Tag Archives: blaine-cornell

A Few Memories of Blaine Cornell

A Few Memories of Blaine Cornell

IMG_6755 - Blaine, Ken, & Mel - 2, best

Photo thanks to Dale Costello

When Blaine Cornell passed away yesterday on January 16th, 2020 it was a shock to us all. Blaine was a gate keeper to Carleton Place history as his family was a prominent force in our community. He kept it alive not only on local heritage boards but in thought. He was full of stories, and he loved to tell them. We would both lament that the newer generations were not very good at storytelling when compared to the generations before us.  Talking about our past arguably is the thing that makes us human and teaches us right from wrong, and most importantly teaches us our history. Blaine will be missed as a father, grandfather, friend and an important community member. We miss him already. My love to the Cornell family and his sister Sheila McCallum.

Linda Seccaspina


Ken Godfrey

Hi Linda,

Way back when (High School Days) I recall Blaine coming in to the Carleton Lunch (next to the Roxy Movie Theatre) and ordering his usual – which was a hamburger and Coke – and then we would sit for what seemed like hours talking about all and sundry. By the way, this would be on Saturdays (we were not playing hookey from school), and Blaine’s hamburger would have been made by Ed Giffin, a mutual school friend, and short-order cook for the Carleton Lunch, which Ed’s father John Giffin owned. We all had nick-names at that time, and Blaine was known as “Herb”, which was his father’s name, who was also our Chief of Police for many years.

As you probably know, in later years, Blaine was an accomplished self-taught artist and created many wonderful paintings, (many of which he gave away), not to mention his singing with the Town Singers, and involvement with the Beckwith School Museum. He will also be remembered for his boyish grin, and his dry sense of humour.

Ken Godfrey


cops2 (1)

Blaine’s dad Herb Cornell

Rob Probert

Blaine had a long history in Carleton Place. Certainly as the son of the Chief of Police, Herb, he had a front row seat to many stories and events here.  His own career was well supported by that family history.

Blaine  was a keen supporter of our community heritage serving in recent years on several heritage committees and we all know of his quiet wit.  Blaine loved his painting hobby. It is sad to lose him and he will be missed. Rob Probert



This cool group took over the steps of the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1959!
Pictured are Blaine Cornell, Gary McLellan, Weldon Armour seated, Dave Gordon, Dale Costello, Bob Bigras, Gerald Griffith, Ray Paquette and Gordon Bassett.- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Jennifer Fenwick Irwin

Blaine Cornell was the best storyteller! Listening to him, it seemed he lived in every neighbourhood in Carleton Place, dated every girl at CPHS, and had a hand in any shenanigans that happened on Bridge Street. I’ll forever be grateful for his generosity with his time and facts and jokes. Blaine donated many items belonging to his father, Police Chief Herb Cornell to the museum’s collection, but was still searching for the elusive cap…. I’ll miss him dreadfully. Jennifer Fenwick Irwin



Blaine Cornell and Dale Costello in the front row – Carleton Place Canadian April 24th 1958 from Photos from the Wanda Morrison- Joan Kehoe Collection-See another photo- click-Some of the Carleton Place Local Lads- Flynn Costello and Cornell



CPHS Football team… Thanks Joann Voyce

Peter Bradley Taken by Bob Drader, we both took a lot of photos then for Mr Palmateer the coach.


IMG_6741 - Ed & Keith Giffin, Blaine Cornell etc. Golden Bears Football - possibly 1989

Dale Costello

Blaine was my best growing up buds. Played hockey and played drums together in high school, just did so many things together. I’m shocked and stunned by this sad news. RIP Blaine, and thanks so much for the great memories we shared. Blaine and I were like brothers, and I am completely shocked by this news. At our reunions we shared so many stories from the 50’s. My Bud forever.

Dale Costello


IMG_6738 - Blaine Cornell & Boyne Lewis

Blaine and Boyne Lewis



In memory of Blaine –Thanks Joann Voyce

Ray Paquette

Spent many a summer evening with Blaine who will always live on in my memories…😢

Ray Paquette


Image result for art text


IMG_6752 - Blaine's winter scene with cardinal - 2

IMG_6751 - Blaine's barn painting - 1

Joann Voyce

Just last summer I got one of Blaine’s paintings at our class of 59 annual reunion. In our wilder days, Blaine was the bouncer between us and the Chief of Police. When we partied too hard, he would receive a call from his dad to settle us down before his dad would have to do it himself. Of course we obeyed instantly. LOL –Joann Voyce


You could always see Blaine singing with the CP Singers 







IMG_6953 - Banner - 2 - best


Some of the stories Blaine told me or helped me with:

Leslie Building (across from the Post Office)  Blaine Cornell told me the entire back (east) side of the building suddenly collapsed in 1953 and an overpowering smell of formaldehyde wafted through the town. Buildings all along Beckwith Street were evacuated, including the Bell Telephone exchange at the corner of Albert Street – the only time in their history they stopped work! It seems that the embalming fluid had been slowly leaking down the back wall, eating away the mortar and stone, until the entire wall collapsed. Could it have been young Emma who was still  a ‘wet-user’  even in death? Was she still siphoning off the embalming fluid and forgetting to shut off the valve? After all, invincibility and forgetfulness are also common side effects of smoking the fluid — or was she just one overly happy phantom that was tub-thumping and no one was ever going to keep her down.

So Who Did Live at 107 John Street? Here is Your Answer….

He Fought the Law and the Law Won! Joseph Nadon of Carleton Place

The Scene of the Crime – It was 68 years ago today

The Carleton Place Men’s Choir and Douglas Halpenny — Linda’s Mailbag

Gold Mines and Disappearances





Ray Paquette A nice picture of Chief Cornell who’s personal touch set the tone for policing in Carleton Place for many years. He quietly, without a fuss, maintained law and order in Carleton Place for many years, first as a police Sargent and finally the Chief. The example and leadership he exhibited lasted long after his retirement.

Dale Costello Knew Herb Cornell, but not in a professional setting. And of course, son Blaine and I have been buds since kindergarden.

Was Maurice Cornell the Greatest Golfer in Carleton Place?


14316888_1197363000320592_460108009909198534_n (1)

One day Blaine and I sat in  the museum and talked about this picture and its surroundings for over an hour and a half LOL–Do you remember Carleton Place Police Force Constable Ray McIssac, or Police Chief Herb Cornell?  In the photo they are proudly standing in front of a newly acquired Ford police cruiser on Mill Street in 1960. Look how much Mill Street has changed!–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–


Image result for rest in peace my friend

Cornell, Blaine

Suddenly at home on Thursday January 16, 2020 at the age of 79.

Loving husband of Maggie of 45 years. Dear father of Sarah Cornell (Tony Dugdale) and Becky Cornell (Ryan Clark). Very proud grandfather of Chloe, Mia, Grace and Harrison. Dear uncle of Mike Robillard. Survived by his sister Sheila McCallum (Ross-deceased) and his brothers-in-law Greg Affleck (Nancy) and Brian Affleck (Edith).

Friends may support the family at the Alan R. Barker Funeral Home 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place, on Sunday January 19, 2020 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Funeral service Monday in the chapel at 11:00 a.m. Interment in the spring at Auld Kirk Cemetery.

For those who wish, a donation to the Carleton Place Hospital Foundation or the Gideons Society would be appreciated by the family.

So Who Did Live at 107 John Street? Here is Your Answer….

So Who Did Live at 107 John Street? Here is Your Answer….

Screenshot 2017-04-20 at 10

The Beginning…

“I was reading this morning about the Smyth’s 50th. I live at 107 John Street and believe it is the original Smyth house which was built in the early 1900’s. I purchased the house from Bill Blanche whom I believe was the son of George Blanche as I am led to believe the house was kept in the family until my purchase. I cannot confirm any of this as I do not have the research skills to verify.” Bill Russell Carleton Place–  read more here–107 John Street– The Smyths? Calling Out My Lifeline Please…


So if you want some clues or answers you contact the guys that know: our local community historians Blaine Cornell and Ray Paquette. You know the ‘cool guys’ from Carleton Place in the photo below.


This cool group took over the steps of the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1959!
Pictured are Blaine Cornell, Gary McLellan, Weldon Armour seated, Dave Gordon, Dale Costello, Bob Bigras, Gerald Griffith, Ray Paquette and Gordon Bassett.- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Blaine Cornell
I remember the Blance’s living there in the 50’s but have no memory of the Smyth family living at that address. Just for info: Bill went onto the Brampton area where he  became a school teacher.  He also played banjo in a well known blue grass group called *General Store (nominated for Juno awards). He is retired and now lives in the Allison Ont. area.

Ray Paquette
The house was owned by the Blance family in my youth. Bill and I, as well as Blaine Cornell, were in the army cadet band at the high school in the late 1950’s. During the period I was absent from Carleton Place I understand that Bill graduated from CPHS and moved on to Toronto while his family remained in the house.
The Blance Family lived in the downstairs apartment entered by the door on the left and for the life of me, I can’t remember who lived upstairs. Perhaps Blaine has more current information than me or Wayne Drummond, whose family lived on the corner of John and Frank Street at that time.
As for Tom Smyth, I seem to remember him living on Lake Avenue East in one of the three very similar homes on the south side of the street beginning at 264. Now, take what I have to say with the proverbial “grain of salt” because I was 13 at the time of his 50th wedding anniversary!
Author’s Note– Someone said the Moorheads/Muirheads? lived upstairs? 
Okay, so who originally lived in that house? Bill Russell seems to think a former mayor lived in it, but it wasn’t Mayor Thomas Smyth from the 50s– so who is it? Maybe instead of Smyth I need to research the Blances. Bingo– I hit the motherlode.
The original owner of the home was Mr. and Mrs. David Smythe. (add an “e” to that Smyth)  David Smythe was  a merchant and harness maker and had his business on Bridge Street.   Smythe was also the Mayor of Carleton Place in 1911 and again in 1917. David died in 1937 and his wife Jennie also died in the home at 107 John Street a little over 20 years later in 1953. (see obit below)


So what was the relationship between the Blances and the Smythes? Mrs. George Blance, Jean, was born a Smythe, and it seems likely that is why the family lived there as her mother was alone for many years after her husband died. That’s just what people did on those days.





Here is a pill box found in house prescribed to George and a ticket for a baking school held at the church that was supported by Mrs. Smythe! –Photo Bill Russell


Jean Smythe *married George Ronald Blance on the 4th of June 1940 in the Presbyterian Manse in Carleton Place. Seeing it was 5 years after her father died, I assume they moved right into the brick red house on John Street.

So Bill, yes your home was probably built in the early 1900’s as Mr. and Mrs David Smythe, the original owners, got *married in 1898. The bricks from your home I assume came from the brickyards down at the end of Lake Avenue East.  Not only a former Carleton Place mayor built and lived in your home– but a Juno nominee musician lived there too. Now that’s star power!!

Thanks to Ray and Blaine for sending  me down the river of mystery with some sort of paddle.


If anyone has any stories about this or anything else please send them to me.




David Smythe – 1871/1935

Mayor of Carleton Place – 1911-1917 – Merchant Harness maker.

David Smythe was born in 1870. He was Mayor of Carleton Place in 1911 and again in 1917. He was also a Merchant and Harness Maker and had his business on Bridge Street. David Smythe, of Ferguson and Smythe, harness makers, was elected for the first of seven yearly terms as mayor of Carleton Place. He died in 1934.  

*Marriage of David Smythe and Jennie Willis in Carleton Place
8392-98 David SMYTHE, 29, harness maker, Arnprior, Carleton Place, s/o John SMYTHE & Susan MORAN, married Jennie Helena WILLIS, 22, Carleton Place, same, d/o John Henry WILLIS & Sarah Ann WRIGHT, witn: George MORRISON & Margaret E. BURROWS, both of Carleton Place, 26 Jan 1898 at Carleton Place


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal05 Jan 1935, SatPage 12



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal29 Jun 1940, SatPage 10–Jean Smythe Blance’s wedding


Jean Smythe Blance’s Brother Desmond Smythe


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal05 Oct 1955, WedPage 24– Jean Smythe Blance’s brother Desmond death notice



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal04 Apr 1932, MonPage 8–Desmond married one of the Dunlop girls from Carleton Place

This glass baseball was found inside a wall of the addition on the house and the ginger ale sign was found in the eaves of the addition.  Photos–Bill Russell
Band Members
Bill Blance
Brian Riseborough
Helen Lewis
John Perkins
Norm Tellier
GENERAL STORE is a multi-award winning bluegrass band from Southern Ontario with a reputation for smooth 3 and 4 part vocal harmonies. The band excels at traditional as well as contemporary bluegrass music, including original material. Their repertoire is also rich with gospel music.
General Store was chosen ‘Bluegrass Gospel Band of the Year’ 5 years in a row at the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards, and now has been retired from this category. Additional awards have included ‘Most Promising Band’ in 2004, and two ‘Mandolin Player of the Year’ awards for instrumentalist Norm Tellier. And in 2007/08, the Arts Council of Brampton, Ontario (a city of 500,000) presented General Store with the prestigious Bloom Award for ‘Top Concert Performance by a Small Ensemble’.
In 2011, General Store released their 3rd CD ‘Phantom Train’, to add to their 2 previous releases ‘Open for Business’ and ‘More in Store’. All 3 CDs have received award nominations, and airplay all around the world.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

 Related Reading: 


Some of the Carleton Place Local Lads- Flynn Costello and Cornell




Blaine Cornell and Dale Costello in the front row – Carleton Place Canadian April 24th 1958 from Photos from the Wanda Morrison- Joan Kehoe Collection



Is that our Jerry Flynn in the back row? – Carleton Place Canadian April 24th 1958 from Photos from the Wanda Morrison- Joan Kehoe Collection

He Fought the Law and the Law Won! Joseph Nadon of Carleton Place


Blaine Cornell dropped off an interesting newspaper clipping from the late 1800’s at the Carleton Place and Heritage Museum this week. I have to admit each time I read something I swear it can’t be topped, and it always is.

It all started with a telegram send to Ottawa’s finest Sergeant Moylan and Police Constable O’Neil one frosty day in January of 1893. That telegram told the story of a criminal on the loose by the name of Joseph Nadon. Everyone was to be on alert as he was headed to the capital city. Seems that Nadon had gotten himself in a heap of trouble that day involving local Carleton Place barber John Carden and railroader David Dunlop.


The fight had begun in one of our Carleton Place restaurants run by Nadon. A bit of a donnybrook broke out and Nadon took it up himself to take a club and strike Carden cutting his head open. According to the language of the newspaper- it appears Dunlop was also badly “damaged”! Carden’s life was listed as “despaired of”. I looked that up and the translation is: “they feared he might die”.

To make things worse it seems Nadon had a devoted girlfriend and she fired 8 revolver shots at the men. The newspaper said her shots were “defective”— but in laymen’s terms I’d say she missed. As Nadon was a rig-man he found himself a rig mighty quickly and drove to Stittsville. Pursued by Carleton Place’s finest-Constable Wilson, the chase stormed down what is close or is Highway 7. When both policeman and criminal found themselves arriving at Stittsville at the same time Nadon quickly jumped on to an east bound train— and so did Wilson!


Nadon was not going to be caught, and kicked the crap out of poor Constable Wilson to such an extent Wilson was bleeding from his lungs. Nadon was finally arrested and taken back to Carleton Place. Of course he immediately claimed self defense, citing the two men had come into his establishment wanting trouble. Instead  of leaving as he had requested, the two men took off their coats and it was “game on” Nadon said. However, the police noted that Nadon using a club on Carden didn’t really scream self defense. There was also the factor that Nadon had come to to Carleton Place a few months ago and had begun what was commonly known as a “bean dive”. I guess you are innocent until %^&* happens, and being stupid doesn’t mean you are innocent as Nadon found out.

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