Posted by: Kathy Krywicki
On the occasion of the first streetcar to cross the canal, this October 10, 1913 Ottawa Citizen article describes the first official tram trip over the Bank Street Bridge, with civic dignitaries, railway officials, and a veritable “who’s who” of Ottawa South in attendance. And a celebration of Ottawa South’s Progress and Purity.
Extension of Line over Rideau Canal
Streetcars Begin Service to Ottawa South over Bridge
The extension of the street railway line over Bank Street Bridge was officially opened this morning, by nearly all of the members of the city council, directors and officials of the Ottawa Electric Railway, prominent residents in Ottawa South, newspapermen and others. A regular service of cars is now running over the new line.
The opening ceremony was one of the most delightful functions that has been held in the city. Everything went off without a hitch of any kind. If the weather had not been made to order it could not have been more ideal for such an auspicious event.
Two brand new cars left city hall about 10 o’clock, Nos. 611 and 608, the former in charge of Chief Inspector Robert Ingram, Motorman O’Connor and Conductor Crait, and the latter in charge of Inspector Tobin, Motorman Robertson and Conductor Kehoe.
Those Who Drove
Alderman Carnochan, chairman of the streetcar railway extension committee, was the first to board the first car, No. 611. He was duly ushered in by Thomas Ahearn and Warren Y. Soper, president and vice-president of the Ottawa Electric Railway, respectively. Others in the party included: Controller Dr. Parent, Controller Kent, Controller Nelson, Ex-mayor Hopewell, Alderman Ault, Greene, Hogg, Macdonald, Fisher, Cherry, Brethour, Racine, Forward, Laroche, F.D. Burpee, superintendent of the O.E.R., R.R. Sparks, Elbert N. Soper, director of the OER, City Treasurer Corbett, Assessment Commissioner William Stewart, Assistant City Clerk Norman Lett, Fire Chief Graham, Assistant City Engineer Frank Askwith, Building Inspector Robert Fotheringham, City Engineer Currie, Dr. Lomer, M.O.H.; and the following committee of Ottawa South residents: Dr. W.A. Graham, W.J. Spratt, Frank Williams, Charles Wood, John Fotheringham, W.J. Fitzpatrick, W.F. Gibson, J.E. Wilson, Frank Jarman, John McNicoll, F. Gibson, C.C. Ray, T. Richie.
When the streetcar got to the crest of the new Bank Street bridge a photographer took a picture of the party and the cars. Then the cars went on a good clip along Bank as far as Sunnyside avenue, where they turned and went as far as Seneca, along Seneca to Grove, then to Bank again.
Along the route little groups of people were gathered in front of their homes and as the cars passed they cheered and waved handkerchiefs and flags. When the cars were in the center of Bank Street bridge, C.C. Ray proposed three cheers for the Ottawa Electric Railway, which were given heartily and Mr. Ahearn returned the compliment by calling for a similar compliment for Ottawa South.
Entertained to Lunch
Opposite Dr. A. W. Graham’s beautiful house and grounds [corner of Sunnyside and Bank] a stop was made and the party adjourned to a marquee on the lawn where tables were well covered with plenty of good things to eat and drink. This surprise had been arranged by the special committee.
After refreshments, served by the wives and friends of the committee, Ex-Mayor Hopewell proposed the toast to The King, which was responded in the usual way. The City of Ottawa followed, to which the Controller Dr. Parent replied appropriately. He commented on the advantage the new line would mean to Ottawa South and paid some warm compliments to the directors of O.E.R.
Thomas Ahearn and Warren Y. Soper made brief replies to the toast of The Ottawa Street Railway. Mr. Ahearn said that the opening of the new line augured well for success and assured his hearers that everything possible would be done to give a good service to the people of the district. He thanked the committee and others who had helped to make the opening ceremony such a pleasant function. Mr. Soper recalled at the time, 23 years ago, when he and Mr. Ahearn drove the first cars as far as the exhibition grounds [Lansdowne Park]. At that time  Ottawa had a population of about 35,000 and the line carried that year 100,000 passengers. Today the city’s population totals 100,000 and the number of passengers carried will exceed 25,000,000. Mr. Soper also explained the better technical knowledge of street railways and their appliances as compared with a few years ago.
Ald. Carnochan replied to the toast of the street railway extension committee, and Frank Williams to the one for Ottawa South. C.C. Ray said that Ottawa South people had for their slogan Progress and Purity. The opening of the new line exemplified progress and the white carnations he distributed emblemized purity. Even the aldermen and the newspapermen accepted flowers unblushingly.
New Line Cost $50,000
The construction of the new line was commenced about July 2nd but several incidents cropped up to delay its completion. It was built at a cost of about $50,000 and is considered an exceptionally well built piece of road. This extension was first urged by Ald. Carnochan about three years ago and naturally nobody was more pleased with this morning’s event than he.
About four new cars were put on the Bank street line today, so that about a four-minute service will be given.
Mayor Ellis and Controller Hinchey were unable to be present owing to having to attend previously made appointments of importance.