Mayor Whitton on Housing, 1952

In her 1952 inaugural address, Mayor Whitton tried to spark Council into action. Image: Ottawa Journal / LAC Accession 1979-203 NPC Box 04438.

Coming only four months after her Fall inaugural address, Mayor Whitton spared her Council colleagues by delivering a much shorter address1By her standards. It was still much longer than those delivered by her predecessors. that focused on developing a sense of urgency and the setting aside of small differences. The Mayor’s address listed 10 points, with housing placed right at the top.

Here is what she had to say about housing in her 1952 inaugural address, given before Council on January 7th.

Mr Controllers and Aldermen:

It would be redundant (with apologies to one, at least, of the controllers), if not “words” of supererogation, for me to inflict a second inaugural address upon this Council within four months. It would be more remiss, however, not to bring forward both the continuing and new problems which face the first session of the last year of the old Council of the City of Ottawa when, at midnight, December 31st, 1952, our fourteen historic wards disappear and will be replaced by the nine redistributed subdivisions upon which we have agreed.

So much for things done. There remain many more problems, vexing and unresolved.

1.  First of these must be placed that of low-cost housing within reach of the great mass of the people. The Technical Committee on Housing has not made the progress which has been expected and its pace must be stepped up, particularly with the grave problems presented by the urgent demands of the National Defence Department for the release of Uplands and Rockcliffe Shelters.

Bytown had 8 Mayors and Councils: Ottawa has had 47 Mayors in those intervening 97 years. So it is the not unworthy record of close to a century of organized municipal government which this council of 1952 must equal or excel if the last of the Councils of old Ottawa is to be remembered as one of the best administrations of Greater Ottawa.

That will not be done by unworthy bickering, small personal clashes, bitter recriminations and resentments held among us; it can be achieved by nothing short of each of us, without regard to self or slight, real or fancied, giving of our best to this City which is heart of The Ottawa, as it is of this our country, the Dominion of Canada.



1 By her standards. It was still much longer than those delivered by her predecessors.