From East(wood) Park to West(wood) Park

Westwood Park (now Byron West) Apartments, 950-980 Byron Avenue.
Westwood Park (now Byron West) Apartments, 950-980 Byron Avenue.

If you will remember my “Ottawa’s Apartments, 1955” piece a few days ago, you’ll probably remember that Doug O’Connell was a busy man during the 1950s and 1960s. Whether it be alone, or with his brother in law Allan Witt, O’Connell had his fingers in a tremendous number of pies through those years. As part of my own efforts to untangle the seemingly anonymous development the apartment clusters in Laurentian View, I was able to put a name to the cluster of 7 ten-unit apartments along Byron that lies between Sherbourne Road and the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral.

The Journal's reproduction of the Honeywell Farm / Westwood plan.
The Journal’s reproduction of the Honeywell Farm / Westwood plan. In this case, we’re looking at Block ‘H’. The plan was developed by G.C. McRostie, N.B. McRostie’s nephew. Source: Ottawa Journal, October 27, 1953, p. 20.

The apartments constructed at Block ‘H’ on the Westwood Interests’ plan were under construction, but not filled until October 1955, so were not listed in Might’s edition for that year. As such, they did not factor into the list of buildings for 1955.

Westwood Park (now Byron West) Apartments, 1958. Image: geoOttawa.
Westwood Park (now Byron West) Apartments, 1958. Image: geoOttawa.

On March 11, 1955, builder Douglas W. O’Connell purchased the whole of Block H from Westwood Lands Ltd. for $43,200.1Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block H, Reel 4AR115. Subject to McKellar’s building restrictions, O’Connell set to repeat what had at that point marked one of his greatest successes: the completion of his 19 building development at Eastview (Vanier), which he dubbed the Eastwood Park Apartments. Most appropriately, this apartment cluster was dubbed the Westwood Park Apartments. Given the relative opacity of interest and relationship in the land development industry at the time (ie. “interlocking directorships”)2The Ottawa Land Enquiry found a confusing mess, but nothing illegal in these schemes. I do intend to collect the exhibits and evidence submitted to the enquiry, which should provide much detail. See M.A. Seymour. Ottawa Land Enquiry: Report of the Commissioner, M.A. Seymour, Esq., Q.C. 1953. City of Ottawa Archives Accession 2010.0049.1 Box A2010-0431 File 2010.0049.1.1.1. it is not entirely clear to me if the Eastwood/Westwood naming convention was a happy accident, if O’Connell was a partner in – or otherwise involved with Westwood Interests, or if this was the name desired by his client (if they were indeed clients and O’Connell was not engaging in speculative building): Honeywell Investments.

Eastwood Gardens. Image: June 2015.
Eastwood Park Apartments. O’Connell used the same plans/model of building for his Westwood Park project. Image: June 2016.
"Constructed by D.W. O'Connell" Source: Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 1955, p. 42.
“Constructed by D.W. O’Connell” Source: Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 1955, p. 42.

The Westwood Park Apartments, like their eastern counterparts, came complete with the sorts of feature that were expected from O’Connell’s apartments. These included his preferred Youngstown kitchens, the pack-in Venetian blinds, Terrazzo in the high traffic public areas, tiled bathrooms, Jaspe tile floors, and the labour-saving garbage chute. Without splashy full-page ads run in either the Journal or the Citizen, the sort of effusive ad copy that marked other developments is not available. Rents at Westwood Park ran higher than they did at Eastwood Park, starting at $98.50 per month and running up to $110 per month.3Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 1955, p. 42 After having filled the units satisfactorily, O’Connell was ready to sell. On November 1, 1955, O’Connell sold the entire development to Frederick E., Edwin H., and William R. Honeywell’s Honeywell Investments for $636,500.4Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan Plan 314928, Block H, Reel 4AR115. The sale of the apartments was the largest that month.5”$636,500 Transfer Tops November Deals,” Ottawa Journal, January 19, 1956, p. 20.

Westwood Park Apartments from above, 2015. Image: Google Maps.
Westwood Park Apartments from above, 2015. Image: Google Maps.

As is the case with other clusters along Byron, current interiors of the Westwood Park Apartments may be seen on the webpage of the owner/landlord.

"Westwood Park" as a neighbourhood (or community) name did briefly catch on. Source: Ottawa Journal, June 13, 1961, p. 3.
“Westwood Park” as a neighbourhood (or community) name did briefly catch on. Source: Ottawa Journal, June 13, 1961, p. 3.

I should note that “Westwood Park” is an example of a real estate investment name catching on, at least temporarily. A search of the Journal and the Citizen shows that the name began with advertisements for O’Connell’s apartment buildings,6See ads above, and see Ottawa Journal, October 15, 1955, p. 27. but was as early as 1958 picked up by real estate agents in their ads for homes in the area.7Ottawa Journal, August 11, 1958, p. 22.By 1960, reporting had come to refer to the area as such,8Ottawa Journal, June 14, 1960, p. 3. and it had become sufficiently common that in 1961, residents of the neighbourhood formed the Westwood Park Community Association.9Ottawa Journal, January 7, 1961, p. 30. Just two years following, it seems to be the case that the “Park” was dropped from the community at large and it became more frequently used to refer specifically to the public park located at Saville and Blackfriars, which is consistent with today’s state of affairs. Between 1963 and 1967, reporting on the neighbourhood tended to alternate between “Carlingwood” and “Woodroffe”.10”Promoting Junior Tennis Aim of Parks Committee,” Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1963, p. 27; “Woodroffe LL Opening Set For Saturday,” Ottawa Journal, June 11, 1963, p. 13; “Woodroffe – A Happy Haven For Fun-Loving Children,” Ottawa Journal, July 15, 1963, p. 17; “Mayor Threatens Action,” Ottawa Journal, March 20, 1964, p. 4; “Girls’ Registration At Woodroffe Tonight,” Ottawa Journal, May 11, 1966, p. 27. “Westwood Park” was also used briefly to identify a subdivision in Carp in 1974.11Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1974, p. 44.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan 314928, Block H, Reel 4AR115.
2. The Ottawa Land Enquiry found a confusing mess, but nothing illegal in these schemes. I do intend to collect the exhibits and evidence submitted to the enquiry, which should provide much detail. See M.A. Seymour. Ottawa Land Enquiry: Report of the Commissioner, M.A. Seymour, Esq., Q.C. 1953. City of Ottawa Archives Accession 2010.0049.1 Box A2010-0431 File 2010.0049.1.1.1.
3. Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 1955, p. 42
4. Ottawa Land Registry Office, Plan Plan 314928, Block H, Reel 4AR115.
5. ”$636,500 Transfer Tops November Deals,” Ottawa Journal, January 19, 1956, p. 20.
6. See ads above, and see Ottawa Journal, October 15, 1955, p. 27.
7. Ottawa Journal, August 11, 1958, p. 22.
8. Ottawa Journal, June 14, 1960, p. 3.
9. Ottawa Journal, January 7, 1961, p. 30.
10. ”Promoting Junior Tennis Aim of Parks Committee,” Ottawa Journal, April 30, 1963, p. 27; “Woodroffe LL Opening Set For Saturday,” Ottawa Journal, June 11, 1963, p. 13; “Woodroffe – A Happy Haven For Fun-Loving Children,” Ottawa Journal, July 15, 1963, p. 17; “Mayor Threatens Action,” Ottawa Journal, March 20, 1964, p. 4; “Girls’ Registration At Woodroffe Tonight,” Ottawa Journal, May 11, 1966, p. 27.
11. Ottawa Journal, February 15, 1974, p. 44.

2 Comments

  1. My family moved into 980 Byron Avenue apt 8 in 1955 as my father was hired to manage the Camera Department at the new Simpsons Sears. Many photos and fond memories!

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank-you for sharing! It seems like that was such an exciting area to set up in during the time. I’ll bet your collection of photos provides a great peek into the area too!

      -Chris

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