Ottawa’s Building Permits, 1947


City of Ottawa, Development, Ottawa / Sunday, December 4th, 2016
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?

Since my thesis has to do with the early years affordable rental housing initiatives in Ottawa, there were two. The single largest permit issued by the City of Ottawa in 1947 was for the Mann Avenue Project. Better known today as Strathcona Heights, the project was originally comprised of 64 buildings for a total of 418 apartments. As one of the last planned during the short existence of Housing Enterprises Limited, it was subsequently taken over by the CMHC and seen to completion.1There is much more to write about the project, but I did put a little something together in my story “Ottawa’s Apartments, 1955” this summer.

Two of Economy Housing Limited's shoe box homes. Image: Google Maps (April 2009).
Two of Economy Housing Limited’s shoe box homes. Image: Google Maps (April 2009).

The second initiative was led by a private sector consortium headed by William Hayley, son of Harry Hayley, Ottawa’s cinderblock king, and was dubbed Economy Housing Limited. The project’s point was, in short, to demonstrate that the private for profit housing sector was capable of solving the housing crisis of the day.2There are many more details to the project, but the goal was to demonstrate that basic homes of about the same size could be constructed for about half the cost of those on Merivale. “Company Formed to Build 35 Cinder Block Houses,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1947, p. 13; “Houses for 33 Veterans,” Ottawa Journal, September 15, 1947, p. 4. In both of these cases, the project’s successes and failures were instructive to the limited dividend approach that was ultimately taken by Charlotte Whitton and Cecil Morrison for the Ottawa Lowren (“Low Rent” or “Low Rental”) Housing Company.

OwnerDescriptionLocationValue
A. MolotStores and 3 Apartment BuildingBank Street30000
Loblaw Groceterias Co.Repairs to Stores and Apartment BuildingBank Street25000
Lumor Realty Corp.Addition to StoresSlater Street20000
Canadian National RailwaysHotel Alterations (Cocktail Lounge)Wellington Street75000
Mrs. George StevensHotel Alterations (Cocktail Lounge)Sparks Street20000
Grey Nuns of the CrossAddition to Boiler House of HospitalCambridge Street24000
E. ClaudeAlterations to Apartment BuildingDaly Avenue22000
The Citizen PublishingAddition to Office BuildingQueen Street50000
Bell Telephone CompanyAlterations to Two Storey Office BuildingFirst Avenue60000
Royal Bank of CanadaNew One Storey Bank BuildingWellington Street20000
Bradings Capital BreweryFour Storey Storage and Fermentation BuildingWellington Street400000
Bradings Capital BreweryAlterations to Storage BuildingWellington Street50000
M.W. KosubSingle residenceRange Road15500
P. Horowitz, R. McClellandFour Storey Apartment Building (15 Apartments)Chapel Street70000
Capuchin FathersAlterations to Church EntranceWellington Street22000
H. Racine & LandrevilleTwo Storey Funeral Parlour with Three ApartmentsBesserer Street45000
E. JabourStore Wellington Street21000
Jas. BeauchampAddition to Store and Office BuildingWellington Street30000
Dr. & Mrs. EamanAltering Duplex to 5 ApartmentsFirst Avenue15000
Mrs. J.M. HillSingle ResidenceOpenogo Road18000
International HarvesterTwo Storey Office, Showroom, Service and WarehouseCarling Avenue450000
M. Landreville, Sr.Three Storey and Basement Public GarageAlbert Street80000
H.H. SugarmanStoreRideau Street28000
Chas. Ogilvie Ltd.Alterations to Workshop Machinery Bldg.Rideau Street20500
United Century Theatres Ltd.Addition to TheatreElgin Street40000
H. ThomsFive Suite Apartment BuildingHawthorne Avenue20000
University of OttawaOffice BuildingStewart Street50000
R. BeachSingle ResidenceRuskin Avenue18000
P. SinclairDouble ResidenceHerridge Street15000
J.R. Beach & R.C. GreigEight Storey Apartment Building, 56 SuitesMetcalfe Street400000
A.J. Freiman Ltd.Garage, one StoreyYork Street20000
McFarlane PropAlterations to Public GarageLaurier Avenue West19500
Chateau Cheese Co.Addition to Mfg. Bldg.York Street15000
T.F. AhearnAlterations to Single ResidenceRideau Gate15000
Corporation of OttawaNew Pathology Laboratory, Civic HospitalCarling Avenue161848
Department of Public WorksAlteratons to Government MintSussex Street15700
Murphy-GambleAddition to Department StoreSparks Street75000
L. WolfeNew Theatre BuildingBank Street60000
Dr. L.W. NixonSingle Residence to Nine SuitesBronson Avenue20000
W. LegereNew Office BuildingBayswater Avenue22000
Northern Electric Co.New Office and Warehouse BuildingCatherine Street103000
W.T. TouheyHotel AdditionDaly Avenue18000
Wm. SparksAddition to Garage and WorkshopBreezehill Avenue15000
Capital Wire Cloth & Mfg. Co.Addition to Mfg. Bldg.Hinton Avenue38500
H. St. LouisTwo Storey, Two Stores and ApartmentWellington Street15000
Economy Housing LimitedThirty-three new Single residencesLees Avenue99000
E.B. MilksApartment Building, Six SuitesSomerset Street East20000
L. PetergorskyFive Storey Apartment Bldg., Five SuitesDaly Avenue250000
McMullen Perkins Ltd.Addition to Machine ShopLaurier Avenue West15000
Trinity Anglican ChurchRepairs to ChurchBank Street75000
H.K. PhillipsStoreWellington Street20000
University of OttawaAddition to Office BuildingStewart Street20000
Wartime Housing Ltd.Sixty-four Apartment Bldgs., 418 SuitesMann Avenue2000000
P. WeltmanNew Two Storey Store and Bowling AlleyRideau Street100000
Kemp EdwardsOne Storey Office and Storage BuildingBayswater Avenue17500
Hon. A.C. HardyRepairs to Store and Office BuildingSparks Street32000
Muream RealtyElevator Top in Dept. StoreSparks Street40000
E.R. Fisher Ltd.Alterations to StoreSparks Street100000
Bradings Capital BreweryAlterations to BreweryWellington Street150000
Dept. of Public WorksRepairs to N.R.C. LaboratorySussex Street130000
A.J. Freiman Ltd.Alterations to Department StoreRideau Street150000

Notes   [ + ]

1. There is much more to write about the project, but I did put a little something together in my story “Ottawa’s Apartments, 1955” this summer.
2. There are many more details to the project, but the goal was to demonstrate that basic homes of about the same size could be constructed for about half the cost of those on Merivale. “Company Formed to Build 35 Cinder Block Houses,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1947, p. 13; “Houses for 33 Veterans,” Ottawa Journal, September 15, 1947, p. 4.

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