Mayor Lewis on Housing (1946)

Ottawa Mayor, J.E. Stanley Lewis on December 15, 1946. Image: City of Ottawa Archives MG393-AN-P-000242-003.

It should  come as no surprise that the end of the Second World War changed the tone of Mayor Stanley Lewis’ subsequent inaugural address, given on January 7.

Gentlemen:

It is seven years since this Council held and inaugural meeting with our country at peace, and since it has been possible to with you a Happy New Year without the fears that attend wars even victory seems sure to be ours. For this victory it is seemly to express our thanks to God and to record our gratitude to the forces of Canada and our allies, with the prayer that we will prove worthy of victory and to have the capacity for peace.

The change from war to peace has also changed the prospect for this Municipal Council, gentlemen. During the last six years I believe we did the only thing feasible in maintaining a policy of prudence in all our civic undertakings. At the same time at the last election, foreseeing the end of the war, we did prepare the groundwork for some postwar projects. It is not out of place for me to remind you Ottawa was the only city in the province to approve such a plan during the war years.

Now it is time to be getting on with these schemes. Already, of course, a Committee of this Council is working to that end. The Commissioner of Works is preparing a report on work which can be undertaken by his Department this year and is making for our use a study of available supplies and labour.

Bear in mind that careful planning must continue to be our policy for we see ahead of us all the demands for services and public works that will be made by a city growing in extent and keeping up with standards that are ever higher and greater as scientific discoveries and the amenities of civilization set the pace.1Minutes of the Council of the Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the year 1946 (Ottawa: City of Ottawa, 1947): 25-7.

And that’s it: the following page in the Minutes features the second appendix for the first meeting: an agreement between the Dominion and City of Ottawa for the then-new PILT agreement.2Many more details were at play, but it was a 5-year agreement that saw the Dominion transfer to Ottawa $300,000 annually. What was reproduced in the Minutes appears to be complete as neither the Journal3”Mayor Lewis Calls for Start On City of Ottawa Projects,” Ottawa Journal, January 8, 1946, p. 16. nor the Citizen4”Post-War Program for City Outlined To Ottawa Council; Get On With Work Now, States Mayor,” Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 1946, p. 11. report that Lewis mentioned housing at all in his speech. In the joy of the war ending, an explicit mention of housing as a priority fell off the agenda.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Minutes of the Council of the Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the year 1946 (Ottawa: City of Ottawa, 1947): 25-7.
2. Many more details were at play, but it was a 5-year agreement that saw the Dominion transfer to Ottawa $300,000 annually.
3. ”Mayor Lewis Calls for Start On City of Ottawa Projects,” Ottawa Journal, January 8, 1946, p. 16.
4. ”Post-War Program for City Outlined To Ottawa Council; Get On With Work Now, States Mayor,” Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 1946, p. 11.

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