Where Other Doings Have Transpired


Ottawa, Update / Sunday, April 27th, 2014

A lazy Sunday afternoon is a great time to catch up on some reading. If you’re in a coma due to either the Poutine Fork-Off or the Elgin Chili Cookoff, then maybe take a look at what I’ve written for Ottawa Start in the last little while.

Charles Ceappy's Connor Court. Image: April 2014
Charles Ceappy’s Connor Court. Image: April 2014

This week’s story at Ottawa Start was about the Connor Court Apartments at the corner of O’Connor and MacLaren in Centretown. Ceappy appeared poised to get a whole lot of building done, but his enlistment appears to have changed his path.

From bridge to bridge, the old Ottawa Stair Works factory at 989 Somerset has been a presence in the area for more than 100 years. Image: April 2014.
The old Ottawa Stair Works factory at 989 Somerset has stood alongside the Somerset bridge for more than 100 years. Image: April 2014.

I’ve long been curious about this two storey concrete fella standing in the Bayview (City Centre) area. While it was the Robert Tape machine shop when I moved here oh so not-really-that-long-ago (Summer 2000), it began life as John McLaughlin’s Ottawa Stair Works factory.

Rupert McClelland constructed a whole heck of a lot of homes in Ottawa during the 1940s and 1950s. Before his door and sash factory burnt down in 1949, most - if not all - of them had rounded front entrances. Image: April 2014.
Rupert McClelland constructed a whole heck of a lot of homes in Ottawa during the 1940s and 1950s. Before his door and sash factory burnt down in 1949, most – if not all – of them had rounded front entrances. Image: April 2014.

Around the beginning of April, I was out and about walking around. I had been meandering through (Old) Ottawa East and happened upon Mason Terrace. While I had been down that street in the past, the rounded doors happened to catch my eye this time. That’s when I learned about Ottawa developer Rupert McClelland.

Finally, I attended the City’s open house at the old Civil Workshops at Bayview. There is currently a plan in the works to turn it into a sort of innovation centre with creative and office space. Personally, I do like the idea.

(Apologies for the Flash, but Flickr’s HTML5 slideshow doesn’t seem to want to be embedded) In the event you’re curious about a little historical background, I offered the following:

If anyone’s curious, the Bayview Yards (or “Civic Workshops” as they were known) were constructed in 1941 and were the result of 10 years of bickering back’n’forth over costs. In 1931, plans were introduced to consolidate the number of smaller municipal shops into one large shop. 

As the plans and desires for the facility grew during the Depression, the costs increased commensurate with it. At one point, with a pair of incinerators added to the plan (Ottawa had twice-weekly garbage collection in the summer during the 1930s), costs ballooned to $400,000 when the original estimates for the original yard were closer to $75,000. 

Eventually, after the shops on Chamberlain burnt down in 1940, the final push was able to be made. With the insurance payout included, the city only had to issue a debenture of about $150,000 in the end. The plans for an incinerator did not go anywhere and the Bayview dump was eventually closed.

Ross-Meagher was the winning bidder for the Bayview Yards and set to work in 1941.

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