It has not been often that I’ve posted “then and now” photos here on Margins. While browsing the photographs that have been digitized by the Toronto Public Library this evening, I was reminded of one of the more influential-to-me discussion threads on the Urban Toronto boards: Miscellany Toronto Photographs: Then and Now. Although it has slowed down considerably in recent times, the nearly 900 page discussion is a rich one.
1941 Ottawa was Wartime Ottawa. Of the top five building permits issued that year, four were issued to the Dominion Government to accommodate the expansion is wartime bureaucracy, and of those four, three were for the wooden so-called wartime “temporary” buildings.
Moving on back, the list of “important” building permits issued in 1944 was a short one, with just 22 in total and a minimum value of $12,000.
Although the Second World War had ended the previous year, in 1946, shifting Canada’s economy back from wartime production had proven a somewhat lengthier enterprise. Both materials and capital remained in short supply and, in spite of exceptional need, construction had not yet picked up. In spite of this, there were a few bright spots in Ottawa’s construction industry.
“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?
Continuing to work back on the building permits issued by the City of Ottawa, what really stands out about 1948 is that there were comparatively few large-scale or expensive projects that year. At $1,188,000, the construction of Fisher Park (Collegiate) High was the most expensive project and Ottawa’s first Comprehensive high school.1Janet Keith. The Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa: A Short History, 1843-1969 (Ottawa: Kent Reproduction, 1970): 37.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↥||Janet Keith. The Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa: A Short History, 1843-1969 (Ottawa: Kent Reproduction, 1970): 37.|
As a follow-up on yesterday’s transcription of a list of building permits issued in 1950, I have done the same for 1949.
Earlier this year in a pique of what I can only describe as a mixture of frustration about a lack of data and nostalgia for some of my field’s roots, I began to harvest more data about Ottawa’s development. It may have been a matter of being dissatisfied with the broad, sweeping motions and proclamations we make about the nature of midcentury development or maybe I just wanted to play with spreadsheets and pie charts like previous generations of urban historians did. Whatever the motivation, I got my wish and wrote stories like Ottawa’s Apartments, 1945, Ottawa’s Apartment’s, 1955, Laurentian View’s Apartments, 1955, From East(wood) Park to West(wood) Park, and The Alta-Vista Drive Apartments and the Alta-Vista Shopping Centre (1956).
I first encountered the above image of Bell’s Corners1I categorically refuse to leave the apostrophe out. in Bruce Elliott’s The City Beyond (1991). Although I don’t count many on my team of consummate fans of crass commercialism in the public realm, I’m willing to stand out and say that I’ve always been a fan of this sort of suburban view. In my mind’s eye, this sort of “messy” collection of signage is the suburban visual-equivalent of the ideal dense and walkable neighbourhoods that I cherish most deeply.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↥||I categorically refuse to leave the apostrophe out.|