Second City, Second Metro: The Civic Hospital Wants [More] Independence

Civic Hospital in the 1940s. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA002489.

When a small team of administrators from the Ottawa Civic Hospital appeared before the Jones Commission on March 31, 1965, it was pretty clear that they did so with one thing in mind: money. Unlike many others to appear, they did not come with ideas for local governance, with (much of) a vision for the future, or with technical critiques of the practice of local government in Ontario. To be certain, all of these themes were present in one way or another, but it was the lack of money and inefficient administration requirements that were at the front of mind. 

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“A Touch of Scandinavia at the top of Range Road”: The Sandringham Apartments, Ottawa

The Sandringham Apartments on Range Road in Sandy Hill. Image: C.Ryan, February 2014.

The Sandringham Apartments, located at the far eastern edge of Sandy Hill on what was once known as Regan’s Hill,1”‘Regan’s Hill’ Received It’s Name From Henry Regan and His Sons 185[?],” Ottawa Citizen, March 31, 1928, 16. has been overlooking Strathcona Park since its completion in 1958. Its developers, Range Road Developments pulled out all the stops and hired Peter Dickinson, then of Page and Steele, to design an apartment aimed at the luxury market.2For a great tour of Dickinson’s work in Ottawa, see Robert Smythe’s “Peter Dickinson in Ottawa,” (2009).

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Notes

1 ”‘Regan’s Hill’ Received It’s Name From Henry Regan and His Sons 185[?],” Ottawa Citizen, March 31, 1928, 16.
2 For a great tour of Dickinson’s work in Ottawa, see Robert Smythe’s “Peter Dickinson in Ottawa,” (2009).

The City of Ottawa’s Views of Elgin, 1991

In 1991, City of Ottawa planners travelled the streets of Centretown, cameras in hand, documenting the neighbourhood’s built heritage. Since I will be speaking for five minutes tonight at Heritage Ignite! about how Elgin street has inspired my love for Ottawa’s history, I figured that it would be nice to share some of those images. They were sourced from Accession 2009.0453.1 at the City of Ottawa Archives.

Watson Balharrie Critiques (part of) the National Capital Plan

Ottawa architect Watson Balharrie had opinions about the National Capital Plan’s vision for architecture in Ottawa. Images: (left) Ottawa Citizen, February 19, 1946, 12; (right) Community Planning Review, 2, no. 2 (May 1952).

Although it was indisputably popular among many of Ottawa’s citizens, the National Capital Plan was not without its detractors. Both the concept and implementation of the Green Belt, for example, were a problem for many and the plan was sometimes used by locals to oppose necessary infrastructure projects. Criticisms of the Plan were not limited to their urban planning aspects. As it would turn out, even the fairly basic prescriptions for architecture raised a few hackles.

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Apartment Vacancy Rate in Ottawa-Hull (1964-1977)

Adapted from Statistics Canada S232-245

The above graph, adapted from Statistics Canada S232-245, applies to apartment of six units or more. I’ve noted before that the early 1960s saw unprecedented build-out in apartments in Ottawa and competition was fierce. We’re by-and-large used to rates nowadays being somewhere between 0.5 and 2.5%, but at its peak in the Ottawa-Hull CMA, it had reached 9.1%. I will be doing more with this sort of information later but figured it would be nice to share.

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Second City, Second Metro: Steady as She Goes for the Collegiate Board

Having been organized in 1873, the Collegiate Institute Board had established a system and series of agreements with the Townships that it was anxious to protect. Image: Basketball game at Lisgar Collegiate, February 1956. City of Ottawa Archives, Item CA037169.

When officials of the Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa appeared in front of the Jones Commission, they took the time to carefully explain the system they had worked to establish, why any dramatic changes to the administration of secondary education that might come with a regional government are, at best, unnecessary, and that the existing system may be extended.

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Elgin Goes From Party Palace to Golden Arches

The Ottawa Citizen was present for the conversion of the old Party Palace sign to McDonald’s, which still hangs proud today. Source: Ottawa Citizen, April 11, 1997, 20.

When I wrote about the Party Palace on Elgin Street a few years back for Ottawa Start, I remember having a hard time locating an image of its wonderful sign. One was eventually located and added to the story, but every time I find another one, I’m instantly brought back to writing that story. Above and below are two of the three I’ve since located.

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Metcalfe Place in Centretown

Metcalfe Place was constructed in 1984. Image: Ottawa Citizen, July 14, 1983, 19.

When I wrote about Metcalfe Court and its replacement, Metcalfe Place, a couple of years ago, I did not have such easy access to the Ottawa Citizen. In what is a happy little accident, the above was published in the July 14, 1983 edition of the paper, which I was browsing due to that being my second birthday. Leonard Koffman was likely the architect.1”Centretown: Condo Approved,” Ottawa Citizen, June 16, 1983, 27.

Notes

1 ”Centretown: Condo Approved,” Ottawa Citizen, June 16, 1983, 27.

Murton A. Seymour and the Ottawa Land Inquiry (1953)

Murton A. Seymour was appointed Special Commissioner
for the Ottawa Land Inquiry. Image: Canadian Aviation
Hall of Fame.

During the Summer of 1953, after some back-and-forth with the Province of Ontario, the backup requested by Ottawa Mayor Charlotte Whitton arrived. On April 23, decorated aviation pioneer and lawyer Murton Adams Seymour was appointed as Commissioner for what became known as the Ottawa Land Inquiry.

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Charlotte Whitton Calls for Backup (1952)

Charlotte Whitton sought new rights from the province to manage postwar growth in Ottawa. Image: Ted Grant / Library and Archives Canada. Accession 1981-181 NPC, Item 61-1180, fr. 25-30.

It wasn’t quite clear in 1952 how City of Ottawa could manage the rapid growth that took place after the Second World War, or if it even had the power to do so. A number of housing projects, in particular those at Manor Park and Mann Avenue (Strathcona Heights), had presented significant political and functional challenges to the city and exposed the shortcomings of an civic administration unaccustomed to managing large-scale development projects.

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