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.
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.
(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?'”)
….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…
(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 Bradley–Craig 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.
(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!
(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 theBradley-Craig barnto 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 →
(PHOTO: Bradley-Craig barn, March 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.)
Eldon Craig farmed at the Bradley-Craig farm on Hazeldean Road with his wife Norma for 58 years. He passed away at the Granite Ridge Care Community last week. Here’s an obituary that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen today.
With Remembrance Day having recently taken place, “Forgotten Heroes: Mississippi Mills Valour Award Recipients of the Great War” will be the topic presented by the Goulbourn Township Historical Society November 19th, with guest speaker Brian Tackaberry.
Goulbourn Museum’s Curator Manager has won an Ontario Museum Association (OMA) award of excellence.
Kathryn Jamieson received the 2016 Promising Leadership Award of Excellence at the OMA Annual Conference in Mississauga on Thursday night. The OMA Award of Excellence in Community Engagement is presented to emerging professionals, of any position or institution, who have shown promising leadership within the museum community. An emerging professional is an individual within the first ten years of their professional career. Continue reading →
“IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS IT WAS GONE,” wrote reporter Debbie Lawes in the Kanata Standard on Wednesday, June 8, 1988, a week after a wrecking crew tore down Hodgins House at the corner of Hazeldean Road and Terry Fox, to make way for a shopping plaza.
It was an unexpected and bitter end to a two-year effort by local residents to save the historic building, a stone mansion built in 1881 by William T. Hodgins, a Member of Parliament from 1891-1900 and one of the most influential landowners in the area in his day.
Here’s the story of the house, and how the community tried – and failed – to save it.
We are auctioning off the Richmond Bakery sign online in conjunction with the reopening of the Richmond Bakery – Grand opening this Saturday and Sunday August 20 and 21st. All bids in minimum $10 increments and bids must be on the picture attached to this post on Danbys Roadhouse FaceBook page. Bid starts at $100. All proceeds to the Richmond Food bank. Bidding starts effective August 16, 2016, closing August 21st at 4pm (last bid time stamped at 3:59pm wins). Good luck to all!Continue reading →
(Photo: Hélène Rivest, centre, with Goulbourn Museum’s Curator Manager, Kathryn Jamieson, and Chairperson Keith Hobbs. Photo via Goulbourn Museum.)
Each year, the Board of Directors selects a recipient for the Museum’s Heritage Advocacy Award. This award recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to the Goulbourn Museum.
This year the Board selected someone who is a Museum member, a longtime volunteer and a donor. This person is also extremely dedicated to volunteering in many capacities beyond the Museum and throughout the community. Continue reading →
(ABOVE: Cathy Lytle stands in front of her family’s home at 1495 Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)
After more than a century on Stittsville Main Street, the Lytle House is up for sale. The asking price is $499,000 according to Brent Taylor of Brentcom Realty. “Redevelopment ideal for retail, service commercial, office, residential and institutional uses, including mixed-use buildings, and excluding auto-related uses,” says the listing.
It’s a large lot, 100 feet along the street and 160 feet deep.
Cathy Lytle says the house has been standing since at least 1900, and it’s been in her family for 64 years. While it doesn’t have a heritage designation, it is on the city’s heritage registry. That doesn’t give it any protection, but if a future owner applies to demolish it, the City could do a review that could lead to full heritage designation.
DEVYN BARRIE: What can you tell me about the history of the house?
CATHY LYTLE: 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.
DB: It must have been something to grow up here and watch the town change all around it, hey?
CL: It’s not the [same] town anymore. Doesn’t matter which window you look out, it’s not the same at all. It’s funny, we were just saying I can remember all the places we used to go and play and climb trees and whose farmer fields we used to run through. And I said, now people look at you and say “well no, there was something else” or “No, no that was just all field.”
But yeah, [there have] been changes, it’s been hard on some of the older ones to see some of the changes.
DB: What’s it been like for you?
CL: I’m okay with some of the change, I just don’t like people coming in and telling me how to live. They want certain things changed here… but you’re taking away the essence of a small town.
DB: Why sell the house?
CL: Oh, we can’t afford to keep everything up. [My mother is] 87, she’s not well. My dad was a small contracting excavator, he left her a little bit of money, she was only on old age pension, she can only do so much. I only work part time and I work a minimum wage job… I can’t afford it. So, we decided to go to something that we both can manage and enjoy.
DB: How does it feel to have to leave this house behind?
CL: I’m okay. I’m ready. And I think she’s ready too. She’s had [a longer time] here, she’s raised her family and I was born here. We’re all business and everybody else has gone out and done better, this will help pay for some medical bills coming down the road…
… It’ll be sad in a way, but we have our memories, we have our pictures and they can’t take that away from us.
DB: Any idea what might happen to the house if it does get sold?
CL: We’ve had a business here for 40 years, like everybody else on Main Street. They had their house and their business right there. Last 20 years my dad’s been dead and we got rid of the business, so it’s kinda nice to think that somebody else will come in and make a go of it… maybe put something in like an ice cream store or something that reflects the core, not an office building or something. But it’s up to them.
DB: What do you think about the state of Main Street in general today?
CL: Well, when I grew up there was no sidewalks. It was a main highway… the traffic was heavy but now… you can’t sit outside, it’s hard to hear outside, the dust picks up, people come in on either side of you… it’s changed a lot compared to what I used to play, run and climb every tree in this place. It was a lot different… I watch the kids over in the park, but it’s not the same. We used to like the trains coming in and watching the people and wave, you don’t do that anymore. You can’t, there’s nothing there. And these people who are using the park don’t understand what was really there and I think they would have enjoyed it a lot better.
Not one of the names suggested by the City of Ottawa for the six streets in question has any historical significance for our community. Were these names suggested by Stittsville residents?
Algonquins didn’t live in or around the Stittsville location so why introduce Aboriginal names? Even Campground Way is a stretch because although it is adjacent to where the Holiness Methodist property was, it sounds like an ordinary campground rather than a camp that was part of a whole religious tradition.
Why are no historical names of early settlers or those who have contributed to the community among the names presented by the City? We’ve taken care to name a number of our streets after the farm families who owned the original property where the streets were located.
Names such as “Mitig” are meaningless to most of us who live here. I don’t think proper consultation was made with residents. I also think the fact that a larger number of residents on the “Goulbourn Street” in the City of Ottawa should not have taken precedence over the fact that our township was called Goulbourn, and this is one of the important memories of who we were before amalgamation. The street was not only named after Sir Henry Goulbourn but also represented the identity of the township that was created. To simply do away with it because a street in the city has more people on it, is insulting to all the residents of the former Goulbourn Township.
The only heritage-designed building on Stittsville Main Street is up for sale.
The brick building that’s home to Hudson Insurance at 1510 Stittsville Main Street is listed for $1.4-million. It’s also home to Robin’s Nail Salon and Studio Esthetics.
“Iconic Heritage mixed use Building in the heart of Stittsville. This all brick building with wrap around porch features a mix of office, retail, and residential units. The extra deep 464 foot lot allows for the possibility to expand the building in the future. Plenty of on site parking,” according to the real estate listing. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: This Sunday, members of the WWI Canadian Army Medical Corps (recreated) from St. Thomas, Ontario will be transforming the Goulbourn Museum grounds into a Forward Aid Post and Casualty Clearing Centre or field hospital. The museum will also launch their new exhibit “Healing Hands – Medicine During the World Wars.”)
Step back in time this Father’s Day and enjoy old-fashioned fun at Goulbourn Museum.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Doors Open Ottawa continues to be the second-largest Doors Open architectural event in North America. Since its inception in 2002, over 850,000 visitors have discovered some of the city’s most prestigious buildings including Earnscliffe: Official Residence of the British High Commissioner, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Embassy of the United States, and the Connaught Building….just to name a few. Continue reading →
(Photo: Family of Robert and Eliza Grant, standing left to right John, James, and William. Seated: Bessie (Mrs John Gourlay), Robert and Mary (Mrs William Templeton) from the GTHS Photo Archives HAZ081)
Goulbourn’s very own raconteur and actor, John Curry, will be bringing to life a history of the “Grants of Goulbourn” at the Goulbourn Township Historical Society May event. He will, through his video, printed documents and remarks, give a historical account of Robert Grant and his son Robert Henry Grant – two gentlemen of prominence from Goulbourn Township who resided in Stittsville.
Born in 1793 in Ireland, Robert Grant settled on Hazeldean Road in 1818 as one of our earliest settlers. He was a farmer with foresight – dealing both in potash and lumber – and farmed using progressive practices. He was Goulbourn’s first representative on the 1842 Carleton District Council; a militia Captain in the battles of Ogdensburg and Windmill in the late 1830s; and a warden in the Hazeldean Anglican Church on Young Sideroad off of Hazeldean.
In 1832 he built a stone Georgian-style farmhouse in the area of the Fairwinds neighbourhood. This home was later brutally damaged in the great Carleton County Fire of August 1870 – where and when Robert Grant sadly lost his life. His widow restored the home and it remained until 1992.
Robert Henry Grant (Robert Grant’s son) was not only an important Goulbourn and Stittsville community member, but was elected by the United Farmers of Ontario in the Carleton Riding as a Provincial Member of Parliament and went on to become Ontario’s Minister of Education in 1919 until 1923. He also was a member of Carleton County Council for several terms; county auditor; the local license commissioner; a property evaluator for both Agriculture Canada and National Defence; and a Deputy Reeve for Goulbourn Township. He was instrumental, working with others, in establishing the Hazeldean Rural Telephone Company. He was Master of Richmond’s Masonic Goodwood Lodge; charter member of the Masonic Hazeldean Lodge in 1914 and District Deputy Grand Masonic Master for the Ottawa area in 1917.
To find out more about the history of these two Grant gentlemen, you have to attend John’s energetic presentation on Saturday, May 21, at 1:30 p.m. at the Stittsville Legion Hall. I promise all who attend will not be disappointed!!
There will be free refreshments available for all, the Legion is handicapped accessible and remember to bring your friends and neighbours to learn and share in another chapter of Goulbourn’s history.
Will Stittsville Main Street be Ottawa’s next great neighbourhood street?
That’s the question we’ll discuss on Saturday, May 7 as part of Stittsville’s first-ever Jane’s Walk. I’ll be leading a walking tour down Stittsville Main at 10:00am, starting from Village Square Park (Stittsville Main @ Abbott). The walk will last about 90 minutes.
Jane’s Walk Ottawa is a city-wide festival of neighbourhood walking tours led by locals who care passionately about where they live, work and play. The goal is to improve urban literacy by offering insights into local history, planning, design, and civic engagement through the simple act of walking and observing.