Tag Archives: swimming

In the Flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd

In the Flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd

Swimming in Almonte

Boys who are good swimmers are having a great time these hot days in the flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd. This is a great place for swimmers who can look after themselves because it is deep and clean and affords facilities for diving and jumping from the railway embankment. The flurne has been a popular place for swimmers over a long period of years. It is said in the old days some of the good divers used to climb up on the roofs of boxcars on a standing train and take headers into the river. They would have to be good to do that. Whether they are a nuisance to the proprietor of the plant is unknown but not likely they are as their howls of enjoyment will be drowned in the sound of the machinery.

Also read-Robert Bryson and Stuart Dunn — Canoeing Down the Timber Slide

My mothers name was Victoria Lee-Cavers,my grandparents were Everet & Pearl Lee they were the Janitor of the Post Office in Almonte.I am so glad to see the Superior Restaurant is still there. I go home every year to put flowers in Auld Kirk Cemetary .I miss the old days. Jumping off the bridge swimming in the Flume, Chip truck , the movie theatre. squashing pennies under the train wheels —

Jenn Mckay I knew the Flume to be the deeper water by the mill (the fancy one where people live now)

Jn Mck

Anna Nitschke, I thought so. Just saw the pic was of the bubble. Lol

Russ Thompson

The bubble was the shallow side the flume was the deeper area by the mill. What a great childhood fry and gravy at the soup or the old hotel a swim in the bubble a jump from the bridge to the flume then head to Peterson’s for ice cream. Life sure was better back then.

Russ Thompson

The river always smells when the water drops been doing it for as long as I can remember. I remember as a kid swimming at the bubble bath ( train tracks for those new to town, that’s when the town had tracks and trains) and there would be green slim on the rocks every summer when the water levels dropped. Eventually the sun would dry it out. 


Martha Sheldrake

It might be somewhere on ‘the island?’ Or maybe the lower river looking at the bottom of Bay Hill? It’s definitely a bridge – which might be the railway bridge, but I can’t remember any tall structure like that in the background in town.

Ken MacDonald

Maybe if the photographer was standing on the bridge by flour mill looking downstream with the island on the left and the dairy property on the right.

Along the left side of photo next to the edge might be a lamp post on the bridge. The power plant to the rear of the photographer on his left and flour mill to the rear right. Depending on the time frame maybe a smoke stack or chimney from one of the mills in the background.?????

If you drive across the bridge today and look down stream the new replacement bridge should be there!

Sean O’connor

Lana Lackey when you take the riverwalk path from old town hall parking lot heading down to when you get under the old railway bridge the chutes between the pillars where the small drop in river churns the water up that’s the bubble bath. The picture is just upstream of the bubble bath.

Bobby Gallant
I swam there and at the bubble bath and at the flume all my child hood and through my teens. Played a lot of a game call earth and also a game called tv shows at the Almonte beach
Phot othe millstone

Ron Finner

Spent many a day at the flume just swimming and enjoying being a kid !! 😎🤠

Laureen Horton-Robinson

As a girl we weren’t supposed to but I swam at the flume and the bubble bath as well. Loved it.

Darrin Bree

Lots of swimming at the bubble bath. Jump in behind the fire station and slid down to the bubble bath .then floated to the post office jump out and started over again

july 1970

July 1971

Robert Bryson and Stuart Dunn — Canoeing Down the Timber Slide

Young Girl Nearly Swept into Appleton Flume — Mahon

Murder or Accident — Bates & Innes Flume

Remembering the Old Log Timber Slide

“Ear Infection” Series —-Remember Brewer Pond? Bathing Island?

“Ear Infection” Series —-Remember Brewer Pond? Bathing Island?
Ottawa Archives- Brewer Pond opened 1930.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Aug 1930, Sat  •  Page 19

Glenn Clark–My aunt grew up in Ottawa South and spoke of the beach that predated Brewer Park adjacent to the Tennis club. It was called Bathing Island. You accessed by a walkway next to the tennis club and you had to crossed a foot bridge to access the island. The foot bridge was assembled only for the summer months. Bathing Island was a public beach, whereas Brighton Beach was privately operated. The Rideau River was totally reconfigured in this area eliminating this beach. I am not sure whether this occured when the ill conceived pond was created or whether the reconfiguration occured before that. Nevertheless, my aunt mentioned that she swam at Bathing Island for that last time when she was first pregnant, so that was 1954.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Wed, Aug 30, 1950 · Page 16
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
19 Aug 1939, Sat  •  Page 9

Jaan Kolk

if you compare 1958 and 1965 layers at GeoOttawa, it’s clear that the two islands were eliminated when the pond was constructed (in 1963 by Ottawa Journal reports) as you guessed. The 1958 view shows the pathway to the islands you mention, and I have no doubt people swam there. It does not appear, however, that you could get as close to the islands with an automobile as is shown here. I think this is the beach just adjacent the tennis club as Bob Ellsworth remembers, and those cars are parked along the laneway that extended south to the river from Seneca and Cameron, between the park and the tennis club. On a side note, Brewer Park dates back to ca. 1920. A 1923 Ottawa Journal story mentioned that the Ottawa South Recreation Association wanted to have the Ottawa South playground named Brewer Park, after alderman T.H. Brewer “who was largely instrumental in getting it.” This Journal clip from Mar. 12, 1929 reports on the official naming (perhaps delayed until Brewer was no longer a serving alderman)

Brewer Park Pond is an artificial pond located in Brewer Park in the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa South in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is connected to the Rideau River via a culvert.

The pond was constructed in the early 1960s as a “swimming hole” from an area that had previously been a wetland of three small islands with channels between them in the Rideau River. The pond, which was completely separated from the river, was used for swimming until the pond was infected by bacteria and the spread of algae. The provincial health department ordered the pond’s swimming facilities closed in 1971. During the 1970s, the pond was used for model yacht regattas.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Sep 1974, Mon  •  Page 3

In July of 1971 the provincial health department ordered Brewer Park pond closed. Regional medical officer of health Dr. L. H. Douglas informed the health department ,who considered the swimming facilities a pool, not a beach as the city had interpreted it, and therefore it was subject to more stringent health regulations. City Hall sources feared the popular swimming area would never re-open if the health department interpretation was correct, since the cost of upgrading Brewer Park to “pool standards” would be very prohibitive.

From Facebook ( Lost Ottawa etc etc)

Ann PepinI went there too and saw Paul Anka singing there!! He was 15 at the time😊

Charlotte SmithLived on Sunnyside and we used to go down to this beach all the time in the late 50’s. No buildings just the water. You could swim and walk around it and catch frogs and tadpoles. It was always fun. Just us kids. Before they closed it and made the man made pool thing, thing with the concession stand and change rooms. Once when I we were down there my friend Edie and I watched them pull two men out who had drowned.

Edward EllsworthI remember swiming at the beach in the river It was crap as this was also a snowdump If I remember right the pond was built as a centennial project as part of Brewer Park redevelopment with a indoor pool also

Valerie McCormickWe swam just south of here in the Rideau river adjacent to Brewer pond in the late 60’s. We would try to make it all the way to the island. There was a strong undercurrent. We also swam on the other side of the” river past Billings Bridge at a place we called the “Rope” or the “Rock”.

Debbie DusenburyI remember my brother and I walking every day in the summer from Catherine and Bronson Ave …we’d spend almost the whole day there …mid to late 60’s when there was a beach. Even went to the indoor swimming pool at Brewer’s. I do not think the beach has been operational in many many years now.

Janet LarocqueThere was Brantwood beach and further down was Brighton Beach. My sister was a lifeguard at Brighton and I think it cost 25 cents to enter

Bruce HewatLooks like an ear infection waiting to happen.

John A. ReidI almost drowned there in that same time frame! Very glad I didn’t

Fraser CampbellI used to swim at the foot of Deschene Avenue in Woodroffe. Also at Ottawa Beach Motel on Carling where Andrew Haydon Park is today. There was also a pool on Robertson Road where there were a bunch of cabins and a larger building on the left hand side going from Bells Corners to Hazeldean. I can’s see any trace of that place now.

John BondThe bathing islands along that stretch of the Rideau were joined to form the Brewer pond swimming area in the late ’60’s. By the early ’70’s the beach was closed because of poor water quality.

John KissI remember swimming there as a child in the late 60s. The water was siphoned off the Rideau every morning and pumped out in the evening. I remember it as very murky and nasty…

Jaan KolkYes, the artificial pond was built in 1963. (It was to be ready for the centennial year, built on a relaxed schedule; Mayor Whitton accused the head of Parks and Recreation of improperly speeding it up without approval.) The natural beach adjacent the tennis club property looks like the only one in the park in 1958 GeoOttawa overheads. But I think you meant downriver.

Jaan KolkThat’s the artificial pond built in 1963. But what about the natural riverside beach pictured in 1956? I see in Google maps earth view there’s a small dock there now.

Cemetery comment

Here is a comment I received last night and wonder if anyone remembers this path as Marilyn commented on:
“As a child, on my way to Brewer Park and Bathing Island (in Old Ottawa South) my older brother by 6 years used to show me some old graveyards not to far – especially the one close to the playground. It was down an old, never used at this time path, and at the end of it, there was a small graveyard. ‘Scared the ‘Devil’ out of me (his intention) but haven’t checked it out all these years later. There were others within the city also. Guess it was allowed at the time.”– Marilyn–

Danny Delahunt
Thé only old graveyard I can think of in the area is at the Billings estate. And yeah it’s down a old path if you go up the back way.

Ken HartenGrew up on Glen Ave and never heard or saw an old graveyard around Brewer Park. Older chums would have shown it to me just to scare the crap out of me back then. I agree with Danny Delahunt comments regarding the Billings Estate graveyard.

Norman TooneYep Billings Estate grave yard. Recall that long before the estate was taken over. Used to be able to drive up from Riverside to get to the house and barn, long before Cabot was even thought of and right out to Pleasant Park.

Part of the graveyard - Picture of Billings Estate National Historic Site,  Ottawa - Tripadvisor

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 Aug 1973, Tue  •  Page 5

The Beaches of Ottawa

Lost Ottawa
January 4, 2018  · 

Men in Uniform today in Lost Ottawa, beginning with this picture shared by Chad Preseault — featuring himself and his father at the old Mooney’s Bay concession stand in 1966.

Mooney’s Bay- Ottawa- from the Aikenhead Photo Collection – no date- 40s?

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1977, Fri  •  Page 18

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Brewer Park Pond Restoration Project

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things

Swimming at the Dam, St. James Park and Other Things

The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

Memories of Joe Banks– The The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Memories of Joe Banks– The The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..

Also read- Johnny Erskine at 90 — Joe Banks

Mr. Mississippi Beauty Pageant 1982 Joe Banks

onte.I am so glad to see the Superior Restaurant is still there. I go home every year to put flowers in Auld Kirk Cemetary .I miss the old days. Jumping off the bridge swimming in the Flume, Chip truck , the movie theatre. squashing pennies under the train wheels —
Bobby Gallant
I swam there and at the bubble bath and at the flume all my child hood and through my teens. Played a lot of a game call earth and also a game called tv shows at the Almonte beach
Phot othe millstone 

Janet I. ScottLoved swimming there

Jenn MckayWe called it the bubble!

Anna NitschkeJenn Mckay I knew the Flume to be the deeper water by the mill (the fancy one where people live now)

Russ ThompsonThe bubble was the shallow side the flume was the deeper area by the mill. What a great childhood fry and gravy at the soup or the old hotel a swim in the bubble a jump from the bridge to the flume then head to Peterson’s for ice cream. Life sure was better back then

Jim Gilhulyand the water was very clean then !

Deborah DoeDo you remember granny Barr chip truck and the paper cone fries. I didn’t come from Almonte but our family went there a lot. Pancake breakfast at the fire hall, highland dancers, chicken BBQ, snow hill, parades, ice cream at Peterson’s, V&S and amazing town with kind loving people

Christian DoyleMost exciting place to swim and or jump. OMG “TV shows”, what a game. Totally remember that at the Beach.

Susan Elliott ToppingI forgot about the game-TC Shows!! lol Lots of fun at the beach!

Darrin BreeLots of swimming at the bubble bath. Jump in behind the fire station and slid down to the bubble bath .then floated to the post office jump out and started over again

Andrea GallantI even remember swimming there…With Froggy.. God Rest His Sole..!!!

Christine Moses photo–
Gayle Richards Stanley
I took swimming lessons there in the mud sixties. We’d head to the beach at 8:30 for lessons at 9:00 and eat our lunch and play TVTag until it was safe to go in the water. (As we all knew it wasn’t safe to swim for an hour after eating). We’d arrive home in time for supper. Good times!

Sharon SavardLoved the beach I was there everyday along with almost every kid in town. Then I took my own kids for swimming lessons would bring our lunch and stay there most of the afternoon. Those were the days ❤️💖

Glenn ArthurThe Canteen was there boys!I can always remember the lemon lime drinks to go along with a Fudgesickel😜

Tracy LambLoved going to the park and the swimming lessons were just part of the summer experience 😊 remember the raft/dock in the river? It was such a big deal to be allowed/ and able to swim out to it … it became a ‘milestone’ in swimming ability and levels LOL

Joe Vaughan
August 9  · 

Here’s a neat online application that lets you colourize old photos like this: (works better if higher quality): https://hotpot.ai/colorize-picture

I enjoy looking at all these old photos Linda Seccaspina thx for posting these

The Human Seal or Polar Bear Comes to Carleton Place and Almonte

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things

Swimming at the Dam, St. James Park and Other Things

My Fondest Memories of Almonte –Marty Taylor

Girls Just Want to Have “Fun-gi” Linda Knight Seccaspina

Sports & Sports– Ville de Cowansville
Forty-six children from the Cowansville Municipal Swimming Pool, who received their Red Cross Certificate, accompanied by their teachers, Ms. Roland Boucher and Mr. Paul Meunier, and officials of the Red Cross (The Voice of the East, August 21, 1962)- Ville

Girls Just Want to Have “Fun-gi” Linda Knight Seccaspina

I stood there and peered through the chain link fence watching the cutest boy in town make a spectacular dive into the town pool and melted. The summer had begun and I had yet to make decisions between sitting at home reading my books, or doing something really special.  Would it be sitting under a tree reading the latest Nancy Drew or would I be learning how to be an Olympic style swimmer? I wanted to stand on the diving board, jump into the air and amaze my friends. No one was going to stand in my way even though I was petrified of water.

Anyone that knows me is quite aware of my fear of anything to do with water. It began the day my late mother stood me on the end of a lake pier much like Patty McCormick from the film The Bad Seed. Over and over she told me not to stare into the water less my reflection pulled me in. Of course I stared into the water, fell in, and needed to be rescued.

After telling my best friend about my summer vacation dream she told me I should start small by conquering a lake first. So the next Sunday at Selby Lake I slowly ventured into the water inch by inch. I thought that swimming might not take all that long to learn until one of my friends came roaring out of the lake covered in blood suckers.

As I stood on terra firma and watched a few men try to burn the suckers off the boy’s body with a lighter I suddenly thought that this might not be the best idea. Sure enough, that first day I stood there at the Cowansville pool feeling quite alone, shuddering from fear and looking very uncool wearing a rubber swim cap.

Not only am I afraid of water, but I also have an issue with feet, germs and wetness. After exiting the change room I had to figure out how to walk to the mandatory shower and exit without my feet touching the floor. I tried very earnestly to put my foot down on the wetness of the concrete, but all I could feel was imaginary bacterial ooze crawling through my toes.  I closed my eyes, ran under the shower as quick as I could, and then stood by the end of the pool.

Actually I stood on the edge of that pool for about 7 days and then graduated to sitting on the edge until the instructors became very concerned. Was Linda ever going to swim, or would she end her summer vacation still being a landlubber? Finally one day I courageously stood on the ladder and slowly descended into the blue water. For another two weeks I spent most of my time in the water but now only desperately clutching the edge of the pool with my hands.

Every lesson I would assume the same position until one day I made a miraculous headway. As I approached the pool one morning for lessons I saw the town fire truck parked right next to it. It seems that someone either polluted the water with their bacterial laden feet or there had been way too many “accidents” in it. The fire trucks were filling the pool, which was now only 4 inches deep, and I quickly ran through the germ laden floor, down the ladder and into the pool. With the water lapping dangerously around my ankles I mimicked every swimming style known to man air guitar style. I was finally in my element and was achieving my summer goal. I was swimming!

To this day I do not swim in lakes and still have fear of water due to the movie Jaws premiering years later. However, my biggest fear was met that very day I achieved my first diving board jump. I did not drown, but a week later I had a strange rash on my face that grew with the speed of light. I had contacted what is called Staphylococcus Aureis, or in layman’s terms- Impetigo. Some people blamed the water, but in my mind I knew where I got it from–it had to be the concrete changing room floor. But, in the end strong delusions travel around like cold germs on a sneeze. As my Grandmother treated my rash she said to me:

“Just wash your hands my birdie and say your prayers, because germs and Jesus are everywhere!”

Can I get an Amen?

And they Keep Coming- Memories of Summer

And they Keep Coming- Memories of Summer

Jan McCarten SansomI remember it well, and swimming lessons there every summer

Marlene SpringerThat’s how I remember the beach part of the park when I took swimming lessons

Peter BradleyRemember the “buddy” system when you were doing swimming PE at CPHS

Linda Gallipeau-JohnstonTook swimming lessons here – would spend all day long here in summer months – wasn’t allowed to swim in Aug though. Remember the twirlers on the other side of the road and the old change house. Those metal slides on hot days!

Hazel Stewart-HuneaultI remember the raft. Great pic

Ann Stearns RawsonI remember those trees and the benches. My mom would sit there while we had swimming lessons and played in the water afterwards.

Dan WilliamsLinda Gallipeau-Johnston Isn’t it odd that something as simple as taking you for a swim could make a memory that lasts forever. I have a similar one with my dad taking Pat and I swimming but not at the beach. Somewhere near the railroad bridge. I remember Pat seeing a bug and throwing a fit.

Paul HodginsOMG I remember that yellow bench that was between the trees. My Mom would sit there for hrs watching us kids swim.If we were good got to go to canteen. Always went to canteen LOL ❤❤

Bill Russell

July 6 at 10:33 AM  · Jim McKittrick I think Paul is in this pic🤣

Barry TraffordI remember those days! They even allowed camping there around. I remember when the water tower overflowed and us kids would run underneath it. Good old days.

Liana Gallanti climbed part way up the ladder on that water tower once, until the cops came along and td me to get down! I can’t remember who was with me but I’m sure I wouldn’t have done it alone! I’ve told my kids about this feat, but they tease me unmercifully, because the tower is no longer there and they tell me I made that story up – lol.. Anyone here help me out?

Dan WilliamsLiana Gallant Just tell them it was the thing to do. They can ask most anybody in CP and they will have either climbed it themselves or know somebody who did.

John ArmourUsed to have to walk down hot oiled roads to go to the booth for a sundae, milkshake or Coke. Early 1960’s.Can remember every year, (when I was around 4 years old-really young), Jackie and Georgie Baker, along with Colin Julian, maybe Murray Hedderson, placing me (lightweight) in a homemade go-cart (wheels nailed on 2×4’s, rope steering, as I was light (age 3 to 5 or 6). They would annually, push me from Frank Street thru Leigh Instruments (even before it was Leigh Instruments) up to the beach and park on the sand beach. They would quietly scoop sand into the cart, (keeping an eye out for Chief Herb Cornell) and then take us back to their house, to unload the sand for the bottom of their tent. (Canvas tents had no bottoms in those days). Even with a lightweight like me riding to steer, the weight of the sand still broke the wheels off by the time we’d get there.I loved the Baker’s. The boys looked after me and the girls (Elizaberh, Joanie and Jeanie all babysat me, as a tot). They were great people on Frank Street and I think of them often.

Andrea NephinJohn Armour Elizabeth Baker babysat Johnny & I many times & the twins, Jeanie & Joanie were great friends. Many fond memories of the Baker family who lived across the street from us in our childhood.

Alana FlintLinda Gallipeau-Johnston I loved that smell along with the poplar sap from the trees along the road😊

Tom MontreuilLoved the old booth down past the high school

Susan Mary RiskThat raft used to buffer the deep spot between the far shore and a big rock where everyone rested. Now there is just a rock but the water is still way over the head close to the baby shore.

Karen RobinsonI do remember the park like that. My Dad would take us swimming when he came home from work in Ottawa. Swam across the river many times when I got older. Love that park.

Mitzi BrownstoneI think this is the place that my grandfather would take us to visit . Did they sell ice cream there?

Richard Hepton
July 5 at 11:30 PM  · 

There were great times on the riverbank. The boy in this hydroplane is now 18….

Ruth Anne SchnuppI remember those days! – in those times all we had was the Park in the summer & the arena in the winter . But we sure had fun !

Thelma SavardJack hurdis used to take us in the evening after we spent the whole day there

Thelma SavardWe were sent out early morning for our lessons stayed all day packed a lunch

related reading

1963 Riverside Park — Stills from a 8 MM Movie Camera — Larry Clark

The Booth — Ralph and Kelly Neron

Riverside Park Comments Larry Clark ‘The Dip’

St. Mary’s and Riverside Park 1969

When Were Some of the Trees Planted in Riverside Park?

The Carleton Place Riverside Park Booth Etc. Etc.

Let’s Build Cabins at Riverside Park!

When the Circus came to Carleton Place

Tug of War 1970’s Riverside and Centennial Park Carleton Place

Just Beat It! Carnival Riot in Carleton Place at Riverside Park

Before and After at Centennial Park

So What Did You Do in Riverside Park?

It was the Boathouse that Went On and On….

Riverside Park Comments Larry Clark ‘The Dip’

Riverside Park Comments Larry Clark ‘The Dip’
Photo by Larry Clark Riverside Park

Larry Clark

 This is Riverside Park in 1963. Much different than when I learned to swim there- about 1942. There were log booms delineating the swimming area (s). I think they separated a shallow and deeper area?. If my memory is correct there was a drop off where the middle boom was situated. I learned to swim one day when a wave from a passing boat lifted my foot from the bottom (I was keeping one foot on bottom as I attempted to swim). Of course, my initial swim took place under water and from then on spent most of my time there. Bought my first scuba gear in 1960 and haven’t kept my head much above water since then.

Dan WilliamsThe log booms are there Larry. We called that drop off “the dip”.

Gloria HamiltonLarry Clark I use to swim from what we called the New Park over to the Old Park this picture brings back memories.

Dan WilliamsGloria Hamilton I did it the other way round and back the year I turned 70. A couple of years ago. The funny part was the lifeguard came out just like the old days to tell me to get back inside the buoys. “Really” I said.

Barbara PurdyGloria Hamilton ditto

Gloria HamiltonBarbara Purdy this sure is showing our age😂

Gloria HamiltonDan Williams that is so funny. I remember swimming to a large rock , getting my breath and then continuing .

Dan WilliamsGloria Hamilton the big rock

Yes, the Big Rock- read-The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

The Old Nichol’s Swimming Hole in Carleton Place

The Eeels Named “Ling” of Carleton Place

Those Were the Best Days of Our Lives!

Those Were the Best Days of Our Lives!



Photo from Llew Lloyd

Ray Paquette Challenge: Who is in the picture?

Llew Lloyd I’ll have to think on whether or not to expose that name . Do you think the statute of limitations would have run out by now ? I will say this though . On that same day there was a group photo taken that would put the ” iconic ” Bank of Nova Scotia steps photo back a notch 

Cathy Paul Dulmage I would guess it was Robert Gordon. Paul Dulmage

Terry Latham The roof was much better!! Haha off the back to the fulm!!

Llew Lloyd That was another one of the daredevil jumps. If I remember correctly there were hydro wires to jump through as well . We also used to walk up the outlet below and jump into the flume from there . The area we called the bubble bath was off the dam shown in the forefront of the original picture . It was a great playground . Once you got tired of swimming you got out your fishing rod .

Shawn Devlin We used to jump of the main st bridge and float down to the dam. We would spend hours there.
I was just telling my boys the other day. And said this is what we did when we were kids and if I catch you doing it you’ll be in shit! Lol–Although it was much like it is today not like the cool pic above

Llew Lloyd I recently heard a story about a grade 8 kid who got in trouble going for noon swims at the back bridges . Amazing what stories time and beer will spill out 

Shawn Devlin I think I almost drown on one of those blue bell trips.
Got caught in an under tow.

Toby Randell I like Shawn Devlin used to jump from the Main St. Bridge, when those sorts of things were approved of or at a minimum looked the other way at. It was nothing for 30-40 kids to have a game of tag at the dam that would last for hours. There were certain pools you would have to navigate to get from the top of the dam to the bottom, or the brave ones would slide down the dam wall itself and hide underneath the lip of he big horseshoe or rock ledges while kids jumped/slipped over top of you not knowing you were there. I still have a few scars on my legs from a misstep or a mistimed jump. Some of the best times of my young teenage summers were spent at the dam.

Dan Williams Somewhere there’s a post card of some girls lounging on the rocks just below the dam. I knew some of them.


cpswim (1).jpg

Peter Iveson One had to be careful about broken glass, I remember one time my mum and I rowed my grandfather ‘s punt one very hot summers day. I was walking on the rocks of the original rapids below the dam when I felt a sharp pain in my heal. I stepped on a broken bottle, I started to bleed, my mother got me in the row boat and we tied up at Dr.Johnston’s, and we rushed to his clinic.and were immediately dealt with. A nurse cleaned the wound, gave it some iodine,and Dr.Johnston sewed it up. I never went swimming at the dam without wearing shoes. My memory of swimming at the dam.

Llew Lloyd One more story: The last day of school it was a given that we’d all gather at the dam / powerhouse for a celebratory swim. We had learned over the years to keep an eye out for the police crossing the bridge just in case they decided to turn down Bell street and pay us a visit . On this particular occasion once we knew they were headed down Bell we did our usual retreat to ” the ledge ” jumped off and swam down to the railway bridge. But this time there was a catch. The police stopped at the powerhouse and picked up all the bicycles and took them to the police station. Sure was glad I lived within walking distance .

Dan Williams Sometimes the Town cops were pretty damn smart eh Llew? Of course they already new who all the culprits were!

Llew Lloyd One time, I’m not sure if it was George MacDonald or Ray Lancaster walked to the end of the ledge, yelled stop or I’ll shoot, and fired his revolver into the air . The boy standing in the water with his hands in the air shall remain nameless. I sometimes think the police loved the game as much as we did .

Dan Williams EXCELLENT STORY!!! Can you imagine if that happened now!😂

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

  1. relatedreading


Swimming at the Dam, St. James Park and Other Things

The Power of the Mississippi River Dam in Carleton Place

The Old Nichol’s Swimming Hole in Carleton Place

The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

Do Not Try This at Home Kids- Carleton Place Rapids Swim

“If Wayne Robertson Jumped Off the Highway 7 Bridge Does that Mean You Do it?”

Swimming at the Dam, St. James Park and Other Things

Swimming at the Dam, St. James Park and Other Things



Photos from Google Image and The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Letters to the Editor June 1981, Carleton Place Canadian about the proposed St. James Park and the Public Utilities Confrontation.

Dear Editor,

To do with the location of the new hydro complex. As far as I’m concerned is a bunch of bull. The Bell Street location is as good as any in my books.

The commission and some town people want a new park instead of a new building. This spring some concerned citizens complained about it being unsafe, so hydro had to fence it off, to keep the kids away from the dam.

If the town wants to improve the river, to see the dam, they should be looking into that eyesore and rat trap of the old Ritchie Mill property and get something done with it.

It is not unsafe there as where as where the hydro building on Bell Street should be. Also a new building would not spoil the view of the damn if put on the present location.

D. Warren- Carleton Place



Sunday, October 21, 1928-Photo From the Millie Aitkenhead collection- by the old hydro damn- St. James in the backgroundSunday, October 21, 1928-Photo From the Millie Aitkenhead collection- by the old hydro damn- St. James in the background


As a concerned ratepayer I feel some dark areas should be explored. Has the possibility of renovating the existing building been properly explored? Who was upset with Ken Drummond taking a survey? I am opposed to the idea that the Bell Street area be used as a park area. The area is extremely dangerous even at low water. The town of Carleton Place placed an ad on May 21, 1980 in the Canadian : “Warning children of the area to be careful of the swift running waters of the Mississippi River.”

On May 28, 1980 Constable Barker stated that 4 girls were walking on the dam. Police warned that any youngsters caught at the dam a second time would be charged with trespassing before one of our children is lost at the Mississippi River. Aside from the popular danger couldn’t the building be situated on the Bell Street property to allow a reasonable view of the river? Perhaps our Hydro Commission should move more cautiously towards a finalization of plans.

Bob Gordon


Today I am looking for comments about swimming at the dam

Doug B. McCarten We used to swim to the dam from McDaniels on Bell St. and sometimes jump off the roof of the hydro building or most fun was to walk along the ledge into the tunnel where the water came out of the hydro bldg which was aerated and warm! Probably not the smartest thing to do lol! The new bridge on hwy #7 bypass was a great place too! LOL

Dan Williams You could also jump off the ledge at the back into the discharge. Great fun!

Terry Latham My brother Ron neer lost his leg there cant recall how many stitches they had to give him.

Dan Williams It was really odd because kids had been swimming there for years and I don’t believe anybody else got hurt. My older brothers all swam there and never mentioned anything. I guess he just missed the spot you were supposed to hit.

Terry Latham Old broken drain tile. We think..
Ian Williams Yep. I think it got cut down after some kid got hung up in the rope!

Dwight Munro that was my swimming hole to i did the same thing jumping off the roof and down in the hole on the rock it was fun . and the big tree on the shore line all of it gone now .that is where i started to swim.

Jan McCarten Sansom If only your mothers knew what you were up to!! I do remember someone drowning there while swimming…they got sucked under and went over the dam!

Sandra Rattray I also swam at these same spots, that is without my parents’ consent. They would have grounded me for the rest of the summer. I wasn’t even a strong swimmer. One summer someone had strung a rope from the railing around the hydro plant to the corner of the dam. We all proceeded to use this to get to the dam. One day I reached for the dam and there was a board out. I then fell over it and was having a hard time getting up with the water rushing over it (although it was shallow). One of the McNeely boys jumped in and helped me out. That was an experience.

Wendy LeBlanc We were absolutely forbidden to go down to that end of James Street or over to the back bridges. Even if Mum needed something at Bennett’s Butcher Shop, we had to walk what we deemed to be the long way along Bridge Street via George Street. However, I am quite certain that brother Wayne joined Doug B. McCarten in breaking the family rules by spending a lot of time at the dam, and at the back bridges..

Doug B. McCarten Yup! I don’t think I had a restriction like that…..Wayne and I loved the Pike hole on McArthur Island! That’s where we got caught smoking! My Mom actually did say “If Wayne Robertson jumped off the new bridge, would you do it too?” I don’t think I ever did tell her how many times Wayne and I jumped from the railing of that bridge hahaha—Swimming at the dam was a given…..lol




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

The Power of the Mississippi River Dam in Carleton Place

Finding a New Photo from the Guelph Archives #Excitement

“If Wayne Robertson Jumped Off the Highway 7 Bridge Does that Mean You Do it?”

“If Wayne Robertson Jumped Off the Highway 7 Bridge Does that Mean You Do it?”
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Photo Bill Brunton of “The Big Rock”- Centennial Park
I added comments to the blog above but, a few people said swimming to this rock ‘was a rite of passage’. I believe we all went through these as a child, and few of us go through life without some sort of rites of passage to contend with.

Wendy LeBlanc- We kids of the late 1950s and early 60s always called it ‘The Big Rock’ – never anything else. It was a rite of passage to be able to swim well enough to start out at Riverside Park, swim across and find it. At that time, there was no park on the other side of the river and certainly no lifeguard.
Doug McCarten--You are correct Wendy, “The Big Rock” was a must on both sides of the river! If you were swimming from either side The Big Rock was always the goal! Great fun and games, I can’t imagine a kid in town who wouldn’t know about it!! I would bet that this is the first time that it has been written about! A big part of growing up if you swam!
Llew Lloyd The ” Big Rock ” was at the ” New Park ” upstream from the ” Old Dam ” and the ” Powerhouse ” , where we jumped of ” The Ledge ” and swam in ” The Bubble Bath ” and floated out of ” The Tunnel ” . If the water was high enough we jumped off of ” The Pier ” and ” The Railway Bridge “. Lots of swimming holes in Carleton Place . We even surfed the rapids of ” The Back Bridge “.

I also swam from the concrete steps from the empty (at the time) dirt parking lot beside where Findlays was or swim to the dam from the little park near the Powerhouse, occasionally off the roof of the Powerhouse (over the strands of barbed wire) to the water in front).


The “new” bridge on Highway #7, but best of all was in the tunnel where the water was released to the river! There was a ledge to get there and the water 💦 was as filled with bubbles, the waterway was shallow (perhaps 5’ or so) but the aerated water pushed you to the surface and would carry you downstream hopefully as far as the railroad bridge depending on the depth of the river although there were many times when the river was only knee deep but we loved it anyway.

Most of these places were theoretically “off limits” and I can distinctly hear my Mom saying “if Wayne Robertson jumped off the #7 bridge does that mean you would too?” The answer of course was “yes” but I knew that was not the answer she was soliciting so I had to bite my tongue 👅 not to say it!

So no matter where you grew up, there was a rock or a log that you swam out to and caught your breath. Some would even tie a rope to a tree that sat on a river bank so you could swing out and drop into the water. I remember some of my friends jumping off bridges and having their Mother find out, and in reality we should have known better. But fear and danger was always at the back of my mind, so usually I stood by the sidelines.

Every little town had a popular swimming hole, and it wasn’t too long ago that the kids used to jump off the concrete walls at the McArthur Mill. You played with what nature provided you, and it was always a short walk or bike ride where you could wade into something and have fun. Fortunately in some places you could dive into the water and not hit bottom and damage anything but you sometimes sure would smell funny from the water at the end of the day. Some of my friends with farms got to share their swims with cows and we really never gave those animals relaxing in the creek another thought except for their droppings.One hot summer day when I was 6 my mother spoke some wise words while we stood on the edge of the dock at Selby Lake in Quebec. Bernice Ethelyne Knight warned me over and over not to stare at the water as she prophesied that I would fall in. While everyone was enjoying their picnic lunch I immediately returned to the edge of that dock to test her theory. Like a flying duck making a fell swoop into the water I fell in head first. That was the day I nearly drowned and water and “swimming” became my fearful enemy.

I never crossed off number 5 on my bucket list of swimming to Alactraz, and honestly, swimming  stopped being a thing to me after falling off the pier that day. But, it was definitely the film Jaws that made me never ever step into a body of water again. So what was my rite of passage? I’d like to think the movie Footloose was, and like Bob Seeger once sang that— I finally got to a higher ground. Or did I?


SMITHS FALLS, Ontario, Canada; Children’s swimming Rideau River 60s

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The Perth Outdoor Pool.Photo- Perth Remembered–Top photo c.1919. Pool Rules from 1930 and bottom right photo early 60’s.
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 The Old Swimming Hole in Perth–Perth Remembered

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From Merrickville & District Historical Society — Back in 1915, Ina Bigford and Ruth McCaw sure did! These ladies are pictured here, in their swim suits at the Merrickville Dam (my, how styles have changed!). Ina Bigford would have been about seventeen years old when this photo was taken.

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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.


Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street in Carleton Place (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour walk with stories of murder mayhem and BOO!.. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!!

The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place

The size of a Minivan Sitting 30 Feet Offshore— The Big Rock of Carleton Place


For a few years I have heard all about “The Rock of Carleton Place” in the Mississippi River in between Riverside and Centennial Park. When I saw Bill Brunton mention on Facebook that he was going to swim out to it on Sunday I asked him to take a picture. A lot of local folks like Tom Bryce said they spent a lot of time on that rock.  Bill said it was put there by a receding Glacier a couple hundred thousand years ago, so I hope it is or we have more than climate change to worry about! Bill figured it was underwater about 10 meters from the shore at Centennial Park and Tracey Thoms said it was still there.

So today Bill found it for us, and now we are documenting it for all that do no know or remember that rock. It’s part of Carleton Place!

Bill Brunton When I was at the Beach it was pretty funny. I swam out thinking I would just step into ” The Rock” nope, twice I got out and then finally told a guy what I was trying to find. Not one person there (10+) knew what I was talking about. They said they lived in town so I told them about it and then I found it.

If you swim out and look back at the park the new reference point is the net on the Soccer Pitch lol.  I swam out and found it, then I swam out with one arm holding the Phone/Camera in 3 plastic bags. I noticed the current while swimming with one arm and couldn’t find the rock right away the second time. Now if I went I could swim right to it! 

Thank you Bill!



Norma Rotzal Used to swim to “the rock” from the Riverside Park all the time as a kid.

Ray Paquette That was another “rite of passage”, to be able to swim to the “rock” from the beach in Riverside Park. The swim to “the rock” from Centennial was no big deal (spoken like a long time “south sider”!!!).

Ruth Drummond Right on Ray. The event of the day was to swim across the river,sit on the rock for a rest ,then swim back. So proud when you could do it.

Lizzie Brunton About 8ft wide and 6ft high…had lots of fun on that rock..doing back flips, trying to stay on it when there was 15 kids pushing and shoving lol–First time I went I couldn’t find it…the river was so high and I’m sure it was 10 feet below..very frustrating lol but I eventually got there

Sandy Iwaniw—When I first came to CP, we had a st. Bernard/Lab cross who loved the water. We lived on Moffatt St. Then so many a summer evening we’d take him to Centennial Park and the river for a swim. He found the big rock right away and used to swim out and stand on it. If it hadn’t been for him, I might not have known about the big rock either.

Jane Churchill Pushing and shoving??? How did we ever survive??? Lmao

Susan Fraser Navin Haven’t seen that rock in many years!! Oh what fun we had!!
Jennifer Carr-TomsJust found “the rock” last week and my 12 year old son is loving it. Of course it’s all about being the king of the rock!
Wendy LeBlanc- We kids of the late 1950s and early 60s always called it ‘The Big Rock’ – never anything else. It was a rite of passage to be able to swim well enough to start out at Riverside Park, swim across and find it. At that time, there was no park on the other side of the river and certainly no lifeguard

Jennie Thom I used to swim out to the rock every time I swam at Centennial beach, and that was often.

Amber Boucher It was our break spot when swimming across from beach to beach.

Julie Carey I grew up on Moffatt street as Bill’s neighbour and we swam to the rock
Philip Lee I remember it well. Some of us who took lifeguard training even attempted to swim across underwater. To be honest I don’t recall if we actually managed to do it. 😀
Linda Gallipeau-Johnston Remember the first time I made it across – thought I was supergirl!
Philip Lee I remember it well. Some of us who took lifeguard training even attempted to swim across underwater. To be honest I don’t recall if we actually managed to do it. 
Dan Williams asked– but while cutting through the kiln we used to look for diving stones. Does anybody else remember these. We used to take them with us when we went swimming. The idea was you would toss them in the water and then go under to try to find them and bring them back up and do it again. The river was deeper in some places than others and some times you couldn’t stay under long enough to find them so you had to keep picking up smallish chunks of limestone to use since it would glitter even underwater. Small things indeed!