SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK EIGHTEEN

8 H.P. Ford Was Bought By Findlays – First Local Car

The Carleton Place Canadian, 15 September, 1960

By Howard Morton Brown

 

Some of the local events of fifty to sixty years ago in the Carleton Place area are recalled in the present section of a continued story summarizing the history of this town’s early days.

This was the time which saw both the heyday of the Empire on which the sun never set and the end of the Victorian era.  It opened to the martial air of The British Grenadiers, with Canadian soldiers on active service in South Africa, and closed on a modern theme with such developments as the motor car and electricity on their way towards changing the ways of life of half the world.

In the first year of the present century Canadian soldiers, including several volunteers from Carleton Place, were in South Africa serving in the Boer War.  Some of the present century’s great changes in living conditions had their start in these years.  Electricity began to be used as a growing source of power instead of mainly for lighting and communication equipment.  While annual local horse shows were being held the first automobiles appeared on the town’s streets.  Business and social life began to have a greater resemblance to conditions of the present.

Among the towns of the Ottawa Valley, Carleton Place, with its population reduced to 4,000 at the opening of the century, had been outdistanced in size by the growth of Smiths Falls and Pembroke, each of which had attained a population of about 5,000.  The brief views of local scenes and events which follow are based on news reports of the two Carleton Place weekly newspapers in the years from 1900 to 1909.

South African War

1900 – To supply serge for British army uniforms the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills. 

Local talent presented the Temple of Fame, an historical pageant.  The town had a day of enthusiastic celebrations when news of the Relief of Ladysmith came from South Africa.

Abner Nichols & Son brought their season’s log drive down the lake to their newly opened sawmill at the riverside on Flora Street; while two drives of logs, ties and telegraph poles were reaching the mill operated by Williams, Edwards & Company at the dam.  A new branch of the Union Bank of Canada was in operation in Carleton Place, in addition to the longer established branch of the Bank of Ottawa.

The Carleton Place Canoe Club was reorganized as a racing association and joined the new international canoe association.  A district grouping to include Ottawa, Brockville, Aylmer, Britannia and Carleton Place clubs was planned.  This town’s club ordered its first war canoe.

Peter Salter bought and reopened the Carleton House, the oldest two storey stone building in the town.  He renamed it the Leland Hotel.

Findlay’s Foundry Rebuilt

1901 – Findlay Brothers large new stove foundry of brick construction was built on land sold by the Canada Lumber Company.

The McDonald & Brown woolen mill at Mill and Judson Streets was continued in operation by John Brown on the retirement of John McDonald.

In the first local celebration of Labour Day the moulders and machinists unions held a sports day in Gillies Grove near the lower woollen mill, with football, baseball and lacrosse games and track and field events.

William H. Hooper, who had returned to Ottawa from the South African War, bought Charles C. Pelton’s Carleton Place photographic business.

A Carleton Place firemen’s demonstration was attended by the fire companies from Renfrew, Arnprior, Lanark, Perth and Smiths Falls, the Ottawa Nationals baseball team and the Perth Crescents lacrosse team.  Among its other sports events in Gillies Grove were hose reel races, tug of war contests, a hub and hub race and tossing the caber.  A parade included the fire brigades, decorated floats, and the Town Council and citizens in carriages.  A massed band uniting the citizens’ brass and silver bands of Pembroke, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place marched through the town in an evening parade, playing The British Grenadiers.  Officers of  the Carleton Place band included leader Joseph McFadden and secretary James Edwards.

About sixty neighbours helped in the raising of a barn of forty feet height at the farm of John McArton in the sixth concession of Ramsay near Carleton Place.

With Robert C. Patterson, barrister, as mayor, the town bought a twelve ton $3,000 steam road roller.

Queen Victoria’s long and illustrious reign ended early in 1901 and Edward VII became King.  At Ottawa the Duke and Duchess of York – the future King George V and Queen Mary – witnessed a war canoe race of Ontario and Quebec canoe clubs including Carleton Place.  South African War service medals were presented and a statue of the late Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill.

Shanty Horses

1902 – The closed Carleton Place sawmills and upper Mississippi reserve dams of the Canada Lumber Company were bought by H. Brown & Sons for water conservation and power development uses.

The Canadian Canoe Association held its annual regatta at Lake Park during two days of high winds, with over two hundred visiting paddlers present from clubs of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Brockville.  The mile course, from Nagle’s Shore to about the Lake Park steamer dock, was measured in the previous winter on the ice.

A railway bridge of steel construction on stone piers replaced the former railway bridge across the Mississippi at Carleton Place.

At the Queens and Leland hotel yards, agents were hiring teams of horses in December for winter work at Ottawa Valley lumber shanties.

 

Two Mills Closed

1903 – The Gillies and Hawthorne woollen mills – recently working on overtime hours with 192 employees, after six years of improvements under the ownership of Canada Woollen Mills Limited – were closed.  The reason was stated to be loss of Canadian markets to British exporters of tweeds and worsteds.  The company went into bankruptcy.

Twenty miles of toll roads were bought by Lanark County and freed of tolls.

For the killing of a foundry employee by stabbing during a week-end drunken quarrel, an elderly resident of Carleton Place was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a three year term of imprisonment in the Kingston penitentiary.

Carleton Place curlers, with William Baird and Dr. D. A. Muirhead as skips, won the Lanark County Curling League cup.

Town Park

1904 – The Caldwell sawmill property between Lake Avenue and the river was bought by the town and, after consideration for industrial uses, was reserved for a town park.

Sir Wilfred Laurier addressed a Carleton Place meeting on behalf of T. B. Caldwell, successful North Lanark candidate for Parliament.

An eight horsepower Ford was bought by Findlay Brothers as the first automobile owned in Carleton Place.  It was the local harbinger of great changes in transportation and in ways of life, comparable to the results of railway construction of fifty years earlier.

Street Lighting

1905 – Carleton Place street lighting was improved under a ten year contract, with introduction of a year-round all night service and erection of 150 street lights to supplement the arc lamp system.

Use of the Town Park was opened by the visit of a three ring circus with a thirty cage menagerie, a twelfth of July celebration attended by 5,000 out of town visitors, and a lacrosse game between Renfrew and Carleton Place teams at the newly built grandstand and fenced athletic grounds. 

Car Casualty

1906 – A fire at Gillies Engine Foundry and Boat Works destroyed the stone building’s two top storeys and a number of completed motor launches.  Work was resumed by some twenty employees. 

A mica-splitting industry of the General Electric Company was being carried on in J. R. McDiarmid’s Newman Hall at the corner of Bridge and William Streets.  Gardiner’s Creamery was built on Mill Street.  Concrete sidewalks were being laid on many town streets. 

Thousands of European immigrants were passing through Carleton Place weekly on their way to western Canada.  An exhibition of moving pictures was held in the Town Hall by the Salvation Army in aid of its work for assistance of immigrants.

For causing the death of his brother in a drunken quarrel in a motor boat near Lake Park, a local resident pleaded guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The first car fatality in Carleton Place occurred when Samuel A. Torrance’s automobile collided with a locomotive at the railway station crossing.  One of his passengers was killed. 

The first of a series of annual horse shows was held at the Town Park.

Bates & Innes Mill

1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill as a knitting mill.  A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

The Carleton Place Canoe Club won the Canadian war canoe championship and other races at the year’s Canadian Canoe Association meet, held at Montreal.

Mississippi lumbering continued on a reduced scale.  A Lanark Era spring report said:  – The Nichols drive on the Clyde parted company here with Charlie Hollinger’s logs at the Caldwell booms, and swept its way over the dam to await the coming of the Mississippi sawlogs.  The gang folded their tents and rolled away up to Dalhousie Lake where the rear of the drive floats.  It will take about two weeks to wash the mouth of the Clyde, and then the whole bunch will nose away over the Red Rock and on to Carleton Place.  While going through Lanark some of the expert drivers did a few stunts for Lanark sightseers.  Joe Griffiths ran the rapids on a cedar pole just big enough to make a streak on the water.  The Hollinger logs were retained at the Caldwell mill, where they are now being rapidly manufactured into lumber.

Street Traffic Rides

1908 – A Bridge Street runaway accident took the life of Archibald McDonnell, aged 77, son of one of Beckwith township’s original few settlers of 1816.

Spring floods burst the old lumber company millpond dam and two flumes at Carleton Place.  Users of Mississippi River water power united to plan the building of retaining dams at headwater locations.

George H. Findlay was mayor, W. E. Rand, M.A. was High School principal and principal of the public schools was Reg. Blaisdell.

Roller Skating

1909 – Bates & Innes knitting mill, after making waterpower improvements, began running night and day with about 150 employees.  The Hawthorne knitting mill was closed by reason of financial difficulties, and its operating company was reorganized as the Carleton Knitting Co. Ltd.

Construction of a hydro electric power plant was begun by H. Brown & Sons at the former site of the Canada Lumber Company mills, after several years of preparation of the riverbed including tailrace excavation and building of a concrete millpond dam.

A roller skating rink with a new skating floor was re-opened at the militia drill hall on the market square.

J. W. Bengough, noted Canadian cartoonist, entertained a Town Hall audience with his skill, making such sketches of local celebrities as Reeve William Pattie at his desk, Dr. J. J. McGregor extracting a horses’ tooth, Arthur Burgess in his automobile, William Miller in a horse deal, and Tom Bolger with his hotel bus at the railway depot.

 

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Carleton Place Paddlers Create Enviable Records, by Howard M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 09 August, 1962

Some recollections of regattas and racing accomplishments of former generations of paddlers of the Carleton Place Canoe Club are concluded in this number.  A previous installment told of the starting of the town’s long flourishing club and of the first Canadian Canoe Association contests at Brockville and Carleton Place.  The publishing of these stories coincides with an appeal for support and cash donations needed to assist this institution in continuing its record of athletic and recreational service for large numbers of the younger residents of the town.

Club Regatta

The Carleton Place Canoe Club in 1905 held what was said to be its first regatta for local competitors only.  Paddling honors were shared were shared with those of motor boating and other water sports.  The paddling events in addition to the green and the open singles, tandems and fours, were boys tandem, ladies tandem and mixed tandem races and two war canoe races, one a straightaway half mile, the other a half mile with turn.  Added with the great novelty of a motorboat race were a tub race, a crab race, a hurry-scurry, a swimming race and a gunwale race.

In the war canoe events the crew in the old canoe under captain Ab Keyworth won the straightaway half mile, and the new crew under Captain Jack Welsh the quarter mile and return.  First and second in the open single blade race were Archie McPhee and Archie Knox.  The judges were Walter McIlquham, George H. Findlay, Mr. Daniel A. Muirhead and W. M. Dunham.  Other officials included timekeepers Andrew Neilson and William J. Muirhead, clerk of course John Bennett, starter Walter H. Dummert and referee Robert Patterson.

Motorboat Race of 1905

The gasoline-powered motorboat was coming into its own.  Durably built, as by the Carleton Place boat works, on rounded seaworthy lines, later superseded in popularity by an elongated torpedo style , the inboard motorboat started its reign in a generation before the outboard marine engine had helped to lay the foundations of the present North American boating boom.

The Herald’s description of the scene at the Town Park and the motorboat race included:

“The club house and the old mill were decorated with flags and bunting.  A temporary platform was arranged on one of the old piers for the judges, whilst the Town Band furnished music from one of the galleries of the sawmill.  The river was covered with boats of all descriptions from steamers and launches to canoes.

In the race for gasoline launches seven were entered.  There are some ten or twelve of these handsome boats on the river, nearly all built at the Gillies launch works of this town.  Competitors in the race were the Alice, 5 h.p. – J. H. Gardiner ; the Ariel, 4 h.p. – R. Patterson ; the Marjorie, 4 h.p. – F. McDiarmid ; the Iolanthe, 4 h.p. – A. H. Edwards ; the Rose, 5 h.p. – W. J. Hammond ; the Zephyr, 3 h.p. – Cram and Burgess ; the Wawanessa, 3.5 h.p. – McAllister Brothers.

Within seconds from the gun fire all were under way.  The Ariel, Marjoire and Alice very soon forged ahead.  Mr. Cram in the Zephyr undertook to cut off a corner in the river channel and became entangled in the weeds and was out of it before reaching the lake.  The turning buoy was placed beyond Rocky Point, some three miles up the lake, and the Ariel was the first to show her nose around the flag.  In rounding the sunken rock at Lookout Point a foul was claimed against the Alice but was later withdrawn as her pilot was a little inexperienced with the channel and the foul was unintentional.

The silk trophy flag, donated by James Gillies, Esq., goes to Mr. Gardiner.  The time taken for the round trip was forty minutes.  Robert Patterson’s Ariel came in second.  Third place went to Fred McDiarmid in the Marjorie.  Much enthusiasm was shown by the spectators.  Each boat as she crossed the line was greeted with hearty cheers and waving handkerchiefs, and much whistle blowing from the excursion steamers and horn blasts from the smaller boats.

Commodore Harry Hicken and the officers of the club are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts.”

Great War Canoe Crews

A cheering crowd, a civic reception and a torchlight procession welcomed the Carleton Place paddlers two years later on their return from Montreal.  Competing successfully against larger clubs in the annual Canadian Canoe Association meet, they had won first positions in three events including the coveted half mile war canoe championship.  Photographs of the memorable half mile finish of 1907 made by Carleton Place photographer W. J. Hammond remain in existence.

The members of the winning crew were Carl Lamb, stroke, William Knox, Howard Morphy, Archie McCaw, John Hockenhull, M. Ryan, Wilfred Hunter, Fred Milliken, Andrew Dunlop, Gilbert Gordon, Mark Lamb, T. Winthrop, Neil McGregor, Andrew Robertson, and Ab. Keyworth, captain.

Canadian war canoe championships were won again by Carleton Place in 1920 and 1938.  The town club officials were hosts for the 1920 national regatta, held on the Lake Park course.  In the Northern Division eliminations a strong Carleton Place club had won the senior events including both war canoe races and the senior fours, on the Ottawa New Edinburgh Canoe Club’s home waters, when seven crews had contended for the half mile war canoe win and six for the mile.

Without the annual weed cutting which has been carried on for many years through the Mississippi Lakes Association of Carleton Place, weedy areas on the course hampered paddlers despite the best efforts of Mr. Willis, who had sought to clear it by dragging with the steamboat the Commodore.  The attendance at Lake Park was said to be the largest ever assembled for a regatta here.  On hand to furnish musical entertainment between races was the Regimental Band from Perth.

Race starts were standing starts from a row of logging booms extended at Lookout Point, lower extremity of the Lake Park peninsula and downstream end of the half mile course.  The senior fours winners were the Carleton Place crew of Ernie Halpenny, Allan Call, Gib Gordon and Herb Bennett.  Ottawa New Edinburgh and Toronto Balmy Beach were tied to lead in aggregate regatta points.

The Carleton Place half mile war canoe win was at a time of 3:17  Lake weeds robbed the outstanding Carleton Place paddlers of an additional war canoe trophy when in the mile race after a late start at the Nagle shore they ran into a mass of weeds on the favoured inside course, still ending a close second to Toronto Parkdale’s time of 6:41.  The paddlers of the great Carleton Place crew of 1920 were E. Halpenny, P. Dunlop, R. Munshaw, D. Findlay, A. Ashfield, E. Bennett, W. Phillips, L. Hockenhull, A. Call, H. Bennett, R. Waugh, W. Bush, C. Carr, H. Sinclair, and G. Gordon, Captain.

Now for over sixty years succeeding generations of Carleton Place paddlers have pursued the historic sport which in this country originated with North America’s first native citizens and is one of Canada’s few thriving exclusively amateur sports of today.  The town’s canoe club – like the Lakes Association’s recently suspended maintenance of the Mississippi waterways which the club uses – is a distinctive community asset which appears to merit, in the interests of the town and its residents, a wide measure of public backing, recognition and support.

Carleton Place Canoe Club Dates Back To 1893, by Howard M. Brown, 02 August, 1962

Among the many Carleton Place organizations of the past and present in the field of athletics, sports and recreation, the award for longest active life appears to go to the Carleton Place Canoe Club.  Through times of enthusiastic public backing and financial support as well as in leaner years, the canoe club has served its community well.  In many years it has spread this town’s name and paddling fame throughout Canada.  For sixty-two years it has offered a wholesome outlet for the social and athletic energies of the youth and younger adults of the town.

Carleton Place, with the waters of the Mississippi as its attractive setting, has an aquatic sports tradition which goes back to its village days of the past century.  In the decade of the Carleton Boating Club, the first local venture of its kind, competitive rowing in long light racing shells had its days of glory in the eighteen eighties for this district.

Professional and amateur Ontario oarsmen including world champion Ned Hanlan attended the local club’s big annual regattas.  Then the first Carleton Place canoe club was formed in 1893, under the name of the Ottawa Valley Canoe Association.  With a membership of owners of canoes and other pleasure craft, its original officers were elected at a midsummer meeting of some twenty persons, held in the cabin of the Lake Park Company’s eighty foot side-wheeler steamboat, The Carleton. 

They were honorary president A. H. Edwards, president S. J. Mclaren, vice-president W. J. Welsh, secretary Colin McIntosh and advisory committee members Robert Sibbett, Albert E. Cram and Robert Patterson.  For several years the association’s races and regattas were held at Lake Park and on the river near the town bridge.

The present Carleton Place Canoe Club was organized in April, 1900, when at a meeting in Colin McIntosh’s law office it was decided to affiliate with the proposed international canoe association and to unite in forming a league expected to be composed of Ottawa, Brockville, Aylmer, Britannia and Carleton Place clubs and others.  Equipment was to be secured for the town club including a war canoe, “a vessel that takes fifteen paddles to propel it.”  Accounts of several of the regattas of the club’s first twenty years may serve to illustrate the earlier part of the long and notable record of this town’s canoe club.

Brockville Canoe Regatta

The town’s new club sent several winning entrants to Britannia and Ottawa club regattas in 1901, including Archie McPhee, Fred McRostie, Cornell and Jack Welsh.  The eight clubs listed to enter the Canadian Canoe Association’s meet at Brockville in that pioneer year of competitive paddling of the present kind, and the colours assigned to each, were Brockville Bomemians, red ; Brockville Rowing Club, blue ; Montreal Grand Trunk Railway Club, white ; Carleton Place, green ; Ottawa, black ; Britannia, purple ; Smiths Falls, orange ; and Brockville Y.M.C.A., yellow.  The judges appointed were James Powell of Montreal, Dr. Ewen McEwen of Carleton Place and George P. Graham of Brockville.

The Carleton Place Herald’s report of the August, 1901, Canadian canoe meet at Brockville said:

“The river was very rough and there were many accidents from swamping.  Carleton Place was the only club that entered all the contests, although they had but their war canoe crew.  In doing so they certainly handicapped themselves in competing with fresh men in the different events.  As it was they captured some seconds and made a good showing in the war canoe.

In this race there was a foul between the Britannias and the Y.M.C.A. of Brockville, the Otta- was also being mixed up in it.  At the finish the Bohemians were first, Britannia second and Brockville, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls all bunched within a length for third place.  The race was declared null on account of the fouls and called again.  The Bohemians refused to paddle, and at an evening meeting it was decided to call the race off and have it paddled again within a month, probably at Carleton Place.

“In the senior four, won by the Grand Trunk club, the second place Carleton Place crew was that of Welsh, McRostie, Cumbers and McPhee.  Jack Welsh placed second in the double blade.  The second place in the green four was taken by the Carleton Place crew of Donald, Moffatt, Cumbers, and Penny.  Our war canoe crew included J. Penny, F. McRostie, W. Moffatt, Gibson, McCallum, Leslie, Cumbers, Boucher, Howe, Donald, Sibbett, McPhee, Cornell, and Welsh captain.  Our boys deserve some recognition for the very gamey way in which they have upheld the sport the last two seasons.”

National Meet at Lake Park

Decision to hold the Canadian regatta for 1902 at Carleton Place was reached at a November meeting here reported by Will Allen in the Herald:

“A meeting of the executive of the Northern Division of the American Canoe Association, which covers all of Canada, was held here last week.  It was decided to hold the next annual race meet at Carleton Place, probably the last week of June.  Mr. Herbert Begg, Commodore, Mr. Harry J. Page, secretary treasurer, of Toronto, and Mr. E. R. McNeill, Ottawa, of the executive, met with the local canoeists here Friday evening and finally decided upon Carleton Place.

“The American Canoe Association is divided into divisions, Atlantic, Central, Eastern, Northern and Western.  Canada is in the Northern Division, but the contests are open to members of the American Canoe Association of all divisions, and none but members can compete, so the meetings are usually very large gatherings.  The Association is kept up by membership fees – annual fee $2.00,   which admits members free to all association contests and gives a year’s subscription to The National Sportsman.

On Friday evening the local canoeists entertained the visitors of the Leland, where a fine spread was laid by Mine Host Salter.  After the tables were cleared Mayor Patterson took the chair……The meet here should prove a big advertisement for the town.  Now that the log has been started a-rolling we hope to see it kept agoing until June, when our townspeople will realize what we have tried to picture feebly with our fingers stiff with the pinches of Jack Frost.”

Carleton Place Canoe Club officers for the big year of 1902 were patrons Mayor Robert Patterson, William McDiarmid and Dr. George McDonald, commodore Colin McIntosh, vice-commodore R. A. Sibbett, captain W. J. Welsh, secretary treasurer J. N. Gibson, executive Frank Donald, Dr. K. C. Campbell, George Cornell, J. F. Moffatt and Fred McRostie, and auditors M. G. Howe and C. A. Roberts.  Chairmen of committees were, Racing, Fred McRostie ; Sailing, Dr. K. C. Campbell ; Entertainment, Frank Donald ; Property J. F. Moffatt.  The course from Nagles Shore to above the Lake Park steamboat dock was measured on the ice in March.  Mounting interest in June was noted in this newspaper by W. W. Cliff, who said :

“There are some thousands of persons who regard the coming Canoe Meet as considerably more important than the new fast trans Atlantic service, or even perhaps the end of the war in Africa.  Doubtless they are mistaken, but the world would lose a good deal if a temporary bias due to the ardor of youth did not exist.”

Northwesters in Terrible Fury

Winds higher than those on the St. Lawrence of the year before played havoc with the schedule of the 1902 national regatta, held in the last week of June at Lake Park.  The ten crews in the mile war canoe race, started at 7 p.m. when the “northwesters in terrible fury” had lessened, were two Toronto crews, the Bohemians of Brockville, two Brockville Y.M.C.A. crews, and Britania, Lachine, Smiths Falls, Grand Trunks of Montreal and Carleton Place.  In the mile the Grand Trunks were first with time 5:57 2/5, and Smiths Falls was second.  Several including Carleton Place who were grouped for third place protested successfully that the race had been started before all boats were in position. 

The visiting canoeists, numbering over two hundred, were said to be probably the largest aggregation of paddlers ever yet gathered at one meet in Canada.  They had their tents pitched on the Lake Park grounds and remained a second day for the completion of the regatta.  Though the wind was very high on the second day the principle events were completed before nightfall.

In the protested mile war canoe race, repeated without the formerly winning Grand Trunks, Smiths Falls was first, Britannia too second and Carleton Place third.  Grand Trunks took the half mile and quarter mile war canoe events, followed in the half mile by Smiths Falls and Carleton Place and in the quarter mile by Carleton Place and Britannia.  The Carleton Place crew of W. Wilson, F. McRostie, A. Powell and J. Welsh won the senior fours, a half mile straightway race, and local paddlers Welsh and McRostie came third after Ottawa and Toronto in the tandem half mile with turn.

A ball was tendered the visitors at the Lake Park Queen’s Royal Hotel, combined with a huge bonfire and a fireworks display. 

A second installment in conclusion will recall the first annual club regatta of the Carleton Place Canoe Club, a motorboat race of the same time, and the Canadian regatta held here in 1920 at Lake Park.