Jim Antonakas had previously purchased the building 2.5 years before that fateful day. Antonakas had originally operated a restaurant in the Byward Market in Ottawa. Everything in the restaurant and garage was destroyed but the firemen aided by the residents of Carleton Place were able to save almost all of the equipment in the barber shop. Later Mr. Little rented space in Ernie Foote’s building on Bridge Street and was expected to move in shortly. In a wonderful small-town gesture Bill Miller, owner of the Queen’s Hotel supplied breakfast free of charge to all the Carleton Place and Almonte firemen. During the fire coffee was served to the fire fighters by Dorothy Burns Snack Bar, the Queen’s Hotel and nearby neighbours.
Author’s note– I had no idea until Lynn Hastie Card told me this morning that Harold Little was the great great grandfather of my granddaughter Tenley Card Seccaspina.
Julia Waugh GuthrieWe had this chair at the cottage for years. Many a time Roge Timmins( grandson of Howard McNeely) and Bruce Guthrie ( grandson of Howard Little) would have shave offs with straight razors.Not sure who won, maybe Teddy Hurdis can tell us….Ohh and I believe they all might have had a bevie or two.
Ted HurdisJulia Waugh Guthrie we won’t talk about Dave’s close cut. I will say there was no stubble left and a little blood lost but it’s all good !!!
Lynn Hastie-Card to Linda Seccaspina— Howard Little is my grandfather, my Mom’s dad and my cousin I believe still has the chair.
Norma Ford— My brother Jim Dorman helped some guys get the barbershop chair out of the shop, I wonder what ever happened to that chair. I remember he was quite proud of helping.
Joan Stoddart– Mr Little had a horse seat he put over the arms of the chair so little guys would be taller . I remember my brother’s first hair cut from Mr. Little
Jim LockhartHad a number of haircuts in Howard Little’s chair.
Bill BrownThanks for this – my grandfather Harvey Campbell was good friends with Howard Little and were apparently on the same baseball team as I just found out!!
Ray PaquetteThe last hair cut I got from Howard was in September 1968. I was home on leave and during my time at sea, I had grown a beard. My fiancee (and late wife) was not too enamoured with the thought of me in a beard and so in addition to the haircut, Howard got to shave me! This was at his shop which is the site of the Black Tartan..
Julia Waugh GuthrieMy husband has his straight razor and a few other things from his barber shop.
Diane Lackey JohnsonMy Dad, Gordon Lackey, spent a lot of time with his good friend Howard Little in that barber shop.
I know how Rena Little Hastie got her name now– From her Dad’s late sister.
Leonard Little of Almonte has gone to Carleton Place, where he has taken over a barber shop on Bridge street und will conduct business for himself. Mr. Little learned his trade in Brockville and was therefor eight years. He was in Montreal’ for a year and laterwas with IV. B. James of Almonte. He is an excellent barber and a popular, young man who leaves many friends in his home town November 1930
by John Dunn– I looked on The Millstone site and did not see this one as I like to credit where credit is due
December 19, 1979
“You’re all finished now.”
With those words of encouragement the small lad who had sat motionless on the Board across the arms of the barber’s chair, suddenly sprang out from under the red checkered tablecloth and scrambled down from the board to the horsehair padded seat, and from the seat to the footrest, from where he leaped to the floor.
“I guess you won’t need the board,” Ivan Duncan remarked as I got up to take the place of the small tad in the chair. “You think I’ve reached my full growth?” “ Close enough. You shouldn’t need the board from now on.”
I settled down on the horsehair humps. “ Doesn’t seem that long since I got to sit on the board too,” I remarked. ‘ ‘It’s fifty years”, the barber commented. “I guess it would be at that.” “It’s fifty years since the 17th of December, 1979, that I started in business in Almonte.”
He picked up the electric clippers and swung the chair around so that he could make a start on the port side. “When I think of it, knowing that it’s half a century, those words sound like a phrase from a history text-book. Very distant and far away. Not like the real thing at all. It doesn’t seem like fifty years.” “ Is it really that?” “ I started barbering on Mill Street in Almonte on the 17th day of December, 1929.”
He picked up a match, lit a cigarette, and then put the smoke in the ashtray. “Another thing I find remarkable is this: of all the people who were in business on Mill Street in December, 1929, only two others are still at it — Louis Peterson, and Raymond Jamieson.”
“How did you come to get started in Almonte?” “Partly by accident, although, looking back on it over all those years, I have to see it as providential. I had just finished three years and three months of apprenticeship, learning the barbering trade in Warkworth. That’s where I grew up. It’s a small village, about the same size as Pakenham, of say 600 people, about 30 miles north-east of Belleville in the oldest settled pari of Ontario.”
”Warkworth was then a typical Ontario village. It had one of everything, one doctor, one veterinarian, one druggist, one hardware, one blacksmith, one barber. I started in that barber shop as an apprenticeship at two dollars a week.”
Ivan swung the chair round, with the clippers still at the “Ready” position, until he could start below the ear on the starboard side. “Two dollars?” I asked incredulously. “Yes. That’s right.” “ Per week?” “Yes. A six-day week. Saturday was the busiest day of the week. We cut hair from eight in the morning until midnight to take care of all the customers.”
He finished with the clippers, and took up the scissors and comb. “After three years I figured I’d learned all I could about barbering in Warkworth.” “The business aspects too?” “ Pretty well. I’d heard all the comments about why any man would want to take up the barbering trade: it can’t be for the prime cuts, so it must be for the fringe benefits: it’s a growing business; it’s the repeat business that counts; there’s no heavy lifting.”
“But I figured I was as ready to go as I’d ever be. Like a fledgeling on the edge of the nest, I was ready to fly on my own.” “There was a shop available in Almonte. Sars Allman was selling his business. I came here, and made the deal to take over the shop from Sarsfield, and I opened up for business on December 17th, 1929. And do you know who were my first customer?” “No idea,” I said. “You and your brother. The doctor brought you in.’’ “Is that right?” “ Yep. You didn’t need the board this time, but you did then.” Snip, snip. “December, 1929,” I said, “ Wasn’t that a chancy time to open up a new business?” “The great crash of the Wall Street Stock Market in New York City had occurred about six weeks earlier. That’s true.”
A pause. The scissors and comb remained poised in thin air. “You know,’ ’ Ivan went on, ‘People were worried, but it seemed not many in Almonte had got the wind up yet. The mills were working. Penman’s Woollen Mill, where the present post office stands, was making Anchor Brand men’s woollen combinations. The Yorkshire Wool Stock mill was working, and, of course, Thobum’s, The Old Red Knitting Mill, and Rosamond’s.
Wages were low, of course, but the important thing was that the mills were working.” Snip, snip, snip. “Still, starting in 1930 all the barbers in town dropped the price of a haircut from 35 cents to twenty-five. Children 20 cents. Shave, 15 cents. At the same time the town undertook to have the waterworks and sewer system installed. That work went on for two years with a lot of drilling and blasting through the solid rock of Almonte, and all the trenching work done by men with picks and shovels. That made lots of work, al though it was for thirty cents an hour, with pick and shovel. Gosh yes, the first few were rough years.
Women went to the barber shop those days too.” Ivan swung the chair again till the bow faced out to Mill Street. “ Lots of changes” I muttered, staring at the brownstone of the old Post Office building. “In 1929 on Mill Street when I started in business,” Ivan went on, “ There was W. M. Pimlott had the corner store opposite Paddy Rooney’s Pool Hall. The Dominion Store was next, where Stan Morton is now, and Jimmy Moreau had the smoke and news shop next door, and then came the Bell Telephone office, my shop, Louis and Nick Peterson’s ice cream parlour, W. D. Lea’s bakery, W. W. Pittard who had the Times printing office, Ab Lotan, the butcher, and Phil Needham and his father in the shoemaking shop”.
It was a fine place to work with such business associates. Lots of changes.” “You must have found the name, Duncan very common around here too?” “Yes, but I haven’t heard of any other ‘Ivan’ in the Duncan clan. It makes me wonder if my family was Russian.”
“Scots have been great travellers and explorers in centuries past,” I ventured. ‘‘Must have been. Another strange thing when I started work in Almonte was that I often heard men in the shop talking about some place in the district called the “James Settlement.” I knew a couple of James families lived in town, but I. never connected them, particularly Walter’s family, with the James Settlement until after I’d met Irene.” “ And succeeded in becoming part of the James Settlement?” “You could indeed say that.” Snip, snip, snip, snip.
“From this vantage point on Mill Street, you’d have a good chance to watch the events of the years too.” “That’s right. Events too.” “ For instance, where were you the night of the train wreck?” ‘That was Sunday night, right after Christmas, 1942.” ‘Yep. December 28th.” ‘ ‘I was out seeing Irene that night. Paddy Carroll, the drover, was being waked that night. T’was Paddy’s last roundup. “
The scissors went mute, poised like a St. Andrew’s Cross in mid-air. “I got a deep respect for the people of Almonte that awful night. The way everybody pitched in to help, without being asked in the crisis that snuffed out the lives of about thirty six strangers in our midst.” “The flash of an instant. Did you ever see such a mangled mess as those cars were in after the locomotive struck the rear of the train in the station?” “Remember it well. I was a lance corporal at the time. The last three coaches were reduced to nothing but matchwood and twisted pipe. I was on the fourth coach.” Ivan put away the scissors and comb, and rattled the brush around in the shaving mug and swished the lather around behind the ears on both port and starboard sides. He slapped the razor three or four times on the leather strop and returned to the chair.
“Lots of characters have been in and out of this chair too,” I remarked. “ Mayors, reeves, aldermen, all the heads of state in Almonte. I used this chair for thirty-eight years in the | other shop, and the last twelve in this. It should be good for many more years yet.” He finished with the razor and as a final touch, he took up the scissors again to trim the Mephistophelean eyebrows of the client in the chair. He flicked the whisk and dusted off the remains of the eyebrows from the checkered tablecloth. “ Did you ever think of taking on an apprentice?” I asked, stepping down to the floor of the shop. “ You interested?” Ivan asked. “There’s going to be vacancies all over in the next fifty years.” “ Would you throw the board in to the deal?” ‘ ‘You won’t need it for fifty years from now.” “ Still,” I countered, “It strikes me barbering’s become a pretty monastic trade. Men only. The unwritten code, of course.” ‘ ‘Don’t you believe it. In the cities you’ll find women cutting men’s hair in the barber shops. Still interested?” “ Don’t know. It sounds more and more like a hairy business. “Only on the fringes.” ” I’ll be back next year then.”
Happy anniversary, Ivan
1983, Wednesday November 16, The Almonte Gazette, page 17 K. Ivan Duncan, 56 Martin Street, Almonte, died on Nov 9 at the Almonte General Hospital after a lengthy illness. He was 74. Born at Warkworth, Ontario on Aug 3, 1909 he was the son of the late William and Ethel (Skinkle) Duncan. Educated at Warkworth, he married Irene James on Sept 19, 1944 in Almonte. A barber by profession, he lived in the area for 54 years and was a member of the Masons, Presbyterian Church (inactive elder), lawn bowling club and was a former school board trustee. He was predeceased by one brother, Claude and two sisters, Susie (Mrs Edgar McKeown) and Gertrude (Mrs Thomas Cobbledick). He is survived by his wife as well as daughter Muriel (Mrs Ralph Paul), Whitby, and two grandchildren, Robbie, 11 and Tracy,16. He is also survived by one brother Alton Duncan, Minden, Ont. The service was held from St John’s Presbyterian Church, Almonte on No 12 at 11 am with Rev Edward Smith officiating. Interment in Auld Kirk Cemetery. Pallbearers at the service were Dr Peter James, Dr Walter James, John James, (nephews of the deceased), Hugh McClymont, David Walker and Elford Giles. Contributor: Gary J Byron (49329383) •
WALTER A. JAMES – (1958)
Walter A. James, one of Almonte’s older citizens passed away suddenly August 1st, at the Rosamond Memorial Hospital. Mr. James was the son of John James and Jane Atcheson and was born in Ramsay Township on the outskirts of Almonte. He was, in his 81st year and a resident of Almonte all of life. As a young man he was employed as an operator at the Almonte Telephone exchange and to the time of his death retained in his memory the original telephone numbers of almost all the original subscribers. Later he was employed by the Wylie Milling Company Ltd. and the late John B. Wylie. After the death of Mr. Wylie he operated his own flour and feed business for twenty years until he retired in 1949. In1903 he married Muriel Ritchie who deceased him in 1949. He is survived by a brother, Albert E. James of California and a son, Hilliard, of Toronto, and a daughter, Mrs Ivan Duncan (Irene) of Almonte, with whom he had made his home since the death, of his wife. There are also nine, grandchildren. Mr. James who was active up until a few hours before his death possessed a keen intellect and a great sense of humour. He had a large fund of information regarding people and happenings in the Almonte of over sixty years ago. His business brought him in contact not only, with the townspeople but also with the members of the surrounding farming community. His obliging manner and ready wit won for him a multitude of friends, hundreds of whom came to pay their last respects to his memory. The funeral which was largely attended which took place at 2.30 p.m., Sunday August 3rd, from the Comba Funeral Home to the Auld Kirk Cemetery. He was a member of St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Strachan of the Almonte Baptist Church. The pallbearers were Wilfred Snedden, Russell Kenny, George Hourigan, Lorne Ritchie of Almonte, John James of Sudbury and Peter (?) of Toronto. Among the floral offerings and the messages of sympathy were those from the Comptroller and Accounting staff, The Canadian Bank of Commerce, Toronto; Session Almonte Presbyterian Church; WMS, Home Helpers and Heather Club of Presbyterian Church; Almonte Chapter O.E.S. Local 254.
I like to focus on folks in town and keep us all aware of what’s going on. So here is one of our new barbers in town: Kyle Blundell in his own words. I like people to tell me all about themselves as it’s their story right?
I decided to open up a barber shop in Carleton Place as it seemed like a better idea then competing with 500 other places in Ottawa. I also have a lot of friends and family in town my parents have lived in Carleton Place since I was 5 years old.
After Covid first began I left barbering downtown Ottawa, and moved to Almonte with my girlfriend to “quarantine”. With all that free time on our hands, we made a baby —which is due In March 2021. After the initial good news I decided —- after years of my dad asking me to move out here, Id open a shop in Carleton place when restrictions were done.
I jumped on that and opened a week after I was allowed after renting my spot at 103 Bridge street and naming the shop Towne Barber. This November, my girlfriend and I are moving to Carleton Place and going to raise our child in Carleton Place.
I’ve been cutting hair for about ten years and originally began styling just on friends before nights out on the town. I realized I had talent and love for it and pursued in the trade.
It’s been a dream for me to open my own shop and I couldn’t be happier I chose Carleton Place after meeting all my customers and other local small business owners. It’s also super cool that my shop was originally a barbershop back in the day. There’s a picture online of the barber waving out of the door at a parade when it was beside Olympia restaurant.
With my name getting out with social media and word of mouth, I’ve been blessed with a steady clientele which gives me a chance to give back to the community a little which lead to my idea to give free haircuts for back to school for boys who’s parents may have lost work from Covid or just needed the extra help.
Now the 25% from gift card sales from now until Christmas will go towards the Lanark County Food Bank since the Santa Claus parade won’t be there for the same charity funding. I plan on always doing what I can to help Carleton place and the people living here. .
The Howard Little Barber Shop
A fire destroyed the building in 1960, but it was rebuilt and opened again in 1961. Jim Antonakas had previously purchased the building 2.5 years before that fateful day. Antonakas had originally operated a restaurant in the Byward Market in Ottawa.
Everything in the restaurant and garage was destroyed but the firemen aided by the residents of Carleton Place were able to save almost all of the equipment in the barber shop. A fire that amounted to $75,000 worth of damage to: The Olympia Restaurant, Howard Little’s Barbershop and a garage owned by Elmer Robertson containing a small amount of furniture fell prey to the flames. In 1961, the Olympia was rebuilt and reopened. At this time, Stewart Comba leased a part for his furniture shop and R.A. Downing had an office here.
The loss of the Olympia Restaurant was a minor tragedy for teenagers in Carleton Place. It was where we gathered to plan our activities for the weekend. On a personal note, the loss of Howard Little’s Barbershop meant I had to find a new “hair stylist” although in truth my crew cut could be duplicated by any of the numerous barbers that plied their trade in town at that time.
The morning after the fire I was on my way to my summer job at 6:00 a.m. and they were still hosing down the remains of the business block. The rebuilding of the Olympia was undertaken quickly so we teenagers were not without a “hangout” for a lengthy period of time.
The sad death of Mr. Telesphore Turgeon, who was burned in the recent fire at Hinckley, Minnesota, calls to mind the occasion on which he was a victim of one of the worst boating accidents that ever occurred in Almonte. In June, 1868, the late Mr. Turgeon, in company with two of his wife’s sisters, Maggie and Lizzie Varin, aged about fourteen and eight years, and his little son, started from above the railroad bridge to have a sail up the river.
When fairly out in the stream one of the oars broke, thus leaving the boat at the mercy of the current. Mr. Turgeon jumped out and tried to draw the skiff to the shore, but the current proved too strong, and he was swept over the falls along with the boat and its occupants.
The children were all drowned, but Mr. Robert Brown, a law student in the office of Mr. (now Judge) Jamieson dove after and succeeded in rescuing Mr. Turgeon in a lifeless condition, after he had been on the bottom for some time, and he was resuscitated.Mr. Turgeon afterwards presented Brown with a handsome gold medal in recognition of his bravery. Mr. Turgeon was insured in the Almonte branch of the’ C.M.B.A. for $2000.
Margaret Williams was left a widow at age 42 with seven surviving children. The eldest Claire (aka Clara) was 20, just married and gave birth to a son Eusebe Telesphore Turgeon within a week of his grandfather’s death. Eusebe Varin’s business probably failed following his death and it appears that Margaret Williams moved to Almonte, Ontario with her children. Daughter Claire and her husband Telesphore Turgeon went too. Almonte was a booming mill town about 30 miles from Ottawa on the Mississippi River a tributary of the Ottawa River.
Information from Family Trees put up on Ancestry shows that Margaret Williams died in Almonte on the 21 Sept 1867 at the age of 45. I have not yet been able to confirm this. She left seven children orphans with married daughter Claire age 22 the eldest.
Information from Family Trees on Ancestry is that the two youngest Varin girls ages fourteen and nine and their three year old nephew Eusebe Telesphore Turgeon, the son of their eldest sister, all died on 11 June 1868. Information is that the youngest girl drowned. Clara Varin Turgeon and her husband Telesphore Turgeon lived in Almonte until well into the 1880s and had a number of children.
The family then moved to Minnesota, USA, to the area between Duluth and Minneapolis where Telesphore died in the huge Hinkley forest fire in 1895. The rest of the family survived and the children married. Their descendents live in the States.
Up until the 19th century barbers were generally referred to as barber-surgeons, and they were called upon to perform a wide variety of tasks. They treated and extracted teeth, branded slaves, created ritual tattoos or scars, cut out gallstones and hangnails, set fractures, gave enemas, and lanced abscesses
Howard died in January 1994 at his home on Rochester Street in Carleton Place
Howard was mayor of Carleton Place from 1960-1967. In the 1950s he was also a councillor and reeve
Howard operated a barber shop on Bridge Street for nearly 60 years.
Howard teamed up with H.B. (Burnett) Montgomery and auctioned just about everything off for about 50 years. After H. B.’s death he teamed up for a spell with Frank Burns. “We aim to please” was his motto on his phamphlets, but I heard “It’s nice and clean folks!” more than the other phrase at his auctions.
As mayor, one of his priorities as stated in the Canadian was acquiring land from the Dunlop family which became the Business Park North and now known as the Dunlop Business Park.
One of Howard’s best friends were the parents of Brian Costello.
Howard was famous for towing along his public address system that he used in auctions for local events any time they needed him.
Howard was once the head of at least two local orchestras and was also a well known square dance caller.
Howard was a 45 year member of St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 63
Howard never told anyone his age preferring to leave it up to everyone’s imagination. Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
On Wednesday afternoon a young man named Michael Sullivan was brought before Duncan Kippen, police magistrate, charged with assaulting Ambrose Love, barber with a knife. The evidence shows that about 5:00 on Tuesday afternoon the prisoner was in the barber shop of young Love and some dispute arose regarding lending and paying back money and fiery words were exchanged, etc. Love put Sullivan out of his shop.
However, after awhile the prisoner came in again and struck Love three times in the face with an open knife near the eye, near the ear and on the chin. The knife was taken from Sullivan by Edgar King. Ambrose then went out to make his complaint to the Chief Constable when he was followed on the street by the prisoner and a bare handed tussle took place but without serious results. The prisoner then threatened to murder Love before he left town.
On hearing the evidence the police magistrate sent Sullivan up to Judge Senckler for trial. The prisoner has the character of being a well behaved, peaceable young man when sober and a good worker but when the worse of liquor is apt to be troublesome. He was employed in the carshops for two years prior to the closing down and the bosses had no fault to find with him. We are told that at the time of the assault he was somewhat the worse of liquor and was subject to a great deal of teasing and annoyance before getting up to the “sticking point”. He is an Italian although the name does not indicate that nationality.
Perth Courier, March 15, 1889
Mr. Michael Sullivan appeared before Judge Senkler on Tuesday last on the charge of assaulting Ambrose Love by stabbing. He pled guilty and was sentenced to imprisonment in the county gaol for thirty days, sentence to commence upon conviction for any other felony or misdemeanor.