SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN

 

 Story of the Telephone in Carleton Place District

Carleton Place Herald, 18 October, 1962

By Howard M. Brown

 

Within the lifetimes of our present elder citizens, telephones first came into public use in Carleton Place and nearby Ontario communities in 1885.

Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in this province in 1874 at Brantford was followed by convincing proofs of its commercial usefulness within two years in Ontario and Massachusetts.  In Lanark County, only one year later, “one of Prof. Bell’s telephones” appeared in 1877.  It was obtained by Mr. F. A. Kennedy, Perth dentist.  With the sensational new devise he talked between his office and his house in Perth.

At Ottawa the possibilities of the telephone were demonstrated by electrical pioneer Thomas Ahearn (1855-1938) in a talk in 18778 over telegraph wires with the Montreal Telegraph Company’s agent at Pembroke.  The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, of which Mr. Ahearn was a director until his death, was formed in 1880.

Musical Overture

The company’s lines spread rapidly through southern Ontario and Quebec.  The Carleton Place Herald early in 1885 reported that Mr. S. S. Merrick of Carleton Place was “obtaining 3,300 first class poles for the 106 mile contract” awarded to him for the Ottawa Valley telephone line then being built, that would connect Ottawa and Brockville, Perth, Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and points northward.  The new telephone service in this district was proposed to be placed in operation with a musical programme by telephone, according to Mr. W. W. Cliff of the Carleton Place Central Canadian.  Listing the subscribers and intending subscribers of Perth, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place, he wrote in June:

“Mr.  Marshall has been pushing the business of the Bell Telephone Company in this County with much success.  When all connections have been made Mr. Marshall intends to carry out a musical programme in Almonte and have the Hall connected with the system, so that subscribers in any of the places mentioned may sit in their offices and houses and be a part of the audience as enjoyably as if present in body.”

An Instant Success

With or without the musical overture, the district lines went into use in November, 1885.  The revolutionary convenience and speed of communicating by telephone conversation was an instant popular success for business purposes.  William H. Allen in his Carleton Place Herald nine months later reported:

“When first introduced here last November there were only ten names on the local exchange.  Towards spring the ten line switch was replaced by a twenty.  Now, as all these lines have been taken and more are in demand, a fifty line switch is to be placed in the central as soon as it can be manufactured.”

The company’s first published telephone directory for Lanark County subscribers was that for “Ottawa and Connections, June 1886.” Local and long distance calls were made by name instead of by telephone number.  It listed seventeen Carleton Place telephones, all at business premises excepting the residence of the McLaren sawmill manager, and similar numbers of telephones at Almonte, Perth and Smiths Falls.  Pakenham had ten telephones.

Trunk Line Business

The first Carleton Place exchange was located in the McDiarmid block, Bridge Street, in the jewelry store of Mr. R. J. E. Scott.  This office was said in 1887 to be “owing to its central location, transacting next to the largest trunk line business in the Ottawa Valley.”  The Canadian company at the beginning of that year had a total of twelve thousand telephone subscribers.

Mr. W. J. Warwick, a year or so later succeeded Mr. Scott in the same location as a jeweler and as holder of the Bell Telephone Company’s local agency.  An early private exchange in the town was that installed in 1890 by the H. Brown & Sons firm between its flour, feed and cereal mills and the offices and residences of its two senior partners (with the modern colour feature provided by receivers which were solidly ringed in gay colours).

After six years of daytime public service a Carleton Place day and night telephone service appears to have been started early in 1892.  An effort was put forth then “to add a few more subscribers to the telephone exchange to make fitty, when the company have promised us a night operator, giving us continuous service night and day.”  Within a few weeks it was reported that Mr. Warwick had succeeded so admirably in impressing the usefulness of the telephone upon our citizens that nearly sixty will be in operation this week.  A feature of the increase is the number of private dwellings that have secured it.”

Trial By Fire

When fire in 1897 destroyed a Carleton Place business section from the old frame McDiarmid block at the corner of Bridge and Franklin Streets south to and including the Keyes building, the Bell Telepone Company with a loss reported at $2,000 was one of the lesser victims of the destruction.  Editor W. W. Cliff’s rhetorical news report in December 1897 said in part:

“Mr. Moss of the Central Telephone was brought into instantaneous action, and his first thought was to wing a message to Mr. McFadden at the Fire Hall, who was up and at the engine in a few minutes and, all alone, pushed the monster out upon the platform and applied the torch.  The Chief and several others were aroused by Mr. Ross and the electrical alarm, which worked well.  In a little while two streams were playing.

As the Chief saw the fire was in a nest of wooden buildings, he had Mr. Brown’s splendid equipment brought out into the action, with five hundred feet of hose from the Gillies factory, hitherto unsoiled.  While all this was proceeding, the occupants of the doomed buildings were getting out what they and the crowds could lay violent hands on.

The firemen fought the flames with undying vigour.  The hook and ladder was on the spot in five minutes, thanks to the speed of Mr. McGonigle, whose alarm went off early and who had a team hitched up and away in the twinkling of an eye.  This apparatus was of inestimable value and one of the most agile and fearless in the contest was Mr. Mort. Brown, ‘the best fireman in Canada’, says Mr. Graham, who risked his life in climbing ladders and hurling the hooks.

The firemen were soon coated with ice, and in this awkward condition worked with tireless energy, the branchmen especially doing brave and effective service.  Towards daylight all danger of further inroads was over, but streams were poured steadily into the debris until noon.  The engineer and Mr. Virtue stood steadily at their freezing posts on the river from three o’clock until noon, the noble engine old Sir John, not once stopped his powerful motion all that time.

There were several narrow escapes.  The most thrilling was that of Mr. Galloway, a Presbyterian clergyman who had preached the night before in the Methodist church and who was sleeping at Mr. McGregor’s.  He is a cripple, and helpless in such a crisis.  Mr. Howe, jeweler, and Mr. Hartley, book-keeper at the Shops, heard of his condition and rushed up after him.  They grabbed him and carried him out, the roof falling in just as they left his room.

The Bell Telephone showed their quick resource.  Burned out at three, everything swept but the books and a box with two new switchboards, at ten in the evening they were going almost as usual.  General Manager McFarlane, of Montreal, and Mr. Winters, Superintendant of Construction, arrived within a few hours.  The present abode is temporary.  The old Mechanics’ Institute flat has been rented, and the plant will be installed there in two weeks.”

Continuous Service On Sundays

Telephones had been in use in Carleton Place for some thirteen years before continuous service including Sundays became available.  This newspaper in March of 1899 reported:

“The Bell Telephone Company announces in this issue a continuous service on Sundays the same as on week days.  This is due to the very rapid growth of their business and its persistent success.  Carleton Place is the central point between Pembroke, Ottawa and Brockville, and stoppage here means the holding up of this entire system.”

The Bell Telephone Company’s present Carleton Place office, when twenty-nine years of ‘continuous service on Sundays’ had passed, was opened in its new building at the corner of Beckwith and Albert streets in January, 1929.  The lot on which the building stands had been vacant since the great fire of May 1910, which swept this section of the town, destroying in its path the McNab home which is said to have stood at the precise site of the present building.  There were some eight hundred town and rural telephones in direct connection with the exchange in 1928 when it was moved to its present location, and six operators.

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LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA’S CODE OF CONDUCT, POST 2

Three more must reads if you are following the ‘code’ controversy:

Here is a link to the actual LAC Code of Conduct:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/130187655/LAC-Code-of-Conduct-Values-and-Ethics

This blog “Troubled Times at Library & Archives Canada”, by Kimberly Silk, Data Librarian at the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think-tank at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, has lots more links referring to the ‘code’:

http://kimberlysilk.com/librarians/troubled-times-at-library-archives-canada/

A public statement jointly issued by Association des archivistes du Québec, Association of Canadian Archivists, and Canadian Council of

Archives concerning the Library and Archives Canada Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics.

http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/JointStatement_CodeConductLAC_EN.pdf

Library and Archives Canada’s Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics — March 2013

The code — “Library and Archives Canada’s Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics” — came into effect in January, says Richard Provencher, LAC’s senior communications adviser.  He says the code was written by  LAC in response to the April 2012 Values and Ethics Code for the public sector, which called for federal departments to establish their own codes of conduct.

One thing the code says is:  “As public servants, our duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada and its elected officials extends beyond our workplace to our personal activities.”  Now federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences, or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities.

What exactly is the risk?  What is LAC afraid of?  What is the federal government afraid of?  The truth will out, no matter what.

The following articles explore what the new code means for federal librarians and archivists:

Canada’s federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled'” by Margaret Munro, Postmedia News, March 16, 2013,”

http://www.canada.com/news/Canada+federal+librarians+fear+being+muzzled/8105500/story.html

The Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) concerning the LAC Code of Conduct), March 18, 2013:

http://archivists.ca/sites/default/files/Attachments/Advocacy_attachments/lacrecode_of_conduct.web_.pdf

 
No Need For Muzzle on Librarians
By Bob McClelland, The Ottawa Citizen, March 19, 2013:

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/need+muzzle+librarians/8117715/story.html#ixzz2O7S7QBIi

Give a listen to this CBC broadcast from last night (March 20), for an even better understanding:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/As+It+Happens/ID/2352464065/

 
 

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

March 2013

 

The following two articles are updates on the status of changes at Library and Archives Canada, and how these changes are being interpreted by critics as limiting the access of academics, genealogists, and the public at large, to its Ottawa-based materials.  Also, fear is expressed that because of the changes in determining what historical materials will or will not be acquired by LAC, the future of our national documentary heritage is in jeopardy.

First Article is by Joseph Hall, News reporter for the Toronto Star, Published on Sun Mar 10 2013 :

“Many of his comrades were sick from fouled water after breaking camp on Lake Erie that fall.

But as his 21st U.S. Infantry Regiment prepared to attack Canada, — perhaps at Montreal, though Kingston and Prescott were also rumoured targets — Sgt. John Bentley took time in late September 1813 to write a four-page letter to his wife back in Thomaston, Me.

With a price tag of $1,500, that War of 1812 missive was offered for sale as a quill-and-ink first draft of our history.

The body charged with accumulating and preserving such Canadian artifacts turned it down.

It also rejected a collection of personal narratives from fugitive slaves in Upper Canada dated 1856. The same goes for the correspondences from 1836 to 1839 between senior British officials on the state of Indian tribes in the colonies.

Indeed, since 2009, Library and Archives Canada hasn’t wanted a whole lot of the historic letters, journals, books and maps it once collected so dutifully, critics say. It has also, they charge, stopped collecting a comprehensive array of this country’s current cultural and artistic output and limited the access that academics and genealogists have to its Ottawa-based materials.

And as of February, it’s barely even lending out books anymore.

A decade-old service, LAC’s interlibrary lending program gave libraries across the country access to its unparalleled Canadian book collection, a reservoir that includes at least two copies of any piece of literature published in the country since the 1950s.

The lending volume has been declining, in recent years, but LAC still loaned out more than 20,000 books last year through the program, says James Turk, head of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

“And the Library and Archives Canada just cancelled it, full stop.”

That “full stop” is not an entirely accurate description of the LAC policy, says Daniel Caron, the organization’s head. He says discussions are underway to ensure books are still travelling across the country.

In the meantime, Caron says LAC will continue to provide electronic search engines that allow outside librarians to find books and documents in other centers.

But only if searches of all other libraries show the sole copy rests in LAC stacks, will the national centre lend it out. The decision to radically alter its lending program is the latest twist in what many Canadian librarians and academics see as a deliberate move by a secretive federal government to gut the institution, this country’s equivalent of the U.S. Library of Congress.

“The Library and Archives Canada is most assuredly being dismantled,” says Turk, whose organization is helping lead a growing pushback.

“Every country, their equivalent of the LAC . . . is a national treasure,” Turk says.

The first blow, Turk says, came when the decision was made after Caron’s 2009 arrival to alter LAC’s mandate to collect and keep the full gamut of the country’s cultural offerings, past and present.

“They are moving to a much narrower approach. They use terms like ‘well, we’re going to have a representative acquisitions model. We’re going to have essential documentary heritage.’ ”

The problem with eschewing the comprehensive collection model, Turk says, is we don’t know now what might prove “essential” decades down the road.

“Fifty years ago, had there been this approach, we may not have collected material about residential schools, for example.”

Caron, however, says that in its various incarnations over 140 years, LAC has never been completely comprehensive, a task he labels impossible.

“This idea of comprehensive . . . it was a dream,” says Caron, whose budget took a $9.6-million hit over three years in the 2012 federal budget.

“We had a collection (in the past) that was built differently because in (the) . . . pre-digital world, we were able to control to some extent the printed environment,” he says.

The digital world is changing the picture. Caron points, for example, to LAC’s six-decade old legal right to receive two copies of all books published in Canada – a practice which continues today.

With the proliferation of electronic media, however, the organization has much more material to choose from than ever, and has to be more “selective,” he says.

“It’s not everything that is of enduring value,” Caron says with understatement “We need to have the tools to be able to appreciate, to appraise, to evaluate what is being produced there.”

Moreover, Caron says, electronic materials give LAC a new opportunity to be more rigorous and revelatory with its collections, not less. It can now, he says, go beyond government documents and newspaper stories to blogs and other electronic analysis, to chronicle today’s important events for future generations.

Caron admits, however, that the experts needed for this web-based archiving have not yet been hired. And he does not know when they will be.

“These competencies honestly are not easy to find on the market,” he says.

In the meantime, Caron says he has “invited” current LAC archivists and historians, used to dealing in the analog milieu, to help on the electronic retrieval side.

Caron also points out that there are 800 archives and some 25,000 libraries in Canada that can help serve as a collective repository of our culture and history.

But with its perceived reluctance to purchase materials from our past, LAC is also directing important pieces of Canada’s shared history into private hands, experts say.

First offered to LAC, the Bentley letter, for example was later sold to a private collector.

Liam McGahern — who sold the letter — is president of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Canada and says collectors in his organization would routinely offer their Canadiana finds to the national archives first.

McGahern, however, says LAC placed a nine-month moratorium on such purchases in 2009 to assess their acquisition policies.

“And really since that started they’ve really just stopped,” he says.

Caron says LAC is still acquiring historic material, although with a more discerning eye.

He suggests that previous regimes often spent money unwisely, with materials of questionable historic value being purchased simply because “year-end budget” surpluses were available.

“Someone told me once that seven copies of a rare book is not too many copies,” he says.

Caron says LAC has now implemented protocols to judge the historical importance and rarity of materials to best use its budget. But that budget tells a story.

In 2008-09, before Caron’s appointment, LAC spent $385,461 on historical items. In 2011-12 it spent nothing; in the 2012-13 fiscal year it spent $12,000.

But critics say the shift they see in collecting strategies also take LAC down a different path than its U.S. and European counterparts, where a more comprehensive approach continues to be sacrosanct.

“The whole world is going through modernization and digitization,” McGahern says. “But the great libraries, the Library of Congress, the British Library, they’re still actively engaged in acquiring things. You can’t document and archive and digitize what you don’t have.”

The Library of Congress’s acquisition budget hovered steadily between $18 million to $19 million annually from 2009 to 2012.

Critics also charge LAC has limited its hours and redeployed its seasoned archivists from specialty to generalist roles.

As a result, Turk says, many requests for information, from historians or genealogists for example, go unanswered. Hours reductions, staff cuts — from 1,192 in 2009 to 946 this year — and a decentralization of collections have added to the headaches, Turk says.

And LAC’s move to a new, digital age is far too slow in coming, Turk says.

Caron admits that, even now, only about 1 per cent of his collections have been digitized, but says priority is being given to those materials that are most in demand.

Caron also says some of the digitization will also be farmed out to private-sector and non-profit groups who donate to the archives.

Critics believe LAC’s perceived diminishment is symptomatic of the current Conservative government’s reluctance to divulge information of any kind.

As Ottawa shifts to electronic record keeping and communications, Caron says LAC will rely more on officials to decide what materials to send to his collections.

“People are working on Twitter, they are working on Facebook, they are working on many social media,” he says.

“And so we force them to say ‘if it is a decision that is of importance, if it is something that has enduring value . . . you need to bring it to us, so make sure you keep it.’ ”

How much Ottawa will keep and share has become a burning questions with some top librarians, who worry its move to online-only access by 2014 can lead to a loss of information by government fiat.

“You can take down the content or whatever before (we even) notice,” says Sam-Chin Li, government publications librarian at the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library.

Li and colleagues at the University of Alberta had to scramble to save documents from a federal aboriginal website that was shut down with minimal warning last month.

Many would be tempted to use LAC budget reductions — from $172.64 million in 2008-09 (which included some special capital costs) to $117.7 million in 2012-13 — to explain changes made at the organization, Turk says. But that would be a mistake.

“For what they’re cutting Library and Archives Canada they spent more than that ($28 million) in their celebration of the War of 1812.”

 

Second article: Canadian Library Association Responds to Article on LAC in Toronto Star:

CLA submitted the following Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star, in response to a recent article featuring Library and Archives Canada (see above article).

“Letter to the Editor

The Toronto Star

In response to the story on Library and Archives Canada (see story above), the Canadian Library Association (CLA) is deeply concerned about the significant reductions being made within the institution.  The changes being implemented as part of LAC’s modernization plans (e.g. the sharp reduction in purchased acquisitions), in addition to cuts to services and activities due to their 2012 budget reduction (e.g. ending interlibrary loan services), result in the inability for LAC to meet its mandate.  Public stewardship of Canada’s documentary heritage, ensuring the long-term preservation of materials and facilitating access to them, is central to LAC’s mission.  Decisions such as ending interlibrary loan services are being taken unilaterally, and consultation with stakeholders on how to fill the service gap only happen once the decision has been made.  The future of our national documentary heritage is in jeopardy.  CLA was founded in 1946 and one of our first activities was advocacy for the establishment of a national library; the National Library of Canada was established in 1953.  Sixty years on, we must continue to advocate for a strong national institution that has the capacity, both financial and professional, to meet the mandate set out in its legislation.  Dr Caron does not have to look far for people with the competencies to manage documentary materials in the new digital environment:  they are librarians and archivists.

Pilar Martinez

President, Canadian Library Association”

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-SIX

Daylight Savings Time

 

Here at the library, Daylight Savings Time meets March Break this week.  So what you have is sleep-deprived staff interacting with super charged little people, and sometimes with big people too.  Usually we are short staffed this week as well.  

I guess no one in Ontario thought about this particular scenario when deciding to synchronize watches with the United States in 2007, and really, why would anyone care?  Although, can you even imagine what Disney World must be like this week???

According to the article below, all we have to do is get through the first couple of days without having a heart attack, and everything will be fine.  Apparently, more people have heart attacks when the time springs ahead, as well as more car accidents, but by the end of the week, all should be back to normal.

I guess the only way to avoid daylight savings time is to move to Saskatchewan. They must be very strong-willed there.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2008/10/31/f-timechange.html

Since daylight savings time began in 1915, I can’t imagine there are too many people in Canada alive today who remember a world without it.  It must have been heaven!

CLAUDIA COUTU RADMORE – POETRY READING EVENT!

 On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 we invite you to the library for a poetry reading by Claudia Coutu Radmore, author of

a minute or two/without remembering.’

Join us for an inspiring and evocative evening as Claudia transports us back in time to 1672 when her first French ancestor sailed to New France!

Walk in their shoes, listen to their stories, and experience history!

A minute or two/without remembering takes us from Claudia’s seventh great grandmother, Marguerite de Laplace, one of the ‘daughters’ of the king of France, sent to New France to marry a fur trader; to the Cottu family’s relation to Louis Riel; through the ten year Iroquois threat when the family moved into Montreal for safety; ending with the heartbreaking Seven Years’ War, and its aftermath.

I have come to discover that Claudia is a multi-facetted and multi-talented woman. Born and raised in Montreal, Claudia has spent her life as an educator, an artist, and not least of all, a very accomplished wordsmith.

In 1984 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queens University, Kingston.  She has taught elementary school, high school, and adult education in Quebec and Ontario, and trained pre-school teachers as a CUSO volunteer in Vanuatu 1985-1988.

Claudia paints portraits and landscapes in oils, and writes poetry.  She is well known for her Japanese-form poems, as well as for her lyric poetry.  Claudia has edited the Haiku Canada Anthology for several years, is the owner/editor of Bondi Press, and is the president of KaDo, Ottawa’s haiku group.

Author of Your Hands Discover Me (2010), a minute or two/without remembering (2010), and Accidentals (2011), Claudia also edited letters written to her by Leonard Budgell from Labrador, who was a fur trader for the Hudson’s Bay Company, writing the forward to his book “Arctic Twilight” which was published in 2008.  Now retired, Claudia has made Carleton Place her home since 2004. As these are just some of the highlights of Claudia’s career, please visit her website at http://claudiacouturadmore.ca for more info.

So, please join us Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7-9 p.m. as we listen to the voices of Claudia’s ancestors.   It’s free – just call 613-257-2702 to reserve your spot!