Tag Archives: people

Remembering Basil O’Keefe — Bus driver Extraordinaire

Remembering Basil O’Keefe — Bus driver Extraordinaire

Basil O’Keefe, known by his friends and riders as “the best school bus driver in the world,” has retired after years of driving children to St Michael’s school in Corkery. Basil, one of the area’s most popular drivers, says he “was forced to retire because they said I was too old.” 

“They” in this case is the West Carleton Separate School Board, and while Basil is not questioning the wisdom of the board, he was retested by the ministry of transport this year and had his bus licence renewed. He has had a test yearly to maintain his licence for the last 13 years.

Basil is 78 years old. He began driving buses after his retirement at 65 from the government. His wife Mary started driving a year earlier and they both decided to do the runs to defeat the boredom that had set in. Mary thinks she’ll only drive one more year, she says, because “ I don’t enjoy it like I used to when Basil was driving.” 

The students who rode on Basil’s bus are upset that he no longer gets them to and from– and on the first day of classes this year, organized a petition to have Basil reinstated Mary says “ the kids just loved him.” And Basil says he never had a problem with discipline on his buses, ” I found everything funny with the kids,” he says. ‘I have wiped a lot of notes, dried a lot of tears, and looked up a lot of books. “

’According to an anonymous submission to the Gazette. Basil is famous for never getting stuck or losing his temper, “He was helped in his duties by a vast knowledge of every track and pothole in the Corkery area and by a clear recollection of the foolish antics of local parents and grandparents to the fifth generation.

Basil who drove for Carleton Bus Lines of Antrim, has many fond memories of the children he has transported over the years. He related the tale of a Friday afternoon kindergarten run a few years ago. My run finished at Marathon village and I looked back to see I had one too many kids. 

I asked the link girl where she lived and she said ‘it was on top of a big hill.’ It appears the little girl lived on the Appleton road and normally was driven to school by her mother However, all her friends came to school by bus so she sneaked onto Basil’s bus for a ride. He took her back to St Michael’s to meet her mother but she didn’t want to get off.

How did Basil handle that situation? He smiles and simply says: “I took her home,”

The best summation of Basil’s bus driving career is offered by an anonymous writer: “Basil will be fondly remembered for his driving skill, his kind attention to kiddies with sick tummies or absent mummies and his astonishing ability to see fox, wolves, moose and ostriches where a whole busload of kids could only see junipers. His host of admirers can only regret his absence while wishing him the most enjoyable retirement. 

With files from Ms Ennis, NOV 1985– Almonte Gazette

The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings — Lila Steele — Mississippi Station

The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings — Lila Steele — Mississippi Station

Lila Delight Steele (Benedict)
Birthdate:September 12, 1893
Birthplace:Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Death:December 20, 1989 (96)
Mississippi, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Place of Burial:Elphin, Lanark Highlands, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Immediate Family:Daughter of Solomon Panadis Benedict and Annie Benedict
Wife of Rueben McCumber Steele
Mother of Ellis Lyle BenedictMax Edwin SteeleAnne Argutha SteeleFreda Rachel CooperJoseph Arthur Steele and 5 others
Sister of Charles Edwin BenedictAlexander Grant BenedictMary Adele Benedict and Solomon Lewis Benedict
Born Palmerston Twp., Daughter of Solomon Benedict & Annie MacInnes, who are buried in the Highland Line Cemetery, McDonald’s Corners. Lila married Rueben Steele on July 27,1915.
Plot 500 :
– In Loving Memory of,
– Reuben M. Steele 1892-1969
– Beloved husband of,
– Lila D. Benedict 1893-1989
– Their son,
– Max Edwin Steele 1916-1931

Putting a Face to a Good Deed– Good People of Mississippi Mills


The Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, CanadaTue, Mar 01, 1994 · Page 13–

I did a search and I found this photo of the lovely couple who still live in the area. Love hearing these stories..

St. John’s United Church, Brockville is feeling thankful
June 29, 2019  · 

Happy anniversary Gillian and Denis!

Related reading

People of our Town — Fred Cronin

People of Our Town — Mary Jenkins 1980

People of Lanark County –The Rest of the Story — Weitzenbauer – Maberly

Allan Barratt– Pakenham– People of Lanark County

People of our Town — Fred Cronin


Thelma SavardRemember Freddie rosary and marjorie his son used to visit him every night cookies in the lounge and tea rosalyn

Gail YuillThelma Savard I remember Fred too and his sons name was also Fred.

Cyndii Hitchins Demersi was working that day, also the mayor came over with a medal i think it was….for him..

Rosalyn WingThelma Savard yes I remember him well . He was a funny man.

Judy Reid HamreI remember Fred from when I worked as a server in the dining room – such a flirt! Lol

Sharon SavardRemember when they had his 100th Birthday Party 🥳🎉

Marjorie GawHe was truly unforgetable. There was old Freddy and young Freddy…thinking about chewing tobacco. 🥰 as a sideline to this story… my Grandfather chewed tobacco.

Sandra HoustonThey used to live across the road from me at one time, many years ago

Nora HeadleyHis daughter was Reva Herrick, who was married to my mother’s cousin.

Anne HouriganDid he used to ride a bike around town

Sandra HoustonAnne Hourigan that was young Freddie….chewed tobacco too

Freddie Jr.

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada21 Sep 1993, Tue  •  Page 59

Frederick Jerome Cronin Sr
Birth Date:
9 Apr 1880
Death Date:
4 Nov 1982
Saint Marys Roman Catholic Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:
Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Ann Cronin
Frederick Jerome Cronin
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Jun 1946, Fri  •  Page 23
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Jun 1951, Wed  •  Page 20

People from Our Town — Courtney Zieman

Willow VokeyThis T-Rex works at CP Terrace… brings such smiles to the residents. Xoxo

Margaret EdwardsI can aimagine how happy that child was to stroll with this creature. What fun!

Elizabeth TaylorAnd proud to say she is a part of our wonderful team at Carleton Place Carleton Place Terrace

Laurissa AnneSaw that this morning! My son loved it! He was like “omg mom! It’s a dinosaur!” Absolutely made his day!

Courtney is one of the good people of Carleton Place and she loves to make people smile. She works at the Carleton Place Terrace and the seniors enjoy her costumes and especially her. She is one of the folks that has a wonderful way to show us really what matters. Thank you Courtney!

So why were you photographed walking down the street with your dinosaur costumes? We would love to know.

My daughter was bored and restless because of the lock down. I put it on to play outside and she wanted to go for a walk. People started honking she was so happy and I have another costume on order so we can do it again. At work (Carleton Place Terrace) the residents are depressed missing their family’s so I thought it would make then smile. Whether they were laughing at me or with me they were happy. 


 They always ask me what I’ll be next! Liz and I organized a dance flash mob for nurses week for the residence in the dining room I have more pictures of you interested …. keep a eye out Alexis and I will be walking around soon with a new costume making people smile. In a time like this is important mental health sometimes needs a little extra help hope that helps.

Thank you Courtney!!!

Have you Met Angel?

Memories of Carleton Place Businesses –Latif Crowder CGS Woodwright

Memories of Carleton Place Businesses –Latif Crowder CGS Woodwright
Rachel Crowder
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Aug 1980, Wed  •  Page 3

I was lucky enough to know Latif Crowder when he put in all our kitchen cupboards which are still standing today. He and his wife Rachel were amazing people.

1980 — People of Carleton Place

Two summers ago local residents Latif Crowder and Evan Gamblin started producing a unique line of Dutch-designed spinning wheels under licence. Sales have been good. Now the company has taken on a new partner and is expanding its scope to include almost all areas of custom woodworking. ‘

The new partner is Bob St. Cyr who brings a solid background in furniture design to the fledgling CGS Woodwrights Limited which only last month moved from a cramped 350-square-foot shop to a new location in the Canadian Wool Growers Co-operative building.

The new shop has more than 4,000 square feet of space which is rapidly filling with the tools needed for a full range of high-quality woodwork. Once the commitment was made to turn the part-time business into full-time work, production of the louet line of spinning wheels soared. Last year total output was about 300 units; half that many were made last month alone.

The Dutch line of spinning machines probably won’t find favor with those looking for a spinning wheel as a piece of furniture to plop in the comer of the living room. Instead of the traditional spoked wheel, the louet models feature a solid plywood one. Stays circular “I was in a store just the other day where they were selling spoked wheels, and already they were starting to come unglued,” said Crowder. “The plywood wheel stays circular instead of becoming an oval over a period of time.”

What is amazing is that the company has been unable to find suitable plywood in Canada and has been forced to import 13-ply birch plywood from the Soviet Union. Canadian plywood makers used softwoods such as poplars for inside plies, and unfortunately, this is where the wheel needs strength.

The Carleton Place firm is experimenting with a luan plywood made in Canada from imported veneers but is anxious to find a stable, suitable Canadian supply. Most of the hardware is imported from the Dutch licensor to take advantage of large volume purchasing power but the rest of the spinning wheel is manufactured locally from beautiful maple.

Recently the company sold Heritage Silversmiths in Perth on the idea of producing silver storage chests, a new line which CGA Woodwrights hope to produce at a rate of 600-1,000 a month. They hope to start exporting the chests to the United States within a year. CGS Woodwrights also has sights set on high quality custom wood furniture to meet architect’s specifications. “One of the big things lacking in Canada is good wood design because it’s really not taught much,” says St. Cyr.

The company has invested another $80,000 in the expanding company, almost all of it in new equipment. Soon to be delivered is a veneering machine which will open the custom veneering market in the area. Gamblin, a former computer professional who keeps close tabs on the . financial end of the operation, believes employment will grow to about 15 within the next three years. On this basis the company is seeking help from the federal and provincial governments. Not all the equipment is in place yet and the building interior still needs renovations but once everything is complete the company will hold an open house probably within a month to show government officials and the local community the kind of business that can be built on wood.

It started with a spinning wheel and love and respect for the beauty of finely-worked wood. The spin-offs are starting to multiply.

The company sadly dissolved in 1982.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Aug 1980, Wed  •  Page 3


Latif and Rachel are now in PEI, where they moved from Alberta shortly before the Covid business began.

He’s retired from custom cabinet work, enjoying himself designing and building interesting furniture.

Rachel is running a rape crisis centre. 

Here is some of his work from a couple of years ago.


Evan Gamblin

thanks evan gamblin for the photos

April 1934 Carleton Place Business

Before The Carleton Place Mews?

The Former Businesses of Carleton Place — Notes Part 1- Historical Clippings

The Former Businesses of Carleton Place –Notes Part 2– Historical Newspaper Clippings

The Former Businesses of Carleton Place –Notes Part 3– Historical Newspaper Clippings

Interesting People –R. E. Irvine — The Story of a Bottle

Interesting People –R. E. Irvine — The Story of a Bottle


Photo-Adin Wesley Daigle

Our community Carleton Place archaeologist Adin Wesley Daigle posted this photo on Facebook and said it was his favourite bottle.  Not being a bottle collector I still had to agree and decided to investigate one R. E. Irvine from Ottawa. The bottle was great so I figured it must have a story!

s-l1600 - 2020-05-31T111313.312

The only thing I could find out was that R. E Irvine was served a lawsuit in 1910 from the Sanitaris Co. in Ottawa. Well I knew who Sanitarius was as I had written about their affiliation to Diamond Park Mineral Water. Irvine bottled beer and other beverages like Lithia water. Lithia water is defined as a type of mineral water characterized by the presence of  lithium salts which he got from the Diamond Park and sold by Sanitarius. Natural lithia mineral spring waters are rare and between the 1880s and World War I, the consumption of bottled lithia mineral water was popular as well as the Mineral Water spas outside Pakenham. ( Diamond Springs and Dominion Springs).

Mr. Irvine also owned the local Ottawa Livery and Boarding Stable in Ottawa– but that is another story. Actually, it could be a series of stories from the vast amount of postings in the Ottawa newspapers.

As well as the waters business, R.E. Irvine purchased a high-end livery and riding stable in 1906. From the Citizen, April 26, 1906: Photo Jaan Kolk and information.


The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
03 Feb 1910, Thu  •  Page 11

Diamond Park Mineral Water was world famous in its day, and it was located near Arnprior.  Among the components in the water were salt and sulphur and the water was said to have curative powers dealing with rheumatic problems, hangover headaches and an aid in flushing the kidneys. Diamond Park Springs was located on the edge of Pakenham Township in the late 1800s, but was flooded by Ontario Hydro when the dam was put in place at the head pond. At one point there was a 12-room hotel on site and proved to be a popular spa in its day. The plant was later sold to Sanitaris Ltd. who continued bottling water from their plant at the corner of John and William streets behind the current LCBO in Arnprior.


Sanitaris Natural Mineral Water Building, Arnprior, Canada–Date: 1914 Location:
John Street, Arnprior, Ontario, Canada

By 1910 R. E. Irvine looks like he was no longer running his namesake company and was letting someone else run it. (Morel Bros. Aerated Waters?)  Sanitaris was taking him to court for the disappearance of “empties” as we kids used to say.  Irvine said that they had been returned — Sanitarius said he or his successor had not. Needless to say Mr. Irvine’s company was on the hook for a grand sum of $480 unless all was returned.

Jaan Kolk said: “Irvine was a businessman, who came likely came to Ottawa for a business opportunity and left for a better one”. (I don’t think the minor legal disputes were of any importance.)

Jaan Kolk our favourite historian  found this: Robert Irvine, mineral waters 359 Wellington, boarding at Butler House, is listed in the 1901 Ottawa City Directory, The business seems to have peaked around 1909, when it was at 200 Bay Street. Still there as Irvine in 1911, it was shown as Morel Bros. Aerated Waters in 1912. Here is an Ottawa Journal ad from May 18, 1909. (above)

After researching — no mention of the case was made in the media again except for this one above Jaan Kolk  found from 1900. This Ottawa Citizen note from Aug. 25, 1900 on a suit over Irvine’s use of the name “Hygeia Water” mentions he was formerly in Toronto.   So what was Hugeia Water? J.J. McLaughlin started out professional life as a druggist and eventually focused on what started out as a typical pharmacy sideline, making soda water, which he initially called Hygeia Waters, the Hygeia, being a play on the word hygiene. McLaughlin’s Hygeia Waters were based on a Belfast dry ginger ale recipe. The name was rebranded as the much more successful Canada Dry.

Meanwhile, the case from Sanitarius stated that “judgement was reserved”. Most often, the judge will reserve judgment which means that the judge will take some time – days, weeks, or even months – to consider the matter before issuing the judgment and  it is usually written though it may be delivered orally. In this case Irvine had left from the Ottawa area, but if you looked hard enough you would see what happened. By 1910 the ads for the Irvine Company had stopped in the Ottawa Journal and The Ottawa Citizen and Irvine was now– wait for this– in Vancouver.


May 1909- Ottawa Citizen

In May of 1909 it looks like R. E. was preparing for a future elsewhere. First there was a massive auction sale at his home on Slater and Bay. In June of the same year he transferred some land from R. E. Irvine to R. Irvine Ltd. In 1910 R. E. Irvine had bought and was running Cross & Co.  in Vancouver. The business had been under various ownerships. Originally founded by Mr. Cross D. Gavinit, as Vancouver Soda Water Works in 1896. Then purchased by the late J. J. Banfield, who remained owner until he sold his interests to the late R. E. Irvine. R.E.’s son E. L. Irvine bought the business from him in 1917. 


Early Circa. 1915-30s British Columbia Soda Siphon / Syphon Seltzer Bottles – Cross and Company Vancouver BC

In an ironic twist like every trade or profession, Irvine’s venture into the Cross & Co soda water business had its troubles just like Sanitarius did with the R. E. Irvine Company in Ottawa. One of the chief problems was maintaining the bottle supply. Bottles cost the company 7 cents each, and since a deposit of only 5 cents a bottle is charged, a loss of 2 cents was sustained on very bottle not returned.

“When the public consider these figures it will realize the benefit, both to the consumer and to ourselves, of returning all empty bottles,” Mr. Irvine said. “For every bottle returned the customer reduces the cost of his thirst-quenchers by five cents. For every bottle not returned we lost two cents.” The loss on bottles was so heavy that Cross & Co. had to purchase $3000 worth annually to maintain its supply. Is this what happened to the R. E. Irvine Co in Ottawa or, was it just for a better opportunity as Jaan Kolk said?

One thing is for sure Mr. R. E. Irvine never set foot back in Ottawa until 1918 and the couple was described in the news as having been residents of Ottawa until 1910 and of course Sanitarius never got their money for the empties.

Screenshot 2020-05-31 at 13.02.39


The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
20 Oct 1928, Sat  •  Page 11


Cross and Company Vancouver BC Then and Now.



 - The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Jan 1898, Thu  •  Page 1


A. Huckels & Co. -The Story of a Bottle- Thanks to Jaan Kolk

Where Were the Miracle Salt Springs in Pakenham? I Love a Challenge!

Social Note Shenanigans from the Almonte Gazette June 1899

Mrs. James Lawrie and Her Ginger Beer

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” in Lanark County

Mississippi Hotel Beer — Brading’s Beer

The Marvellous Jaan Kolk

Talking Through Your Hat? Jaan Kolk

So Where Was Caldwell Mills? Thanks Jaan Kolk

The Thrift Store Couple – More Information-Jaan Kolk

The House on the Hill — Up the 8th Line of Ramsay — Jaan Kolk Files

Britannia Boat House Doomed— April 1907 Ice Jam –Jaan Kolk Files

People of Lanark County –The Rest of the Story — Weitzenbauer – Maberly

People of Lanark County –The Rest of the Story — Weitzenbauer – Maberly


Photo from –Up the line: More portraits of the Ottawa Valley Perfect

In 1986  CP. Weitzenbauer, of Maberly, was fed up with Reader’s Digest and vowed to live out the rest of his life avoiding what he calls the ‘non-human’ approach of dealing with customers. His frustrations started earlier that year when he ordered a subscription to the magazine for himself, a friend and a copy of an atlas the magazine was promoting. In all, he sent the company cheques totalling $64.91.

The magazines made it to their, destinations but the atlas vanished. He wrote to the company in an attempt to hunt it down but he discovered he was writing to a fictitious person. He called the Digest. No one wanted to take the blame for the mix up. As far as he was concerned, his cheques were cashed in January, the atlas never arrived, and no one would admit he had ordered the book.

Frustration turned to anger, and by this point all he wanted was his money back and compensation for some of his expenses in trying to find his atlas. A few weeks after writing to us, a cheque for $71 was sent to his home. It was meant to cover the two subscriptions, the atlas and $6 for expenses. But that didn’t end it. Several weeks later a letter and another cheque, this one for $5, arrived. The money was for his postage and telephone calls. The letter indicated there was no record of his order for an atlas. It also asked that he let the company know if he still wanted to cancel his subscriptions. So much for the computer world and the ‘non-human’ approach to dealing with customers.

Saldy Peter died in 1989 and Ann passed away in 2007

Ann and Peter were married in 1948 in Munich and came to Canada in 1951 and had their children here. They had $11.50 when they arrived on the shores of Canada having come to Canada via the Canadian government  costing $340.00. They paid the full sum back to the government within the year.


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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 Nov 2007, Wed  •  Page 43



Perth and Its People Names Names Names

Stories About People and Why I do What I Do

People of Smiths Falls –Russ Beach

Gossiping on Bridge Street –“People of 1952”

There was Just Something About Gerald Poaps Photo — People of Almonte

The Tragic Death of Dr. Mostyn Shocked the People of Almonte


Charleston Lake Village 1800s Directory

Charleston Lake Village 1800s Directory

s-l1600 (56).jpg


Approximately 10 km from the village of Athens is Charleston village and it’s jewel, Charleston Lake. The village features quaint, well-kept homes in a peaceful neighbourhood. The local marinas offer many services, including boat tours. Charleston Lake offers fishing for bass and lake trout and hosts The Renegade Bass Tournament.

Ontario Gazetter 1800s.. (no date)

Charleston. — A Village on Charleston Lake, in the Township of Escott, County Leeds, 18 miles from Brockville

Beale, Benjamin, saw mill prop.

Booth, A, C, J. P.

Booth, R. L., inn keeper

Burrows, Wiliam, grist mill prop.

GREEN, P. F., Postmaster, general merchant

Hamilton David, J. P.
Hicks, WUlium, wagon maker
Johnston, Henry, J. P,
Melvina, John, inn keeper
Slack & Frost saw mill props.



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

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.

The Story of Caroline La Rose– Charleston Lake

House of Industry Athens Farmersville

Farmersville 1859 County Directory (Athens)

More Lake Monsters–Moose or Monster?

The Killarney of Canada in Lanark County

Ontario’s Version of the Marks Bros-Tales of the Queen’s Hotel

Almonte The Woolen Town 1900

Almonte The Woolen Town 1900



photo from almonte.com

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  17 Nov 1900, Sat,  Page 14

photo from almonte.com




A Village situated in the Township of Ramsay, on the Mississippi River, C.W. – distant from Bytown, 35 miles. Population about 200.


Gemmill, John, general store

Haskins, —-, planning and grooving mills

Leekie, Thomas, general store, 1/2 mile from the village

Mansill, Thomas, tannery, 1/2 mile from the village

McGregor, —-, innkeeper

McMorin, Rev. John, Scotch Church

Rea, Hugh, general store, boots and shoes

Reed, Samuel, carding mill

Richardson, Edward, grist mill

Shipman, Daniel, temperance inn

Shipman, Daniel, grist and saw mill

Wylie & Sons, general store

Wylie, James, postmaster


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)




Looking for Information on the Native Fort Farm of Fred Sadler of Almonte

Did We Find Henry Lang’s Barn?

Almonte in the Twenties


Remembering John Kerry from Almonte—By Karen Hirst


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