park dock waiting to board the steamship “Carleton”. It ran regular trips between Lake Park Lodge on Mississippi Lake and the town docks located near the Hawthorne Mill at the end of Charles Street. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.  The dining room could seat several hundred at a time. also read-

Food Review of the Smorgasbord at The Queen’s Royal Hotel 1947

“The little steamer Mississippi is now making regular trips between Carleton Place and Innisville, carrying freight and passengers.  Excursion parties desirous of seeing the lakes, or fishing, shooting ducks, gathering berries, etcetera, can have the use of the boat at reasonable charges.” Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

img (17)



No finer food this side of new York City!


The popular Lake Park Hotel owned its own steam boat at the time which was called “Lillian B.” which was 40 feet in length.  At the time, there was also smaller privately owned  steamboats which were own by individuals and traveled up and down the Mississippi for pleasure and business.

Lake Park Lodge Postcard-Bytown or Bust

lake4The Lake Park Lodge now as it sits empty.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Jul 1901, Thu,  Page 6


Lake Park Lodge dock that greeted many visitors at one time- Photo of Dock and Lake Park by Linda Seccaspina

Clipping from the Carleton Place Canadian by MARY COOK submitted by Leona Kidd to the Beckwith Heritage site.

A BACKWARDS GLANCE ‐ The golden years of Lake Park Lodge By Mary Cook

The original Queen’s Royal Hotel at Lake Park has a romantic and colorful history, and its story would take much more space than The Canadian editors allow me.  But the Larsen era, which is still within memory reach of many of us, can be noted as a period in time when the grand old lodge was revitalized and brought back to life. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.

The resort even sported a race track, and some older historians remember when the horses were transported from Carleton Place via the grand old steamers of the day. Telling the story of the Hotel’s early days would take many trips to the Archives, and would evolve into a history of an era that many of us have only read about – the glorious mid‐1800’s when Carleton Place was a thriving mill town and places like the Queen’s Royal Hotel offered a welcomed respite for the elite of the community. But let us move on to another era … an era after the old original hotel ceased to operate and the property lay dormant and forgotten. Sven Larsen was a big man who lived in Toronto with his wife Ella and family.  He looked every inch the Danish gentleman.  He loved well‐creased beige flannels and navy blue blazers and three‐piece suits.  His wife once modelled hats in Denmark, and she carried that flair for fashion to her new country.  The bigger the hat the better…and they had to be adorned with beautiful flowers and decorations and worn at a rakish angle for impact.

They were an imposing couple that day when they drove into Lake Park road and came upon the homestead farm of Mr. Hay, Sr. They wanted to move their family out of the city.  They longed for a piece of land where they could raise chickens and enjoy the tranquillity of country life.  Mr. Hay directed them to the abandoned lodge down the road.   There was little more than a lane leading to the old hotel.  The building was much in need of repair before it could even be considered liveable. Lil Robinson, a daughter, remembers it as a drafty, old barn of a place with no electricity or plumbing, and had no screens on the windows.  Mile high hay completely encircled the rambling building.  The year was 1937.  Sven had to hire a man with a scythe to cut the grass, and that first summer millions of mosquitoes almost sent the family back to Toronto. The hard‐working Larsens immediately went into the chicken business, and every member had to do his share.  In the meantime, Sven who was a born salesman continued to represent a casket company out of Toronto, and as well, peddled Books of Knowledge.  It is suspected now, so many years later, that the casket job was not kept on as a money‐making project, but rather as a topic of conversation which stopped many a person in his track.  “You travel a good deal, Mr. Larsen, what do you do?”  He’d cast a piercing eye in the direction of the questioner.  “I design and sell coffins”.  Usually the inquisitor moved quickly away.

But when it came to selling books of knowledge, Sven was right in his element.  He loved reading, and he felt the only road to success was through the pages of books.  He felt in his heart that every time he sold a set of the Books of Knowledge he was contributing to they buyer’s future.  During the Depression Mr. Larsen was to spend nine months on the year on the road.    Eric Larsen, or Sonny, as he was known to everyone in the Carleton Place area, was tall, slim, handsome and with a head of golden hair that sent most young girls’ hearts fluttering.  He was the youngest of the Larsen family.  In 1946, nine years after the family moved to the area, Eric talked his parents into letting him reopen the Lodge as a hotel and dance hall.   There was great excitement in the community.  The older people had visions of the revival of that grand old hotel, and the young people of the 40’s saw the Lodge as a wonderful fun place to go where the music of the day would be standard fare, and a walk to the beach not 500 yards away would guarantee a romantic interlude for the “going steadies”. It was everything everyone had hoped it would be.

From the day Lake Park Lodge reopened its doors, the young people of Carleton Place beat a path to the dance hall.  Many had no transportation, but that wasn’t a deterrent.  They walked out the dirt road there and back. And its reputation as a good overnight lodge grew too.  Tourists came form everywhere, for a weekend to two weeks at a time.  They came from all over the continent and Europe.  The meals were excellent.  Mrs. Larsen was an outstanding cook and hearty Danish dishes blended in with Canadian on the menu. The nickelodeon belted out the hits of the day and you danced to “In the Mood” and “Stardust” for a nickel.  Daughter Lil remembers the business as a family affair.  “I had to make all the desserts” she recalls. Mrs. Larsen was a friend to all the hundreds of young people who were frequent customers.  More than one Carleton Place man will remember arriving at the Lodge “a little worse for wear”.  Although the Lodge was dry, many young people arrived with their own supply, which Mrs. Larsen frowned on.  But she was also realistic.   She couldn’t stop the young men from bringing the booze out in their cars, but she could make sure they went home sober.  So she’d take them into the kitchen sink and put their heads under the cold water tap until they sobered up and then she sent them home to their unsuspecting parents.

The Lodge flourished as a popular spot for the community’s young people.  During the summer it was the place to go every night after working at the dime store, or at your summer job in the foundry.  You could rent a boat for a quarter and row down the river on a moonlit night.  The war was over and the soldiers were coming home. They too flocked to the popular night spot. And then the first of several tragedies struck the Larsen family.  Sonny, the affable good looking son died tragically in a car accident.  A son‐in‐law and grandchild drowned.  And in 1956 the building the Larsens so lovingly restored burned to the ground.  Son‐in‐law Cark Jorgenson said the wood structure went up like a tinder box.  There were no fire hydrants, and the volunteer brigade tried to feed their hoses through the ice for water, but all the family could do was stand outside and watch it go up in flames. Gone was the Larsens era!  It was rebuilt, but it was never the same.  The senior Larsens were getting older, and they hung on for awhile, but too much had changed. Son‐in‐law Carl built and rented cottages and the senior Larsens stayed on, but the romance of the Lodge went up in flames the day of the fire. Sven Larsen died in 1970, his wife in 1978. Both Carl and Lil said the older Larsens loved the place.  Their hearts and souls were in the business.   They did everything they could to bring a sense of glamour and fun to the Lodge….from Mrs. Larsen’s fortune‐ telling to dressing up in hilarious Hallowe’en costumes.


 - Queen's Royal Once Again Popular Tourist Centre...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  30 Jun 1948, Wed,  Page 8


 - , . ,: Carleton Place. Mat i The Lake Park...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 May 1893, Mon,  Page 6


 - LAKE PARK, CARLETON PLACE. OssSseos Plane, Jesy...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 Jul 1905, Sat,  Page 11


The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1899, Sat  •  Page 6

In memoriy of Lake Park Lodge- Sept 2022- Photos- Henry Albert