Tag Archives: change

The Politics of Small Town Change in Carleton Place


Thursday August 13, 2015

Town of Carleton Place rejects St. James Anglican Church’s request to allow Manitoulin Chocolate Works to bring their business to town and restore Elliot Hall.
Related reading: The Willy Wonka Blues of Carleton Place

download (44)

How many small towns are truly successful without change? Some prosper, while many others suffer disinvestment, loss of identity and even abandonment. Towns like Perth keep their historic character and quality of life in the face of a rapidly changing world. Other towns have lost the very features that once gave them distinction and appeal. Perth, Merrickville, Almonte and many others accepted change without losing their heart and soul.

Those particular small towns have done it minus the cookie-cutter development, that has turned many communities into faceless places. They refused to be the small towns that young people flee, tourists avoid and which no longer instill a sense of pride in residents. Sound familiar?

Successful communities always have a plan for the future. Unfortunately, “planning” is a dirty word in communities, especially in small towns and rural areas. In some places, this is the result of today’s highly polarized political culture. It is difficult to name any successful business that doesn’t have a business plan. Without one it would a very hard time attracting investors or staying competitive in the marketplace.

It seems to be written in stone that some people in small towns don’t like change. But they need to understand that change is inevitable. The dynamics of the population and consumer attitudes are always changing, and they will affect a community whether people like it or not. Success only happens when we “embrace”  new and old ideas that can help our small businesses, and entice new ones.

A new industrial park is not going to attract tourists that spend money at our local businesses. We have an abundance of historic buildings, and an attractive and accessible waterfront that is underused. It also feels like the powers to be just want the town to stay the same. The more a community comes to look just like every other small town the less reason there is for anyone to visit. All we need to do is implement a small number of new ideas in Carleton Place. They could make a huge difference in this community.

Of course every town has its naysayers. The word “no”, is a very powerful word in a small community. Leaders of successful communities know that “yes” is a much better word for progress. Communities that embrace the future will prosper, and those that do not will decline. Sameness is not a plus-it is a huge minus. Small unique businesses like the Manitoulin Chocolate Works are the key to our small towns’ future. We need to leave a positive legacy. Don’t let the fear of change obscure the inevitability and necessity of progress like the Carleton Place Council did tonight.

Linda Seccaspina, 2015

If you want to now some history about that area and the different commercial  and non commercial places of Bell Street and area read here.

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

Could Carleton Place Become Known as The Town of Barges?



This is my forever friend Danny O’Shea’s ex-wife, Maxine’s business. She opened a barge business in the Leicaster UK area.



Who knew?

barge3Photo- Sherry Crummy 2015

Well ladies and gentlemen, they are becoming new businesses for towns that have a waterfront. They attract business to their towns, dock at different locations, and use social media to attract their clientele, much like food trucks do. They would be be a type of businesses that would attract a niche crowd and many tourists. There may be grocery stores in town but how about a specialty fruit store on the water?  Or maybe take a couple of concepts and roll with it. How about a book store or a place to snack while you relax in front of the Mississippi?

Nautical but nice: Paddy Screech of Word on the Water book barge  pictured at Camden Lock, London.

Photo: Rii Schroer
Maybe entice a business offering scenic trips down the Mississippi like they used to do. This type of waterfront activity is of course seasonal— but it would attract tourists. What have we got to lose? They said food trucks wouldn’t last, and the many city powers to be fought them– but they are now the number one growing small business. Have you been to Almonte’s food truck The Cuban Mix? Have you seen the traffic they get? With all the waterfront we have it could easily be done. Don’t let another town take another idea!

One example of how slowly even simple things change in this town — from the Carleton Place Kings site.

The late Angelo Seccaspina was a former owner of the Carleton Place Jr B Kings in the 2000’s and sold the team to now owner of the Canadians Jason Clarke. Mr. Seccaspina laid the foundation for this Jr A franchise spoke owner Jason Clarke. “This franchise would not exist in Carleton Place if it were not for Mr. Seccaspina. Angelo presented this opportunity to the Town of Carleton Place 15 years ago. (Author’s note- the town council TURNED DOWN his request flat)

He set the standards of what was to be needed very high to ensure the team would be run first class and have a chance to be competitive right away, unfortunately he was about 10 years ahead of his time.” said Clarke.

“When I purchased the Jr B team from Mr. Seccaspina in 2007 he asked me if I had a plan to move the franchise up to Jr A, I told him that was apart of the plan,” said Clarke. When the time came I leaned on Mr. Seccaspina for some advice. I presented his original proposal with only a few changes and here we are today.

Why did we have to wait so long? Why do we balk change in Carleton Place?


When I hear someone say, “We can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding the town back is the word can’t.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of  everybody’s vocabulary.


Carleton Place steamer ferrying people up and down the Mississippi for jaunts and picnics.

The Willy Wonka Blues of Carleton Place

Carleton Place Does Not Have to Live in a Walmart Economy

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