Category Archives: Heritage

New signs celebrate Goulbourn’s sesquicentennial family farms

(PHOTO: “We keep things going one way or another,” said Lillian Hobbs, 91, the owner of the Hobbs farm. When she was called up to receive her sign, she cracked: “I’m the oldest!”. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)

Keith Hobbs still has the commemorative sign his farm received in 1967 to mark it as a century farm after 107 years of operation.

It’s faded and rusty, but now he has a new sign to take its place – this time to mark his as one of Stittsville’s sesquicentennial family farms. Continue reading


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Goulbourn Township Historical Society hosts stories about Nicholas Sparks (Nov 18)

(via Goulbourn Township Historical Society)

Come and be entertained by Brian Hull our guest speaker as he regales us with stories about his great-great-great-grandfather Nicholas Sparks.

Sparks was born in 1794 and arrived in Wrightville (Hull-Gatineau) 201 years ago from Wexford, Ireland. He began working for Philemon Wright at £50 per year. He very quickly became a property owner and landlord in Bytown and owned most of the lands in the present day commercial core of Ottawa. He died here in 1862 and was buried in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Hull.

Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 1:30pm at the Ottawa Public Library – Stittsville Branch, 1637 Stittsville Main Street Ottawa, ON, K2S Canada (map)

The presentation, parking and refreshments are all free. Remember, “tell a neighbour, bring a friend”. See you there.


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Celebrating Goulbourn’s Canada 150 farms and families

(ABOVE: The Hobbs family farm at Lot 12, Concession 6, Goulbourn Township, Carleton County — now known as Mansfield Road just outside of Stittsville. This aerial photo was taken in the 1960s.  The Hobbs have been farming there since 1860.)

 

(via Goulbourn Township Historical Society)

In appreciation of our local farm families – Anderson, Dawson, Hobbs and Kenny – who have toiled their land for 150 years or more, we ask you to join us in celebrating this monumental event. GTHS, in collaboration with Junior Farmers of Ontario, will make a presentation of Canada 150 farm signs to each family followed by a reception.

Date: November 25, 2017
Location: Grace Thompson Meeting Room – Stittsville Library
Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm
Refreshments to follow the presentation

Come out and help GTHS recognize these farm families who have worked tirelessly in our community for so many years. We hope to see you there to celebrate with them!


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PHOTOS & UPDATE: The Bradley-Craig Farm, October 2017

Thank you to Mandy Hambly for sharing these beautiful photos of the Bradley-Craig Farm on Hazeldean Road. The sunset photos were taken on October 26, and the photo of the barn reflected in water is from earlier in the month.

Sunset over the Bradley Craig Farm, October 26. Photo by Mandy Hambly.
Sunset over the Bradley Craig Farm, October 26. Photo by Mandy Hambly.

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Carleton Place hosts Doors Open September 16-17

(PHOTO: The Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited building in Carleton Place. Constructed in 1890 of local limestone, this building contained the roundhouse and engine repair shops for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) until 1939. In 1940, the building was purchased by the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers. Wool arrives here from across the country and is graded before being shipped out in compact bales.)

(press release)

Get ready to wander and explore on the weekend of September 16 and 17!

Doors Open Carleton Place 2017 features eleven local properties that will be open to the public, free of charge. This is a great opportunity for residents to play tourist in their own community, and one more reason for visitors to come and discover the town of Carleton Place. Continue reading


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Goulbourn Museum temporarily closes for summer renovations

(press release)

While Canada celebrates its 150th birthday the Goulbourn Museum building is quietly turning 145 this year. If its walls could talk they would tell tales of boisterous town hall meetings, lively dances, community parties and, for the last 27 years, Museum exhibitions and events. And although its walls are still standing tall, the Museum’s floors are telling a story of their own. They have started to sag and show their age. Continue reading


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City asks for input on two commemorative names for future parks

(via City of Ottawa)

The City of Ottawa’s Commemorative Naming Committee is conducting public consultation on a two separate naming proposals in Stittsville:

  • A proposal to name a future park located within the Porter Place development the “William Bradley Park”
  • A proposal to name a future park located within the Potter’s Key Subdivision the “Allan Frederick Moore Park” 

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PHOTOS: Redcoats and muskets mark Father’s Day at Goulbourn Museum

The Goulbourn Museum welcomed dads and families for a special “Father’s Day Flashback” event on Sunday, June 18. The 100th Regiment of Foot reenactment group was on hand teaching participants how to load and fire a musket, along with historical re-enactors from a number of different eras. (All photos by Barry Gray)


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Heritage walking tour of Stittsville Main Street on June 25

(PHOTO: Kids on Main Street, 1915. The balcony of the Temperance Hotel can be seen in the background on the right side of the photo. Photo from the Goulbourn Historical Society Collection.)

(via Heritage Ottawa)

Walking Tour of the Stittsville Historic District
Sunday, June 25, 2017 – 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Stittsville, settled in the early 1820’s and rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1870 razed the village, has a designated historic section on its main street.  The tour will look at some of the late 19th and early 20th century houses and businesses within this area, and tell the stories of some of its inhabitants. The history of Stittsville also includes a significant railway story.  Part of the Heritage Ottawa summer walking tour series. Continue reading


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SATURDAY: Peek inside the renovated home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors

(PHOTO: From December 2016, Jennifer McGahan stands in front of her building on Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Since January, we’ve been watching the transformation of Lytle House from the outside, as Jennifer McGahan renovates and restores the century-old brick home on Stittsville Main Street. On Saturday, the public gets a chance to peek inside.  JMI is hosting an open house from 2pm-5pm at 1495 Stittsville Main Street and the whole neighbourhood is welcome.

(This weekend is also Doors Open Ottawa, with several local buildings participating: Goulbourn Museum, Fire Station 81 on Stittsville Main, and the Hazeldean Masonic Lodge nearby on Young Road in Kanata.)


UPDATE: I dropped in for McGahan’s grand opening party on Friday night & snapped some photos. She’s done an incredible transformation on the old home. Congrats Jen! -GG.

Jennifer McGahan Interiors - front door
Jennifer McGahan Interiors - Chandelier Jennifer McGahan Interiors - facade Jennifer McGahan Interiors - staircase Jennifer McGahan Interiors - ribbon cutting


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Historical Society event looks at the history of Stanley’s Corners

SS#10 Stanley Corners 1926 – From Farms and Families
SS#10 Stanley Corners 1926 – From Farms and Families

Join the Goulbourn Township Historical Society on Saturday, May 13 at 1:30pm for “What Went Down in Struggle Town?”, a presentation that will examine the settlement, historic figures, and structures, which have defined the narrative of Stanley’s Corners. Tracey Donaldson, Acting Manager along with Acting Education Officer Sarah Holla from the Goulbourn Museum will be presenting. Continue reading


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MARCH 25: A digital reprise of “Caretaker of Dreams”

(via Goulbourn Township Historical Society)

You’re in for a treat as the Goulbourn Township Historical Society digitally reprises the Millennium Pageant “Caretaker of Dreams” on Saturday March 25, 2017 at the Richmond Legion. The play was written by Barbara Bottriell, directed by Shelagh Mills and produced by the Goulbourn Millennium Project Committee.

The pageant was held November 22-25, 2000 in the then-new Theatre of the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. This was a great community event including over 100 Township actors, musicians and dancers supported by dance director Christine Delorme-Lamarche, sets by Ron Martin, lighting by Paul Gardner, musical director Barbara Bottriell, costumes by Lynn Griffiths and production co-ordination by Hilary Dick.

Videographer Sandy Durocher recorded this spectacular event., and it is this recording transformed into a digital format by Russell Mason, that we will be showing at the Richmond Legion as our March community event. Show time is 1:30pm. The Legion is located at 6430 Ottawa Street, Richmond. As always, admission, parking and refreshments are free. And remember, tell a neighbour, bring a friend!

The pageant tells the story of Goulbourn Township from the early Richmond settlement in 1818 to the youths’ vision of the future beyond 2000. It was conceived not as a history lesson, but as recognition of the achievements of the township pioneers. The play was initially planned as a millennial project, but also became a record of our history as the Province on Ontario decreed that Goulbourn Township would disappear with the expanded border of the City of Ottawa in 2000.

The Goulbourn Historical Society was sponsor of the project and the play was produced by the Goulbourn Millennium Project Committee chaired by Jean Shaw.


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Book chronicles dreams and fears of original settlers

The life of 19th century Canadian immigrants was rough, and quite often deadly.  Their eventual triumph over natural and human-made adversity, and the foundation they laid for our community, is downright incredible.  That’s my takeaway from Olive Caldwell Lee’s 2015 book, “Living Out The Dream” .

The book is historical fiction, but has a solid footing in fact.  Lee weaves together her own family’s oral history with letters, official documents and heaps of genealogical research to tell the stories of George Argue and Forest Caldwell as they escaped brutal conditions in Ireland for the promise of a better life in Canada in the early 19th century.

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SECRETS OF GOULBOURN: Ghosts, murder, cemeteries and other unknowns

(ABOVE: A sign installed on a post at the scene of the murder of Robert McCaffrey.)

This sounds interesting: “Have you heard stories about ghosts, murder, cemeteries and other unknowns in your community? Attend this event on February 18 to discover in full detail all of the grisly or odd activities that have taken place right here in your own backyard. There will be displays with court records, photos and written accounts of these unknowns.”

Local researcher Lesley McKay is helping to organize the event and she sent along a preview of some of the “secrets” that will be on display.  They’re all rooted in what was known as Goulbourn Township, a large area that included Richmond, Munster and Stittsville prior to being amalgamated into the City of Ottawa in 2000.

Some of the stories are rather dark:

  • A love triangle that led to a murder in 1882. (Commemorated by a sign installed on a post at the scene of the murder, pictured above.)
  • The KKK’s presence in the area starting in the 1920s. (“‘It’s a forgotten part of Canada’s past, and conveniently forgotten. Everybody knows about the Klan in the United States, but if you tell Canadians what happened here, they say – ‘What, us?'”)
  • A few ghost stories, including an abandoned pioneer cemetery in Marlborough Forest. It was discovered by municipal surveyors in the 1990s.

….while some of the stories are a little more light-hearted:

  • Stittsville native Ken Doraty, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins in the 1920s and 1930s.  He was the smallest man to ever play in the NHL, at 133 lbs and a height of 5’7”.
  • How a Montreal millionaire financed a school garden in Richmond – part of a radical idea to change Ontario education.
  • Goulbourn’s booming cheese industry.  (“After the 1938 Richmond bank robbery, it was concluded that the three robbers knew that the bank was holding more than the usual amount of cash. This was surmised because three of our local cheese factories had issued cheques for milk supplied, hence making for a profitable robbery.”)
  • Lost quarries and watering holes, where kids used to cool off in the summer long before air conditioning and water parks.

The event is on Saturday from 1:00pm-4:00pm at the Stittsville Library, as part of Heritage Day activities. More info here…

Hazeldean Cheese Factory
Hazeldean Cheese Factory

Stittsville's Ken Doraty played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.


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LETTER: A little house on Hazeldean

(EDITOR’S NOTE: It was a year ago this week that I joined several community members at a Planning Committee meeting at Ottawa City Hall to oppose Richcraft’s proposal to move the Bradley-Craig barn to Munster. Unfortunately we were not successful, and now Richcraft has until January 2018 to complete the move.  Since last January, I’ve heard from a lot of people with stories, memories and questions about the farm. Here’s an interesting story about the tiny house that’s on the west side of the barn.  I’m sharing this letter anonymously at the request of the writer, out of respect for her family’s privacy. -GG.)

I love that you invited photographers to the BradleyCraig property to take pictures of the barn and farmhouse. The pictures are beautiful. I hate the idea of the barn moving away, and of the little house likely being torn down (I can’t see them moving it). It is outrageous that developers get way with so much. Just so that they can build other bunch of cookie-cutter houses, no doubt.

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Heritage house on Stittsville Main gets new life as interior design studio

(Photo:Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Photo by Barry Gray.)

After over a century as a private home, the old brick house at 1495 Stittsville Main will soon become the home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors.

McGahan made the announcement last week on Facebook: “I am thrilled to announce the next big step for Jennifer McGahan Interiors Inc. We are relocating the office to our new Stittsville Main Street location. We plan to restore this important heritage building to its original, and rightful beauty in the heart of the village. We plan to be respectful and true to the bones of the building, while improving the streetscape by adding our modern design touch. Opening April 2017!”

McGahan says she loves the history of the building and the family story connected to it.  She says that structurally the building is in good shape, and many original features remain. “We’re going to try keep as much as possible while we renovate. We want to keep it intact.”

The house belonged to the Lytle family for over 60 years.  Cathy Lytle told reporter Devyn Barrie about the history of the house in an interview last summer:  “It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.”

The house doesn’t have official heritage designation, but it is on the City’s heritage registry, which lists buildings of historical importance.

McGahan takes possession in January, and hopes to have the renovations finished by April.  I’m thrilled to hear that this charming piece of our village history will get the attention and care it deserves. Congrats Jennifer!

1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Ab & Gwen Lytle's house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.
Ab & Gwen Lytle’s house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.

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2016 REWIND: Looking back at the ups and downs in local heritage

(Above: Barn at the Bradley-Craig farm. Photo by Steve Garecke.)

There was bad news and there was good news for heritage buildings in Stittsville in 2016.

First, the bad. In January, I took part in a multi-hour marathon in front of Planning Committee at City Hall where residents and community groups tried to convince councillors to stop the demolition and relocation of the Bradley-Craig barn to Munster. The debate was so long that councillors ordered in pizza, and one fell asleep. In the end, the committee and City Council voted to allow the barn’s owner, Richcraft, to dismantle the building piece-by-piece and move it to Saunders Farm. A new development, probably big box stores or a strip mall, will be built in its place. Continue reading


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