There was a pointed article published in every local newspaper that small towns were in trouble. It was alarming to see this in the year 1897.
A very pointed and practicle article appeared in the Orangeville, Ont., Advertiser on the possible results of towns peopledoing all their shopping in the city. We quote it for intelligent peoplewho are reasonable enough to see that city buying, if carried out to its extrema limit can empty a town of both trade and prosperity.
Let us sssume that a town which lacks local pride and spirit and whose inhabitants spend much off their cash to departmental stores and buys everything aways from home. What follows? The merchants put up their shutter, and quit. Tha main street has gone out of business. The post office and express office are the local branches of the department store and are busy sending off orders and delivering packages.
The merchants with their families, and their clerks, scatter to tbe four comers of the earth. There are, perhaps two banks in the town and one closes at once, but the other waits to see how business will he. The editor of the local paper look over his fields and peers into tho future, and then moves away. Those who owned property along the main street find it almost valueless. One of the local lawyers moves away. One of the doctors sells out to the other.
The farmers of the surrounding county rise up at 3 a.m. and drive on through the village to the city to sell their produce and make their purchases. They consult a city doctor, or lawyer or dentist, if they need advice or treatment. Their farms, ones worth $100 per acre adjacent to a living town, decline in value until they are worth only $30 or $40 per acre, because there is no living town and market nearby.
The owner of the big mill or factory, which was bonused years ego, will now harken to the offers he gets to locate in other places, and the town having now no future, no prospect of better shipping facilities, the factory will go away. In short the town will have no excuse for existing.
If all this happens we might as well all move away and get into the city to which, maybe we really belong. Logically this whole province in which only rich cities can thrive are all retailing passing into the hands of retail men and companies strong enough to practice any triok or to resort, to any tyranny, and none being strong enough to resist them.
With regards to Milano’s, there was a music store selling new CD’s when I opened the restaurant. It was owned by a guy named Bruce who used to come in for lunch. Great store and he employed several high school students. As a teenager, I spent all of my allowance on music from Sam the Record Man and others, so I thought Bruce’s store was great. He was in business for 5 years, but he told me he wasn’t making enough profit to stay open – that was his time limit to become viable.
After that, it was a sheet music store. It was also a coffee shop called ‘Sounds Like Coffee’ which was run by Roger Weldon and his girlfriend. They marketed to high school students and allowed smoking in their establishment to attract that segment. Then it was Simon Gold.
I think community should be documented for future generations. This hotel was part of the Ottawa community until it closed
Soul is a name. Every time you repeat the name, it steals a bit of soul, so that by the 1,000th time you say Burger King or Esso, it disappears. Soul resides in the one-of-a- kind, in Eddy’s Quick Lunch, The Vanier Grill, Maple Leaf Tavern. These are names that line Montreal Road in Vanier, names unrepeated in other places, names that outlive buildings, so that the gritty soul of the street resonates like the memory of sin’s embrace. Maple Leaf tavern which lasted 70 years until 1994 proudly served quarts, the once popular meeting place for Ottawa’s elite, the hotel’s bar became a magnet for crime – in the 1980s . The Maple Leaf Tavern, which opened on Montreal Road in 1923, closed in 1994.
Vanier ends a short distance west of St. Laurent Boulevard, where for years the Maple Leaf Tavern was home to a generation of National Research Council scientists, Mounties, tradespeople and those whose employment was more difficult to pin down. It closed in February 1994, to such universal sadness and outcry the Citizen dispatched one of its best writers to write an obituary “The Maple Leaf not forever, but not forgotten,” he concluded. A brand-new Blockbuster Video with plenty of parking replaced it.
Last call for landmark beer hall Phil Gebert shut the Maple Leaf Tavern a week ago, closing the doors on a three-tiered beer hall that could easily seat most of Vanier round its well-worn tables. This was not a happy ending to a hotel and watering hole first opened in 1923. Friday, as he tried to sell anything not nailed down, Gebert was not a happy man. “What’s the story?” the middle-aged businessman asked mockingly.
“There’s no story. The place is a dump. It should have been torn down a long time ago.”
He lights a smoke, drinks coffee, lights another smoke, all the while leading a handful of buyers between stacked cases of glassware and used kitchen equipment. At one table in the clutter 150 salt shakers are neatly lined up, their chrome tops gleaming in the weak light. In a few minutes, he will pull a black 8-ball from his blazer pocket, a remnant found in the basement games room.
“Take a picture of this. I’m always behind it.”
Gebert tried to keep things quiet when he closed the tavern, but you don’t easily remove a landmark. “If God had a bar, It would be called the Leaf,” a sentimental patron memorialized on the wall with magic marker. Others joined him: “It’s been great Tawny” “God Bless the Leafs”, and, “Lest we forget the times, Thanks for the memories Nancy Kerrigan”.
The grouchy Gebert may not want to talk about the tavern’s past but Claude Larose, 59, does. Larose has been working in taverns for 35 years back when beer was 42 cents a quart the last 17 at the Maple Leaf. Friday, the short, dark-eyed man came in to help out with the sale and pick up his last paycheque.
The tavern, at Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard, used to rent 17 rooms in the upper floor. Larose says government workers in the area staked out their own sections of the tavern: RCMP in one area, CMHC in another, plumbers and electricians in yet another.
There have been so many stories connected with the Leaf over the years, Larose is hard pressed to single out a few. He remembers the man who was having chest pains at home and told his son, “Just get me to the Leaf and I’ll be alright.” He went to the hospital instead and died. Gebert and Larose say the Maple Leaf has been victimized by changing times and taste: People don’t drink as much anymore and, if they do, it’s only one quart instead of five.
While a 1988 fire hurt business the tavern shut for nine months they say there’s been a steady slide in business since 1992. When word leaked out last week about the closure, Larose estimates two or three dozen wooden chairs disappeared, whisked away to dens and basements. “It’s like they say. All good things must come to an end,” says Larose. So they do. The Maple Leaf not forever, but not forgotten.
Americo “Maigo” Rego, the young manager at the Maple Leaf Restaurant and Tavern on Montreal Road, saw the graffiti on the wall two years ago and has been slowly renovating the tavern since.” Rego has been forced to open the Popular Draft Room downstairs to everyone because of declining sales. “At first the men didn’t like it but it has gradually been accepted. I always answer the phone with ‘hello, Maple Leaf Hotel’, though. It will always be that to me,” Maigo says.
“Our male-only side will never die-out, though. It may not be as busy as it used to be but the women will never feel comfortable there.” Rego has been forced to open the Popular Draft Room downstairs to everyone because of declining sales. “At first the men didn’t like it but it has gradually been accepted.”
By John Kessel and Mike Blanchfield Citizen staff writers
A fire Sunday that gutted the upper floor of the Maple Leaf Tavern and Restaurant was likely the job of an arsonist, an investigator with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office says. Les MacPhee said he and police believe the same suspect set a $20,000 fire at the tavern in mid-September. “We just haven’t been able to find the man to question him,” MacPhee said. “We believe it’s someone who has a grudge against the hotel.”
When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out upper windows of the tavern on Montreal Road just east of St. Laurent Blvd. They battled the blaze for nearly four hours before bringing it under control. Two firefighters received injuries. They were taken to hospital and later released, said Guilbault. Despite extensive damage to the upper floor of the two-storey building, the pub’s manager vowed it will reopen within two weeks. Phil Gebert said the ground floor and the basement which house the pub received only water damage. The upper floor was unoccupied. “It’ll just need a week to air out,” Gebert said Sunday morning, noting that most of the tavern furniture was not destroyed.
However, Dave Guilbault, an investigator with the Ottawa fire department, said there was “severe damage” to the roof, with minor smoke damage to the rest of the building. The basement, where the restaurant’s popular lunch specials were served, was not damaged, he said. “It doesn’t look too good right now,” said Platoon Chief George Way. “There isn’t much of a roof left.” He estimated damage to the building at $350,000 and water damage to its contents at $100,000. The building was empty when Sunday’s blaze broke out.
I don’t have a ton of history about this Ottawa hotel which like several businesses in the neighborhood mysteriously burned down around the same time.
The Maple Leaf Hotel was a favorite hangout for a lot of people, some even legal drinking age. It was on the corner of St Laurent and Montreal Road.
In high school (grade 13) it was where I would skip math classes with a few friends and head over for the afternoon and then high tail it back to school to get our books and catch our school buses home.
This was quite funny as our high school was several miles away and I would actually have to pass where I lived to get back to school only to then head home.
We would each order 5 small glasses of beer for $0.90 and leave the waiter a $0.10 tip so 4 guys ordering 5 beers and that table got filled up with glasses pretty darn fast. I mean we were on a mission and only had so much time.
I also recall the waiter wouldn’t take the glasses away so we would stack the glasses on top of each other making a 3′ high pyramid of breakables on the table (maybe they were plastic?)
Drinking age was 21 and I was 16 (going on 17) but looked older, yet I doubt I looked 21. We never got asked for our ID.
On one adventurous day, we stole a wooden Maple Leaf sign from inside which was proudly displayed in our grade 13 lounge.
Thanks Linda, my ancestor was Michael Spears who in 1830 owned the 100 acres where the Maple Leaf Hotel was. Mary Ann Spears, from Navan, mentioned in the obit for James Alberty was Michael Spears’ granddaughter. I had not seen his James Alberty’s obit before — thanks
My Mother Father and myself lived for a month at the Maple Leaf Hotel in early 1956 when we first came to Ottawa.My father finally found an apt not far away from the ML in Alvin Heights. We stayed in the corner room which had two windows one facing the Montreal Rd and the other St.Laurent Blvd. I last stayed at the ML in Oct. 1970 room rent was $6.50 per night. It’s one of the places that if you have been there you will never forget.
An old story. Years ago 4 cooks from the base (Rockliffe) would go for a beer. It was an exceptionally hot day and one of the four saw one guy put 2 pounds of butter on his head and put his hat on. So they decided it was a good day to have a beer. 4 took their hats off, 4th didn’t. Days before air conditioning. Butter started rolling down his face. He was embarrassed as hell.
Bank Street hotels called ‘dead’ Ottawa hotels appear to consider Bank Street dead for tourist travel. Not a single one accepted the Tourist and Convention Bureau’s invitation to put direct-line telephones’ into the Bank Street reception centre. At the Prescott Highway centre, five major hotels have taken up all available spaces, forcing the bureau to turn down an application from Bruce MacDonald Motor Hotel. The hotel wants to locate only in the Prescott centre, bureau director Gerald Geldert told the tourist and convention committee Tuesday night. But the Beacon Arms, Lord Elgin, Savoy, Chateau Lauri-er and Butler Motor hotels have filled all the spaces. The committee agreed a row of tourist folder racks there can be taken out to provide more spaces if the direct-line venture works out.
A request from Eastview’s Lafontaine Hotel for permission to install a phone in the Montreal Road ‘centre was turned down because the hotel does not advertise in the city’s tourist publications. Charles St. Germain complained that Eastview keeps aloof from tourist, promotion and benefits from Ottawa advertising. Now in the Montreal Road centre are phones to the Beacon Arms, Lord Elgin, Savoy and Riverside Motor hotels. The Beacon Arms, Savoy and Lord Elgin are in the Britannia centre. Motorcycle guides Not even Donald Sigouin, 55, of 356A Cumberland St., who is promoting tourist guides on motorcycles, wanted to locate at the Bank Street centre. He told the committee his choice is the Prescott centre where he counted 26 tourist groups Sunday at one time. The committee recommended letting him move his Ottawa Tourist Motorcycle Escort Service to the centre on a trial basis.
Aldermen Lionel O’Connor and Charles Parker opposed the move. Foolish move? “This town’s in the midst of a local revolution because of all the motorcycles,” said Aid. O’Connor. “It’s so bad that we have women out on the streets, screaming at them.” He indicated city council would be foolish to appear to promote the proliferation of the two-wheeled noise-anakers. “The whole city is up in arms against motorcycles,” he said. John Powers said Mr. Sigouin’s motorcycle escorts, who will charge $1 to guide tourists to their destination in Ottawa, will have to stick to a rigid contract with the city as well as obey laws governing motorcycles. St. Germain objected to Mr. Sigouin’s intentions of taking 50 cents out of each dollar his cyclists make. But the committee agreed Mr. Sigouin would need the money to pay for signs and the receptionists he hopes eventually to place outside all four centres.
I bought a new wood stove from Fred. It was in the store but I had to wait for payday to buy it. Fred said “Take it now and pay for it when you get paid”. I was not a long-time resident of Lanark or the area, so I was thankful and impressed
Merchants now in business on George Street since the fire are Traill’s Flower Shop, Machan’s barber shop, Drysdale’s ready-to-wear store and Fred Orok’s hardware store, making its “grand opening” Saturday.
Jack Strang who saw his large drug store and gift store burn to the ground sold his lot to a new comer Fred Orok and left to work in Ottawa. Mr. Orok built and opened a modern hardware store and patent drug outlet on the site and reports he is more than satisfied with his decision to go into business in what most people thought might be a ghost town.
Each office now employs about 27. Bailey, who will head the new Carleton Place district, agrees the shift will mean the loss of a few dollars buying power in Lanark but insists local contractors will have as much opportunity as ever for ministry contracts. “Most major purchases are handled by tender anyway,” Bailey explained. “It’s the little purchases that will make the difference.”
Hardware store owner Fred Orok agrees the economics impact on the village of 900 will be “nickel and dime stuff.” He figures his store stands to lose about $25 profit a week, but that’s not what is bugging him. “It’s the secretaries who won’t be browsing on their lunch hour through Drysdale’s clothing store or the dozen or so lunches not served up at Perry’s restaurant. “The people in Lanark have always been oriented that way “to fish, forests and wildlife,” says Orok. “This doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t make sense. They’ve g’ot their offices, garages and everything already here. . ” “It’s a place the whole communi- ty is proud of. It’s good for tourists too. They come in here asking about fishing licences or whatever and we just point them up tie street. Why move it to the middle of a farming area?” -! Village reeve Len Echlin echoed Orok’s disappointment. He calls the decision to merge the two districts “a foolish move. They’ve got a new building and garage there on five acres of land with lots of room f6r expansion,” he noted. ‘ t “I don’t know how many hiin- dreds of thousands of dollars they already have invested here. Doest it make any sense to pack up ah’d move where you’ll either have ‘to build the same building over again or rent space?
It’s booming in Lanark today, 10 months after a disastrous fire just last June 15 that threatened to wipe this village of 900 off the map. George Street the main street -will never look the same as it as before the fire, but most residents feel the change will be for the better. New business places have sprung up from the fire-blackened rubble and more are being planned. In the residential section at least 14 new homes have been built since the fire.
A spanking new post office slated for the village even before last summer’s holocaust is nearly ready to open. And everyone is talking optimistically of a new industry coming to town. Of the 45 families who left the village after the disaster, at least one has returned to stay and there is good reason to believe more will do the same before the anniversary date rolls around in June. Rita Traill, who with her parents lost two houses and a flower shop in the fire, was the first to reopen for business, followed, by Wally Machan, one of the village barbers.
To young Don Drysdale, whose family store on the east side of George Street was reduced to ashes, the future also looks bright. His new dry goods, men’s and women’s ready to wear-shop, on the former Bank of Nova Scotia property, is drawing trade from a wide area. Gordon Caldwell was just getting his locker business started when the wind-whipped flames.
With courage and aid from the Lanark Fire Relief Fund Gordon Caldwell has opened a new and fully modern supermarket on the main street. At least three commercial lots in the heart of the business section are still unoccupied and their owners have not yet revealed their intentions. But it is generally felt that these lots could be acquired at reasonable cost by anyone interested in Lanark as a future business location. New Town Hall The whole town looks forward anxiously to construction of a new town hall, fire hall and library, planned for the site of the old but handsome town hall, swept by flames at the corner of Clarence Street.
Plans are being drawn by Ottawa consulting engineers Chalmers-MacKenzie Associates and surveyors have taken levels and marked out foundation limits for a new $100,000 building. When completed next year the new town hall will house the Lanark fire department, police station and two jail cells, a 400-seat auditorium, offices for the town clerk and municipal officials; a library, kitchen and council chamber. Overall dimensions call for a 153-foot frontage on Clarence Street and 96 feet on George Street.
About $50,000 was realized from insurance on the old town hall and the balance required to build the new fire resistant structure will be raised by debentures. Last fall the utilities commis sion brightened up the streets with modern fluorescent street lighting and last week, with a $5,000 Lanark County grant, local workmen began replacing side walks in the burned-out areas. A new assessment will be made this summer and it is felt that, considering the modern type of homes that are replacing the fire ruined area, a substantial boost in property values will indicate a cut in taxes in the near future.
The village faces a considerable capital investment which includes the new town hall, but the future looks bright for Lanark. Brows furrow when someone mentions the disastrous fire of last June 15 but their first remark is usually “we are very thankful that there was no loss of life and no one was injured”.
Councillor Erroll Mason, editor of The LanarK fcra which was spared by the flames, took stock of the town after the fire. These are the business places he found were destroyed by flames:
Campbell’s Sash and Door, Traill’s Flower Shop, Homell’s Store. Charlton’s Grocery, Bell Telephone Office, Hewitt’s Bak ery, Machan’s Barber Shop, Drys-dale’s Store, Lee’s Hardware; Strang’s Drug Store, Quinn’s Shoe Repair, Wright’s Hotel, Lanark Locker Plant, MacFarlane’s Hardware. Lanark 5c to $1 Store (partially), Glenayr Knit boiler house roof and one large warehouse.
Municipal buildings destroyed were the town hall and fire hall; organization buildings lost were the Lanark branch of the Canadian Legion and the Masonic Temple. On Sundays after the fire, Lanark became a tourist mecca as people for miles came to see the effects of the devasating fire. Business places they found still standing were: Glenayr Knit Ltd. The Bank of Nova Scotia, O. E. Rothwell Lumber Co., The Lanark Era. Matthie and Gagne, Young’s Planing Mill and Furniture, Ferricr’a Garage, Murphy’s Meat Store, Topping’s Store, Campbell’s Restaurant, Munro’s Garage, McCulloch’s Feed Store and the Clyde Nursing Home.
The two burned-out areas the fire jumped across the main street were quickly levelled by bulldozers. Fire scarred trees and poles were cut down and wreckage hauled away. Only vacant fields remained where the once busy business places stood. A total of $92,541 was raised by the fire relief fund and this was matched by a grant from the Ontario government. The scars have healed over. The town is on the mend.
a friend whose name I have forgotten, owned the craft store The Rag Doll and I use to help her at busy times just for fun. I think it was before Sandra was born. Her store was where Krista Lee had Apple Cheeks
A few weeks someone came up to me (you know who you are LOLOL) and said, “Linda, I don’t know how you do it, but boy, are there a lot of whiners around these days.”
As a senior sometimes it’s hard to keep the bladder intact these days and especially when you are laughing– so this was a close call after that statement.
People have had a hard time being cooped up, worrying about everything and price increases,so life is tough… and then.. I saw Jane Dack’s post yesterday on Friends of Mississippi Mills and I smiled. Thank you Jane..
Okay, this is gonna be a change for some of you …. But let’s post here about businesses that we love in our small area! Everything to painters, yard companies, electricians, etc. No complaining! I’m tired of the whining everywhere. I’m just so exhausted of the negativity and complaining all the time on Facebook… we have so much good in our lives…. But it tends to get shadowed by the bad. Love ya!
I’ll go first….
Love my hairdresser Jessica at Tangled Hair salon in CP. She is amazing with colour/highlights.
And for winter snow plowing…. Trev Crawford from Clayton does a great job and very reliable for doing my parents driveway.
Nancy Taylor everytime I go into the office, my installers always ask me to bring them donuts from HFT because they love them so much!!
Ray Paquette on said: EditAfter 36 Years living in Carleton Place, my wife and I had a “Rolodex” of names of service people who we could depend upon to provide inexpensive but competent service unfortunately many have retired. We could always depend on Betty and Keith Dack for service and advice on purchases…LikeReply ↓
Bonnie Adams on said: EditIn CP Patterson Electric. Have had them for 22 years. Very reasonable prices, quality workmanship & friendly staff that know their trade. Mandy Horton at Essentials. I don’t let anyone else touch my hair. Giant Tiger The most helpful & friendly staff compared to other locations. They know regular customers & have gone above & beyond for me. Zak’s for good food & service. Seaway Valley Pharmacy has a wonderful Pharmacist. Well stocked store & friendly. McNeely Animal Hospital has wonderful staff & my Vet is Magda Eslimi who gives my furry girls special attention. Steve’s Locksmithing is an excellent service. He has many well known local businesses as his clients. You gotta be good for that
Here is a pic from 1924….my sister Mary Tosh was a flower girl for my aunt and uncle Harry and Ruby Nontell who at one time ran a restaurant in Almonte just up from where Stedman’s store was located. Hope u find this interesting?
Over 200 friends assembled at the Blakeney dance hall on the shores of the Mississippi, Tuesday night, to make a presentation and say farewell to a popular Almonte couple in the persons of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Nontell. Mr. Nontell has owned an apartment block with a store and restaurant on the ground floor for many years (just up from Steadmans). At one time he operated the restaurant in partnership with Mrs. Pearl Dodd to whom he sold his share several years ago.
For the last year he has been a successful motor vehicle salesman for the Almonte Garage Sales and Service. About two months ago Mr. Nontell sold his apartment building to Mr. Lloyd North of Fallbrook and Mr. North’s farm on the shores of the Mississippi near that village, was included in the deal. The two families will move to their respective new homes shortly. The farewell party and presentation were arranged by friends of the Nontells with Mrs. Dodd and Jack Smithson in charge. The hall, which is owned by Mr. Nontell himself and is for sale, was tastefully decorated and the refreshments were excellent.
Mayor Geo. E. Gomme made the presentation in a neat speech in which he paid tribute to the popularity of Harry and his wife, Ruby. He expressed the general feeling when he said he was sorry to see them leave town but wished them the best in their new environment. Dancing and music was provided by Charlie Finner and his popular orchestra. His P.A. system was a great help.
Charlie is the champion “caller off’ around here and until he arrived no one could perform that function. Three pieces of handsome furniture made up the presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Nontell. Included were a handsome, upholstered rocking chair of modern design; a chesterfield table and a smoking stand. Mr. Nontell replied gracefully on behalf of himself and his wife and told his friends that they would always be welcome at his new home.
It is understood that Mr. Nontell’s farm at Fallbrook is located on the Mississippi River at a point close to its junction with the Fall River. Bennett’s Lake is not far away. Fishing is good and he intends to cater to the tourists and anglers, and as he did here he will probably engage in some other line of work as well. For some time to come he is remaining on the sales staff of the Almonte Garage and will communte between his new homeland Almonte.
In his remarks to Mr. and Mrs. Nontell at the presentation, Tuesday night, there was one thing Mayor Gomme forgot and that was to warn Harry, especially, against the “ogpu” that haunts Bennett’s Lake not far from his new farm. The Fall River which empties into the Mississippi near Mr. Nontell’s new home flows through this lake and for the last 40 years, anglers are told from time to time of seeing a frightful monster rise from the waters, usually in the dim dawn or the waning evening light.
Accounts of the appearance of this dreadful apparition vary according to the degree of alcohol that has been consumed by witnesses—so say the cynics. But it is agreed its head looks like a cross between that of a horse and a. fish. Others say it is more like a dog—that kind that makes night and day hideous in Almonte— while still others declare it is serpent or snake-like.
Most of those who have seen Bennett’s Lake ogpu insist they were cold sober at the time. Some who have travelled say it is as big as the one that haunts Loch Ness in Scotland and may grab our friend, Bill Jamieson if he doesn’t look out.
But all agree that it is not quite as large as the one that used to rise at intervals on some lake in British Columbia, the name of which escapes us. Anyway it is much too big to get down the Fall River, through the village and to the newly acquired farm of Mr. Nontell. So anyone who cares to visit him in future may have no fears on that score.
Born in Lanark, Ontario, Canada on 18 September 1899 to Alexander Nontell and Mary Nontell. Harry Lloyd Nontell married Ruby Mildred May Bond and had 1 child. He passed away on 1984 in Creston, British Columbia, Canada.