Chateau Charlot: Redux


Apartment, Ottawa, Rideau Terrace / Monday, April 29th, 2013
The view from Whitton's front stoop today.
The view from Whitton’s front stoop today.

There is one thing that I neglected to mention in my discussion one of the chapters in the story of Robert Campeau and Charlotte Whitton. From 1926[1] until 1963, she lived at 236 Rideau Terrace, at the corner of Acacia Avenue.

Rooke & Schnell described Whitton’s new home:

Coincidental with this realization of professional ambition was the most of Whitton and Grier from their modest apartment on James Street into 326C[sic] Rideau Terrace, a charming lead-windowed house in an elegant and quiet neighbourhood near Government House. The home that the two women created was largely a reflection of Margaret’s tastes. While the study was Whitton’s domain, ‘elsewhere Margaret ruled.’ The furniture consisted of pieces of old French of exquisite design, a petit-pont stool, Irish candles in old brass, numerous china figurines from a variety of countries, and splashes of green potted ivy and indoor flowers, ‘and over it all a sense of muted color, a delicacy and daintiness, for Margaret’s favorite colour was pastel green, and in her bedroom … and in the living room the same softness.’ In contrast, Whitton’s study was cluttered with parliamentary papers, statutes, pamphlets, scrapbooks, numerous sharpened pencils for writing her drafts, and a library of 1,000 volumes, one-tenth of them about Elizabeth Tudor. Portraits of Elizabeth decorated the walls. and the queen’s death mask was kept on a shelf. [2]

Whitton and her partner, Margaret Grier, would spend more than twenty years living at the address together until 1947, when Grier passed away.

Whitton’s distaste for Campeau and his work was already well-established, and it may well have been that his successful move to construct the unwanted residential tower on her doorstep provided enough motivation for her to consider a change of scenery. In 1963[3] (the year the Towers was completed), Whitton decamped her house on Rideau Terrace and purchased a home at 1 Renfrew Avenue in the Glebe adjacent to Central Park. She remained there until her death in 1975.

When addresses were more public. Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 1958.
When addresses were more public. Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 1958.

 

[1] P.T. Rooke and R.L. Schnell (1987) No Bleeding Heart: Charlotte Whitton, A Feminist on the Right. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, p. 67.
[2] Ibid, pp. 67-8.
[3] Rooke & Schnell (1987) notes that it was 1967, while a number of other sources indicate the date to be 1963.

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