Tag Archives: pretty island

The Floating Road to Pretty Island

The Floating Road to Pretty Island
I know I have put up this photo but it boggles my mind even today LOLOL Driving on the ice on Mississippi Lake at Pretty Island-

These photos are from Darlene Page. When her aunt, Deloris Agnel, maiden name Julian, passed away she gave Darlene a photo album. Thank you for sharing Darlene.

It began with this..

Good Morning Linda, I was out on Pretties island this week-end and I hear a story about the causeway being built with old cars originally. Have you heard this tale before? is there any truth to it? Thanks Brad Hamilton

Kevin PercyThat’s the story I heard

Rachel McRaeI’ve heard this as well

Lila Leach-JamesThe story I heard, a well known car dealer in Almonte owned a cottage on the island and residents needed a road so he supplied all the old wrecks and the road was built after a few loads of gravel put on top of the old cars….Supplied a good base, I suppose….I will not mention names although I’m sure most of the family have passed on…..

Glen FergusonYes it was a mr hill who put cars in there to make a solid base for the cos way. There was also a floating rd. Logs laid horizontally and like 2×12 wood to drive on. Its still there but grown in now

Laurie LewisYes that is what my father (David Willoughby) always said.

Photo from Joan Halpenny–These are from my grandparents and father. ( McRostie’s) I’m guessing late 1800s and early 1900 s. The people in the photos would all be dead now but perhaps relatives might recognize them.
Can anyone help? — This was taken on Pretty Island 1898. Yesterday I found a newspaper clipping from August 11 1898 how a happy crowd was at Pretty Island

Glen FergusonLaurie Lewis my parents Bill and Shirley Ferguson and myself knew John Willoughby well. We were just down the road from him.

Michael LotanIt’s a true story, Almonte car dealer had the idea and did it. It was a good side island with a bay facing west with a sandy patch of beach, lots of blood suckers at that time. Every time we stopped there We had salt available.

Sylvia GilesYes, Orm Remembers when it was done..

Cynthia FordI do believe it was Mr Hill during or before he sold the island to a conglomerate of business men. Who later severed the land and sold as cottage lots.

Cathy DulmageAbsolutely, Gordy Hill owned the GM dealership in Almonte and was part of the development team. He put old cars in for the base. My dad was the Ford dealer and a friend of Gord’s and also supplied him with some junk cars. Paul Dulmage

Trisha AeckerlinMy parents had a home off Otterslide lane at the end of scotch corners that had a cosway out to it that was also built with old cars and buses.

Brad HamiltonSherri Iona I’m pretty sure anything harmful is long gone at this point. This type of thing happened a lot before.

John Armour posted this picture of Pretty Island yesterday.. Did you ever read about the Steamboat picnics on Pretty Island?

Sherri IonaBrad Hamilton do you know how long metal last in cold water or buried? A long time.

Karen Fleming FergusonMy husband thinks, if he is not mistaken, that A.H. McCoy from Stittsville was involved too. Before the cars were put there, everything else kept sinking, so then someone came up with using the old cars.

Robert McClellanDoes anyone know the precise location? We would like to dive it and document anything we find with images and video. Fascinating.

Robert McClellanLinda Seccaspina If we can find it we think it would make an interesting video project

Karen Fleming Fergusonhttps://www.google.ca/…/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4… The part that is going from left to right would be the causeway.

Karen Fleming FergusonEbbs Bay Road near the water here is where the “causeway” is. It doesn’t look like it here, but there is water on both sides, unless a very dry year. In the spring there can be so much water that you can’t drive across. People on the island will leave a canoe or boat there to get across and leave a car on the mainland.

Robert McClellanKaren Fleming FergusonLinda Seccaspina Great – thank you. We will go out that way soon and see if there are any signs of the cars underwater.

Elisabeth HickRobert McClellan you aren’t going to find any water to swim in… it is swampland lol i know exactly where it is

Robert McClellan no possibility for diving , it has had a couple of thousand loads of rock rough fill and gravel added over the last 50 years and is swamp on both sides

Jane ChamneyThe original road to Pretties island was a floating causeway east of where the road is located now

Robert McClellanDave Hick Too bad – yes it seems lost to the swamp of history…Thanks!

Other islands in the lake

It’s Photo Friday!This photo of Aberdeen Island in Mississippi Lake was taken by Annie E. Duff about 1902. Annie’s eldest brother William H. Duff and his 5 eldest children are in the boat. The following quote by Rev. William Bell, (the first ordained minister to hold services of religion in Carleton Place) was published in his “Hints to Emigrants” in 1823: “The Mississippi Lake …. affords an abundance of fish for the settlers in the neighbourhood, who kill them with spears in great numbers in the spring when ascending the river to spawn. Some of the islands in the lake are still inhabited by “Indians”, whose hunting ground is on the north side, and who are far from being pleased with the encroachments our settlers are making on their territories.”Let us be reminded that the community in which we live, work, and play is situated on traditional, unceded Algonquin First Nation territory.We acknowledge and thank the Anishinaabe people and express our respect and support for their rich history and culture.-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Dinky Dooley Island– Mississippi Lake- 1907- Frabk Robertson standing in doorway at right- -Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage MuseumTales from Dinky Dooley Island
Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island

The Steamboat Picnics on Pretty Island

The Laird of Pretty Island

Tales from Dinky Dooley Island

Family Photos– Mississippi Lake– Darlene Page

A Bear Had Not Been Seen at Mississippi Lake For Years 1887

Tales of the Mississippi Lake- Believe it or Not!

What if Locks Had Been on the Mississippi River?

Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island

Don’t Have a Cow Man!– Tales from Squaw Point

The Phantom Light on Mississippi Lake

The Cottages of Mississippi Lake — Carleton Place Ontario

Tales of Mississippi Lake etc. etc. etc.

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  19 May 1956, Sat,  Page 21




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  23 Aug 1958, Sat,  Page 12


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ 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.


How to Really Catch Fish With Dynamite at the Glen Isle Bridge

Memories of the Pickerel Run Innisville

More Pictures of the Innisville Pickerel Run

The Angling Adventures of John and Leonard McNeely

Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island

The Harold Kettles Series – Blowing up Beaver Dams in Beckwith


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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?


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The Steamboat Picnics on Pretty Island



Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


I did some researching for  information about Dick Willis for the story called: People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find and found this neat story about Pretty Island by Howard Morton Brown.



Steampunk Ottawa Picnic-Photo-Ottawa Citizen


Steamboat Picnic- by Howard Morton Brown

While firemen have built up a company they did not forget the social side of life.  Years ago the firemen’s picnic was the event of the season.  It was held on Pretty’s Island, and the date was fixed to correspond with the ripening of *John McCann’s corn – his contribution to the feast, as that was a big item on the bill of fare.






The steamer *Enterprise was donated free by *Senator McLaren.  He also gave a substantial cash donation to purchase groceries and the said groceries to be purchased at Sibbitt’s.



People dressed up in costumes pose for a photo at the Ottawa Steampunk Picnic at Strathcona–Ottawa Citizen

One fireman was hiding a basket containing a bottle of ‘milk,’ under a clump of bushes at the water’s edge when smash came a rock over the bush and when he got the water out of his eyes the bottle was gone.


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Steampunk Ottawa Picnic-YouTube

While the women spread the table cloths on the ground and were emptying the well-filled baskets, the corn and tea were bubbling in the boilers sending forth an appetizing odor that could be felt over at *Shail’s Settlement.

A glance at the names of the committee in charge of the picnic is enough to convince the most skeptical that a better day’s outing could not be held – such names as the late Sid Anable, Bill Whalen, Bill Patterson, Joe Wilson, Alex. Wilson, Oliver Virtue.  Wylie’s barge was towed along for a dancing platform for the home trip and with the late George and Dick Willis playing the fiddles – it was not called an orchestra in those days – such foot-inspiring music was produced by these two musicians as has never been equalled.




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Photo from Joan Halpenny–These are from my grandparents and father. ( McRostie’s) I’m guessing late 1800s and early 1900 s. The people in the photos would all be dead now but perhaps relatives might recognize them.
Can anyone help?

Senator Peter McLaren (politician)–Click here

*John McCann-Mr. John McCann of Ramsay died on Thursday, February 16,1911, after a lengthy illness.  Deceased was only 44 years of age, and leaves besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. McCann, a widow, three daughters and one son, also six sisters. The sisters are Mrs. Robt. McIntosh, Almonte; Mrs. Wm. Wallace, Preston; Mrs. Wm. Lawrie and Mrs. Wm. Armstrong, Ramsay; Mrs. Robert Crawford, Carleton Place; and Mrs. Wm. Allison, Winnipeg.

*May, 1870—Carleton Place Herald:

The steamer Enterprise has now made several successful trips between Carleton Place and Ennisville.  We have not had time or opportunity, owing to the demolition of our old building and the erection of new premises, to avail ourselves of the pleasure.  We notice also several packages of freight leaving the steamer.  We believe that our spirited member, Mr. Code, is sending his manufactured cloth to Montreal by steamer via Carleton Place.  Soon also picnics and other social gatherings will be the order of the day.  When the locks at Ennisville and Fergusons Falls are built the property of our beautiful village will be a fixed fact.” –James Poole

The navigation scheme collapsed and in the spring of 1872 the Enterprise, in a neglected state of repair, was sold by auction.  The Enterprise,a paddle wheeler which could carry a hundred passengers, operated on the lakes and river in the service of the lumber industry under the ownership of Peter McLaren and the Canada Lumber Company for about twenty-five years.  It was made available throughout those growing years of the town as an excursion steamer for many summer and social activities.


*The rows of cottages along the east side of the Middle Lake are next – Shail’s, the Coleman High Bank and Petrie’s Shores, served by a good paved road.

“Suggestions for School, Picnic, or Travelling Lunches-1904

In boxes, or pretty baskets of suitable size and light weight, may be found in our stores; some of them fitted with compartments and receptacles for the various articles which are usually prepared for such occasions…For a travelling or picnic party of any large number, and particularly if there is to be some conveyance to and from the place for luncheon, it might be advisable to provide one’s self with a hamper elegantly fitted with every needful or imaginary article. They are marvels of convenience and help greatly in keeping everything separate and in perfect condition and really tempt the appetite. Their cost is generally equal to their convenience,, but for those whose purses will not permit such a luxury, a steamer cooker with its various compartments will be found a fair rival, as far as convenience goes. For the traveller on a short journey, and where dining cars are not to be found or patronized, there is nothing better than a paper box and some bottles or jars of convenient size, which may be left when their usefulness is ended, in some waste bin by the way. There will be but few ounces of extra or useless weight, which is not the case with the imported hampers. These often weigh, when empty, more than some persons could well carry. The following menus will show the great variety one may arrange for either of the occasions when such meals are needed:
No. 1. Spiced beef sliced, rye muffins, cup custard, bananas.
No. 2. Roast beef or cold steak sandwiches, canned fruit, hermits.
No. 3. Stuffed eggs, buttered rolls, oranges.
No. 4. Chicken sandwiches, tiny rice puddings, peaches, milk.
No. 5. Cheese sandwiches, gingerbread, prunes.
No. 7. Fishballs, Graham bread and butter, prune whip, lemonade.
No. 8. Baked bean sandwiches, potato salad, apples, gingersnaps.
No. 9. Jelly or jam sandwiches, sliced ham, little plain cakes, milk.
No. 10. Lettuce sandwiches, stem strawberries with sugar, cream cheese balls, cookies.
Formerly such lunches were confined to sandwiches, cakes, etc., with perhpas a bottle of cold coffee or lemonade; but as cakes and rich sweets are often the things least to be desired, it is wise to provide some receptacle in which a greater variety of foods may be carried. Small fruit jars, with glass covers and rubbers, which may be tightly sealed,–tiny tumblers for a small portion of stewed fruit, or soft pudding, tiny custards, puddings and timbales, meat or fish, salads and many other foods, will all find a place in the luchh box prepared by one who is willing to give some thought and time to this duty. Waxed paper is almost a necessity, if things are to be kept separate and in attractive condition. Plates made of wood as thin as pasteboard are cheap and especially convenient for picnics and travellers, where no table is procurable; and a cheap knife, fork and spoon add little to the weight, but much to one’s comfort.”
What to Have for Luncheon, Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln [Dodge Publishing Co.:New York] 1904 (p. 41-44)


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


The Laird of Pretty Island

Tales from Dinky Dooley Island

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find

Before and After in Carleton Place

Fires in Carleton Place–James Gillies House

Bridge Street V.E. Day Parade Photos- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 5


The Laird of Pretty Island




One day the “Laird” of Pretties Island decided to make what one could call a horse deal with one of his neighbours. The neighbour looked the horse over and it appeared to be in very good condition. As a last precaution he grabbed a handful of hay and gave it to the steed.

The Laird who saw this incident quickly said,

‘I’m told the animal has a *spavin, but I’ve looked and cannot find a trace.”

The  neighbour then stooped over to see if the horse had one while the seller quickly grabbed the hay out of the horse’s mouth.

The neighbour took the nag home but returned with it the next day asking the laird if he knew that the horse had no teeth. The reply was:

“It’s a good fault for it would not eat as much feed.”

If anyone knows who the Laird of Pretty Island was please email me.




While firemen have built up a company they did not forget the social side of life.  Years ago the firemen’s picnic was the event of the season.  It was held on Pretty’s Island, and the date was fixed to correspond with the ripening of John McCann’s corn – his contribution to the feast, as that was a big item on the bill of fare. Howard Morton Brown



Tales from Dinky Dooley Island

The Phantom Light on Mississippi Lake

The Cottages of Mississippi Lake — Carleton Place Ontario

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


CPHS Students Declare War on Mississippi Lake – 1973