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.
Due to the wartime material and labour shortages I noted yesterday, construction in 1945 was, to say the least, pokey. Where there were 55 “important” building permits listed in the 1946 Annual Report, the number was only 24 in 1945.
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.
|↥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.
|↥1||I categorically refuse to leave the apostrophe out.|
I’ve never hidden my love for the modernist campus of Carleton University. That its Rideau Campus was designed from the get-go as a modern departure from the Oxford-Lite or Harvard-Lite approach that most Canadian universities up to that point had taken was not only a breath of fresh air, but a bold and confident step in an Ottawa that was not always known for such things.1For an interesting history of Carleton, see H. Blair Neatby and Don McKeown. Creating Carleton: The Shaping of a University. Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.
|↥1||For an interesting history of Carleton, see H. Blair Neatby and Don McKeown. Creating Carleton: The Shaping of a University. Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.|
Almost two weeks ago, I wrote a short story about the Tisdale Municipal Building in South Porcupine. While I was able to get an architect and speak a little about the context, that was about as far as it went. If you’ve followed along on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve just returned from a trip to Toronto, where I spent time at the Archives of Ontario. While I was there to do some research for my thesis, I took the opportunity to peruse some of the pages of the Porcupine Advance.