Tag Archives: local-history

Bake the World a Better Place!

Bake the World a Better Place!


Screenshot 2018-03-19 at 14

 (H.Moulton Collection, Smiths Falls)

Food was just as expensive for the early settlers as it is now. Baking was often delivered personally to homes by bakers or pastry cooks. Families could prepare their own bread and cakes in their own ovens, or have it baked professionally in a bake house.  Cakes were cooked in closed, cast iron ranges by the 1850s. Originally ranges were all coal-based, but then gas versions became available, but were considered very dangerous. The family coal budget was one of the issues that led to making these choices of what to buy from the baker, or make yourself.

In 1835 B. F. Heath of Smiths Falls was listed as opening a bakery at the end of the bridge opposite Ward’s Mills at the corner of Beckwith and Water Street (Chambers Street). It was said that Mr. Heath made bread, biscuits, crackers and other confectioneries that any sweet tooth might demand. It wasn’t cheap-getting supplies, it was difficult, and various grades of flour, classes of butter, and different kinds of sugar, and eggs needed to be fresh and fruit needed to be of the best quality. So bakeries came and went because of the intensive labour, costs and lack of supplies.
To the south of the grist mill in Smiths Falls was once Durant’s Pool Room. The one-storey
frame building which was owned by Mahlon Durant was built in 1909, and an addition  was put on later on the back end of the structure. Durant worked for the CPR until he lost an arm in a railroad accident in 1910 and had to retire. Mahlon became a tobacco merchant along with a confectionery store until his death in January of 1932. The building remained there until 1925 when the Old Home Week Committee wanted the land for a park site.

South of Durant’s Pool Room was a bakery. The original construction date is unknown, but Alexander Wood had planned such a building before his death in 1895 and the building must post-date that event. It was a one and one half storey frame building with a small addition on the south end.

The bakery was connected with the grist mill, and for a time it was operated by Mrs. Wood. It was possible the building was removed at the same time as Durant’s Pool Room. Beside the bakery was a double house and across the road from the bakery was a blacksmith shop. No one knows when Mrs. Wood closed down, but she too likely closed for the same reasons as her predecessors.

The bakers and confectionery makers came and went like the wind through the 1800s, but soon Davidson’s Bakery opened in 1890,  and brought the use of baking machinery to the area which made baked goods at an economical cost. Once upon a time Davidson’s was the largest commercial bakery in eastern Ontario, and it was a place Smiths Falls local residents could have a lifetime career. They served the area until 1994 when beloved delivery driver Mr. Johnson delivered his last load of bread.

An empty bakeshop on King Street was used by by Kezia Lewis and Margaret McMullen in 1910 who then persuaded the local Methodist church to organize a Sunday School for the young children of the area who were destitute. In 1914 the former bakeshop was vacated and Wesley Hall was built to accommodate the children on the the corner of King and Empress Street. The teachers from Elgin were recorded in the media that because of the Sunday School run by the women some poorer children had a better chance at life.


 - BAKER'S HELPER, AT LEAST 3 years' experience,...

July 15, 1966

In the 50s and 60s Flann’s Bakery was once a high point in Smiths Falls. Mrs. Flann was oriignally Evelyn Edith Patterson of the Patterson Funeral Home family in Carleton Place, and some locals still remember her today. Darlene Findlay from  Darlene’s Café and Bakery on Main Street W. had high hopes in 2009, but once the Smiths Falls Hershey Candy factory closed Findlay was selling fewer of her famous lemon meringue pies and closed.

But tradition continues, and now Smiths Falls has a couple of locally owned bakeries: C’est Tout and Noal Pantry are keeping the area sugar coated and making sure that the local population can have their cake and eat it too.


 - IN SMITHS FALLS FORMERLY Flann'l Bofceryi comer...

July 16, 1969



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 andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)





Wondrous! The Woodcock Bakery

Roy Woodcock Photo -Woodcock’s Bakery

Before there was Baker Bob’s There was The Almonte Bakery

Cake By the Mississippi — The Bowland Bakery

Lorne Hart– The Old Towne Bakery — A Recipe is Just a Recipe

Bill Jenkins- Riverman and Wedding Cake Maker?

Remembering the Smells of Heaven on Earth —Davidson’s Bakery


1 in 25 Local Kids Don’t Know Who Elvis is!



The past two weekends my Elvis Puppet and I have been attending local events. I always joke this is my annual “public awareness trek” in remembrance of Elvis. Why would I say that? Well, to my shock only 1 in 25 kids knows who Elvis is. Impossible you say? I swear on my “Love Me Tender” heart this is a fact.

So what does that say about the younger generation knowing about our local history? Once upon a time, teachers agreed that local history should be in the curriculum, but no one could agree on how it should be taught or why. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum used to be invited into the local schools, but that is a moot point now. Apparently, there is no more time in their schedules for such information now.


Usually teachers in history and social studies classes focus on national or international events. But what about the history of the neighborhood where the students live? When kids are encouraged to learn about where they live, maybe they can perhaps link their community to a larger event. Hopefully, they begin to see they are part of a larger story and that they personally make history every single day.

“I’m only interested in the recent facts- that is what concerns me. I don’t want to know about the stuff that happened 100 years ago.”

What people do not realize is that ancient history as they call it, has a value in itself for a personal, family and community perspective. Our local history is the story of where we all live. It deals with the people and events we know best. After writing about the history of the Carleton Place area for awhile; I can tell you it goes way beyond our beloved WWII hero Roy Brown.


Actually, if you think about it, it could give all of us a better sense of realism. Why? Because the major body of local history pertains to the students’ own surroundings. Our Carleton Place youth can physically go out and see where the Findlay plant was, the first mills of our area, and even drop in, buy a cookie, and say hello to Lorne Hart at The Old Towne Bakery. Not for the kids, you say? As much as people refuse to admit it- he is a pioneer in today’s craft beer, and is already in the “history of beverage” books. The bottles of Hart Beer are already considered artifacts at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

We sometimes have a tendency to tear down the roots of our area – almost as soon as we have put them down. If schools studied more local history, that might encourage a little preservation, and make us aware of our own links to the past. One should remember that each time we speak about local history, we are training future citizens. We seriously need to encourage everyone to learn the history that just happened outside our door. You never know– to some, the knowledge could become a “burning love of interest”.

“History happens to all of us all the time. Local history brings history home, it touches your life, the life of your family, your neighborhood, your community.” —


Join us on our next tour “Smoke on the Water” The Fires of Carleton Place next week with treats after at Ballygiblins.

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