Posted by: J.C. Dubé
Winter Footbridge over the Rideau Canal
Research notes from examining the following Library & Archives Canada material or the Saga of the Winter Footbridge crossing the Canal.
LAC file name: Rights of Way – Privileges – Ottawa city – 3rd Avenue -Temporary Crossing Canal in Winter with Foot Bridge
File part of: Canal Division
Date 1945 – 1946
Finding Aid no. 12-6
Former archival reference number: RG12-B-13
File part: 1
File no.(creator): 4700-85-7
Access: Textual records
(Volume) 3740 part 1
On April 11, 1945, the Superintending Engineer of the Rideau Canal, Mr. A.R. Whittier, wrote to F.C. Askwith, Ottawa Commissioner of Works and City Engineer, inquiring about the antecedents of the erection of a winter foot bridge on the Rideau Canal between Second Ave and Herridge Street. Mr Askwith replied that the foot bridge had been erected for a number of years at the request of the residents of Ottawa East (Old Ottawa East) and members of the Ottawa City Council and that permission for such had been given to the City of Ottawa by Mr. Whittier’s predecessor, the late A.T. Phillips. [This is the same gentleman who had signed the authorisation for the Ottawa Motor Boat Club on the Canal, in 1912.] The City of Ottawa normally asked permission from the Rideau Canal Office every year but had neglected to do so for the past few years.
On April 14, Mr Whittier replied that the Department of Transport, Rideau Canal, could not find any reference to this bridge in their files nor could they locate any correspondence giving permission for its erection. He assumed that the permission would have been given verbally. He therefore informed the City of Ottawa that such a crossing would only be authorized under a formal licence and that the City of Ottawa should apply for one. The rental for this privilege would be $5 for the first year and $1 per year thereafter.
Mr Askwith did formally apply for a licence on Oct 23, 1945, 6 months later. On Nov. 6, 1945, Mr Whittier initiated, along with 9 copies of a plan map, the licence process within his Department that involved his legal counsel; the Lands Superintendant, Mr Wellwood; the General Supt of Canals, Mr Jost; the Deputy Minister and the Secretary.
Gordon C. Medcalf, City of Ottawa Solicitor, initiated a City of Ottawa by-law to authorize the execution of the lease agreement. The Privy Council approved the agreement under Order-in-Council PC235, signed by A.D.P. Heeney, clerk of the Privy Council. The lease was approved by C.D.Howe, Minister of Transport, and was signed by the Deputy Minister of Transport, F.N. Maclennan, the Mayor of Ottawa, J.E. Stanley Lewis and the City Clerk, N.R. Ogilvie.
A copy of lease no. 38317 was sent to the Auditor General and to Accounts Receivable of the Ministry of Transport. On March 2 1946, the Ministry of Transport sent a statement for $5 for the lease rental from Nov 1st 1945 to Oct 31st 1946 and M.H.Chapman of the City of Ottawa issued a purchase order to pay the $5 on Sept 12, 1946.
On Nov 3rd 1975, the City Council of Ottawa approved the cancellation of the lease and the Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada, then part of the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs, agreed to the cancellation on Dec 22, 1975.
In all, the ministerial file changed hands 32 times between April 12 1945 and Sept 13 1946.