Old Ottawa South Community Association

  • Ottawa South History Project


Glimpses of Old Ottawa South's history: local stories of the past, research findings, and snippets of old news items.

Billings Bridge Sketch 1877

The Archives of Ontario has collected and preserved many works by Anne Langton (1804–1896), artist and pioneer settler in Upper Canada, including this charming depiction of the area along the Rideau River by Billings Bridge.

Proposed Billings Bridge Street Car Service Never Materialized

The idea of extending street car service southward began with the annexation of Rideauville, and Wyoming Park (now Old Ottawa South) and the village of Ottawa East by the City of Ottawa on December 16, 1907. But street car service was dependant on suitable bridges crossing the Rideau Canal. At the time, swing bridges existed on Bank Street at Lansdowne Park and at Argyle Avenue and could not carry street cars. Almost immediately, new bridges were being planned.

Treasures from the Attic

Jim Montgomery recently uncovered this artifact from a former Bank Street business: a 1927 calendar from A. E. Fairbairn, grocer, located at 1320 Bank Street. Arthur E. Fairbairn operated a general store for many years on the west side of Bank Street, just north of the Billings Bridge. Arthur was the son of Peter Fairbairn, one of Ottawa South's pioneers.

Boathouses on the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal has not always been the quiet waterway surrounded by green parkways which it is today. In the nineteenth century it was a busy commercial and industrial zone. North of Pretoria it was bordered by warehouses, wharves, and railway tracks. South of Pretoria the canal banks were more open but there were wharves, a brick works, and private boathouses. The north side of Dow’s Lake was an industrial site lined with lumber piling yards, a cannery and railway tracks.

Memories of Bank Street Businesses?

Do you remember these businesses? Wong Brothers Fruit Store, 757 Bank Street, 1927-1997 The Avalon Theatre (later the Glebe Theatre), 742 Bank Street, 1928-1956 The Handy Shoe Repair Shop, 1152 Bank Street 1940-1959 If so, your participation is requested for a study on Bank Street workplaces.

Sunnyside Tennis Club

The April 1979 OSCAR contained an article by Lindsay Suthren in which Mr. George Seal of Bellwood Avenue reminisced… “about his childhood in Ottawa South. He can remember the sounds of tennis playing on the four courts of the Sunnyside Tennis Club which was situated in the ravine behind St. Margaret Mary's Church, formerly Calvin Presbyterian Church. Tennis was very popular as was canoeing. There were a number of canoe clubs on the Rideau River and on the Canal within the Ottawa South area.”[1] Tennis boomed in Ottawa in the 1920s. Many clubs – St. James, All Saints, St. Alban’s, and St. Joseph’s – were linked to churches and in 1924 Calvin Presbyterian Church at Sunnyside and Fairbairn acquired enough land behind the church to build six double tennis courts; in fact, only four courts were built.[2]
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