Old Ottawa South Community Association

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History of the Ottawa Fire Department

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History of the Ottawa Fire Department

Extracts from the book: History of the Ottawa Fire Department - 150 Years of Firefighting

Authors J. Bernard Matheson and David R. Fitzsimons, self published, 1988


In 1907 a spectacular blaze took place at the Exhibition Grand Stand during which the stand burned to the ground and several buildings were damaged.

Witnesses at the exhibition grounds noted that there was no water pressure from hydrants, and effective hose streams were not possible until the three steam engines arrived. The alarm was called in at 7:45p.m. and kept the Department busy until 1:10a.m. when the return blow was rung.

Ottawa had learned a hard lesson and when the Grand Stand was rebuilt it was of fire resistant concrete and housed the No. 10 station.


With the rapid growth of Ottawa in 1908 the Chief was most concerned about Ottawa East, Hintonburg, and Ottawa South. It was fortunate there were no major fires that year in which there was a total fire loss of $71,876.88.


In this year two new stations opened: one to replace No. 6 which had burned down in 1907 and a new station, No.10, on the exhibition grounds in the bottom of the Grand Stand. The Grand Stand had burnt down in 1907 and it was thought that a station incorporated with the building of the Grand Stand would enhance the protection of Ottawa South.

Photo: No. 10 Fire Station at Lansdowne Park Grand Stand opened September 12, 1910; it provided quarters for a Hose Company and a Ladder Company. Scene showing military leaving for World War 1, approx. 1915.

Credit: CA 0200, City of Ottawa Archives

[This image is similar or identical to images LAC NRCAN a023278, a023280, a034032]


Construction was finally started on the new Ottawa South Station (No.10), a recommendation the Chief had made for years.


In September of that year, a new No. 10 Station on Sunnyside Avenue was completed. It was named the "Graham Station" after the late Chief. The men and equipment were transferred from the exhibition grounds to their new quarters.

Photo: No. 10 Fire Station on Sunnyside Avenue, named after Chief Graham. The Hose Chemical wagon was one of two Model 'T' American LaFrance trucks built in in 1919 at a cost of $2,100 each. The firemen in the doorways are: Capt. W. Dicks and Louis Rockburn

Credit: Louis Rockburn and Hugh Cairns


Photo: 1932 Bickle Chieftan Special, Triple Combination, 600 gpm Pumper. This pumper was supplied to the Ottawa Fire Department at a cost of $7,590. Picture taken in front of Trinity Anglican Church, 1230 Bank Street at Cameron Avenue.

Credit: Gerry Larkin


1947 was a year of high fire loss. During one fire at a Loblaws Store on Bank Street the water mains failed and it took 3 1/2 hours to find the problem. The O.F.D. in the meantime resorted to drafting from the ice covered Rideau River. This proved of little benefit due to the long hose lays.

[While not explicit that this was in Old Ottawa South, it seems likely given the intersection of Bank Street and the Rideau River.]

ca 1950

Photo: 1950 Mercury Boosters. Two were built in the O.F.D. Machine Shops and helped provide protection for the newly annexed portions of Gloucester and Nepean.

Credit: Ottawa Fire Department

[Was Sorento's Restaurant in OOS? pg 114 has details of a fire there]


New Number 10 Station

November 1974

March 25, 1973, Chief Larkin was able to persuade city council that a new No. 10 Station was required at the corner of Fifth Avenue and O'Connor Street. Unfortunately, the approval did not include the drill facilities that were recommended. The move from the Sunnyside location took place November, 1974.

Photo: No. 10 Station located on O'Connor Street at Fifth Avenue, opened November 1974

Credit: none

pg 162


Last modified on Monday, 08 April 2019 15:08

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