EDITORIAL: We need a business idea for the old red barn on Hazeldean Road

Bradley-Craig Barn on Hazeldean Road. November 2013.

SEE ALSO: Just what does heritage designation mean anyways?

How can we make sure we don’t lose the big red barn on Hazeldean Road?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about what’s happening to the old house and barn, across from the Bushtakah/Lowe’s.

The land they’re on will be developed by Richcraft. Both the house and the barn are included in the plan of subdivision, and will soon be surrounded by new houses and businesses along Hazeldean.


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The farm and barn are known as the “Bradley-Craig Farmstead”, and are among the oldest buildings in the area. They were built just after the great fire of 1870 that wiped out pretty much everything in the area.  We know the barn was built in 1873, making it a Stittsville landmark for over 140 years old.   (More here about the history of the farm.)

The Bradley family owned the land on Lot 29, Concession 11 from the 1820s to 1970s, and the Craigs owned it from the 1970s until mid 2000’s. The buildings have been vacant for about five years.

The farmhouse (also built early 1870s) is in great shape.  The barn is another story.  It’s not in imminent danger of collapse, but one city official told me privately that there are concerns about the structure. The longer it sits unused, the worse it gets.  And empty buildings are a magnet for vandals and arsonists.

In the Ottawa Citizen last year, a planner for Richcraft said they are maintaining the building, but indicated that it wouldn’t be restored unless there was a viable business use. “We’re not going to restore it just so someone can look at it,” said Kevin Yemm.

I want to challenge our readers to offer up some suggestions as to what kind of business might be able to use a barn like this.  Could it be a community centre?  A performance hall?  A sports facility?  A museum? A restaurant?

It’s not an insurmountable challenge.  Just south of Almonte, two business partners have converted a 150-year-old barn into a music hall, opening later this month.  Are there any entrepreneurs who can step forward and pull off something like that in Stittsville?

Add your ideas below, or email me at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca

Bradley-Craig Barn on Hazeldean Road. November 2013. Photo by Glen Gower.
Bradley-Craig Barn on Hazeldean Road. November 2013. Photo by Glen Gower.

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35 thoughts on “EDITORIAL: We need a business idea for the old red barn on Hazeldean Road”

  1. “We’re not going to restore it just so someone can look at it”

    That says everything you need to know if you are wondering if the home builder cares about your community.

  2. It may be hard to find the financing for a single venture at that location. I think the area is ready for a market for local artisan products, bakery, deli/Butcher, cheese, preserves and fresh seasonal produce. 70 % of the space could be permanent leases and the rest of the space rented to transient seasonal business arts and crafts etc…

  3. Richcraft is always open to making more room for the community and helping the community to grow. What about an arts based community center, ie art studios, dance studios, music studios where people can teach classes. With a hall for performances/weddings that other business could rent. There is a fantastic example of business/community sharing in Granville Island Vancouver BC. There is a market-artisans have shops-there is a theatre etc. The house could be included in that with a park that is surrounding both. It would be a great place to spend the day.

    1. Amanda, I would LOVE to see that and I think Stittsville really needs a hall/theatre space for recitals, theatrical performances, etc. We are blessed to have 3 great choirs and there is no-where to have a concert, there are dance schools that need performance/practice space, and I would hope that someone would start a live theatre group like the one in Kanata at Ron Maslin Playhouse. It is always jam-packed for their plays and Stittsville is growing fast, so we should have theatre space. We also have very limited hall space for large parties like weding receptions. A hall with a stage would be perfect.
      On another note, I attended a birthday party in Shawville Quebec on the weekend at a charming new winery there! They have a hall with round restaurant tables and chairs and a kitchen and bar. Holds about 100 – 150 people with a small dance floor. Perfect!…. SO, brewery/winery, hall with a stage, small kitchen and bar, tables and chairs with chairs that can be turned to face in the direction of the entertainment. THAT’S MY VOTE, for what it’s worth.

  4. A brewery is always a win. A brewery/event venue (weddings etc.) would be good! If you sell excellent food and excellent beer you cannot lose.

  5. We should talk the owners of Lone Star into turning it into one of their restaurants. Stittsville could use some good fajitas!

  6. A performance venue for live theatre and music with a gallery space in the lobby/ bar area. It could be paired up with a microbrewery and host events like art battle.

  7. This building could be converted to a community hall and made available to groups like the Canadian Cadet Program. Scouts / Cadet Program are always looking for places to meet and a barn like this could have the space needed for the cadets to do drill and space for classrooms for the cadets to be instructed. Navy League of Canada, Air Cadet League, and the Army Cadet League maybe be interested.

  8. Country themed weddings seem to be as popular as ever and that old red barn would make a great venue… “Fields on West Lake” in Wellington, Ontario is a great example of this. They turned an old barn and farm house into an extremely desirable wedding destination. With all the hotels and amenities located close to the Bradley-Craig Farmstead, I think it’d be a huge success.

  9. I can see a local brew pub with restaurant. Concerts could be held on the weekend. I can see it being a destination for cyclists in the summer. Local artists could show case their art on the wall. A great destination for great food, beer, music and art!

  10. There should be room for …
    2 restaurants
    1 chocolate shop
    1 coffee shop (not a chain)
    15 small-ish artist studios with a viewing gallery where visitors can quietly watch work on the go.
    2 teaching studios shared by the studio artists
    1 music venue with a teaching studio equipped with a recording studio
    NO big box shops.

  11. Hi. Would need to understand the structural integrity of the building. I think it should be mixed use, restaurants, shops and a rink maybe.

  12. Was just admiring this barn just yesterday. A great place for the community to gather. A farmers market/ arts and heritage museum facility. If it eventually goes so does my vote for local councillor and mayor. We have to invest in canadian and local heritage.

  13. I second the farmer’s market and/or other sales/fairs in the summer. Currently the farmer’s market is held in a parking lot further up Hazeldean Rd.

    In the winter, use it as an “indoor” skating rink. With a bit of lighting could be a nice place to skate and/or have shinny games. Nice shelter from the wind.

    Haven’t been inside the structure so no idea the configuration but looks big enough.

  14. Wow! What an amazing opportunity this would be for Richcraft to make a difference to The National Capital area! They have made a great contribution to recreation and sports needs through their partnership in the wonderful new ‘Richcraft Sensplex’ in the east end.
    Now, here is an opportunity for Richcraft to develop interest/make history for Ottawa through the arts, with a cultural facility ie: theatre, gallery, or museum.

  15. It could be turned into a Youth Drop-In Centre. Perhaps the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa could put it to good use. It’s a perfect west-end location for them.

  16. I would vote for a dinner theatre in this barn. A space to showcase the local theatrical/musical talent and a good buffet style restaurant (or regular restaurant)maybe showcasing our new brewery. We have so much local talent that has to go in to Kanata/Ottawa for an affordable space to hold their concerts, plays, etc. Kanata Theatre has the Ron Maslin Playhouse but Stittsville has nothing. Stittsville has 3 very good choir groups and much theatrical talent with no affordable venue to showcase any of it, so, my vote is for a dinner theatre.

  17. Whoever sold the property and farm to Richcraft probably made a massive financial benefit from the sale. What would they like to see happen to the barn, and how much money are they willing to contribute to the transformation ?

    1. Both former owners are quite elderly. One is in a local care home with advanced dementia. They did not want to sell the farm but failing health prevented them from holding onto it. From what I know about the couple, they would be very disappointed with the lack of upkeep – they maintained the property and buildings with pride.

  18. I have been suggesting a dinner theatre in this barn. We really need a family style restaurant that is not a fast-food chain. We have local breweries that could be showcased and SO much local talent that needs a venue that is not too expensive. We have three excellent choir groups who have to have their concerts in Kanata, we have at least two theatre groups who have might like to expand their horizons once in a while, we have the dance studio and, one only has to go to Gaia Java on a Friday night to see the wealth of young preformers that we have in Stittsville. “No affordable place to preform”! I think a dinner theatre with different attractions every weekend would be a huge moneymaker.

  19. The Goulbourn Museum and family history center next door are far too small. I would like to see the barn become a museum/genealogy research centre/library for the Goulbourn Historical Society, complete with meeting rooms, computers, or at least internet connection. I don`t have the money for this pipe-dream to happen though.

  20. Turn it into a museum of the local history of Glen Cairn and Hazeldean – I have seen pictures of the area and it was amazing what was around in the early years. Keep the local history alive .

  21. The Silver Springs Farm at Bells Corners is a good example of the combined house and barn being used productively !!

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