Brevity is the Soul of Witt

The Croydon Apartments, as seen from the Museum of Nature's east parking lot. Image: July 2015.
The Croydon Apartments, as seen from the Museum of Nature’s east parking lot. Image: July 2015.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” At least, so the popular saying goes. The market for apartment buildings in the early 1960s was hot. Really hot. It was during this time that such large builders like Mastercraft, Assaly, Minto, and numerous others started looking upwards as much as they were outward into the greenfield development they had been through the 1950s. The action wasn’t limited to the larger players, however.

A large number of much smaller players entered the market during this time as well. It wasn’t just size that set these builders apart: generally speaking, their work was carried out semi-anonymously. Neither the Journal nor the Citizen followed their plans and projects in any detail or with any consistency and their projects did not enjoy a large advertising budget. Although advertisements were run in the classified section, it was rare that any particular developer’s name was attached to it.

One of my favourite buildings in the city. Image: May 2016.
One of my favourite buildings in the city. Image: May 2016.

I was recently looking for additional information about one of my favourite midcentury apartment buildings in Centretown: the Chelsea at 283 MacLaren, between Metcalfe and O’Connor. I’m generally a sucker for the style any time, but when there is a little more adventure in the chosen colour scheme, I’m hooked.

The Chelsea. Image: March 2016.
The Chelsea in all its mint chocolate chip splendour. Image: March 2016.

True to form in these cases, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of information available in the local newspapers. With that, I headed to the Land Registry Office.1Chelsea Apartments, 283 MacLaren is located on Plan 15558, Lot 45, Maclaren North side. Bertram Allan Witt.2Spelled “Allen” on occasion. That’s who was behind the Chelsea. At least to begin. As it would turn out, that was the pattern for a number of buildings around Centretown and even points west.

Bertram Allan Witt (Allan, from here on) did not enjoy the same sort of public profile that a builder like Robert Campeau or Bill Teron did. This shouldn’t be a surprise, of course: as noted above, there were countless buildings erected during this period by semi-anonymous builders. They often appeared to prefer it so. As such, I haven’t an extensive dossier on Witt’s life and background.

Allan Witt was likely born some time around 1928.3I don’t have a solid birth date available, but his father married in 1926, he was a Sea Scout through the War, and he married in 1956. He is listed as living with his parents on the 1949 Voters’ List, which would make him at least 21 at the time. See Finally Revised Urban Geographical List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton, City of Ottawa. Urban Polling Division No. 95, p. 1 His father, Bertram Montague (Montague, or “Monty” from here on) was born in Amesbury, UK on February 11, 1898 and the family relocated to Canada in Autumn of 1912.41911 England Census, RG 14, Piece 2582 [Ancestry.ca]; Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1912, p. 830. A veteran of the First World War,5Monty’s attestation papers indicate his address to be 279 Fifth Avenue in the Glebe. At the time, it was located to the west of Mutchmor Public School and to the east of Percy. The current 279 Fifth was constructed much later. See. LAC RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930-35 [Ancestry.ca], Monty married his wife Essie May Abbott of Toronto in 1926.6Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Marriages, Series MS932, Reel 750 [Ancestry.ca]. By trade, Monty was in the printing business, working as a linotype operator with the Naval Service through the 1940s and as a printer operator with the Government Printing Bureau (later, Department of Printing and Stationery) until his retirement in the 1960s.7Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1940, 1959, 1960, 1967.

Allan did not follow in his father’s footsteps.8Monty did not, in turn, follow in his father’s footsteps either. Betrtam John Witt, Monty’s father, was a carpenter who quickly found work as a carpenter at such concerns as the Château Laurier and the Library Bureau. He later found work as a clerk with National Defence. He died on July 5, 1958. See Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1923; Ottawa Journal, July 7, 1958, p. 24. By 1957, Allan got a job with Preston and Lieff Glass as a salesman9Allen was identified as a book keeper on the 1949 Voters’ List.  See Finally Revised Urban Geographical List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton, City of Ottawa. Urban Polling Division No. 95, p. 1 and moved out of his father’s home at 99 Bellwood10 in Old Ottawa South and into an apartment at 7 Grove Avenue11 around the corner in the same neighbourhood.12See Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960. He married his wife Elizabeth O’Connell in September of 195613”St. Patrick’s Church Scene of Witt-O’Connell Wedding,” Ottawa Journal, September 22, 1956, p. 12. and the couple moved into their home at 648 Golden Avenue in Westboro14 in 1961/62.15Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1962

Witt Looks Upwards

Selling glass for a highly successful local firm16Preston & Lieff had the glass contracts for a large number of projects, such as the following. Harold Robertson Ltd. (Royal Tea Co.), 173 Bank, Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1952, p. 12; The Dinette, 134 Sparks, Ottawa Journal, October 9, 1952, p. 7; Underwood Typewriters, 222 Laurier W., Ottawa Journal, February 10, 1953, p. 11; Shell Station, Eastview, Ottawa Journal, May 27, 1953, p. 13; Stevenson’s Drugs, 350 Elgin, Ottawa Journal, May 29, 1953, p. 9; Wallack’s Art Gallery, Bank Street, Ottawa Journal, June 15, 1953, p. 7; Eastview Public School, new wing, Ottawa Journal, November 12, 1953, p. 36; White Rose Station, 1346 Wellington, Ottawa Journal, November 25, 1953, p. 9; Loblaws, Billings Bridge, Ottawa Journal, November 17, 1955, p. 36; Clark Dairy Plant, Churchill Ave, Ottawa Journal, November 23, 1955, p.13; Dover’s, Westboro, Ottawa Journal, December 9, 1955, p. 11; St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Woodroffe, Ottawa Journal, December 17, 1955, p. 9; St. Patrick’s School, Ottawa Journal, January 14, 1956, p. 19; The Commonwealth Building, Metcalfe, Ottawa Journal, April 14, 1956, p. 9; National Brake and Clutch, 584 Wellington, Ottawa Journal, April 18, 1956, pp. 12-13; Computing Devices Canada, Bell’s Corners, Ottawa Journal, June 15, 1956, p.17; Nettleton’s Jewelry, Bank St., Ottawa Journal, September 17, 1956, p. 12; McArthur Plaza, Eastview, Ottawa Journal, July 9, 1959, p. 9; Elgin Housewares, Westgate Mall, Ottawa Journal, September 3, 1959, p. 9; Colonel By Towers, Bronson and Holmwood, Ottawa Journal, November 16, 1959, p. 16; Shane Distributors / VW Distribution Centre, St. Laurent, Ottawa Journal, November 5, 1962, p. 16;Ot  was likely insufficient to keep Witt’s interest and in the midst of a hot market for apartment buildings, he tossed his hat into the ring in a big way. It is most likely the case that Witt’s interest was stoked by his brother-in-law, Doug O’Connell and his own very successful foray into larger-scale construction.17O’Connell’s fingerprints are all over Ottawa developments during the 1950s. This includes such large projects as the Eastwood Park Apartments and the Beacon Arms Hotel. Moreover, as Preston & Lieff’s salesman, Witt would have had developed strong relationships with a number of contractors. Whatever the reason, at the dawn of the 1960s, Witt had been bitten by the same bug that so many were in the previous decade. For a number of his projects, he even partnered with O’Connell. Between 1960 and 1964, Witt, through his B.A. Witt Construction, Pattern Realty, and Sherbourne Realty, constructed nine buildings, seven of which were completed before Witt’s firms all went bankrupt. Below, I briefly describe the nine projects.

1960: The MacGregor (55 Sweetland, Sandy Hill)
The MacGregor Apartments, at 55 Sweetland in Sandy Hill in 2015. This was Witt's first building. Image: Google Maps.
The MacGregor Apartments, at 55 Sweetland in Sandy Hill in 2015. This was Witt’s first building. Image: Google Maps.
The then-nameless MacGregor Apartments. Witt's first. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 28, 1960, p. 37.
The then-nameless MacGregor Apartments. Witt’s first. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 28, 1960, p. 37.

The MacGregor Apartments at 55 Sweetland in Sandy Hill is, so far as I have been able to find, the first apartment Witt constructed. As a small building in Sandy Hill, its construction did not garner attention in the local papers, and did not otherwise create a buzz. Indeed, the only reason that I was able to associate it with Witt is that it was identified in and advertisement he ran during the summer of 1963.18Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40. The buildings advertised as having units available in the Wakefield, the MacGregor, the Byron, and the Enfield. 420 Parkdale (The Westfield), and The Croydon are advertised as coming soon. On March 8, 1960, Witt purchased Lot 10 of Plan 14349 from Israel Podolsky for $14,500. With a $93,000 mortgage in hand, he constructed his first building. A large number of the instruments listed shows that, like all of his buildings would be, they were completed in some form of partnership with his brother-in-law.19Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 14349, Lot 10, Reel 4AR121. Units in The MacGregor began at $80 per month for a bachelor and ran up to $105 per month for a two-bedroom.20Ottawa Journal, November 28, 1960. It does not appear to be the case that the building was named until the 1963 advertisement. Classified ads otherwise consistently advertise a nameless apartment.

1961: The Chelsea (283 MacLaren, Centretown)
The Chelsea Apartments, located at 283 MacLaren in Centretown. Image: March 2016.
The Chelsea Apartments, located at 283 MacLaren in Centretown. Image: March 2016.
Now Renting. The Chelsea Apartments. The apartment was equipped with dressing rooms. Source: Ottawa Journal, September 9, 1961, p. 23.
Now Renting. The Chelsea Apartments. The apartment was equipped with dressing rooms. Source: Ottawa Journal, September 9, 1961, p. 23.

Witt hung out his shingle as a contractor in 1961 and opened an office at 281 Lisgar street.21Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1962. On February 22, 1961, the Ottawa Journal reported that the “home of the late Dr. C. A. Young, at 283 MacLaren, is also being demolished to make way for an apartment.”22The “also” refers to James Beach’s demolition of Thomas “Carbide” Wilson’s Apsley Hall, which was located at the north west corner of Metcalfe and Lisgar. The apartment constructed is the Algonquin. See “Ottawa Building Trade Ready for Active Year,” Ottawa Journal, February 22, 1961, p. 29. The good Doctor, Charles A. Young, had died during the summer of 1959 following an undisclosed lengthy illness. As was the common practice, both lived and worked at 283 MacLaren. He was well known around Ottawa for being instrumental in the design the University of Ottawa’s medical faculty.23”Eminent Ottawa Surgeon Dr. Charles A. Young Dies,” Ottawa Journal, August 31, 1959, p. 5. His estate of $76,000 was split between his widow Rose and two sons, and included the MacLaren property, valued at $36,000.24”Dr. Young Estate $76,497,” Ottawa Journal, November 16, 1959, p. 5. Witt was issued a permit  that March by the City for a $180,000 31 unit 8 storey building25”Permit Issued For Apartments,” Ottawa Citizen, March 15, 1961, p. 3. and work on the apartment began that May.26”Another Building Wave Under Way For District,” Ottawa Citizen, May 18, 1961, p. 8. As what appears to be the case with these 8-12 storey buildings in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they went up in what today would be a confusingly short time. In this case, The Chelsea was advertised as being ready to be rented by that September.27Ottawa Journal, September 9, 1961, p. 23. Even if the start date was weeks before the Journal and Citizen reported, it was constructed in short order. Upon completion, Radcliff Realties moved their office from 281 Lisgar (home to B.A. Witt Construction) into a suite on the tenth floor of The Chelsea.28Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1961; Ottawa Journal, December 15, 1961, p. 11. It’s also worth mention that The Chelsea made for a new neighbour to the Doctors’ Building, constructed by his brother in law, Doug O’Connell.

Aerial photograph of 283 MacLaren, Dr. Young's home in 1958. Image: geoOttawa.
Aerial photograph of 283 MacLaren, Dr. Young’s home in 1958. Image: geoOttawa.

The Chelsea was actually the second apartment named Chelsea in Ottawa: the original one remains standing today, nearby at 424 Bank.29Ottawa Journal, April 16, 1909, p. 1; Ottawa Journal, February 29, 1908, p. 1.

Interestingly enough, Radcliff Realties moved their office from 281 Lisgar (where B.A. Witt Constrction had set up), and to the 10th floor of the recently completed Chelsea Apartments. Source: Ottawa Journal, December 15, 1961, p. 11.
Interestingly enough, Radcliff Realties moved their office from 281 Lisgar (where B.A. Witt Constrction had set up), and to the 10th floor of the recently completed Chelsea Apartments. Source: Ottawa Journal, December 15, 1961, p. 11.
1961: The Wakefield (218 MacLaren, Centretown)
The Wakefield Apartments, located at 218 MacLaren in Centretown.
The Wakefield Apartments, located at 218 MacLaren in Centretown. Image: Google Maps (2015).
The Wakefield Apartments, now renting. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1962, p. 37.
The Wakefield Apartments, now renting. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1962, p. 37.

In November 1961, the Ottawa Journal reported that Bertram Witt was issued a building permit valued at $300,000, among the largest issued that month. Witt planned to demolish a small six-unit apartment that stood on the site and erect a 10 storey, 47 unit building.30”Board of Control Briefs,” Ottawa Journal, November 15, 1961, p. 5; “Board Notes: Garbagemen in a Pickle,” Ottawa Citizen, November 15, 1961, p. 5. It appears to be the case that Witt picked up the lot from “SCO and The President of India” earlier that spring.31Plan 15558 Lot 52 MacLaren South, Reel 4AR 123. Charles Lynch reported in the following March that the steel structure had been completed and that the now $400,000 building would be complete in July.32Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 40,600 Homes in Ottawa, Up 23,900 in 15 Years,” Ottawa Journal, March 3, 1962, p. 26.

True to form, the Woolfson-designed apartment33Canada. Copyright Board Canada. File 2005-UO/TI-01. January 26, 2005. http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/unlocatable-introuvables/licences/147-e.pdf. was advertised as being available for rent that July.34Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1962, p. 37. In November of 1963, Witt transferred the property from his own name to his Pattern Realty.35Plan 15558 Lot 52 MacLaren South, Reel 4AR 123.

With few exceptions, the Wakefield has spent a relatively quiet existence. On October 11, 1983, the Citizen reported that Walter James Millar, a 60 year old Ottawa man, was found dead in an apartment on the 10th floor, which the police treated as a homicide.36Stephen Bindman. “Man found slain in apartment,” Ottawa Citizen, October 11, 1983, p. 19. The following day, the police charged Brian Eugene Tesslar, an orderly at the Smyth Road veterans’ home, with second-degree murder for the strangling death of Millar.37”Man charged with murder,” Ottawa Citizen, October 12, 1983, p. 33. Dr. William Blair, a court appointed psychiatrist, found Tesslar fit to stand trial,38”Accused in strangling fit to stand trial,” Ottawa Citizen, October 13, 1983, p. 25. and he was eventually sentenced to two years after having plead guilty to manslaughter.39Stephen Bindman. “Killer gets two years,” Ottawa Citizen, August 15, 1984, p. 25.

The foundations for Doug O'Connell's Warren Arms Apartments, 1958. Image: geoOttawa.
The foundations for Doug O’Connell’s Warren Arms Apartments, 1958. Image: geoOttawa.
Ad for the Warren Arms. Source: Ottawa Journal, September 25, 1959, p. 40.
Ad for the Warren Arms. Source: Ottawa Journal, September 25, 1959, p. 40.

As is the case with The Chelsea above, The Wakefield was constructed adjacent to another one of Doug O’Connell’s buildings, this time The Warren Arms apartments, which was originally planned to be an office building.40”Applies for Permit,” Ottawa Journal, October 18, 1958, p. 45. It replaced the home of the late Ralph M. McMorran (a clothing merchant),41Ottawa Journal, November 23, 1926, p. 7; Ottawa Journal, December 14, 1926, p. 17; “R.M. McMorran Widely Mourned,” Ottawa Journal, September 25, 1935, p. 19; “R.M. McMorran Leaves $253,617 To Grandchildren,” Ottawa Journal, November 12, 1935, p. 1. The_Ottawa_Journal_Tue__Nov_23__1926_Page_7 but was being used as the head office for Ottawa Domestic Provisioners, operators of the Magic/Wonder Cupboard, a freezer order food subscription service run by George Murray.42Ottawa Journal, May 31, 1954, p. 17; Ottawa Journal, Ottawa Journal, October 9, 1954, p. 7; Ottawa Journal, November 6, 1954, p. 4; Ottawa Journal, July 6, 1955, p. 7; April 3, 1965, p. 69.

George S. Murray's Wonder Cupboard! Source: Ottawa Journal, November 6, 1954, p. 4.
George S. Murray’s Wonder Cupboard! Source: Ottawa Journal, November 6, 1954, p. 4.
1962: The Byron (900 Byron Avenue, Laurentian View)
The Byron Apartments, located at 900 Byron Avenue.
The Byron Apartments, located at 900 Byron Avenue. I once went to a Super Bowl party here in which putative host didn’t show. At least there were weasels. Image: Google Maps (2015).
Ad for The Byron. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 5, 1962.
Ad for The Byron. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 5, 1962.

On October 12, 1961, Witt purchased the lot at the corner of Byron Avenue and Sherbourne from Slater Realty, a firm run by Anne Aaron and Esther Aronson, for $35,000. In turn, this lot was a slice from the plan’s Lot I, upon which their Westwood Gardens project.43Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145). On May 4, 1962, the Journal announced that B.A. Witt Construction had been issued a permit for a $375,000 6-storey 40 unit apartment at the corner of Byron and Sherbourne.44”Construction in Ottawa On Decline,” Ottawa Journal, May 4, 1962, p. 4. The news was repeated in Charles Lynch’s regular “Real Estate” column the following day.45Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Summer Cottage Business Major Industry in Ottawa Area,” Ottawa Journal, May 5, 1962, p. 28.

From the looks of things, The Byron has experienced a relatively quiet life. Unlike and apartment like, for example, Hintonburg’s Laurentian Towers, thing have been downright idyllic. One trivial bit of interest is that the natural gas pipeline became available in Ottawa in 1958. Among a number of others, The Byron was a client of the Ottawa Gas Company’s product.

"It's a Gas!" Residents of the Byron Apartments were kept toasty in Ottawa's frigid winters, thanks to natural gas. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 42.
“It’s a Gas!” Residents of the Byron Apartments were kept toasty in Ottawa’s frigid winters, thanks to natural gas. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 42.

Among Witt’s completed buildings, so far as I can tell, The Byron is quite possibly the most financially successful insofar that it was subject to the least number of Mechanics’ Liens. Interestingly (at lest to my own self), at the end of his bankruptcy proceedings, it was picked up my R. Lyle Beamish, his brother-in-law Doug O’Connell’s business partner in the Beacon Arms project.46Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145). Like the Chelsea and the Wakefield, the Byron was also constructed adjacent to a Doug O’Connell project: the cluster of seven 10-unit apartments, later named the Byron West Apartments, was constructed by O’Connell through the spring and summer of 1955 and sold to the Honeywell brothers’s realty company, Honeywell Investments, that November 1.47The land on which The Byron and those apartments were constructed was initially the Honeywell Farm, which they sold to a consortium of investors in 1953 to plan and develop the Carlingwood / Westwood subdivision. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145); “$636,500 Transfer Tops November Deals,” Ottawa Journal, January 19, 1956, p. 20.

Doug O'Connell's cluster of 7 10-unit apartments on Byron to the left, and Bertram Witt's Byron Apartments to the right in 2015. Image: Google Maps.
Doug O’Connell’s cluster of 7 10-unit apartments on Byron to the left, and Bertram Witt’s Byron Apartments to the right in 2015. Image: Google Maps.
1963: The Enfield (371 Gilmour, Centretown)
The Enfield, located at 371 Gilmour in Centretown. Image: Google Maps.
The Enfield, located at 371 Gilmour in Centretown. Image: Google Maps (2015).
The Enfield boasted rents of $90 per month. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40.
The Enfield boasted rents starting at $90 per month. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40.

By the beginning of 1963, it had become somewhat clear that while builders had continued to erect new apartments with reckless abandon, vacancy rates were mounting.48”Despite Surplus: Builders Predict Apartment Dearth,” Ottawa Journal, February 22, 1963, p. 1. Jarvis Freedman of Ault-Kinney explained the behaviour as being completely rational and expected: “You have a shortage as we had a few years ago and everyone builds. When they’re all ready you have vacancies. When these fill up you have a shortage and it just keeps on going in this cycle.” On the benefit of supply to the lower end of the market, he continued: “This is where you see rent reductions when landlords have been overcharging and lose their tenants. They bring their rents to a proper level and find new tenants.” Asked whether he was worried, Murray Adkin of Matka Construction said that he will “have not trouble filling apartment buildings and if we did, we wouldn’t be getting another $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 in Ottawa this year.”49Ibid, 5. Famous last words: Adkin and his Matka Construction went bankrupt the following year. It was in this article that Ottawa was introduced to Witt’s newest project, the $350,000, 48 unit apartment at 371 Gilmour: The Enfield.50Ibid. Charles Lynch reported in his column the following day that the building would be 10 storeys.51Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Next Stage of Queensway To Be Open in Fall,” Ottawa Journal, February 23, 1963, p. 23. The Enfield opened to tenants at the end of the summer of 1963.52Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40.

Unlike Witt’s first three buildings, I have not seen anything to suggest that he had constructed it in close proximity to a project completed by O’Connell. As usual, however, O’Connell was involved: The Enfield was a project of Witt’s Pattern Realty, of which O’Connell was listed as a principal.53”Industry Uneasy: Bankruptcy Spate Feared in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1964, p. 4.

1963: The Croydon (201 McLeod, Centretown)
The Croydon Apartments located at 201 McLeod in Centretown. Image: 2015.
The Croydon Apartments located at 201 McLeod in Centretown. I don’t know who designed it, but looking at it, it reminds me somewhat of the Beacon Arms. Image: July 2015.
Advertisement for The Croydon. Source: Ottawa Journal, October 8, 1963, p. 29.
Advertisement for The Croydon. Source: Ottawa Journal, October 8, 1963, p. 29.

In April 1963, the Journal reported that Witt’s Sherbourne Realty had laid foundations for a $1,000,000 12-storey 108-unit apartment at 201 McLeod.54”Expect Record Year in City Building,” Ottawa Journal, April 26, 1963, p. 9. Construction appears to have progressed at the expected pace and was largely uneventful, if not always a good neighbour. The Journal reported that spring that Sherbourne Realty has been “fined a total of $300 in City Police Court …after pleading guilty to two breaches of the city’s noise bylaw. The firm admitted carrying out construction work May 9 and 12 after 9:30 p.m., at 201 McLeod Street within 500 feet of a house.”55”Court News,” Ottawa Journal, May 31, 1963, p. 2. That they were working past 9:30pm is likely – at least in some small part – an indication of how construction of buildings was able to proceed as such a quick pace. In mid-September, Charles Lynch reported that the walls were up on the project.56Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: May Name New Apartment After Late Thomas Ahearn,” Ottawa Journal, September 14, 1963, p. 30. Rents in The Croydon began at $105 per month and the advertising highlighted its location across from Museum Park, with the tagline “12 floors of comfort on the park.”57Ottawa Journal, October 24, 1964, p. 45.

Advertisement for The Croydon, as the dark clouds were gathering. Note the two apartments that are under construction. Source: Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25.
Advertisement for The Croydon, as the dark clouds were gathering. Note the two apartments that are under construction. Source: Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25.
1963: The Westfield (420 Parkdale, Wellington West)
The Westfield, at 420 Parkdale in 2015. Image: Google Maps.
The Westfield, at 420 Parkdale in 2015. Image: Google Maps.
The Westfield's units began at $85 per month. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 13, 1963, p. 52.
The Westfield’s units began at $85 per month. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 13, 1963, p. 52.

As it would be, Witt’s construction program picked up steam along with the the rest of the market. With three completions booked in 1961/62, he would seek to match it, and with larger buildings. In July 1963, the Journal reported that a permit was issued to B.A. Witt Construction for the construction of a $375,000, 12-storey 60-unit apartment building at 420 Parkdale Avenue.58”Forecasts Building Upsurge,” Ottawa Journal, July 10, 1963, p. 3. The project was to begin immediately, and Charles Lynch reported that the architect on the project was the very busy and entirely ubiquitous Ala-Kantti and Liff.59Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Many New Homes Being Built in Ottawa Area,” Ottawa Journal, July 13, 1963, p. 3 1963 in particular was kind to Ala-Kantti and Liff, who not only designed the Westfield that year, but also the Boyd Bros.’ Holland Court at 199 Holland,60Charles Lynch. ” Real Estate: 35,000 in West End Soon To Enjoy Queensway,” Ottawa Journal, July 27, 1963, p. 28. Mastercraft’s The Canadiana at 60 Daly,61Ibid. their Stonecliffe Apartments at 175 Bronson,62Ottawa Journal, June 23, 1963, p. 11. Martin Realty’s The Edwardian at 360 Frank,63Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: External Affairs and Labour to Get New Buildings,” Ottawa Journal, March 16, 1963, p. 31. Kassel Realty’s The Acadian at 153 Nepean,64”New 7-Storey Acadian Transforms Nepean St.,” Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 41. Twin Towers Investments’ Twin Towers Apartments at 13-23 James and 414-424 Gilmour,65Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Expecting Big Hotel Will Open This Year,” Ottawa Journal, August 31, 1963, p. 27. and an unbuilt hotel for Aladdin Investments that was to be located at Rochester and The Queensway.66Ottawa Journal, January 24, 1963, p. 3. The Westfield was ready for occupancy on January 1, 1964.67Ottawa Journal, November 13, 1963, p. 52.

1964: The Kimberly (321 Waverley, Centretown)
The Kimberly, located at 321 Waverley in Centretown in 2015. This was Witt's last completed building. Image: Google Maps.
The Kimberly, located at 321 Waverley in Centretown in 2015. This was Witt’s last completed building. Image: Google Maps.
The Kimberly was completed and ready for occupancy after Witt Construction, Pattern, and Sherbourne declared bankruptcy. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1965, p. 41.
The Kimberly was completed and ready for occupancy after Witt Construction, Pattern, and Sherbourne declared bankruptcy. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1965, p. 41.

On October 26, 1963, Charles Lynch reported what would be Witt’s second last building to be completed (albeit, not by him). The Kimberly, was described simply as a $325,000 apartment being constructed by Sherbourne Realty.68Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Many Changes Noted in 60 Years On Confederation Square,” Ottawa Journal, October 26, 1963, p. 31. By the following January, when the building permit was issued, the plans had been elaborated on: a $400,000 7-storey 72-unit building, and it was to be constructed by Witt’s Pattern Realty.69”Construction in Ottawa Off To A Good Start,” Ottawa Journal, January 24, 1964, p. 21. Given that this was at the end of the construction journey, the number of Mechanics’ Liens, mortgages, and transfers between Pattern and Sherbourne of the project was greater than any of the others. It was when The Kimberly was under construction that a number of claims were filed against Pattern, Sherbourne, and one week following, B.A. Witt Construction. Through the turmoil and change of ownership, the Kimberly was completed in the spring of 1965. Rents in the new apartment began at $115 per month for a one bedroom.70Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1965, p. 41. If you’re interested in some of the more interesting features of The Kimberly, Robert Smythe wrote a fun piece about its Googie-styled canopy. One point of interest is that an advertisement for Martin Fibreglass he reproduced in the story notes that the original design for the canopy was in concrete: a little nod to the Kimberly’s troubled then-recent past?

Fibreglass saves the day! The Kimberly's concrete canopy would have been an unbearable weight. Source: Robert Smythe. "The Kimberly Does the Googie-Woogie," Urbsite (June 6, 2014): http://urbsite.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-kimberly-does-googie-woogie.html.
Fibreglass saves the day! The Kimberly’s concrete canopy would have been an unbearable weight. Source: Robert Smythe. “The Kimberly Does the Googie-Woogie,” Urbsite (June 6, 2014).
1964: The Bronsview (272 Bronson, Centretown/Dalhousie)
The Bronsview, 272 Bronson in 2015. It was under construction in 1964 when Witt's firms went under. Image: Google Maps.
The Bronsview, 272 Bronson in 2015. It was under construction in 1964 when Witt’s firms went under. Image: Google Maps.

Much like the anonymous way in which he entered the construction field with The MacGregor, Witt’s last building was also somewhat anonymous. I was not able to locate a traditional report of his beginning of the project in either the Journal or Citizen – from Charles Lynch or anyone else for that matter. The only place that either mentioned a Witt project on Bronson is in the Journal’s reporting on the bankruptcy proceedings against B.A. Witt Construction.

“President of the company is Bertram A. Witt, who is also president of Sherbourne Realty of Ottawa and Pattern Realty against which petitions were sought last week. The company which is building apartments on Bronson Ave. and Waverley Street, has been in financial difficulty for some time.”71”Another Construction Firm Faces Bankruptcy,” Ottawa Journal, May 14, 1964, p. 3.

Like The Kimberly, The Bronsview was incomplete when Sherbourne, Pattern, and B.A. Witt Const. went bankrupt. Source: Ottawa Journal, May 11, 1965, p. 30.
Like The Kimberly, The Bronsview was incomplete in 1964.  Source: Ottawa Journal, May 11, 1965, p. 30.

As identified above for The Croydon, a small handful of Witt’s advertisements run during the time did identify 272 Bronson as a project that was under construction.72Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25. On November 26, 1963, Pattern Realty purchased Lots 44 and 45 from Consumers’ Gas. By December, a mortgage had been issued by the Ontario Loan and Debenture Company for $575,000 and construction began. As was the case with all of his other properties (save for The Byron), the then-unnamed project was slapped with a considerable number of Mechanics’ Liens, filling numerous pages on the parcel abstract.73Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 3459, Lots 44 & 45, Reel 4AR115. As was the case with The Kimberly, it was completed after the bankruptcy and opened to tenants in the following Spring. Rents at The Bronsview started at $110 per month. Perhaps the Kimberly’s location on Waverley was worth the $5 per month premium.

The Three That Got Away

By hook or by crook, Allan Witt was able to see his vision through, to a large degree. To be certain, there aren’t any interviews or reports committed to paper in which he articulated a vision, but from the speed and scope of his ambitious program, it’s clear that it was something along the lines of “build more. fast.” In addition to the nine Witt projects that were completed, there were at least three more that were reported on in the local papers. Unlike the nine completed, these projects were somewhat different insofar that two were mixed office/apartments, and the other was a hotel and commercial block. In the case of the former two, it may have simply been a case of hedging bets in an uncertain market. For at least one of them, he had completed purchase of the lot in question.

On March 1, 1963, the Roger Appleton of the Ottawa Citizen reported on a $13,000,000 construction tear that was expected to take place in the coming year or so. With the interim zoning bylaw looming, developers had submitted dozens of proposals just before February 25, the day the Board of Control was to “approve the interim bylaw for presentation to City Council.”74Roger Appleton, “Builders crowd to beat heights bylaw deadline,” Ottawa Citizen, March 1, 1963, pp. 1,3. Appleton’s article lists a number of projects, including four of them submitted by Allan Witt. One of them, The Kimberly, is already outlined above.

1963: Office and Apartment (36 MacLaren)

“Witt Construction, $356,000, 10-storey apartment and office building at 36 MacLaren St.”75Appleton (1963): 3.

Given the size of the lot here, I am uncertain whether this was a typo, or simply the centre lot in a what would still be a small assembly. What is on the lot presently is a small infill condominium project that was constructed in 1994.76Natalie Belovic (Rental Listing). Around the time Witt submitted his application, the land was occupied by a small terrace, the most famous of which was 34 MacLaren, home to noted architect Jim Strutt.77Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1963, p. 261.

34 MacLaren, as it appeared from above in 1965. Image: geoOttawa.
36 MacLaren, as it appeared from above in 1965. Image: geoOttawa.

From the looks of the 1991 aerial photos, the Edwardian row that it replaced was still standing, fundamentally unchanged. It would not be until 1994 that the old structure was replaced with the small Postmodern-ish row house infill seen below.

34-40 MacLaren today (April 2015). Image: Google Maps.
34-40 MacLaren today (April 2015). Image: Google Maps.
1963: Office and Apartment (16-22 Stonehurst)

“Witt Construction, $310,000, eight-storey office and apartment building at 16-22 Stonehurst Ave.”78Appleton (1963): 3.

Much like he did for 36 MacLaren, Witt submitted plans for an “office and apartment” at 16-22 Stonehurst Avenue, located at the corner of Burnside in Mechanicsville.79Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51. In 1965, with the exception of a small home at No. 22, it was an empty lot in an area that had been selected for urban renewal process.80Ottawa. Planning Branch, Department of Planning and Works. Analysis of Urban Renewal Surveys, 1959/62. Ottawa: Department of Planning and Works, December 1962. In 1963, City Council gave its blessing to a number of clearance plans in the name of urban renewal, including a number of spots in Mechanicsville.81Tom Kerr. “Riverview Park Public Housing Gets Council OK,” Ottawa Journal, May 22, 1963, pp. 1,5.

What was supposed to be home to an apartment and offices was remained a field in 1965. Image: geoOttawa.
What was cleared by civic action and intended to be home to an apartment and offices was remained cleared land in 1965. Image: geoOttawa.
Ad for the Burnstone. Source: Ottawa Citizen, June 1, 1973, p. 42.
Ad for the Burnstone. Source: Ottawa Citizen, June 1, 1973, p. 42.

With Witt out of the picture as of mid-1964, the lot would have to be transferred to another who was willing to (re)develop the site. I don’t have at the ready detailed information about who constructed the Burnstone, but it was rented out by Levinson-Viner (later Commvesco Levinson Viner, or CLV). It was completed in 1973 and for $160 per month, a one bedroom suite could be rented, hydro and cable included.82Ottawa Journal, April 4, 1973, p. 48; Ottawa Citizen, June 1, 1973, p. 42.

The Burnstone Apartments, 10 Burnside Avenue. Image: Google Maps.
The Burnstone Apartments, 10 Burnside Avenue. Image: Google Maps.
1963: Hotel and Commercial (287 Elgin)

“Sherbourne Realty Ottawa Ltd., $533,306, five-storey motor hotel and commercial block in the Elgin-MacLaren-Gilmour block.”83Appleton (1963): 3.

This was Witt’s one project that may have been considered to capture the public’s imagination. Apartments were sprouting like mushrooms after the rain and, as the foregoing has shown, they were often overlooked or ignored by local reporters. This hotel project was different, however. Aside from Roger Appleton’s March 1, 1963 article quoted above, the Journal’s Charles Lynch reported the same project in his column on April 27.84Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51. On May 5th, it was reported that work on what was characterized by then as a Motel-Hotel would start “shortly.”85”Start Work on Elgin Motel-Hotel,” Ottawa Journal, May 8, 1963, p. 52. The $1,000,000 project necessitated the loss of the Murphy Mansion (among five buildings), so named after its best-known owner, Charles Murphy. Murphy was the MP for Russell from 1908 to 1925, serving at the Postmaster General in 1922.86W.Q. Ketchum. “To Make Way for Motel: Ottawa Landmark Doomed,” Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1963, p. 3.

Witt's Hotel project was to cost Centretown the old Murphy Mansion. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1963, p. 3.
Witt’s Hotel project was to cost Centretown the old Murphy Mansion. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1963, p. 3.

As was the case with all (or nearly all) of Witt’s unbuilt projects, the property was transferred to Sol Shabinsky, whose Glenview Investments was back then a popular source for mortgages. Glenview shared a business address at the time with Madison Investments (200 Cooper, the recently-completed Mark Building),87Ottawa Journal, November 3, 1961, p. 47; Ottawa Journal, November 8, 1961, p. 44. who also had a mortgage on the property.88Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 15558 Lots 9,10,11,12 Elgin E; Lot 54 MacLaren S, Reel 4AR121. I will save it all for a much longer story for later on, but when Shabinsky picked up the project, it became the Ala Kantti and Liff designed Bonaventure Apartments.

Construction of the Bonaventure Apartments did not proceed without some difficulty. While under construction, on March 31, 1966, there was a partial collapse. Source: Robert Smythe. "The Minto Park Disaster," URBSite (November 23, 2013).
Construction of the Bonaventure Apartments did not proceed without some difficulty. While under construction, on March 31, 1966, there was a partial collapse. Source: City of Ottawa Archives / Robert Smythe. “The Minto Park Disaster,” URBSite (November 23, 2013).

Today, it is best known as the Business Inn and home to MacLaren’s pool hall on the ground floor.

The Business Inn, yesterday's Bonaventure and a faithful carrying out of Witt's vision for the site. Image: Google Maps.
The Business Inn, yesterday’s Bonaventure and a faithful carrying out of Witt’s vision for the site. Image: Google Maps.

Bankruptcy

It would be repetitive to detail the mountain of paperwork generated by each of these buildings. For all intents and purposes, it is quite clear that Witt was skilled at having apartments constructed on the quick. Though the speed at which he did was not unheard of, it remains impressive today. It was in the finances that Witt appears to have been lacking in skill and finesse. The abstracts for each of the properties show a large number of mortgages, Witt’s transfer of the buildings between his development companies, numerous pages of Mechanics’ Liens, and finally, following his 1964 Bankruptcy, the transfer of the buildings to other owners, commonly of the Saikley family.

“Too many under-financed and inexperienced builders are competing in the city’s building boom.”

Following the minor recession of 1960-61, the market for apartments in Canada was set alight. 1962 was the first year in which the construction of multi-unit apartment buildings exceeded the single family home. The trend line continued skyward, with apartments remaining the single most common form of housing constructed until 1974.89Canada. Statistics Canada. Evolution of Housing in Canada, 1957-2014. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. March 31, 2016. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015007-eng.htm. While these were surely salad days, the market was also exceptionally competitive and a number of inexperienced builders were poised to be squeezed out of the market.

Just when the market was taking off, the Ottawa Journal ran a number of articles expressing anxiety about the prospect for “bankruptcy spate” among Ottawa builders. 1963 saw the bankruptcy of 25 construction companies and the bankruptcy of Matka Construction90Matka was best known for the Saville Apartments behind Carlingwood Mall and left 139 contractors out $500,000.2015Saville raised alarm bells. The Journal spoke with Thomas Fuller, the president of the Ottawa Builder’s Exchange in 1964. He suggested that there were “too many under-financed and inexperienced builders” in the Ottawa market. He continued, claiming that the market was “more highly competitive than at any time in Ottawa’s history, including the depression years.” He went on, waxing nostalgic about past builders, arguing that they “were more experienced and well financed,” while “[today] we have companies starting to build without having enough money to finish the job so they’re bound to get hurt.” It was reported in that same article that Witt’s two companies – Pattern Realty and Sherbourne Realty had petitions filed against them.91”Industry Uneasy: Bankruptcy Spate Feared in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1964, p. 4

Most of this page's square inches would experience bankruptcy within weeks of its appearance. Matka, who built the Voyageur and Saville commenced with proceedings at the end of April and Witt did so in the second half of May. Source: Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25.
Most of this page’s square inches would experience bankruptcy within weeks of its appearance. Matka, who built the Voyageur and Saville commenced with proceedings at the end of April and Witt did so in the second half of May. Source: Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25.

Five days later, the Journal reported that B.A. Witt Construction itself was facing bankruptcy proceedings “following a petition on behalf of Glebe Electric.”92”Another Construction Firm Faces Bankruptcy,” Ottawa Journal, May 14, 1964, p. 3/ The Notice to Creditors was published in the local papers that July, with Ginsberg, Gluzman, and Company handling the file.93Ottawa Journal, July 2, 1964, p. 51. If the bankruptcy itself weren’t sufficient, Witt found himself in the Ottawa Magistrate Court for a failure to turn over $1,055 in income taxes deducted from employee salaries at Witt Construction.94”Court News,” Ottawa Journal, July 13, 1964, p. 2 Aside from the buildings above, Witt had also mortgaged a number of properties along Trojan Avenue,95 which were liquidated by the Huron and Erie Mortgage Corporation that August.96”Mortgage Sale,” Ottawa Jornal, August 11, 1964, p. 29. Pattern Realty’s Bankruptcy notice was published on September 28.97”Notice to Creditors,” Ottawa Journal, September 28, 1964, p. 45.

With that, Witt officially departed the property development industry (or at least within Ottawa, and as a public face). In the 1965 edition of Might’s Ottawa City Directory, Witt was identified as both a construction/contractor and as an official of the Canada (Canadian?) Scholarship Foundation.98Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1965. The voters’ list, on the other hand, identified him as a restaurant owner.99Canada Elections Act, Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton. City of Ottawa, Urban Polling Division No. 210, p. 2. LAC RG 113-B. In 1966, the family had left Ottawa for Montreal,100Allan is identified as a sales representative and his wife Elizabeth, a stenographer. The couple lived at 69 Pardo Avenue, Apartment 201. See Canada Elections Act, Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Electoral District of Lachine. City of Pointe-Claire. Urban Polling No. 186. LAC RG 113-B. selling the home at 648 Golden to Gordon and Virginia Lloyd.101Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1966. Montreal was good to Witt and by 1972, his occupation was listed as an assistant district manager and the couple was able to bankroll a new home in suburban Dollard-des-Ormeaux, just north of Pointe-Claire.102Canada Elections Act. Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Dollard Electoral District, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Urban Polling Division No. 325, p. 3. By the end of that decade, Witt and his family had relocated from Montreal to Burlington, Ontario. His occupation there was listed in Vernon’s Directory as a salesman for R.L. Crain, the now defunct Ottawa-based business form company. He retired in 1991.103”WITT, Bertram Montague (Monty),” Ottawa Journal, September 4, 1979, p. 67; Vernon’s Burlington and Hamilton Suburban Directory, 1979, 1988, 1991, 1992, 2011.

Perhaps most interestingly (given his past life) Witt has come out against a condominium development on Burlington's waterfront.
Perhaps most interestingly (given his past life) Witt has come out against a condominium development on Burlington’s waterfront. Source: saveourwaterfront.ca.

To better picture how and where Witt’s short construction spree changed the face of the city, I have provided a map below.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Chelsea Apartments, 283 MacLaren is located on Plan 15558, Lot 45, Maclaren North side.
2. Spelled “Allen” on occasion.
3. I don’t have a solid birth date available, but his father married in 1926, he was a Sea Scout through the War, and he married in 1956. He is listed as living with his parents on the 1949 Voters’ List, which would make him at least 21 at the time. See Finally Revised Urban Geographical List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton, City of Ottawa. Urban Polling Division No. 95, p. 1
4. 1911 England Census, RG 14, Piece 2582 [Ancestry.ca]; Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1912, p. 830.
5. Monty’s attestation papers indicate his address to be 279 Fifth Avenue in the Glebe. At the time, it was located to the west of Mutchmor Public School and to the east of Percy. The current 279 Fifth was constructed much later. See. LAC RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930-35 [Ancestry.ca]
6. Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Marriages, Series MS932, Reel 750 [Ancestry.ca].
7. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1940, 1959, 1960, 1967.
8. Monty did not, in turn, follow in his father’s footsteps either. Betrtam John Witt, Monty’s father, was a carpenter who quickly found work as a carpenter at such concerns as the Château Laurier and the Library Bureau. He later found work as a clerk with National Defence. He died on July 5, 1958. See Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1923; Ottawa Journal, July 7, 1958, p. 24.
9. Allen was identified as a book keeper on the 1949 Voters’ List.  See Finally Revised Urban Geographical List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton, City of Ottawa. Urban Polling Division No. 95, p. 1
10.
11.
12. See Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960.
13. ”St. Patrick’s Church Scene of Witt-O’Connell Wedding,” Ottawa Journal, September 22, 1956, p. 12.
14.
15. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1962
16. Preston & Lieff had the glass contracts for a large number of projects, such as the following. Harold Robertson Ltd. (Royal Tea Co.), 173 Bank, Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1952, p. 12; The Dinette, 134 Sparks, Ottawa Journal, October 9, 1952, p. 7; Underwood Typewriters, 222 Laurier W., Ottawa Journal, February 10, 1953, p. 11; Shell Station, Eastview, Ottawa Journal, May 27, 1953, p. 13; Stevenson’s Drugs, 350 Elgin, Ottawa Journal, May 29, 1953, p. 9; Wallack’s Art Gallery, Bank Street, Ottawa Journal, June 15, 1953, p. 7; Eastview Public School, new wing, Ottawa Journal, November 12, 1953, p. 36; White Rose Station, 1346 Wellington, Ottawa Journal, November 25, 1953, p. 9; Loblaws, Billings Bridge, Ottawa Journal, November 17, 1955, p. 36; Clark Dairy Plant, Churchill Ave, Ottawa Journal, November 23, 1955, p.13; Dover’s, Westboro, Ottawa Journal, December 9, 1955, p. 11; St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Woodroffe, Ottawa Journal, December 17, 1955, p. 9; St. Patrick’s School, Ottawa Journal, January 14, 1956, p. 19; The Commonwealth Building, Metcalfe, Ottawa Journal, April 14, 1956, p. 9; National Brake and Clutch, 584 Wellington, Ottawa Journal, April 18, 1956, pp. 12-13; Computing Devices Canada, Bell’s Corners, Ottawa Journal, June 15, 1956, p.17; Nettleton’s Jewelry, Bank St., Ottawa Journal, September 17, 1956, p. 12; McArthur Plaza, Eastview, Ottawa Journal, July 9, 1959, p. 9; Elgin Housewares, Westgate Mall, Ottawa Journal, September 3, 1959, p. 9; Colonel By Towers, Bronson and Holmwood, Ottawa Journal, November 16, 1959, p. 16; Shane Distributors / VW Distribution Centre, St. Laurent, Ottawa Journal, November 5, 1962, p. 16;Ot 
17. O’Connell’s fingerprints are all over Ottawa developments during the 1950s. This includes such large projects as the Eastwood Park Apartments and the Beacon Arms Hotel.
18. Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40. The buildings advertised as having units available in the Wakefield, the MacGregor, the Byron, and the Enfield. 420 Parkdale (The Westfield), and The Croydon are advertised as coming soon.
19. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 14349, Lot 10, Reel 4AR121.
20. Ottawa Journal, November 28, 1960.
21. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1962.
22. The “also” refers to James Beach’s demolition of Thomas “Carbide” Wilson’s Apsley Hall, which was located at the north west corner of Metcalfe and Lisgar. The apartment constructed is the Algonquin. See “Ottawa Building Trade Ready for Active Year,” Ottawa Journal, February 22, 1961, p. 29.
23. ”Eminent Ottawa Surgeon Dr. Charles A. Young Dies,” Ottawa Journal, August 31, 1959, p. 5.
24. ”Dr. Young Estate $76,497,” Ottawa Journal, November 16, 1959, p. 5.
25. ”Permit Issued For Apartments,” Ottawa Citizen, March 15, 1961, p. 3.
26. ”Another Building Wave Under Way For District,” Ottawa Citizen, May 18, 1961, p. 8.
27. Ottawa Journal, September 9, 1961, p. 23.
28. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1961; Ottawa Journal, December 15, 1961, p. 11.
29. Ottawa Journal, April 16, 1909, p. 1; Ottawa Journal, February 29, 1908, p. 1.
30. ”Board of Control Briefs,” Ottawa Journal, November 15, 1961, p. 5; “Board Notes: Garbagemen in a Pickle,” Ottawa Citizen, November 15, 1961, p. 5.
31. Plan 15558 Lot 52 MacLaren South, Reel 4AR 123.
32. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 40,600 Homes in Ottawa, Up 23,900 in 15 Years,” Ottawa Journal, March 3, 1962, p. 26.
33. Canada. Copyright Board Canada. File 2005-UO/TI-01. January 26, 2005. http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/unlocatable-introuvables/licences/147-e.pdf.
34. Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1962, p. 37.
35. Plan 15558 Lot 52 MacLaren South, Reel 4AR 123.
36. Stephen Bindman. “Man found slain in apartment,” Ottawa Citizen, October 11, 1983, p. 19.
37. ”Man charged with murder,” Ottawa Citizen, October 12, 1983, p. 33.
38. ”Accused in strangling fit to stand trial,” Ottawa Citizen, October 13, 1983, p. 25.
39. Stephen Bindman. “Killer gets two years,” Ottawa Citizen, August 15, 1984, p. 25.
40. ”Applies for Permit,” Ottawa Journal, October 18, 1958, p. 45.
41. Ottawa Journal, November 23, 1926, p. 7; Ottawa Journal, December 14, 1926, p. 17; “R.M. McMorran Widely Mourned,” Ottawa Journal, September 25, 1935, p. 19; “R.M. McMorran Leaves $253,617 To Grandchildren,” Ottawa Journal, November 12, 1935, p. 1. The_Ottawa_Journal_Tue__Nov_23__1926_Page_7
42. Ottawa Journal, May 31, 1954, p. 17; Ottawa Journal, Ottawa Journal, October 9, 1954, p. 7; Ottawa Journal, November 6, 1954, p. 4; Ottawa Journal, July 6, 1955, p. 7; April 3, 1965, p. 69.
43. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145).
44. ”Construction in Ottawa On Decline,” Ottawa Journal, May 4, 1962, p. 4.
45. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Summer Cottage Business Major Industry in Ottawa Area,” Ottawa Journal, May 5, 1962, p. 28.
46. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145).
47. The land on which The Byron and those apartments were constructed was initially the Honeywell Farm, which they sold to a consortium of investors in 1953 to plan and develop the Carlingwood / Westwood subdivision. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block J (Reel 4AR145); “$636,500 Transfer Tops November Deals,” Ottawa Journal, January 19, 1956, p. 20.
48. ”Despite Surplus: Builders Predict Apartment Dearth,” Ottawa Journal, February 22, 1963, p. 1.
49. Ibid, 5. Famous last words: Adkin and his Matka Construction went bankrupt the following year.
50. Ibid.
51. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Next Stage of Queensway To Be Open in Fall,” Ottawa Journal, February 23, 1963, p. 23.
52. Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 40.
53. ”Industry Uneasy: Bankruptcy Spate Feared in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1964, p. 4.
54. ”Expect Record Year in City Building,” Ottawa Journal, April 26, 1963, p. 9.
55. ”Court News,” Ottawa Journal, May 31, 1963, p. 2.
56. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: May Name New Apartment After Late Thomas Ahearn,” Ottawa Journal, September 14, 1963, p. 30.
57. Ottawa Journal, October 24, 1964, p. 45.
58. ”Forecasts Building Upsurge,” Ottawa Journal, July 10, 1963, p. 3.
59. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Many New Homes Being Built in Ottawa Area,” Ottawa Journal, July 13, 1963, p. 3
60. Charles Lynch. ” Real Estate: 35,000 in West End Soon To Enjoy Queensway,” Ottawa Journal, July 27, 1963, p. 28.
61. Ibid.
62. Ottawa Journal, June 23, 1963, p. 11.
63. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: External Affairs and Labour to Get New Buildings,” Ottawa Journal, March 16, 1963, p. 31.
64. ”New 7-Storey Acadian Transforms Nepean St.,” Ottawa Journal, July 30, 1963, p. 41.
65. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Expecting Big Hotel Will Open This Year,” Ottawa Journal, August 31, 1963, p. 27.
66. Ottawa Journal, January 24, 1963, p. 3.
67. Ottawa Journal, November 13, 1963, p. 52.
68. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Many Changes Noted in 60 Years On Confederation Square,” Ottawa Journal, October 26, 1963, p. 31.
69. ”Construction in Ottawa Off To A Good Start,” Ottawa Journal, January 24, 1964, p. 21.
70. Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1965, p. 41.
71. ”Another Construction Firm Faces Bankruptcy,” Ottawa Journal, May 14, 1964, p. 3.
72. Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1964, p. 25.
73. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 3459, Lots 44 & 45, Reel 4AR115.
74. Roger Appleton, “Builders crowd to beat heights bylaw deadline,” Ottawa Citizen, March 1, 1963, pp. 1,3.
75. Appleton (1963): 3.
76. Natalie Belovic (Rental Listing).
77. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1963, p. 261.
78. Appleton (1963): 3.
79. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51.
80. Ottawa. Planning Branch, Department of Planning and Works. Analysis of Urban Renewal Surveys, 1959/62. Ottawa: Department of Planning and Works, December 1962.
81. Tom Kerr. “Riverview Park Public Housing Gets Council OK,” Ottawa Journal, May 22, 1963, pp. 1,5.
82. Ottawa Journal, April 4, 1973, p. 48; Ottawa Citizen, June 1, 1973, p. 42.
83. Appleton (1963): 3.
84. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51.
85. ”Start Work on Elgin Motel-Hotel,” Ottawa Journal, May 8, 1963, p. 52.
86. W.Q. Ketchum. “To Make Way for Motel: Ottawa Landmark Doomed,” Ottawa Journal, July 4, 1963, p. 3.
87. Ottawa Journal, November 3, 1961, p. 47; Ottawa Journal, November 8, 1961, p. 44.
88. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 15558 Lots 9,10,11,12 Elgin E; Lot 54 MacLaren S, Reel 4AR121.
89. Canada. Statistics Canada. Evolution of Housing in Canada, 1957-2014. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. March 31, 2016. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015007-eng.htm.
90. Matka was best known for the Saville Apartments behind Carlingwood Mall and left 139 contractors out $500,000.2015Saville
91. ”Industry Uneasy: Bankruptcy Spate Feared in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1964, p. 4
92. ”Another Construction Firm Faces Bankruptcy,” Ottawa Journal, May 14, 1964, p. 3/
93. Ottawa Journal, July 2, 1964, p. 51.
94. ”Court News,” Ottawa Journal, July 13, 1964, p. 2
95.
96. ”Mortgage Sale,” Ottawa Jornal, August 11, 1964, p. 29.
97. ”Notice to Creditors,” Ottawa Journal, September 28, 1964, p. 45.
98. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1965.
99. Canada Elections Act, Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Electoral District of Carleton. City of Ottawa, Urban Polling Division No. 210, p. 2. LAC RG 113-B.
100. Allan is identified as a sales representative and his wife Elizabeth, a stenographer. The couple lived at 69 Pardo Avenue, Apartment 201. See Canada Elections Act, Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Electoral District of Lachine. City of Pointe-Claire. Urban Polling No. 186. LAC RG 113-B.
101. Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa, 1966.
102. Canada Elections Act. Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Dollard Electoral District, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Urban Polling Division No. 325, p. 3.
103. ”WITT, Bertram Montague (Monty),” Ottawa Journal, September 4, 1979, p. 67; Vernon’s Burlington and Hamilton Suburban Directory, 1979, 1988, 1991, 1992, 2011.

2 Comments

  1. I live in 283 MacLaren, have for a few years. As a longtime downtown resident, but a transplant from southern Ontario, I am intrigued at the way the city has developed and many of the 1950-60’s buildings are an essential aspect of that development Thanks for this article and your research. A very interesting read!

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