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From Carleton Place to “the Laff” — The Life and Times of Peter Prosser Salter

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From Carleton Place to “the Laff” — The Life and Times of Peter Prosser Salter

 

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Photo- Ottawa Tourism

Years ago I used to love reading the bathroom walls of “The Laff” on York Street when I frequented there. I had no idea about the history nor did I care. Same goes with documenting Carleton Place history. I never thought local hotel magnet Mr. Peter Prosser Salter ever went beyond the Carleton Place town lines. It goes to show you to never judge a book by its cover, or a hotel for that fact.

Over the years history has known The Layette at 42 York St. as Grant’s Hotel, The Exchange Hotel, The Bodega, The Salmon Arms, The Johnson House, and The Dominion House. In 1936, it finally became the Chateau Lafayette and if you have never been there I would suggest you visit for a spell or two or three.

The Laff has had a reputation as once a brothel and rumours of John A. MacDonald frequenting the pub when visiting. It’s also been tossed around that a young Queen Victoria once walked on those very floors, and one wonders if one her signatures or comments is still in one of those ladies bathroom stalls. Hold on… Queen Victoria was said to have never visited Canada, so was it fake news from newspapers gone by? Or– were her many children that visited mistaken for her highness?  One thing that is quite clear: there was lots of drinking and talking going on in Ottawa and probably a lot of click bait in newspapers.

But who knew a Carleton Place man was going to become part of its history?

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Photo of the Queens Hotel/ Chatterton House etc. on Bridge Street. Chatterton House Hotel guest register dating from 1886 to 1889 was transferred from the City of Ottawa Archives Photo from the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

In the late 1880 the once McIntosh Hotel on Bridge Street in Carleton Place was bought by Peter Prosser Salter who doubled the size, and renamed it the Queen’s Hotel. It was flipped in 1882 to the widow Mary J. Chatterton who allegedly ran a house of ill-repute and by 1886 she had sold it back to Peter Salter.

Salter ran it until about 1890 when he sold the business back once again to Mrs. Chatterton. Mrs. Chatteron wasn’t poor by any means and owned much local real estate due to her “lucrative business practises”, but it seems she sold it back to him a few more times.

On the 20th of October 1899 it was noted in the local newspaper and the Ottawa Citizen that Mr. Salter, proprietor of the well known Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place had disposed of the property, with Mrs. Chatteron once again being the purchaser. The price was noted being up into the double tens with five digits.

On November 7, 1900 the Ottawa Journal reported that Mary Chatterton still had the complete management of the Queen’s Hotel. There was no word if the alleyway business re-opened, or why Salter and Mrs. Chatterton seemed to be playing real estate ping pong with the Queen’s Hotel through the years. Was it for tax purposes?

 

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Before going to Ottawa Peter Salter bought and reopened the Carleton House, the oldest two storey stone building in Carleton Place in 1900 after his final sale with Mrs. Chatterton.  He renamed it the Leland Hotel and it still stands today as the office of MP Scott Reid.

 

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This is a picture of the Queens Royal Hotel, built by Peter Prosser Salter in 1899 and was part of the Lake Park Resort just outside of Carleton Place- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum photo

 

A two story hotel was constructed along the Mississippi Lake in 1887, and it was later rebuilt after a fire as a luxury four-story facility by Peter Salter. It offered white linen service, room service, sandy beach, panoramic view of the lake and a number of modern conveniences – running water, private bathrooms, etc.  It was the hub of a busy summer resort and attracted crowds from the town and from Ottawa for fine dining, dancing and even horse racing on the custom built track as Salter had many prize horses and loved to win and see his name in print.

Salter had owned at least three hotels in Carleton Place: the Queen’s Hotel in the late 1800s, the Leland Hotel from 1900 to 1904, and Lake Park Lodge which was called the Queen’s Royal on Mississippi Lake until 1926 when Mr. Larson bought it and added the famous Queen’s Royal Smorgasbord.

Peter Salter goes to Ottawa….. 1936

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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Feb 1934, Sat  •  Page 28

In 1936 Peter Karson had heard that a small lucrative hotel, the Bodega, at 42 York St. in the Byward Market, was for sale — cheap. Its owner, former Carleton Place resident Peter Salter, was in his 80s by now and a familiar sight around Ottawa in his horse-drawn carriage, carnation in his lapel and a beautiful woman beside him.

The three Bouris boys from Ottawa (Mike, John and George) had gained enough experience by 1936 to go into business for themselves. A little short of capital, they were helped financially by their former employer, Peter Karson to buy the Bodega.

 

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Digging in the newspaper archives after seeing the sale of the hotel I found out that Peter Salter had not only owned the Byward Market hotel,  but he had  actually owned TWO Bodega Hotels in Ottawa. The first hotel, Bodega Chamber, was near the Parliament buildings on Wellington. It was advertised as the most complete private hotel in the city with European and American plans. The hotel was patronized by the leading Members of the House of Commons and had “Incandescent Light” throughout the 36 rooms. However, a notorious second one was opened in the Byward Market later in 1909.

Bodega– Byward Market was never known as a luxury hotel with impressive guests, and was never a prize hotel such as the Bodega Chambers. This Bodega Hotel was known in the media as “the bucket of blood”  in Ottawa for its problems and rowdiness.

The York Street establishment was as a place for the local farmers and their families to ‘camp out’ after hours, and the rest of the regular clientele was the riff raff of Lower Town. ( It was actually called Upper Town in those days)

You had your loud and obnoxious lumbermen, and your typical drunks, and a bouncer called Lucien Leblanc who weighed in at 350 pounds and was called  “Moustache.”

Peter Salter had decided to open up what was to become known in years to come as The Chateau Lafayette because his first hotel, the Bodega Chamber was expropriated. The Bodega Hotel at 34 Wellington ( where the War Memorial now stands) was a popular drinking spot and, most likely, a house of ill repute the same as the Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place.

When the electric trams began running from downtown Ottawa to Britannia-by-the-Bay, it was a favourite haunt of the military band members who gave concerts Sunday afternoons at the west end park. No matter how popular it was Prime Minister Mackenzie King wanted it shut down as he wanted a grand approach up Elgin Street to Parliament Hill

 

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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Feb 1911, Wed  •  Page 10

In 1928, the Bodega Hotel on Wellington closed and in 1929, Peter Salter opened a new version of the Bodega Hotel in one of the Byward Market’s oldest buildings on York Street now known as “The Laff”. It was reported in the Citizen that Peter Salter, with his boutonniere and many beautiful female companions, was at the helm once again.

This was the same hotel that the Bouris brothers bought in 1936 after it being for rent for two years, renaming it the Chateau Lafayette. They hoped the name would appeal to the French-Canadians of the Byward Market.  It had 34 rooms, each with its own sink and at either end of the halls were a shower and toilet.

Prostitutes once again plied their trade here with men who registered with phony names and the Bodega had long-term residents too.  Even after it was sold Peter Salter remained and became the night manager for awhile and lived at the hotel until his death in 1952.

It goes to show you when you least expect it history surprises you with facts no one knows and that is why it is so important for us to keep finding and sharing these stories from the past.

 

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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Feb 1952, Sat  •  Page 7

 

 

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he Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Apr 1902, Fri  •  Page 10

 

 

 

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Sep 1925, Mon  •  Page 19

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Jan 1926, Sat  •  Page 1

 

 
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PARENTS AND SIBLINGS
Marriage: 28 JUL 1886
Perth, Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada
Sara Christine Cameron
Sara Christine Cameron
1864-1919
Children (9)
Cameron Salter
Cameron Salter
1887-1887
John Norman Salter
1889-1969
Hugh A. Salter
Hugh A. Salter
1895-1895
Hubert Peter Salter
Hubert Peter Salter
1896-1988
Marguerite Cameron Salter
Marguerite Cameron Salter
1897-1907
Eleanor C. Salter
Eleanor C. Salter
1898-
Kathleen Edwina Salter
Kathleen Edwina Salter
1900-
Marguerite Salter
1907-1959

Peter Prosser SALTER, 1860 – 1952

Peter Prosser SALTER was born in 1860, at birth place, to John Abner SALTER and Ellen (Eleanor) SALTER (born GARLAND).
John was born on November 3 1828, in Beckwith Twp Ont per 1851, 61, 71, 81, 1901, 11 Census-Montague.
Ellen was born in June 1832, in Per 1911 Census.
Peter had 12 siblings: Frances “Fannie” MORRIS (born SALTER)Marcella HERRON (born SALTER) and 10 other siblings.
Peter married Sarah SALTER (born CAMERON) on month day 1886, at age 26 at marriage place.
Sarah was born in 1863, in Bathurst Twp.
They had 2 children: Margurite SALTER and one other child.
 
 
Adin Daigle

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Mr. Salter from the Queens had an Accident 1932

Food Review of the Smorgasbord at The Queen’s Royal Hotel 1947

Documenting Some Queen’s Hotel Photos

Tales from Lake Park– A Disabled Motor and Manslaughter

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Tales from Lake Park– A Disabled Motor and Manslaughter

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Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum—The Queens Royal Hotel – precursor to Lake Park Lodge

 - MANSLAUGHTER' IS THE CHARGE Upon Which George... - ' Special to The Evening Journal Carl too... - brother-In-law, brother-In-law, brother-In-law,...                                                           October 10 1906

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 Let’s end our week at Riverside Park with a lovely walk by the Mississippi River. This photo was taken in 1905 by Howard Edwards and shows a young couple strolling west along the river’s edge, towards the present day boat launch. Note the steamer in the water, also heading West – perhaps to Lake Park or Innisville.

 

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

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Ottawa Valley Canoe Association– (Carleton Place Canoe Club) and Lake Park Gala August 16 1893

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

Family Photos– Mississippi Lake– Darlene Page

Remembering Lucky McIlquham of Carleton Place

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Remembering  Lucky McIlquham  of Carleton Place

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal23 Jan 1956, MonPage 15

 

There used to be a former tall “gunner” who lived in Carleton Place whose claim to fame was being a brave soldier among other things. He survived a 400-foot fall into a haystack when the rear of his bomber was shot off in World War ll and made a lot of local folks proud. Sadly in January of 1956, a little more than 10 years after he came home from the war, he drowned in Mississippi Lake trying to save his son.

Thomas Oswald McIllquham DFM was a machinist with the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Department of Highways and his young son Scott would have been 5 years old when they both lost their lives in the cold water of Mississippi Lake. They probably thought the ice was thick enough that day their truck went through the ice near their home.

They found Thomas’s body 7 feet down, but his son’s body was found just a few scant inches away from the edge of the hole made by the settling chassis. It is believed that Thomas had valiantly tried to save his son and almost did.  His wife Oda Larsen had already seen tragedy losing her brother to an accident a few years previous and the *Queen’s Park Lodge owned by her father Swen Larsen had burned to the ground in 1955.

Before the accident Thomas had been driving around the lake visiting fisherman on the ice even though Victor Majury had warned him to be careful. A change of heart of must have occurred as they were last seen heading to Rocky Point.  Barely 400 yards from the shore facing the Lodge the ice thinned and Victor Majury, Harry Willis and Stanley Gibson all from Carleton Place told the OPP that the truck went down as if it was in slow motion.

The men were powerless to help so they went to the farm of Mrs. Percy Hay and she drove them two miles so they could use a telephone.  Lucky McIllquham had survived the heaviest fighting of the war and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal by King George.  His record was long: destroying at least two enemy fighters and the damage of many others, a parachute leap from a burning plane, and his fabulous drop into a haystack when the tail gunners section was destroyed mid air.

 

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

Lucky was born and raised in Carleton Place and was one of the sons of Mr and Mrs Clyde McIllquham who owned the Mississippi Hotel.  He was survived by wife Oda and his 3 year-old daughter Ruth and two brothers Walter and Gilmour who were residing at the Mississippi Hotel.

How ironic and sad was it that Lucky had died in 7 feet of water on a sunny January day in Carleton Place instead of that day flying into battle in Cologne. Every time I stand at the old dock of Lake Park Lodge it will now have more meaning.

In memory of Thomas “Lucky” Oswald McIllquham. Another resident to be remembered today.

 

historicalnotes

 

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1956 accident on Mississippi Lake. City of Ottawa Archives

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal29 Jan 1955, SatPage 1

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          — Ottawa Journal 1959–

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

 

 

Related reading

 

Carleton Place Boy Brings Down 10th Hun Plane — Daniel Galbraith 1917

It was Friday the 13th on Napoleon Street in Carleton Place

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

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Once upon a time the Carleton Place citizens of the 1890’s lined up on the Lake Park dock waiting to board the steamship “Carleton”. It ran regular trips between Lake Park Lodge on Mississippi Lake and the town docks located near the Hawthorne Mill at the end of Charles Street. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.  The dining room could seat several hundred at a time.

“The little steamer Mississippi is now making regular trips between Carleton Place and Innisville, carrying freight and passengers.  Excursion parties desirous of seeing the lakes, or fishing, shooting ducks, gathering berries, etcetera, can have the use of the boat at reasonable charges.” Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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1899

1946

No finer food this side of new York City!

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The popular Lake Park Hotel owned its own steam boat at the time which was called “Lillian B.” which was 40 feet in length.  At the time, there was also smaller privately owned  steamboats which were own by individuals and traveled up and down the Mississippi for pleasure and business.

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Lake Park Lodge Postcard-Bytown or Bust

lake4The Lake Park Lodge now as it sits empty.

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Jul 1901, Thu,  Page 6

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Lake Park Lodge dock that greeted many visitors at one time- Photo of Dock and Lake Park by Linda Seccaspina

Clipping from the Carleton Place Canadian by MARY COOK submitted by Leona Kidd to the Beckwith Heritage site.

A BACKWARDS GLANCE ‐ The golden years of Lake Park Lodge By Mary Cook

The original Queen’s Royal Hotel at Lake Park has a romantic and colorful history, and its story would take much more space than The Canadian editors allow me.  But the Larsen era, which is still within memory reach of many of us, can be noted as a period in time when the grand old lodge was revitalized and brought back to life. Lake Park Lodge as we know it today was previously known as the Queen’s Royal Hotel, and visitors to the popular Mississippi Lake resort travelled by steamship.

The resort even sported a race track, and some older historians remember when the horses were transported from Carleton Place via the grand old steamers of the day. Telling the story of the Hotel’s early days would take many trips to the Archives, and would evolve into a history of an era that many of us have only read about – the glorious mid‐1800’s when Carleton Place was a thriving mill town and places like the Queen’s Royal Hotel offered a welcomed respite for the elite of the community. But let us move on to another era … an era after the old original hotel ceased to operate and the property lay dormant and forgotten. Sven Larsen was a big man who lived in Toronto with his wife Ella and family.  He looked every inch the Danish gentleman.  He loved well‐creased beige flannels and navy blue blazers and three‐piece suits.  His wife once modelled hats in Denmark, and she carried that flair for fashion to her new country.  The bigger the hat the better…and they had to be adorned with beautiful flowers and decorations and worn at a rakish angle for impact.

They were an imposing couple that day when they drove into Lake Park road and came upon the homestead farm of Mr. Hay, Sr. They wanted to move their family out of the city.  They longed for a piece of land where they could raise chickens and enjoy the tranquillity of country life.  Mr. Hay directed them to the abandoned lodge down the road.   There was little more than a lane leading to the old hotel.  The building was much in need of repair before it could even be considered liveable. Lil Robinson, a daughter, remembers it as a drafty, old barn of a place with no electricity or plumbing, and had no screens on the windows.  Mile high hay completely encircled the rambling building.  The year was 1937.  Sven had to hire a man with a scythe to cut the grass, and that first summer millions of mosquitoes almost sent the family back to Toronto. The hard‐working Larsens immediately went into the chicken business, and every member had to do his share.  In the meantime, Sven who was a born salesman continued to represent a casket company out of Toronto, and as well, peddled Books of Knowledge.  It is suspected now, so many years later, that the casket job was not kept on as a money‐making project, but rather as a topic of conversation which stopped many a person in his track.  “You travel a good deal, Mr. Larsen, what do you do?”  He’d cast a piercing eye in the direction of the questioner.  “I design and sell coffins”.  Usually the inquisitor moved quickly away.

But when it came to selling books of knowledge, Sven was right in his element.  He loved reading, and he felt the only road to success was through the pages of books.  He felt in his heart that every time he sold a set of the Books of Knowledge he was contributing to they buyer’s future.  During the Depression Mr. Larsen was to spend nine months on the year on the road.    Eric Larsen, or Sonny, as he was known to everyone in the Carleton Place area, was tall, slim, handsome and with a head of golden hair that sent most young girls’ hearts fluttering.  He was the youngest of the Larsen family.  In 1946, nine years after the family moved to the area, Eric talked his parents into letting him reopen the Lodge as a hotel and dance hall.   There was great excitement in the community.  The older people had visions of the revival of that grand old hotel, and the young people of the 40’s saw the Lodge as a wonderful fun place to go where the music of the day would be standard fare, and a walk to the beach not 500 yards away would guarantee a romantic interlude for the “going steadies”. It was everything everyone had hoped it would be.

From the day Lake Park Lodge reopened its doors, the young people of Carleton Place beat a path to the dance hall.  Many had no transportation, but that wasn’t a deterrent.  They walked out the dirt road there and back. And its reputation as a good overnight lodge grew too.  Tourists came form everywhere, for a weekend to two weeks at a time.  They came from all over the continent and Europe.  The meals were excellent.  Mrs. Larsen was an outstanding cook and hearty Danish dishes blended in with Canadian on the menu. The nickelodeon belted out the hits of the day and you danced to “In the Mood” and “Stardust” for a nickel.  Daughter Lil remembers the business as a family affair.  “I had to make all the desserts” she recalls. Mrs. Larsen was a friend to all the hundreds of young people who were frequent customers.  More than one Carleton Place man will remember arriving at the Lodge “a little worse for wear”.  Although the Lodge was dry, many young people arrived with their own supply, which Mrs. Larsen frowned on.  But she was also realistic.   She couldn’t stop the young men from bringing the booze out in their cars, but she could make sure they went home sober.  So she’d take them into the kitchen sink and put their heads under the cold water tap until they sobered up and then she sent them home to their unsuspecting parents.

The Lodge flourished as a popular spot for the community’s young people.  During the summer it was the place to go every night after working at the dime store, or at your summer job in the foundry.  You could rent a boat for a quarter and row down the river on a moonlit night.  The war was over and the soldiers were coming home. They too flocked to the popular night spot. And then the first of several tragedies struck the Larsen family.  Sonny, the affable good looking son died tragically in a car accident.  A son‐in‐law and grandchild drowned.  And in 1956 the building the Larsens so lovingly restored burned to the ground.  Son‐in‐law Cark Jorgenson said the wood structure went up like a tinder box.  There were no fire hydrants, and the volunteer brigade tried to feed their hoses through the ice for water, but all the family could do was stand outside and watch it go up in flames. Gone was the Larsens era!  It was rebuilt, but it was never the same.  The senior Larsens were getting older, and they hung on for awhile, but too much had changed. Son‐in‐law Carl built and rented cottages and the senior Larsens stayed on, but the romance of the Lodge went up in flames the day of the fire. Sven Larsen died in 1970, his wife in 1978. Both Carl and Lil said the older Larsens loved the place.  Their hearts and souls were in the business.   They did everything they could to bring a sense of glamour and fun to the Lodge….from Mrs. Larsen’s fortune‐ telling to dressing up in hilarious Hallowe’en costumes.

 

 - Queen's Royal Once Again Popular Tourist Centre...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  30 Jun 1948, Wed,  Page 8

 

 - , . ,: Carleton Place. Mat i The Lake Park...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 May 1893, Mon,  Page 6

 

 - LAKE PARK, CARLETON PLACE. OssSseos Plane, Jesy...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 Jul 1905, Sat,  Page 11

 

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1899, Sat  •  Page 6