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.