Tag Archives: Robbery

The Dominion Store Robberies

The Dominion Store Robberies

Old Dominion store..Cecil McCann/s billiard hall and the list goes on– found in the files of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage files toda (Carleton Place Canadian) Memories and Thoughts of the Grocery Store–

May 27 1951

Burglars made off with more than $3,000 in cheques in a daring break-in at the Carleton Place branch of Dominion stores early Monday morning. The thieves did their work from the front of the store at one of the town’s main intersections, Bridge and Franklin Streets, subject to discovery by any passer-by or beat policeman. Police believe the job was done by experts who planned it carefully. The beat patrolman tried the door at midnight. Sometime between then and eight a.m., when manager Jack Campbell arrived to open the store, the burglars did a fast, neat job of breaking in and rifling the safe. The front door had been pried open with a crowbar, and the door of the small wall safe under the front counter had been cleanly removed from its hinges. The entire operation would have to be conducted in full view of the main street. Mr. Campbell said that all of the more than $3,000 missing was in cheques save for a few dollars in coin. , Police Chief p . E. Cornell, who is conducting the investigation, said he had no leads whatsoever as yet. The only other recent break-in here also was in a store, but that case had been solved and could not be connected with this one.

Photo= Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Dominion store heist click to read
Clipped from The Ottawa Citizen, 06 Aug 1960, Sat, Page 34

Dale Costello

Shopped at both the Dominion and Argue’s grocery store. Vividly remember the produce in Argue’s, probably local in the summertime. Shot many a game of pool at Uncle Cecils pool room. My pool idol was Bill Poulin. Remember Asseltines, Allan shoes, May Mulvey, the shoe repair shop, Jock Mailey, Bellamys for sodas and chips,the tiny bicycle repair shop, only 10 feet wide, watching TV from outside on a Saturday night at Bob Flints, Canadian Tire next to the old post office. On and on, but still vividly remembered.

Donna Mcfarlane

I used to get Kreamy Bread for 19 cents. 2can red salmon 50 cents,back in 63/64.

Evelyn Louise

My mother worked for the head office of Dominion stores in Sudbury. I remember being on holidays when she got the call from her boss telling her to enjoy her time off as there was no need to rush back as they were closing the office. I’m almost 50 and still remember the look on her face getting that call. Heartbreaking.

Carl Moulton

That picture taken before the post office went up across the street. I recall being with my mom when she shopped there.

Marlene Springer
Former Dominion store –This Dominion store had two sides divided and in 1976 they opened Universal Travel where i worked for a few months before I went to government.

Marching Saints Carleton Place–courtesy of Bev Hurdis- Dominion Store on the right–Marlene Springer— I remember going there with mom for groceries every Thursday, pay day and dad would pick them up on his way home from work.

Mike Kean

Mike was actually head hunted and moved down Bridge Street to the Dominion Store at the corner of Bridge and Franklin because of his experience. I asked him who the head hunter was and he said, *“Terry Vincent was the man!” *A lot of people in Carleton Place know him well as he was a real genuine person.

The manager of the store was from Smiths Falls and his name was Mickey Pickup (no joke). One of Mike’s fellow employees was Noreen O’ Brien from Appleton. Mike stayed with Dominion Stores and ended up working in every Dominion store in Eastern Ontario through the growing years. He became the youngest manager in Canada when he took over the store in Perth at 25.

In the 1970s, inflation and discounting wars with rivals ravaged Dominion’s bottom line. Dominion stores was Canada’s No. 1 grocery chain from the 1950s through the early ’80s. Then, in 1985, it came to a quiet, wrenching, end. But, thankfully thanks to the internet Mike Kean’s memories don’t- and I for one am grateful for his memories for this series.

In the early years of the Taylor Block ( Blossom Shop etc) some of the businesses included The Crown Grocery operated by Lowe and Richardson,Ferguson and Smythe’s harness shop, Andy Neilson Jeweller, I.O.O.F. had a hall upstairs, H. Abdallah’s, and Bennett and Code Grocery.
Marj Whyte recalled that the Dominion Store was first located in the Taylor Block and that the first Bell Telephone Exchange office was on the second floor. The manager was Walter Termarch and his clerk was Mary Scott. When Marvin was transferred to Renfrew, Mary left with him and became Mrs. Termarch. Badminton was also played on the second floor.

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal12 Feb 1937, FriPage 17

In Memory of Mickey Pickup– Carleton Place Dominion Store

Glory Days of Carleton Place–Mike Kean

Carleton Place News July 30, 1952 – Drowning and Robbery

Dog Day Afternoon — The Only Bank Robbery EVER in Carleton Place

Robbery at Sinclairs 1886

The Bat Signal of Carleton Place

More Stories about Mary Coules of Carleton Place

Robberies in Carleton Place — Mr. Ed Campbell of High Street

Debbie Roy and Joan Baker

Burglary at Herrons Mills 1904

Burglary at Herrons Mills 1904

John Gillies Sr. Home at Herron Mills  PA 1912-Copied container number: PA-059347

July 20,1904

Tha community at Herron’s Mills was thrown into a state of considerable excitement last Thursday afternoon over the discovery, flight, pursuit, and capture of a young man burglar who had entered Mr. James Herron’s house, picked up money and other valuables, and was only found out when his plan waa nearing completion.

Tho violator of the eighth commandment was well known in Lanark village, and his depravity was deplored by his aqaintances and friends, who thought him above such an act. It appears that he had entered the house by the back entrance, while the women of the house were engaged with duties in the basement kitchen.

Rubber over his boots rendered the burglars approach noiseless. Proceeding with his unholy work unholy work, he gathered onto himself a purse, a roll of money amounting to nearly one hundred dollars, and a five dollar gold piece which detached from a watch chain, which was the property of Mr. John Herron Jr.

Photo taken at Middleville & District Museum 

Hearing footsteps stopped from him further operation and he then hid behind a piece of furniture. With the intention of dusting the furniture, Miss Mary Herron entered the room where the man was hiding, and while she was dusting the sofa she was suddenly amazed to see a man emerge from behind and rush out of the room and on outside.

Mary at once shrieked an alarm and the workmen about the place were summoned, and at once began a pursuit. Tha offender was run down after a short chase. Ha had sought refuge in a dark swamp where he was surrounded and finally captured. The money and valuables were restored. After a short imprisonment the burglar was set at liberty on the condition that he should leave the neighborhood at once. It was hoped that because he was shown clemency his ways would change.

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
10 Aug 1898, Wed  •  Page 1
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
10 Aug 1898, Wed  •  Page 1

Gillies’ Mills remained for sale until 1871 when the Herron brothers, James and John, also immigrants from Scotland, arrived. In contrast to John Gillies’ somewhat jaded view of the area’s long-term prospects, the Herrons were enthusiastic about the area’s future and purchased the mills along with 100 acres of cleared farm land. They immediately added a bake house, shingle mill and accommodation and outbuildings for their workers. John Munroe added a tannery that operated for a number of years. Soon after the Herrons took over, the settlement was renamed Herron’s Mills.

One major difference between the Gillies and Herron operations was the strong community spirit the brothers instilled. Although John Gillies had been a well liked and respected businessman, social activities grew in abundance after the Herrons took over. Recreation included winter skating on the mill pond, followed by bonfires and hot meals for all in the Herron household. The Herrons also established a school with teachers being partially compensated in room and board from local families.

One of the most important functions was the opening of the post office in 1891. The post office was located in the large family home, built by John Gillies. James Herron and his wife jointly operated the post office until 1915, when it was closed following the arrival of rural mail delivery.

The Herron brothers optimism about the mills’ future turned out to be amply justified. Although the dam was seriously damaged during spring floods in 1896, it was quickly rebuilt and reinforced with a protective dam further upstream. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Herrons were sawing about 8,000 board-feet of lumber per day. Up to 20 employees worked at the mill during the busy season. The brothers finally ended their partnership in 1919, after 38 successful and profitable years. James’ son, Alexander, took over the helm.

Unfortunately Herron’s Mills was hit hard by the depression. By the early 1940s, the wool and carding mill and sawmill were gone, although sawing still took place sporadically for local interests. Alexander passed away in 1946. His sister Mary, continued to operate the business until 1951, when it was shut down permanently.

Today, apart from the handsome Gillies home, most of Herron’s Mills lies in ruins. Although the ruins lie on private property, the remains of the dam and many of the early structures can be easily viewed from the roadside. A new owner recently acquired the property and the Gillies’ home has been extensively renovated. (from Ontario Ghost Towns – Jeri Danyleyko)’from MVTM

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
12 Jul 1905, Wed  •  Page 1
  1. relatedreading

Lost Souls –Herron’s Mills

Burning Down the House — Literally in Lanark County

The Gillies Home in the Ghost Town of Herron’s Mills

Visiting the Neighbours — Middleville Ontario and Down the 511

The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario

Photographer Finds Money in a Local Abandoned Home

Herron’s Mills Bridge Closed 1935

“Don’t be a Dead Hero!” Beer Store Heist –Part 2

“Don’t be a Dead Hero!” Beer Store Heist –Part 2

January 6, 1960

The Beer Warehousing Company’s store at Carleton Place was held up by armed bandits on Saturday morning a few minutes after it opened at 10 o’clock. Two men entered, and one pulled a gun ordering the three attendants to lie face down on the floor. The two thugs then went in behind the counter, opened the cash register and helped themselves to what was in it. In the end they took off with between $3,000 and $3,500.

As the men did not wear masks it is obvious to the police that theywere strangers from a distance. It is thought that at least one other man stayed outside for the getaway. A green car was seen leaving the vicinity immediately afterward. The police are working on the case but if they have any clues naturally they are not divulging them. 

Cases like this are difficult to crack because the men are probably members of the underworld in some big city and no local man needs to case a beer warehouse after the New Year business. All such stores open at a given time and no precautions can be taken against armed robbery.

This is the first instance of a beer warehouse being held up in Lanark County. The one at Perth was burglarized twice. In each case the safe was blown in the night when the noise of a passing train disguised the sound of the explosion. 

While the Carleton Place Chief of Police was not available when the Gazette made inquiries about the hold-up on Wednesday morning, it is believed that all the money taken could not have been in the cash register. It was too much, and likely only enough was taken from the safe to start the day’s business. 

If the safe was open and empty the money must have been put in some other so-called safe place. But no place is safe when a man “has a gun on anyone who does not want to be a dead hero’.

Also read-The Big Beer Store Heist in Carleton Place

Robbery at Sinclairs 1886

Robbery at Sinclairs 1886
Photo: Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage MuseumLost Buildings–Sinclair Brothers Tailor Shop

The Herald says:

On Monday morning, about 2 o’clock, Mr. F. Hollingsworth waa disturbed by some unusual noise, and on getting up and lookout of his window observed a man standing in the passage way between his place and the tailor shop of Mr. Colin Sinclair. The stranger hearing the rustle moved off, and Mr. Hollingsworth retired again, thinking nothing more of it at the time, but on the store of Mr. Sinclair being opened in the morning it was soon evident that strangers had been there.

They effected an entrance through a back staircase into a room where Mr. Sinclair keeps a heater for his irons in the summer season. Here they cut hole beside the lock in the door leading to the workshop, and opened it from the inside, the key being in the lock. From the workshop they descended to the front store and repeated the same operation again, for the door at the foot of the staira was also bolted from the other side.

The burglars here appropriated a suit of clothes, two pieces of cloth, all the silk handkerchiefs they could find, some ties, and nearly all the cuff buttons and shirt studs, also a hat, and possibly more articles not yet missed. They retired by the same way they entered. There is no clue or suspicion as to the daring thieves. This now is the third burglary within as many weeks within our quiet town, and it is about time some action was being taken in the matter. The brace used in this instance was identified by Mr. Graham as his. It.was stolen from his shop, an entrance being effected by a back window.


Sinclair store is now Sinclair Park where the Roy Brown statue is.

Photo: Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Related reading

Lost Buildings–Sinclair Brothers Tailor Shop

The Sinclair Family Cemetery–Photos by Lawrie Sweet with Sinclair Genealogy Notes

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series –Volume 13

Fred McNeil’s Service Station 1955

Fred McNeil’s Service Station 1955

 - The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Dec 1955,





The Wilkie Lowry House on Highway 29

Comments About The Pine Room — Highway 15

When Pigs Fly or Bacon Up is Hard to Do


In March of 1873 Mr. *McManagle, of the “Commercial Hotel” in Almonte had a beautiful porker, killed and dressed, and stowed away in his ice house to be drawn upon as occasion might require, for the supply of his table.

On Friday night last an unregenerate son of a %^&* “went for” Mr. Pig. Placing it upon his back, with a fore leg over each shoulder he proceeded homewards keeping excellent time to the tune of the *“Rogue’s March”.



Photo from Almonte.com

An enemy suddenly appeared in view in likes of several ladies returning from a social. The pig suddenly became too heavy a burden to be borne by the rogue and was dropped. Good time was made by the thief along Farm Street and on to Mill Street, where he was met and recognized by three young men. The pig was recovered and returned to its rightful owner where a hearty pork meal with all the trimmings was had by all that had helped in bringing piggie home.

With files from The Almonte Gazette



*The Rogues March used to be played to drum out dishonoured soldiers from the Army, during the playing they were stripped of rank, badges and buttons then normally flogged, which the Drum Major used to count the amount of lashes, and then they were marched out of the camp with dishonour.

McManagle, J , was also the proprietor of Pakenham house


Realted reading

Tuesday’s Top Lanark County Story- Pigs in Dalhousie Space?

Did They Ever Find the Kangaroo from Lanark County?

How to Catch a Pigeon in Ashton

Auctionering Without a License and Pigs on the Loose

“I Like My Chicken Fryin’ Size” said the Pig

Lobster John and Arnold the Pig in Carleton Place




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





More Stories about Mary Coules of Carleton Place




Joann Voyce generously shared a story about Mary Coules and why she was nicknamed Mary Cool Ass in Carleton Place. Imagine my surprise that the history of Mrs. Coules did not end there.

In December of 1961, on the 26th to be exact, poor Mary was the subject of a robbery so awful it was documented in the Ottawa Journal and other newspapers. Despite roadblocks on Christmas Eve of 1961 the police never apprehended the robbers that held Mary Coules who was 65, and her boarder William Flynn age 59 both of Bridge Street at bay.

Mrs. Coules had  just returned home from the Carleton Place Hospital following an operation and Flynn had gone to bed when there was a knock at the door. The man asked if Mike lived there and when Mary said no, so the gunman forced his way in her home. A second man entered and they shut the lights, pulled the blinds down, and demanded Mary give them money. Mary, who had a  heart condition, told them she had none and they proceeded to ransack her home.

Mary began to scream and they told her if she did not stop they would shoot her. Flynn by this time woke up and came downstairs to see what all the ruckus was about. Flynn was struck with a gun and they stole $90 from him, which was his recent pay cheque from Findlay’s where he worked. Mrs. Coules was then tied to the chesterfield with tape and Flynn tied to his bed with strips of sheets.

Around 9 pm Mary finally freed herself and called the police. Chief Cornell  put all his available men on the job and the OPP immediately set up roadblocks around the area. It was reported that only 18 months previous a similar attack on a Carleton Place resident had occurred. Thankfully they missed $500 which Mary had hidden away behind an old trunk.


There Once was a Woman Named Mary Cool-Ass in Carleton Place

Robberies in Carleton Place — Mr. Ed Campbell of High Street

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

So Who Got Shot? Linda’s Mailbag



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 16 Dec 1991, Mon,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page 25


Hi Linda,

Having a conversation with my friend and we are trying to remember who got shot in Carleton Place while they were making a night deposit for the Canadian Tire store. For some reason we remember the name Peter as the guy who was shot Can you help?– John Poole


I am at loss here.. can anyone help out? Thanks

The answer..

Buddyzee Fisher-It was my wife’s father Peter McFarlane around 1990. His daughter Julianna was with him, not Mary Kate McFarlane Brennan, and he was shot three times. Once in the edge of his head by his ear and twice in the hip. He was doing the deposit for Canadian Tire at the time and actually hid it in the snow bank after he was shot…The worst part of all this is I believe there was no cash just cheques and credit card statements.

You can see him occasionally sitting at the bench by the Scotia Bank in town on main street or walking around town going to different local establishments. This man has gone through a whole lot more since that even with a torn aortic valve that had to be replaced and umpteen other medical things but still keeps on ticking. His brothers John McFarlane and Ed McFarlane still live in town as well.

To add more craziness to this Kate and Peter were at Pikes in Almonte about 6 years ago and they came around a corner and ran face to face with the guy who shot him. Kate said the guy thought he saw a ghost and ran so fast out of the store that they could not chase him down.

Do You Remember These?

Dog Day Afternoon — The Only Bank Robbery EVER in Carleton Place

The Big Beer Store Heist in Carleton Place

The Scene of the Crime – It was 68 years ago today

Brazen Robbery on High Street in Carleton Place — Please Circulate These Photos

An Unknown Fact About Paddy Mitchell from the Stopwatch Gang

The Big Beer Store Heist in Carleton Place


brewers (1)

Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum– Brewer’s Retail can be seen down the street on the right.

There has been only one foiled bank robbery in Carleton Place, but in January of 1960 the Carleton Place beer store was hit with a 15 minute daring daylight holdup.   Two men got away with a beer carton stuffed with $3000  in cash at 10 am from the former Brewer’s Retail at Bridge and William Street.

The store had just opened that day when  two men forced three employees to lie face down on the warehouse floor while the robbers gathered up dollar bills and stuffed them into the beer case. To make things worse the two criminals eluded a police cordon of roadblocks set up around town.

It was the first armed robbery of any business in Carleton Place in years. Store employee Aubrey Nesbitt had seen two tall men walking on William Street just before 9 am when he came to work. At 10 am Jack Ryan opened the store doors for business and returned to the rear to help Nesbitt and Wallie McKittrick stock the refrigerator with beer.

Two men walked in the sore and brandished a gun and said “this is a holdup”.  The men forced Nesbitt to open a desk drawer where the money was kept after being just removed from the safe for the day. The men then emptied 12 pints of beer on the floor of the refrigerators and stuffed the money in the beer case while threatening store employees. Before they left they once again told the employees to lie face down or they would “blow their heads off”.

Chief Herb Cornell headed up the investigation assisted by Cpl. Larry Gartner of the OPP detachment. Now word if they were ever caught.


Historical Fact:

Years ago the former building where Brewer’s Retail sat on William and Bridge Street was one hopping area of town. There was a small Opera Hall, then the High School had a spot for awhile, but there was one interesting occupant in that building at one point in time. It was called a shooting gallery!

In June of 1960 Ed Campbell, grocer, was robbed and this became the second robbery of that same year.

Robberies in Carleton Place — Mr. Ed Campbell of High Street

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jan 1960, Mon  •  Page 10

Robberies in Carleton Place — Mr. Ed Campbell of High Street



“After a robbery and pretty severe beating as I recall, Mr. Campbell gave his store up. Then there was only Mr. Hughes’ store further up Moffatt Street near the Flynn’s and the Robertson’ s place. Later to be Mr. Connelly’s store.”

On the 27th of June 1960, Ed Campbell, a 70-year-old grocer in Carleton Place was roughed up by two unidentified young men.  Mr. Campbell lived alone on the corner of High and Bridge Street, and didn’t own a telephone. Our local police did not learn of the horrible 2 am incident until noon the next day. Mississippi  Motors Garage worker Austin Wright noticed that Mr. Campbell’s store was not open when he came to work in the morning. Wright immediately called the police, and they found poor Mr. Campbell lying on his bed, shaken up by the attack.


He was immediately rushed to the hospital for minor injuries. Mr. Campbell told police he had heard a noise and went downstairs. He was immediately grabbed by the two assailants and all his money was taken from his pocket. The thugs had gained entrance by forcing open a cellar window. A few weeks earlier, J.A. Florent and his wife Julia of Townline Road were clubbed with a .22 rifle and robbed by an intruder who escaped out the front door. No trace of either assailants were found.


Top photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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