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Historical Points of Interest


Map

The following map identifies historical points of interest in the Westboro Beach area. (The red circles are not clickable.)


Skead's Mills

Skead’s Mills was one of several industrial villages that developed along the new Canada Central Railway which opened in September of 1870 between LeBreton Flats and Carleton Place.  In 1869 Senator Skead bought from the Thomsons, who owned Maplelawn, an extensive block of land between the railway (the present transit route) and the river and adjoining his extensive farm which was located in the present Kirkwood – Richmond Rd area.

He built a steam sawmill just down river from the current Westboro Beach the foundations which can be seen from the NCC parking lot.  The mill was connected to the railway by a spur line.  The mill burned in 1871 but was rebuilt by 1873.1

The mill employed 30 to 40 men and cut 15 million board feet per year as well as half a million shingles and a similar number of laths.

Skead erected a boarding house but but provided no accommodation for families.  His neighbour John Birch registered a subdivision plan consisting of two streets with lots on his farm intended for the mill-hands.  By 1874 a number of houses had been built on these lots and a Skead’s Mills post office had even been opened in Pratt’s grocery.

A depression in the early-70s resulted in Skead going bankrupt.  In 1880 he lost his mill, timber limits, residence and most of his farm to his creditors who sold most of it to E.B. Eddy.


map is from the National Archives (NMC-10628)

By 1880, little had changed in Skead’s Mills.  John Birch’s two streets were in the hands of an Ottawa real estate agent, with only Birch, a mill labourer and a mill foreman living at the west end of John St.  No additional dwellings would be built until around 1910.2 The mill had changed little since the Eddy takeover, still employing approximately 30 people.

By 1900, little had changed on the former mill property.  Most was owned by the C.P.R. and some of the Skead farm on lot 31 was now owned by neighbourhood cattle dealer James Magee who ran steers over the imaginary streets near the ruins of the mill.3


Notes
  1. (mill) Ottawa Free Press, Jan. 6, 1871, 1, col. 7; 1871 industrial census; Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 1 1871, 3, col. 2 NCC; Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 6 1871, 3, col. 6 NCC; Ottawa Citizen, Jul. 4 1873, 1, col. 5 NCC;
  2. (plan) Registered Plan 54
  3. (E.B. Eddy)Elliott B.S., The City Beyond, page 121
  4. (little had changed) Elliott B.S., The City Beyond, page 124
  5. Elliott B.S., The City Beyond, page 193
  6. Elliott B.S., The City Beyond, page 193

MacNay's House early '50s

A 1950′s view of the treed area behind the beach in the vicinity of the current parkway, the Quebec shoreline can be seen through the trees at the right side corner of the house.  The house was located on the Ottawa Improvement Commission Driveway but was moved to its existing location at 267 Kirchoffer Ave in the early 1960s.

Clarella Park

The opening of the streetcar line from Ottawa to Britannia on the south side of Richmond Rd in 1900 stimulated land development along the route.  One of these subdivisions was the area bounded by the current rapid transit route to the river and eastward to include a few lots on the east side of Churchill.  With the exception of the east side Churchill lots the subdivision was known as Clarella Park.

A description of the circumstances associated with Clarella Park is described in Bruce Elliott’s book The City Beyond, (page 194) and reads as follows:

“The Skead’s Mills property between the CPR tracks and the river was a popular spot for campers.  However, in the spring of 1909 the CPR, which owned the property, declined to rent to campers and circulated a petition to annex it and the adjoining Summerland subdivision to Westboro Police Village.  (Westboro had become a police village in 1905 with power to elect village boards of trustee to assess for streets and sidewalks and to contract for services such as garbage and street lighting, subject to the approval of Nepean Township Council.)  Summerland had just been laid out on the Magee property for J.E. Taggart and was being marketed for him by Daniel O’Connor Jr as a “beautiful spot for cottages.”  What was obviously in the wind was subdivision of the CPR property.  By including it within the police village, services would be supplied at the cost of every resident of the village, not just hose who would buy into the new tract.  By annexing the new area, Westboro hoped to gain a beach front.  The annexation was approved by county bylaw on 19 June 1909.1The railway sold the property to Manitoba Senator John N. Kirchoffer and it was developed for him by Ottawa realtor John Y. Caldwell.2 In the spring of 1910 Caldwell laid out the Clarella Park subdivision.  Twenty-one lots sold the first week and the property was soon being built over with permanent homes, “all of them adhering to those construction and sanitary restrictions essential for the creation of a first class residential neighbourhood.”

Clarella was supplied with lights and telephones, and the owner supplied water from drilled wells and graded the streets as the houses went up.  Caldwell advertised Clarella Park as “the coming Westmount of Ottawa.”3 He made much of the fact that 800 feet of beach front was reserved for bathing and boating purposes. but in fact these were wedges of land too small for building.  He also hyped the fact that the OIC Driveway went through the property, though in fact it did nothing of the kind.

What is now Island Park Drive ended at the islands hundreds of yards to the east, and Caldwell merely laid out a winding river front street as a circuitous western extension of it, though never deeding it to the OIC.

Nonetheless, within five years there were 57 houses in Clarella Park, only 10 of them cottages.  Caldwell was too eager to sell lots to keep the property the exclusive residential enclave he advertised and indeed the property was not as ideally situated as he let on.  All the houses were built in the interior part of the survey toward the CPR track, for the avenues closer to the river were low-lying and prone to flooding during the spring runoff.”4


Notes
  1. Ottawa Journal, June 19, 1909; June 12, 1909; May 29, 1909; regd plan 267, June 17, 1909; National Archives, MG9, D8(44), vols. 57 (1911), 66-7 (1916); county bylaw 540 adding lots 30 and w. half 31, con. n. of CPR
  2. Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Winnipeg, 1971), 116-7; Kirchoffer Avenue is named for the senator and Brandon Street (Lanark) for his old provincial constituency. Ottawa Citizen Nov 20 1908; sold to Kirchoffer Nov 25 and by him to Caldwell Dec. 2: deeds 23166-7
  3. Ottawa Citizen, Mar. 12, 1910; May 10, 1913; May 3, 1913; April 30, 1910
  4. National Map Collection, National Archives 10837, sheet 260, 1921 Fire insurance plan.  Nonetheless by 1916 an additional 110 people had bought vacant lots there.

Clarella and Summerland plan


Street Names

When mail service was extended from Ottawa into some areas south of the CPR tracks in 1942, the Canadian Post Office Department required that streets with conflicting names be re-named.  Consequently, wartime patriotism showed in the new names, Main became Churchill, Victoria became Roosevelt and Tweedsmuir was also named. However, the Post Office refused to deliver north of the tracks until sometime later than 1947. (page 238, The City Beyond)


Industrial

Senator Skead’s mill by Westboro Beach was the first industrial development in the neighbourhood.  It was built in 1869, and was the result of the opening of the Canada Central Railway in Sept. 1870 which greatly facilitated the transportation of the lumber, shingles and lath.

(5) In 1911, M.N. Cummings planning mill at the northeast corner of Scott and Churchill was opened.  It remained open until the 1950s.  A housing complex was developed on the site in the late ’80s – early ’90s.

(6) In 1920, Independent Coal & Lumber, a planing mill, sash and door factory, coal, fuel oil was opened.  It remained open until the 1970s.

Westboro Newspapers (page 240, The City Beyond)

  • The Westender – stopped publishing in the mid ’20s
  • The Westboro News – 1932 – 34 – name then changed to The Nepean News – stopped publishing 1936
  • The Union – 1939-1950s