The charming story behind Potter’s Key, the name of Minto’s new community

Debbie Eastop holds the original Potter's Key.

Minto’s new Stittsville development will be called “Potter’s Key”, named after Ethel May Potter who owned the two-acre lot at 209 Carp Road almost 60 years ago.

The name was suggested by Debbie Eastop, a long-time Stittsville resident. When she found out about Minto’s contest to name the development, she says she knew “right away” what it should be called.

“I was driving down Hazeldean Road and I saw the billboard for the new community. I thought wow, that’s really close to where I used to live,” says Eastop.

“I knew right away. It just popped into my head. I came home and entered the contest.”

Here’s how Eastop explains the story behind the key in a promotional video released by Minto:

“In 1957, my mother and father bought a piece of property that stretched between Carp Road and Hazeldean Road. The people who owned that property were Mr. and Mrs. Milton Potter.  The Potters held the mortgage on the house, and I can remember as a child walking through the back field with my mom going to visit Mrs. Potter and give her the mortgage cheque.”

“Mrs. Potter kept her own key for the house, I guess just in case things didn’t work out, but years passed, the mortgage got paid, and Mrs. Potter presented my mom with her key… My mom kept the key, she kept it all her life. I think she thought of it as a symbol that they worked hard and earned themselves a home.”

Although the house is long gone, I still had the ornate old house key with the wooden tag that reads ‘Potter’s Key’,” she says.

The original Potter's Key has now been donated to the Goulbourn Museum.
The original Potter’s Key has now been donated to the Goulbourn Museum. (Photo supplied by Minto.)


Susan Murphy from Minto, Stittsville resident and contest winner Debbie Eastop, and Stittsville city councillor Shad Qadri at the naming ceremony on Friday. (Photo supplied by Minto.)
Susan Murphy from Minto, Stittsville resident and contest winner Debbie Eastop, and Stittsville city councillor Shad Qadri at the naming ceremony on Friday. (Photo supplied by Minto.)


Between November and January, Minto received over 350 name suggestions for the community just north of Hazeldean Road and west of Jackson Trails.  Submissions  were judged on historical accuracy, uniqueness, creativity and emotional draw.

“This is the first time we have held a naming contest for a Minto community and we’re thrilled with the response,” said Minto’s Brent Strachan in a press release. “Involving the Stittsville community in the process is our way of paying tribute to the rich local history.”

“Of the 194 unique submissions, Ms. Eastop’s story struck a chord with our selection committee because it evokes a sense of pride in home ownership that we see amongst the buyers of our new homes. So we are proud to name the community Potter’s Key in honour of her family’s story,” said Strachan.

Eastop found out last week that she had made the winning suggestion.

“I was kind of surprised, I don’t usually win things.  I had an inkling that maybe I was in the running because they had emailed me back and asked for more information. I thought that’s maybe a good sign, but it was still a surprise,” she says.

Eastop has lived in Stittsville for most of her life and has seen the community change significantly over the years.

“I have a favourite saying: ‘Traffic jam in Stittsville’ used to be an oxymoron. No longer! I could actually get lost in Stittsville and that’s not something I could do when I was a kid,” she says.

In addition to the honour of having submitted a unique name that tells such a great local story, Eastop also received a $1,000 gift card from Brown’s Your Independent Grocer.

After shooting a video, participating in a press conference at the Goulbourn Museum, and responding to media interview requests today, Eastop says she will be happy when the day is over.

“There was a whole lot of attention and cameras flashing and interviews being given. I’m a pretty quiet person and it was way out of my comfort zone,” she says.

The Potter’s Key community will include 450 homes, with about 60 per cent single homes and 40 per cent townhomes. Sales for the new community are scheduled to launch in the fall of 2015.


8 thoughts on “The charming story behind Potter’s Key, the name of Minto’s new community”

  1. I can’t wait to visit this community. My late grandmother was Hazel Paddle (nee Potter), from the extended family of Potters you are speaking about. It will be a community dear to the hearts and minds in my family too. Congratulations for the win, Debbie!

  2. This story sure brings back memories. My brother & I spent time every summer in the farm home with our grandparents. Grandpa & Grandma Potter. I was living in Stittsville for many years and remember when my Grandparents moved into their new home. It will be a community I will always Remember. Congratulations on the win!!

  3. This is awesome !!!! I’ m so glad you won and told this story . I remember playing at the farm . We lived far enough away from Grandpa & Grandma but visited when ever we could . My Mother and two aunts would be proud . We had cousins in Carp and and Stittsville and Bells corners Pauls ,Rothwells and( Tom Potter who is no longer with us) I am glad you won Debbie and think the name is great as well as this story behind it . CONCRATS AGAIN

  4. Debbie Glad you won it is awesome . I am a grandchild and am very proud to hear the story and have the name for the community be same as my grandparents name . It will be a good community

  5. Congrats Debbie! My mom was a Potter before she married.
    I remember wonderful times spent at Grandpa & Grandma Potters. They had turkies which I do not remember kindly. They made a lot of noise and when we went near them almost attached us.
    Very pleased to know the Potter name will carry on, great story Debbie to bring this to light.

  6. I too am proud of this historical event. My mother was Ruth Potter who married my dad Robert Paul in 1941 on the front lawn of the property. As a child I have fond memories of visiting the home of my grandparents.

    1. As a “long ago” Stittsville resident (Lynn Murray in those days) I loved reading this story. It really connects our quiet little village from back then, to the modern day. As an aside, was also delighted to see Ken Paul’s name, and am grabbing the chance to say hi….

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