Tag Archives: housing

This is Ramsay –History of 1993

This is Ramsay –History of 1993

John Ibbitson Citizen staff writer

No one would want to spend a glorious spring Saturday cooped in a church hall debating planning issues. So the 70-odd people who gathered at Almonte United Church to tussle with the question of Ramsay township’s future may all have been a little mad. But then, the people of Ramsay Township care about the place. And Ramsay Township must soon choose its fate: to preserve itself, or let itself be transformed into a suburb.

It is an old township. People started coming here in the 1820s; people still live in houses built more than a century ago. Part of the land valley farmland: fairly flat, criss-crossed with concession roads, dotted with farmhouses and barns. The rest to the west is Shield: the roads meander over hills and around rocks and through the maple bushes that are the only crop. It is a place of split rail fences, dirt roads, stone houses; of tiny villages created around the grist and saw mills that once exploited the rivers but now have vanished or are in ruins; of families that go back seven generations and remember all of it.

It is also a place of ranch-style bungalows that look as though they were plucked from Barrhaven and tossed, haphazard, onto the protesting landscape. It is the place of Greystone Estates, Mississippi Golf Estates, Hillcrest, Carlgate, Ramsay Meadows suburban subdivisions of monstrous homes on big lots. There’s no place in Ramsay township that’s more than an hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa, and that fact has started to sink in.

“If you have a house going up here, a house going up there, that’s one thing,” protests Clarence Gemmill, who has run the Gemmill’s General Store in Clayton with his wife Betty for nearly 19 years. “But you get these subdivisions, they’re different. People are just there to sleep between trips to the city.” Ramsay Township, like so many within driving distance of Ottawa, is in danger of losing its identity as a rural Valley place, and turning into something of which only ; a Nepean politician would be proud.

The township needs to update its official plan. Two years ago, a planner hired by the township proposed a new plan at a public meeting. There was so much anger and criticism that the township council promptly scrapped the plan and started again. “It was presented as ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to you,’ ” remembers Cliff Bennett, one of the organizers of the Saturday meeting. ” ‘Over our dead bodies.”

People were angry, not so much with what the planner had planned, but that no one had asked them what they wanted. So now there are committees, and subcommittees of committees, and there are forums and discussion papers and polls and presentations. ; “You’ll have as much public participation as any municipality in the area,” promises Ben James, a township councillor. This time the people are going to be heard. Some people at the planning seminar talked about ending strip development single houses on lots along the concession roads. Some talked about clustering houses together, off the road and out of sight to protect the natural look of the place.

Some talked about imposing rules on what houses should look like. Julian Smith, a heritage architect who lives in Appleton and works in Ottawa, pleaded for a re-thinking of the planning philosophy. Forget about zoning, he argued: Forget about densities and land uses. Simply apply this rule: “Any development should be shown to improve what’s around it.” But little of what the group proposed sat well with Brian Keller. Keller is a truck driver who lives in Clayton. He came to the workshop because “I wanted to see that it was more of a full consensus of the whole population.” Everyone was going on about housing clusters and setbacks and protecting this environment and that environment.

“They’re all typical city ideas, that people are saying can work rurally,” said Keller, dismissively. The last thing he thinks Ramsay needs is more restrictions on the rights of property owners. His wife’s father has been trying to sever his farmland for years, so the children will have a place to live. But the township won’t let him. “He told me, I can’t give my land to my own family. I’ve got to wait for a politician to tell me.’ ” Councillor James understands Keller’s concerns. “Over the past hundred years, individual landowners have had autonomy in what they do with their land. And you don’t want to curtail that too much. You have to let people do what they think is best, within certain limits.” But if some people want to see controls on development, and others want to protect the rights of property owners, can there be any real hope for consensus? “Not likely,” James acknowledges. “Not in total.”

The Duncan family has been farming on the Ninth Concession since 1821. But no more. There isn’t any money in it, and the latest batch of kids are pursuing different careers. The Duncan home, built in 1870, is being turned into a bed-and-breakfast. But Don Duncan doesn’t feel like offering any heart-in-the-throat eulogy to a dying way of life. “The Ramsay township of the past doesn’t have any future. The question is, what kind of future will there be?” The township council hopes to have its new official plan by 1994, maybe 1995. There will be more meetings and more presentations and more groping toward consensus. Three new subdivisions were recently approved.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada12 Apr 1993, Mon  •  Page 17

Ramsay W.I. Tweedsmuir History Book 1—SOME EARLY RAMSAY HISTORY

Stories of Ramsay Township– Leckies Corner’s – James Templeton Daughter’s 1931

Conversations with Brian McArton– Henry Wilson of Carleton Place and the McArtons of Ramsay

A Trip Along the Ramsay Sixth Line –W.J. Burns

Housing History ….. And so it Began in 2007….

Housing History ….. And so it Began in 2007….
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
31 Mar 2007, Sat  •  Page 85

BY MICHAEL PRENTICE Carleton Place used to be a sleepy little town on the banks of the Mississippi River a world away from Ottawa. It’s not that way anymore. An expanding ribbon of asphalt between Ottawa and Carleton Place is set to be complete within three years, reducing the commute time for buyers impressed by small-town living and speeding the way to more affordable housing prices.

The highway improvements makes the town a more attractive place to live, and more attractive for big retailers, says Carleton Place mayor Paul Dulmage. He points out that a surge of big box-store construction is now taking place just off Highway 7 on the outskirts of town. It will include a Home Depot, Rona, Staples and Wal-Mart “I’m not sure the expanded highway will make a whole lot of difference in the time to get to and from Ottawa in off-peak hours,” says Dulmage. “But it will make travel safer, and it will make for an easier and faster journey in peak hours.” Quality of life is what brings people to live in this area, he says. “We have so much parkland and so many nature trails. It’s a lifestyle that is not easily duplicated.

What sort of existing home can you get for your money in Carleton Place? You could have bought a restored 1870s heritage home for $219,500. It was on the market for four months, and sold for the full asking price. Or a meticulously restored 1875 Victorian home sitting on the banks of the Mississippi River. The large, three-bedroom house on Moffatt Street was bought recently by a Canadian diplomat for $480,000 after being on the market for less than three months at $499,900. More modestly, a modern, three-bedroom bungalow at 308 Bridge St. in Carleton Place sold in two days earlier this month for the asking price of $189,900. Couch, a REMAX agent with offices in a magnificently-restored 1830s home in Carleton Place, says homes in all price ranges are being lifted by increased demand.

Pauline Aunger agrees. She is a Royal LePage real estate broker whose territory includes Perth, Smiths Falls and the Rideau Lakes. “The new highway will not just make Carleton Place closer to Ottawa. It will put the whole of Lanark County nearer,” says Aunger. “We are already seeing lots of people commuting daily between Lanark County and Ottawa.” The real estate market is busy, and prices have continued to rise in the past year, says Aunger. Newcomers find that small-town living is much more affordable than life in the city, she adds.

 It’s cheaper to buy existing homes in and around Carleton Place than in many parts of the national capital region, says the mayor. “It depends where you look, but you could pay $329,000 for a house that might cost $450,000 in some places in the region.” Statistics support his view. The average price of 228 homes sold in or near Carleton Place last year was about $185,000 compared with an average for the greater Ottawa region of $246,000. In more rural areas near Carleton Places, prices are higher. The average sale price last year was $230,000 in Mississippi Mills and $222,000 in Beckwith. Home prices in and around Carleton Place rose last year by about six per cent, in line with increases across the entire Ottawa region. Barbara Couch, a leading real estate agent in Carleton Place, believes it’s too soon for the coming highway improvements to have had a significant impact on house prices.

“Historically speaking when a commuter town such as Carleton Place gains better access to a divided highway, ultimately reducing commuting time, the demand for homes in that community escalates, as do property prices.” The four-lane, restricted access highway, now under construction, will extend from the outskirts of Carleton Place for about 20 kilometres to the 417 interchange, west of Scotia-bank Place. It is due to be completed in 2010 at a cost of $106 million. The highway will open in stages over the next three years. The commute time from the heart of Ottawa to Carleton Place now takes about 30 minutes, if road and weather conditions are good and traffic is light. For hockey fans attending an Ottawa Senators game at Scotiabank Place, it’s about the same distance home to Carleton Place as it is to downtown Ottawa. The drive from the 417 link to Carleton Place now takes about 15 minutes under ideal driving conditions.

For those working in Kanata’s technology hub, it’s already closer and quicker to get home to Carleton Place or Almonte than to east-end Ottawa or the Quebec suburbs. While Carleton Place is already within comfortable commuting, the highway improvements will now make other, more isolated towns a logical choice for people who want to escape big-city living. These include Perth, perhaps the prettiest and best-preserved town in the Rideau Lakes area. It has many heritage homes, some dating to the earliest European settlement of Eastern Ontario. The asphalt link may also bring new residents to Smiths Falls, a community recently devastated by news the Hershey chocolate factory will be closing.

For five years, an upscale neighbourhood of new homes has been taking shape in Carleton Place, just steps from nature trails, parkland and the Mississippi River. The first phase, of 66 homes, at Stonewater Gate is now almost complete and the second phase, Stonewater Bay on the Mississippi, is set to have an additional 200 homes. Homes in all price ranges are being lifted by increased demand. The development is by Sienna Homes, which previously had built a reputation by erecting large custom homes on two-acre lots in Dunrobin, a mostly-rural part of Kanata, where some of the region’s largest mansions are situated.

Sienna Homes owner Margret Gallo recalls the skeptical reaction of friends and associates when she planned homes for Carleton Place. There were also wary folks in town. “News of prices of our homes’ was not well received. There were those who felt the prices were too high,” says Gallo. “It took 18 months for people to understand what we were doing. If we had not been building homes of quality and style, we would not have come. Sienna Homes has raised the bar in Carleton Place.” Costs and, therefore, new home prices are about the same as similar developments in Ottawa, she says. Prices in Stonewater Bay on the Mississippi range from about $240,000 for a townhouse to $260,000 for a semi-detached adult-lifestyle bungalow. Sienna also has large single homes on the water costing close to $600,000.

Did You Know About the Golden Girls Act? BILL 69– More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan

Did You Know About the Golden Girls Act? BILL 69– More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan







The Golden Girls Act is now law intended to help address Ontario’s housing crisis.  According to housing minister Steve Clark “Solving Ontario’s housing crisis is going to take new and innovative ideas.”

Realtors and banks love the law.  Homes can now be more easily sold and mortgaged to unrelated parties.  Condo communities are not likely to be so excited.


At my last meeting at a Mississippi Mills Senior Advocacy  meeting the Golden Girls Act came up.



What it is all about..

Bill 69 is inspired by four Port Perry seniors who, in 2016, wanted to move into a house together. After realizing that a retirement home, condo or apartment was not the ideal living arrangement, these four seniors decided to cohabit together, designed a home that would meet their collective needs.

However, their dreams did not become a reality. The Township of Scugog decided to prevent this type of home sharing by seniors. If Bill 69 is successful, amendments to the Planning Act would pave the way to encouraging and permitting home sharing by unrelated seniors.  Something we absolutely need to see more of. If there is little money, then it is imperative that these creative cohousing ideas need to come to life.



From Lindsey Park’s page

THEIR STORY – In 2016, four senior, single women moved in to a recently renovated home in downtown Port Perry. However, this was no ordinary renovated house, and these were not typical seniors. The Golden Girls Effect, so labeled by the Toronto Star, resulted in a renovated heritage house that meets the anticipated needs of these seniors as they age, and they are not even related.

They did this because as they were planning for their golden years, the housing options available were not attractive to them. Watching loved ones try to navigate the world of seniors’ housing, they realized that living in a retirement home, condo or apartment would not be for them. Instead, they took a proactive approach, seeing that there were major economic and social benefits of pooling their resources and designing a home that would meet their needs as they aged. This included building two caregiver suites in their basement, adding an elevator to service the three-story home, and even consulting experts on everything from door handles to roll-in showers, to make the house accessible for aging seniors. All this was designed to help serve them as they age.

They also knew they would have to lay some ground rules down if they were to peacefully live under one roof. With the help of a lawyer, they drafted a home sharing agreement, determining protocol and peaceful resolution mechanisms when disagreements inevitably occurred. The agreement also helps to give answers to some legal questions, including the logistics in the case of one member’s death or moving out.

The benefits were felt immediately. Living alone, they needed four of everything. Now, they make-do with sharing one item between the four of them, finding efficiencies in all parts of their lives. They eat dinner together, they check in on each other, and they enjoy living together.

Upon meeting the Golden Girls, Durham Member of Provincial Parliament, Lindsey Park, was inspired to do what she could to promote this project and ensure that other seniors did not face similar hurdles at the municipal level. In February 2019, MPP Park introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, titled The Golden Girls Act, 2019. The Bill was debated in the Legislature and passed Second Reading with all-party support.

The goal of this legislation is to provide clarity to local municipalities that they cannot use their local by-law-making powers to try to stop seniors from living together. Further, the aim is to start a conversation about co-housing for seniors, with a hope that future Golden women and men do not face the same obstacles.

With a supply shortage of housing options that are affordable, long wait lists for long-term care, and an aging population, innovative approaches to housing for seniors are needed. Repurposing existing housing infrastructure and promoting the sharing-economy will create more options for more seniors.

In May 2019, the Ontario Government committed taking action on the issues raised by The Golden Girls Act, 2019 as part of its More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. This plan will also help to tackle the issue of home-sharing among seniors raised in The Golden Girls Act, 2019.

On December 11, 2019 the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released the Co-owning a Home guide – an innovative consumer guide, featuring on its cover the Golden Girls of Port Perry.  MPP Park led consultations with the Ministry that resulted in this guide.  It contains practical information about co-ownership to help Ontarians make informed decisions when they are thinking about co-owning a home.

MPP Park hopes the conversation about different housing models, like co-ownership, will continue in order to increase housing options that are affordable for Ontarians of all ages and income levels.



Bill 69 Original (PDF)


Currently the Planning Act provides that the authority to pass by-laws under certain sections of the Act does not include the authority to pass a by-law that has the effect of distinguishing between persons who are related and persons who are unrelated in respect of the occupancy or use of a building or structure or part thereof, including the occupancy or use as a single housekeeping unit. The Bill amends the Act to provide that the rule applies, for greater certainty, in respect of unrelated seniors.

Bill 69 2019

An Act to amend the Planning Act


All levels of government should recognize that Ontario has an aging population and should encourage innovative and affordable housing solutions for seniors. Local municipalities should not deter seniors from choosing affordable housing options and should recognize that unrelated seniors living together can reap significant health, economic and social benefits. It is desireable to provide clarity to municipalities that the Planning Act should be interpreted in a way that encourages and permits home sharing by unrelated seniors as a housing solution.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:CLICK HERE

Predictions? You Had Better Save like a Squirrel for a Rainy Day.

Predictions? You Had Better Save like a Squirrel for a Rainy Day.




When I was 12 I decided to volunteer at a nursing home in Cowansville, Quebec where I grew up. I had a vague clue as to why older folks were in a senior home, but had no idea how many tears I would have to hold back to get through some of those Saturday afternoons. As the weeks passed I realized these seniors appreciated me spending time there. This was the 60s, and even though the retirement home had been a grand building in which the elite of the town had once passed through, sadness reigned supreme throughout the halls.


I could ignore some of the foul odours, and repeated phrases, but aging skin and yellowed toenails made me wonder if this was the final fate of all of us. Surely something better had to be available. But there wasn’t, and no matter how many questions I asked my Grandmother, the response was the same:


“That’s the way it has to be my birdie, and that’s that.”


So for three years I went every Saturday– I called out BINGO numbers and played dominoes with my favourite senior Mr. Jones. We would play dominoes over and over and I just couldn’t figure out why he loved the game so much. Years later I realized it might have not been the game, but more the friendship that I gave him. I listened in earnest to all his stories as a young lad in Britain and wondered why his family never visited.


A few months after I left volunteering at the senior home and on to pursue my life in Montreal Mr. Jones committed suicide in the Anglican church basement stairwell. He had died alone, similar to how he had been living for the past years. Mr. Jones had left me a brief note and thanked me for caring. Caring? What was the matter with people? Why was he, as a valued member of this planet not respected similar to other seniors that lived there?

Years have gone by and we now face a shortage for decent senior placement. Developers shun ‘social benefited housing’ because it is not profitable, and getting into senior establishments is like winning the lottery. If there was money to be made in creating retirement homes, developer’s would be building more of them. My guess is– that it is a far better return on investment to create 100 condo units than 100 rooms in a retirement home. The government wants the elderly to stay home, similar to palliative care patients, but in-house assistance is hard to get. I personally know what one goes through when someone is terminally ill or needs a senior home and in plain English–”the system sucks!”

As the number of seniors continues to grow, none of Canada is prepared for the housing and home care needs of an aging population. People say our politicians are full of talking the talk but always find excuses for taking immediate action. That is not true, because as a town councillor I thought it was going to be easy.  This was going to be a no brainer I told myself– but let me tell you your hands are tied, and like everyone else I feel helpless.

The need is not only for independent senior living but for assisted living and palliative care. A great percentage of seniors cannot live independently, and seniors needing memory care is on the rise. Costs for housing someone with dementia is something that you would not expect, plus all the added extras.

My father always used to laugh and say:

“Be nice to your children because they will end up picking your nursing home.”

In most of Ontario these days, you end up getting placed in the first nursing home to have a bed open up no matter what you or your family might want.

As a Boomer I saw the lack of classroom space and governments have chosen to ignore demographic reality. The blame for this rests mainly with the provinces as they have jurisdiction over housing generally, with zoning, home care, seniors residences and nursing homes falling exclusively under their jurisdiction. No foresight.
So, personally I welcome all sorts of building for seniors: profit, non profit as the need is great and we as Baby Boomers are going to put a great strain on the system. Baby Boomers will cause a market glut when they all try to downsize at the same time. Generation X, Y and Millennials have been screwed with wage stagnation and cannot afford the exorbitant prices that the Baby Boomer’s expect their homes to be worth, and for many, is their sole asset.  

How did Canadians grow old so suddenly you ask? Who even saw this coming? In reality they have been warned each time Stats Canada has produced demographic projections, which it has done after each census for the past 40 years. Again, we as Boomers, knew this was coming a long time ago and anyone who could do basic arithmetic saw this. Honestly, we should be ahead of this, not “far behind”. Seniors deserve better– or don’t they? 


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 and The Tales of Almonte


Carleton Place Blind Woman Saved Four Seniors

I Once Knew You When ………..

Documenting Don Lea .. “The Old Pucker”

Mary Louise Deller Knight — Evelyn Beban Lewis–The Townships Sun

Remembering Doris Blackburn




May 27 at 8:39 AM

Yesterday I began an email campaign about the dilemma of seniors and what I have been going through with a loved one. Most of the people I sent it too are well aware of the situations out there and know how desperate we are for solutions.

The elderly have the inherent right to life, dignity, and the integrity of their persons.

Saturday I saw seniors that could not comprehend and had no choice being talked to in an unkind manner. We have many seniors at risk and there are no easy solutions now. I also had no idea how many homeless seniors we have until Saturday.

Yes, after hours of going back and forth in Ottawa I was treated kindly in Carleton Place. If I had to bring out the big guns to keep someone safe I would have. My husband, who moved here from the United States three years ago had never been on the second floor of the Carleton Place hospital and was shocked to see the lack of space. He wondered how all these new residents that would be joining our community as new residents would fare with a hospital that is lacking in space and many other things. But, the Carleton Place hospital is not the only place that needs attention now, and more hands and voices on the ground are needed rather than decisions being made from a desk.

How many years can we talk about adding senior housing and realize there is not much we can do about it with developers who view senior housing as non profitable– or no money available from County and Province. When do we stop and stamp our feet and say enough is enough? Draconian rules need to be changed– money needs to be found for seniors, as some day you might be in this position. If you know someone that should read this please pass it on.

I was emotional and drained when I wrote the first email, but today is another day, and every time I write something I will add someone else to the email list. Am I confident things might change? After being elected as councillor I sadly know the realities of what is going on now, but the citizens of Carleton Place elected me and the rest of council as a voice and that I am. I will never change, no matter what.

You can always choose not read these pieces I write, and ignore them, but keep passing on the word things need to be changed now. Not in another 4 years, not in another 8 years– NOW we must begin. Do I know where to start? Absolutely not– but maybe someone somewhere has an idea- and I will take it hands down to begin for change.


For the past few years my eyes have been opened to seniors rights as a caregiver. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream and I have a dream. But issues can be solved only at a county and provincial level —and I never knew that. Today, my eyes were opened even more about senior health care and there is nothing I can do. Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to be deserted for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members. I am outraged and I can’t do a thing about it. What have we come too? Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths– it’s time we started straightening out those paths.


Is This What You Want Carleton Place?




Photo of Jen’s dog amidst the devastation by Jen Carriere and photo of the fox is by Carole Flint

In one week the trees came down.

In one week more small animals came into town looking for food and shelter. Everyone has been talking for months about the increased sightings of foxes running through town. The picture above might be a reason why. Of course I am the first to admit I could be wrong.

The Bobolink birds nesting areas in the park have allegedly been bothered, and I also wrote about this yesterday.  I have furious citizens emailing me upset about the proposed waste water sewage pond in Roy Brown Park. I have heard lots of talk, but so far, I believe no deal has yet been made.

Have you read Mark Smith’s posting about the proposed pond on carletonplace.com? You are not going to be happy when you read it.  Listen people, I can’t do anything but you can. Come to the town council meeting tomorrow night- email, or call the powers to be. Voice your concerns. Take a look at the map for proposed housing. Do we need this much housing–517 proposed homes? Or does anyone really care– and do we just carry on?

New research encompassing some 50 studies worldwide shows that cutting down even just three to four trees per hectare of primary forest already results in species loss, changing ecosystem services (i.e. nutrient cycling), biological resources (i.e. potential sources of medicine), and social benefits (i.e. recreation through birdwatching and hiking) provided by forests.

I guess for the first time I just don’t know what to say. I am more than gobsmacked. Please let’s do what’s right or remember for next time.


Bill Slade-

At tonight’s Town Council meeting a member of the River Corridor/Urban Forest Committee will be or hopes to express concern that the Town is permitting the developer who bought Bodner Park, to relocate a storm water management pond (swamp) from their construction site to that of adjoining Roy Brown Park. If it goes ahead, the proposed storm water management pond will be built too close to our river and, if it overflows, go into the river which is upstream from our drinking water. Direction #127243 from the Planning and Protection Committee to be voted (and passed) at tonight’s council meeting. Public Park land sold out to a housing development.

Does this explain where the trees went?


Are we in Neverland? Concerns from Carleton Place Citizens #1

Bears and Foxes Seen in the Carleton Place Appleton Almonte Area

Oingo Boingo! Bobolink Birds Bothered- Concerns-Carleton Place Citizens #2