Category Archives: Heritage

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” 

Continue reading


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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.

Continue reading


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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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Goulbourn Museum’s Kathryn Jamieson receives leadership award

(via Goulbourn Museum)

Goulbourn Museum’s Curator Manager has won an Ontario Museum Association (OMA) award of excellence.

Kathryn Jamieson, Goulbourn Museum’s Curator Manager
Kathryn Jamieson

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


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HODGINS HOUSE: They paved paradise, put up a Mattress Mart

“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.

Continue reading


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Richmond Bakery sign goes up for auction

(Richmond Bakery circa 2014. Photo via Google Streetview.)

The Richmond Bakery sign has been put up for auction. The owners of Danby’s Roadhouse, who took over the building earlier this year, posted this note to Facebook today:

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


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Hélène Rivest receives Goulbourn Museum’s heritage advocacy award

(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


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THIS OLD HOUSE: Lytle family puts Stittsville Main Street home up for sale

(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.


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.

 

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.

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

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.

This interview was originally heard on Stittsvegas. Click here to listen to the full interview…

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

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