Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1945

James Beach and R.C. Greig teamed up to construct this apartment on Second Avenue at Bronson in 1945. Image: Google Maps (May 2016).
James Beach and R.C. Greig teamed up to construct this apartment on Second Avenue at Bronson in 1945. Image: Google Maps (May 2016).

Due to the wartime material and labour shortages I noted yesterday, construction in 1945 was, to say the least, pokey. Where there were 55 “important” building permits listed in the 1946 Annual Report, the number was only 24 in 1945.

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Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1946

Vignette of the British American Banknote Company's Gladstone Avenue facility. Source: British American Banknote Company. "90 Years of Security Printing: The story of the British American Bank Note Company Limited, 1866-1956."
Vignette of the British American Banknote Company’s Gladstone Avenue facility. At $800,000, it was the largest building permit issued for Ottawa in 1946. Source: British American Banknote Company. “90 Years of Security Printing: The story of the British American Bank Note Company Limited, 1866-1956.”

Although the Second World War had ended the previous year, in 1946, shifting Canada’s economy back from wartime production had proven a somewhat lengthier enterprise. Both materials and capital remained in short supply and, in spite of exceptional need, construction had not yet picked up. In spite of this, there were a few bright spots in Ottawa’s construction industry.

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Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1947

Strathcona Heights in 1984, before the 1989 restoration project. Source: Ottawa. City of Ottawa. City Living Developments. Ottawa: City Living Ottawa, 1984, p. 15.
The largest permit issued in 1947 was valued at $2,000,000 and for the Mann Avenue rental housing project. Image: Ottawa. City of Ottawa. City Living Developments. Ottawa: City Living Ottawa, 1984, p. 15.

“You really should be working on your thesis.”

That’s something I tell myself frequently, so it was a little surprising to hear it coming from the list of building permits issued in 1947 replicated in Ottawa Building Inspector C. Maxwell Taylor’s 1947 Annual Report. What was the source of those whispers?

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Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1948

Archibald, David, and Jacob Bennett, better known by their company Principal Investments, were already active in Ottawa before they became Canada's shopping mall kings. Image: Maclean's Magazine, February 4, 1956, p. 9.
Archibald, David, and Jacob Bennett, better known by their company Principal Investments, were already active in Ottawa before they became Canada’s shopping mall kings. As the developer behind both Billings Bridge Plaza and the Carlingwood Shopping Centre, Principal Investments would bring Ottawa retailing into the modern era. Image: Maclean’s Magazine, February 4, 1956, p. 9.

Continuing to work back on the building permits issued by the City of Ottawa, what really stands out about 1948 is that there were comparatively few large-scale or expensive projects that year. At $1,188,000, the construction of Fisher Park (Collegiate) High was the most expensive project and Ottawa’s first Comprehensive high school.1Janet Keith. The Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa: A Short History, 1843-1969 (Ottawa: Kent Reproduction, 1970): 37.

The building permit for Fisher Park High School was the largest for 1948. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA004342 (May 21, 1954).
The building permit for Fisher Park High School was the largest for 1948. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA004342 (May 21, 1954).

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Notes   [ + ]

1. Janet Keith. The Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa: A Short History, 1843-1969 (Ottawa: Kent Reproduction, 1970): 37.

Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1949

The Dominion constructed two of what would be many Quonset huts on Lydia Avenue (now Orangeville). Image: Wikimedia Commons.
The Dominion constructed two of what would be many Quonset huts on Lydia Avenue (now Orangeville) in 1949. This is not a picture of it. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

As a follow-up on yesterday’s transcription of a list of building permits issued in 1950, I have done the same for 1949.

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Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1950

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At a combined cost of $1,722,000, Alvin Enterprises’ Manor Park Extension was the largest private sector construction project permitted in 1950.

Earlier this year in a pique of what I can only describe as a mixture of frustration about a lack of data and nostalgia for some of my field’s roots, I began to harvest more data about Ottawa’s development. It may have been a matter of being dissatisfied with the broad, sweeping motions and proclamations we make about the nature of midcentury development or maybe I just wanted to play with spreadsheets and pie charts like previous generations of urban historians did. Whatever the motivation, I got my wish and wrote stories like Ottawa’s Apartments, 1945Ottawa’s Apartment’s, 1955Laurentian View’s Apartments, 1955From East(wood) Park to West(wood) Park, and The Alta-Vista Drive Apartments and the Alta-Vista Shopping Centre (1956).

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Views: Bell’s Corners (1980)

Robertson Road in 1980. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA025336.
Robertson Road in 1980. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA025336.

I first encountered the above image of Bell’s Corners1I categorically refuse to leave the apostrophe out. in Bruce Elliott’s The City Beyond (1991). Although I don’t count many on my team of consummate fans of crass commercialism in the public realm, I’m willing to stand out and say that I’ve always been a fan of this sort of suburban view. In my mind’s eye, this sort of “messy” collection of signage is the suburban visual-equivalent of the ideal dense and walkable neighbourhoods that I cherish most deeply.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. I categorically refuse to leave the apostrophe out.

Views: Carleton’s University Centre From Above (1963-2015)

Carleton's campus as it appeared in 2015. Image: Google Maps.
Carleton’s campus as it appeared in 2015. Image: Google Maps.

I’ve never hidden my love for the modernist campus of Carleton University. That its Rideau Campus was designed from the get-go as a modern departure from the Oxford-Lite or Harvard-Lite approach that most Canadian universities up to that point had taken was not only a breath of fresh air, but a bold and confident step in an Ottawa that was not always known for such things.1For an interesting history of Carleton, see H. Blair Neatby and Don McKeown. Creating Carleton: The Shaping of a University. Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. For an interesting history of Carleton, see H. Blair Neatby and Don McKeown. Creating Carleton: The Shaping of a University. Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.

Views: Ottawa’s Leslie Park (1969)

Shots taken by the CMHC on May 9, 1969 of the Redwood Court row housing development in Ottawa’s (then Nepean’s) Leslie Court. This was one of the Campeau Corporation’s many (many) developments in the national capital.

Update: Porcupine General Hospital (1938) and the Tisdale Municipal Building (1940)

The Tisdale Municipal Building as it appeared in the local papers. Source: Porcupine Advance, September 26, 1940, p. 5.
The Tisdale Municipal Building as it appeared in the local papers. Source: Porcupine Advance, September 26, 1940, p. 5.

Almost two weeks ago, I wrote a short story about the Tisdale Municipal Building in South Porcupine. While I was able to get an architect and speak a little about the context, that was about as far as it went. If you’ve followed along on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve just returned from a trip to Toronto, where I spent time at the Archives of Ontario. While I was there to do some research for my thesis, I took the opportunity to peruse some of the pages of the Porcupine Advance.

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