April 22, 2014

Rose Simpson: The Beer Store protects kids (Yeah, right)

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina. You can read her previous columns here.

If you live in Ontario, by now, you will have seen a commercial warning parents to lock up their kids because the government is loosening the monopoly held by The Beer Store on the sale of ales and lagers.

Should this go forward, the commercial warns, kids will surely turn into angry mobs, all liquored up.

In a dramatization, the commercial shows a shifty-eyed fat f**ktard behind the counter chortling as youngsters, obviously too young to purchase hooch, slam down a two-fer and a big bottle of liquor, in anticipation of a night of mayhem, hurling and date rape.

The clerk sells to the kids anyway. No I.D. is checked.

It's a scene straight out of Superbad.

I live next to a convenience store and near a park. I should be afraid for my life and my windows as these hooligans, according to the commercial, will roam the neighborhood, like slobbering zombies, drunk out of their blasted mines.

We don't see that now, right?

Nope, mostly all we see, to be fair to The Beer Store, are slobbering middle aged assholes sliding into The Beer Store parking lot in their Neighborhood Shaking SUVs, already three sheets to the wind, piling cases of beer into their trunks for a night of hockey and pizza. I once saw a guy weaving into The Beer Store where he was refused service only to weave into the LCBO next door.

Eventually, the cops were called and luckily the guy didn't hit anybody.

There's nothing more fun for Ontarians than to get in their cars and lurch to The Beer Store mid-drunken stupor.

I've seen it. You've seen it.

Sure, maybe The Beer Store doesn't serve them, but perhaps they could not have been served at a convenience store they could walked to.

Back to the issue at hand, namely, the serving of liver damaging. head exploding products to minors.

Does The Beer Store really think that we believe they are protecting the interests of Ontarians and their children? We all know that the mostly foreign owned Beer Store is merely protecting its monopoly and the cool profit it reaps by keeping down the competition. Read this if you think The Beer Store gives a rat's ass about you or me.

Unlike the LCBO, The Beer Store is owned by a conglomerate of companies who, for generations, kept us from enjoying beverages that were not produced in Ontario plants. It's only been 20 years since the Olands, one of the great Canadian beer-making familes, were allowed to ply Moosehead in Ontario.

I have an insider view of the cut-throat beer business having had the great fortune to be married to a beer executive for a time. The company heads can barely be in the same room together, and heads at the vice-president's level roll if one of them loses even a fraction of a percent of sales to a competitor.

So you can imagine how much Imodium is being passed around at the thought that retailers will finally be able to choose what brands to sell in convenience stores. It's hard enough for beer companies to keep up with the graft associated with bars, let alone have to spread themselves around to every little corner store with a wall full of suds.

Suddenly, the profits will have to be spread around. Holy Mother of Jesus, pass the tequila Sheila, lay down and love me again!

In the meantime, these stewards of our children are making bloody fools of themselves with this campaign.

The commercials are being derided online by a host of youngins who remind us that The Beer Store has a proud history of serving anyone who has fake I.D.

I really hope the government of Ontario continues with its plan to put beer and wine in stores that are walkable rather than driveable distances. People are gonna get liquored up no matter what. I'd rather see them winding their way along the sidewalks than weaving in traffic.

Besides, convenience stores have been selling tobacco forever, so why not booze?

Any owner would be an idiot not to take seriously the sale of booze to those who are intoxicated or under-age. It's not a morality play. If they get caught, they'll lose their licence (something that would never, ever happen to The Beer Store).

Convenience store owners aren't rubes. They understand they'll make more money selling booze responsibly than not selling it at all.

Why not give Ontarians more convenience and end the monopoly once and for all?

Send those beer-peddling European conglomerates back where they came from and keep the money in Canada where it belongs.

God knows we could all do with some substance abuse even closer to home.

-- Rose Simpson

See also: Ottawa Beer and Wine Guide
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April 20, 2014

Christopher Ryan: "Detail Work a Specialty" - Ottawa Stair Works and the Changing Face of Bayview

A weekly feature by Christopher Ryan, a local photographer, blogger and researcher.

The Ottawa Stair Works factory, as it is today, with the Somerset Viaduct (or Bridge, if you prefer). April 2014. 

Although John Ruskin may have found it distasteful, by the turn of the twentieth century a whole lot of what went into the construction of homes and buildings was not built on the spot, but rather in factories where process and the division of labour were the orders of the day. Between 1900 and 1930, The Ottawa Stair Works would stand out as a highly successful manufacturer of all manner of finished interior hardwood. It is perhaps fitting that antiques are sold there today.

The Ottawa Stair Works was the enterprise of John McLaughlin, who reputedly came from Chicago with his family during the 1880s. He was a returnee, however, as he was born in Bells Corners in 1855. For a few years beginning in around 1889, he worked as a carpenter out of his store at 286-288 Bank Street (he also had shops on the lot behind, at 377 Somerset). The Ottawa Stair Works was born in 1894, and like so many businesses of the late nineteenth century, it was born with a buzzword and was then known as the Ottawa Electric Stair Works.

McLaughlin went with Electric at first. Source: The Ottawa City Directory, 1898-99 (Might Directories).

By 1900, however, McLaughlin had dropped the “Electric” from the business name and added Hanrahan system refrigerators to his repertoire.

McLaghlin, Unplugged. By 1900-01, McLaughlin had re-christened his company the Ottawa Stair Works, the name it would retain until it went bankrupt. Source: The Ottawa City Directory, 1901 (Might Directories).

Only the genuine Hanrahan system would do in McLaughlin’s shop.
Source: Ottawa Journal, August 14, 1901.

It appears that business was good. Very good. Within the decade, McLaughlin had grown out of his premises wrapping around the corner of Bank and Somerset (the Royal Bank had the corner) and went searching for a new location. During the summer of 1907, he had found it.

In a time when the papers listed dozens of property transactions at a time, you could be forgiven if you missed any single one of them. Spruce Street exists today, but Cedar was the old name for that section of what is now Somerset. Source: Ottawa Journal, June 4, 1907.

At the turn of the century, J.R. Booth began the process of reconfiguring his lumber and railyards in the Bayview area and began to sell lots that were part of the Sparks Estate North Yard. Within a year following the sale, McLaughlin had constructed his new factory in a setting that included the massive W.C. Edwards planing mill and International Lumber Co. yards. His plant was soon churning out stairs, spindles, tent pegs, and all manner of cabinetry with aplomb.

A wonderful perspective on the factory. Details down to the pedestrian bridge to the offices upstairs from the Somerset Bridge. Note that the tracks along the side of the factory were already set to be removed by the time this ad was published. Today they’re the strip between the building and part of City Centre Avenue (originally known as First Avenue, then Champagne Ave. N). A definite Thank-You to the Midcentury Modernist for alerting me to this image. Source: The Ottawa City Directory, 1912 (Might Directories).

Same corner, difference angle. April 2014.

The two-floor concrete facility had its offices upstairs along with the woodworkers and the planing functions on the lower level. It would have been a good show and a good reason why the small bridge leading from the Somerset bridge was so important. It would almost lend potential clients a managerial experience in the facility. Source: Goad’s Fire Insurance Atlas of Ottawa 1902 (1912 Revision).

John McLaughlin died in February of 1914. The Journal reported that he had suffered from blood poisoning stemming from an injury he sustained while working in the shop. His entry in Ontario’s Registrations of Deaths, however, indicates that it was heart failure stemming from a malignant wound of the arm.

Click to enlarge. McLaughlin’s entry is to the far right. Source: Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, Reels 1-615 (Ancestry.ca).

In business - manufacturing, show, and otherwise - the show must go on and for the Ottawa Stair Works it did. John’s sons, already highly involved in the enterprise, took the reigns and continued to grow the business. Under their mother’s watchful eye, of course. She later sold the factory to the company (it had been owned by McLaughlin himself and then his widow, Ellen) for just over $20,000.

Builders, Attention! Ottawa Stair Works was ready, willing, and able to take on any task in their wheelhouse. Source: Ottawa Journal, July 12, 1924.

The hot economy of the 1920s was certainly kind to the Stair Works. The gallery below contains a number of advertisements that ran in the Journal between 1925 and 1930.

As it would be, it seems that the mother, Ellen, may have been more important to the venture than it seemed. Less than a year after she passed away (August of 1931), the Ottawa Stair Works filed for bankruptcy.

Just as the Depression was setting in, the factory went up for sale as part of the liquidation process. Source: Ottawa Journal, May 13, 1932.

Three years later, it was still for sale. Although construction was still quite a hot ticket in Ottawa through those years, the extravagance of the 1920s left firms like the Ottawa Stair Works without much of a constituency. Apartments and homes needed to be constructed, but the hardwood designs were a luxury. Source: Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1935.

The factory did find a buyer the following year in the Baker Brothers, a family that was involved in a large number of enterprises in the Bayview area. Not the least of which were their junk yards and auto dealership. Much like the McLaughlins in the 1920s, the Baker Brothers experienced some success in the early 1940s.

Where economics couldn’t keep the plant down for good, fire did. In 1944, the factory suffered from a major fire. While the structure itself survived, the yards around it were destroyed.

So ended the Baker Brothers’ venture in the old Ottawa Stair Works factory. While they would later invest $5,000 to refurbish the facility, it planed its last board in 1944. Source: Ottawa Citizen, October 26, 1944.

After the Baker’s refurbishment, the factory was used as a warehouse for R.L Crain Printing Ltd.

R.L Crain would occupy the space for about 15 years. Source: Goad’s Fire Insurance Map of Ottawa, 1925 (1948 Revision).

Once R.L. Crain departed, it was taken over by the Robert Tape machine shops and most recently has been the home of Ultralux Paint and A Fine Thing Antiques. By the time Crain was finished with the building, the Bayview area had changed dramatically.

1958 Aerial of the area. Ottawa Stair Works is the bright white building between Somerset and Spruce. You can also see the massive W.C. Edwards planing mill, woodshed, and lumber piles, including the small brick office, which is now the home to Orange Art Gallery. Source: geoOttawa.

In 1962, Jarvis & Lawrence Freedman of Ault-Kinney Realty Ltd. purchased the six-acre site from W.C. Edwards (who had since wound down production) for $400,000.

The original plan for City Centre appears to be considerably larger than what was constructed in the end. An underestimation of how much long-haul trucking would revolutionize the movement of freight is likely what cut the plans down (another hat-tip to the Midcentury Modernist - my own familiarity with transportation history is lacking) and ultimately saved the little W.C. Edwards brick office.

1965 Aerial of the property. Dramatic changes at Bayview. I’d have loved if they would have installed the rooftop lettering (as shown in the proposal) on the buildings that were constructed. Source: geoOttawa.

Finally, although the former Ottawa Stair Works factory’s days may be numbered (it has been upzoned as part of the Bayview CDP), it has been there, right at the centre of Ottawa’s transition from lumber town to government town.

-- Original photos & text by Christopher Ryan.
(See more on our blog from Christopher...)

See also: Ottawa History Guide
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April 19, 2014

PODCAST: Lunch Out Loud Ottawa #69 featuring Tracey from Bridgehead & Atherton

Every week we publish a link to the Lunch Out Loud podcast, a weekly show produced by Nick Bachusky and co-hosted by Andrew Miller. In this episode We meet up with Tracey Clark, the managing Director of Bridgehead, the most popular location to get your fair-trade coffee in Ottawa. We talk about the past, present and future of Bridgehead. Lots of great information about the process and some other good news! foodiePrints spoke about A Taste for Life and Poutinefest 2. Music from Devin Atherton.

See also: Ottawa Music Guide
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April 16, 2014

OttawaStart's Weekly Event Round-Up: April 17-23, 2014

First Green
First Green / Photo by Marcel Regimbald from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

Here are our contributors' picks for the best events in Ottawa this week.
See also: What's open and closed in Ottawa for Easter weekend 2014...

Thursday, April 17: Triades at la Maison de la Culture (Gatineau)
Triades is the collaboration of three Quebec jazz singers -- Sonia Johnson (Juno, 2012), Annie Poulin, and Charles Biddle, Jr -- with three prominent Quebec jazz instrumentalists -- pianist Marianne Trudel (who also arranged all the songs), bassist Morgan Moore, and drummer Jim Doxas. Their CD was nominated for a Juno for Vocal Jazz Album this year (Johnson won that award in 2012). Expect songs in both English and French, sung separately and in harmony, with lots of verve and feeling. (From downtown Ottawa, La Maison de la Culture de Gatineau is about 15 minutes by car, via Highway 148, or 30 minutes by bus on STO route 200.)
-- Alayne McGregorOttawaJazzScene.ca

Thursday, April 17: A Dramatic Reading of Pop Songs
Featuring Evan Solomon, Amanda Putz, David O'Meara & Sandra Ridley, a VERSeFest Fundraiser, $10. I'm out of town so I have to miss this but it sounds like oodles of pun. Who could resist Edgar Allen Levigne? Plus it's a great cause, helping to raise money for Ottawa's annual poetry festival, which brings in a variety of poets from all over the world every March. Starts at 7:30pm
-- Amanda Earl, Bywords

Thursday, April 17: Stiff Quickies
The Ottawa Fringe Festival is putting on a fundraiser  this Thursday, April 17 at the Arts Court Theatre & Studio. Dubbed Stiff Quickies: Short Films, Tall Drinks, Deep Pockets, the event will feature a screening with works by several artists and represents a great occasion to support the local cultural scene.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Friday, April 18: FIFA 14 Video Game Tournament
Stony Monday Riot, a new soccer supporter group, is proud to present the First Annual Borthwick Cup, a FIFA 14 Open tournament taking place on the eve of Ottawa Fury FC`s home opener. Up to 32 participants will be playing for up to $320 in cash. There are a few spots left! For more information and to sign up, visit www.ottawafifa.ca Not a video game person? Come and meet some "rioters" and sample from the bake sale - and get immersed in Ottawa's new soccer culture!
-- Laura Gauthier

Friday, April 18: StillNative Black Keys Tribute 
Local rawbeat rock duo StillNative are putting on a show at the Rainbow Bistrofor their IndieGoGo Campaign to help raise funds to “manufacture, promote and distribute their second LP”. For the occasion, StillNative will be performing a Black Keys Tribute Set along with some original material and they’ll be joined by opening act Rishi Von Rex.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Saturday, April 19 and Tuesday, April 22: Earth Day events
Earth Day is April 22, but eco-retailer terra20 is getting an early start on Saturday, when they’re inviting people to check out plantable seed paper, meet composting worms and learn healthy snack-making from the National Capital Vegetarian Association. On Tuesday, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa presents Honour Your Word, a documentary film about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and their efforts to protect their land and environment, at the Mayfair Theatre.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa

Saturday, April 19: Inaugural Season Opener for the Ottawa Fury FC soccer team
Join the Stony Monday Riot supporters group for some pre-match festivities which begin at 12:30pm at Original Burger (873 Bank Street) - Pints of Broadhead are $5. Party heads to Carleton around 2pm (#7 Red and White Limo service). Kick-off at 3pm. All are welcome to join! Ticket info for reduced rate with SMR also available!
-- Laura Gauthier

Saturday, April 19: Easter Underground Eggstravaganza
The Easter Bunny is at in again on his third visit to the Diefenbunker! With hundreds of places to hide in our 100,000 square foot bunker, we need your help to find all of the Easter eggs. Come out for our Easter Egg hunt and make an Easter craft! At the Diefenbunker in Carp.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

Tuesday, April 22: Michael Webster's Momentous Ontario Tour
This Brooklyn-based, but Ottawa born jazz musician is coming back to town in support of his latest album. He's a fantastic jazz musician, but the music appeals to more than just jazz aficionados. There's a beautiful atmospheric quality to his music, so it will be a very special evening at the NAC's Fourth Stage.
-- Ryan Bresee

Have a great week!

See also: What's open and closed in Ottawa for Easter weekend 2014...
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April 15, 2014

Rose Simpson: Let's humanize Jim Flaherty, not lionize him

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina. You can read her previous columns here.

Cotton Candy Clouds
Cotton Candy Clouds by David Johnson, from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

I wonder if I'm the only person in Canada who is creeped out by all the fuss over the unfortunate demise of Jim Flaherty.

I cried a few tears when I heard he had passed, as I would for anyone who had been struck down so suddenly. Poor guy, I thought. Poor wife. Poor kids. For most people, that would be it, a funeral, a wake, some hugs and nice rembrances.

But the outpouring of grief is simply over the top for me. He was a politician, by all accounts, a nice guy, a person who liked to kiss the blarney stone more than his doctor might have allowed.

Jim Flaherty was a guy with a bad ticker who worked too hard, drank too much and didn't watch his cholesterol.

Yet somehow our country has been hurled into a weird ritual of national mourning that is bound to go on for weeks. Most of us didn't know Jim Flaherty and only saw him on budget day when he brought in a mixed bag of programs that a lot of us didn't agree with. There was more money for prisons under Flaherty, bad decisions on defence spending while cutting back on the human side of soldiering, the gutting of the CBC, excruciatingly oppressive energy and food costs, the loss of good jobs to McJobs. Well, I could go on.

All his drinking buddies in the Press Gallery lauded him for saving Canada from a depression, yet it still looks like a depression from where I'm sitting. Half my family is unemployed while the other half is under-employed. Oh yes, and he's making people my age work longer.

So forgive me for refusing to lionize the guy. He wasn't Jim Almighty; he was just a better than average finance minister whom people liked personally. He did good things for some people, other people not so much.

And while we're at it, let's not idolize somebody who died because he didn't take care of himself. He wasn't called to his job. God didn't send down tablets to him. He wasn't Moses or even Noah. He was a politician who had a bit of a God complex who stayed up too late, rode around in limos and private jets and ate and drank at the very best establishments.

Nobody asked him to stay on until the deficit was vanquished. He should have listened to his doctor, reduced his stress levels, and taken more time to smell the roses.

Now he can't and that, my friends, is a cautionary tale.

If you were Jim Flaherty standing at the pearly gates and St. Peter asked you if you have any regrets, what would you say?

I don't think anybody would wish they had spent more time as finance minister.

-- Rose Simpson

See also: Ottawa Parliament Hill Guide
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April 14, 2014

Cool Ottawa Blog: "Ottawa Gig Posters"

Here's a great blog for Ottawa music and art fans: Ottawa Gig Posters, a collection of work from Rocket 57 Illustration. The man behind Rocket 57 is Marc Audet, an illustrator and animator based in Gatineau.

Marc tells us: "I've been working as a self employed illustrator in the Ottawa region for the past 13 years. 99% of what you see on the site is my stuff. I do, on the rare occasion, collaborate with a designer or two. A lot of the stuff I do is for my own band, Still Winter Hills, but I'm making an effort to branch out and work with other bands."

See also: Ottawa Music Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

April 12, 2014

Lunch Out Loud Ottawa: Episode 68 with prototypeD & Sound of Lions

Every week we publish a link to the Lunch Out Loud podcast, a weekly show produced by Nick Bachusky and co-hosted by Andrew Miller. In this episode: We meet with with Janak, Kirill, Karissa and Khaled from the innovative non-profit hub PrototypeD Urban Workshops which you will be hearing about a lot in Ottawa in the future. From how the workspace started to the projects (Bayview Innovation Centre) that they are working on now, we learn about their passion for creativity in several aspects of life on the show. A true example of the future of Ottawa! Music this week was from the very talented Sound of Lions! Check them out at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest July 12th!

See also: Ottawa Entertainment Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

April 11, 2014

Christopher Ryan: Rupert McLelland's distinctive rounded entrances

A weekly feature by Christopher Ryan, a local photographer, blogger and researcher. It appears every Friday on our blog.

When you see them, you can’t unsee them. Mason Terrace, at one time the epicentre of Ottawa’s single largest housing development features homes with rounded front entrances. April 2014. 

I must concede that I’ve spent so much time looking at Ottawa’s construction booms before and after the Second World War that it hadn’t occurred to me that Ottawa experienced one during the War too. Whether it was the larger bureaucracies demanded by Depression-era relief projects, the exceptionally large number of civil servants demanded by the war effort, or the postwar growth of the Welfare State, all those Ottawans needed somewhere to live.

This past weekend I decided to take one of my patented long, meandering walks. Aside from hitting the expected sorts of places, I decided to take a stroll through those residential borderlands between Old Ottawa South and (Old) Ottawa East. Once I hit Mason Terrace, Mount Pleasant, and Brown Streets, I had noticed that the majority of front doors were rounded at the top. Both cute (on the smaller singles in particular) and distinctive, when the majority of all doors everywhere are concerned. Naturally, I was curious.

Not quite Alta-Vista, but a record is a record. While war was raging overseas, Rupert McClelland was housing Ottawans. Source: Ottawa Citizen, November 8, 1943.

Although McClelland’s name does not enjoy the same sort of recognition as other Ottawa developers, his homes and projects constructed between 1939 and 1949 have a certain distinctive feature that others do not.

Yes: it’s the rounded front doors. Aside from the homes around Mason Terrace (as pictured at the top of the story), there are a large number of homes around Ottawa that are a McClelland project. Pictured clockwise are his homes at Marlborough Ave., Leighton Terrace, Breezehill, and Holland Ave. There is a good chance that if you live within the Greenbelt in a home with a rounded front door constructed during the War, it was built by Rupert McClelland. Image source: Google Streetview (Spring-Summer 2012).

Before the record-setting project in Ottawa East, McClelland had generally spent his time constructing a small number of homes around Ottawa: most often doubles, but a number of bungalows as well. While they haven’t all survived the ravages of time, many of his trademarked rounded doors are are enjoyed by residents on Marlborough (Sandy Hill), Renfrew (The Glebe), Muriel (The Glebe), and Breezehill (Hintonburg) among others.

Most of McClelland’s building permits before the Ottawa East project consisted of less than a half-dozen homes. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 18, 1940.

The distinctive doors were likely manufactured at his own factory, which was located at 120 Parkdale on what is now Tunney’s Pasture. It seems to be a good bet that McClelland’s homes reverted to more conventional entrances following the destruction of his factory by fire in August of 1949. The property was expropriated shortly thereafter by Public Works for the construction of a building for the Department of Trade and Commerce (Industry Canada).

A birds-eye of the neighbourhood today. Source: Bing Maps.

In the fall of 1942 an opportunity came up for the purchase of a number of lots near Main Street. The land, which was owned by the Public School Board and known as the Whitcomb Property, was considered surplus and the best use, it was thought, was for housing. Housing, of course, was something that Ottawa was in an eternal short supply of.

McClelland’s big gambit began in 1942. Source: Ottawa Journal, November 28, 1942.

In January of 1943 as McClelland had begun construction of the first eighteen homes, more of the details surrounding the purchase were revealed. McClelland’s project was the single largest component to a project that was being undertaken by the Ottawa Home Builders’ Association that would see the construction of 300 homes to alleviate the shortage. Among the conditions applied to the sale of the Whitcomb Property were:
"The sale of the Board’s property on the Main street, Ottawa East, known as the Whitcomb property to Rupert S. McClelland for $10,000 was announced. Mr. Kennedy stated that the agreement provided that no building costing less than $5,000 would be built on any one lot."
-- Ottawa Journal, January 8, 1943.
Once all of the details were set, construction proceeded rapidly. Streets were laid and the homes were constructed in batches of 15-20 at a time. Always the family man, Mason Terrace was named by McClelland after his brother.

The neighbourhood at 15 years. Source: City of Ottawa, geoOttawa, 1958 Aerials.

“Terms to Responsible Purchasers.” Source: Ottawa Journal, April 8, 1943.

From that point onward, the sky was the limit. Once the Ottawa East project was completed, McClelland proceeded to replicate that success in the city’s west as well. Named after another one of his brothers, McClelland’s Leighton Terrace development (off Island Park) was completed in 1945.

True to his advertisements, Leighton Terrace is home to a number different models of home. Source: Ottawa Journal, August 28, 1945.

As with most active developers, Rupert McClelland would go on to construct larger projects on larger parcels and taller buildings on small parcels. He would also go on to purchase a number of downtown properties. That will, however, be a story for another day.

-- Original photos & text by Christopher Ryan.
(See more on our blog from Christopher...)

See also: Ottawa History Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

April 09, 2014

OttawaStart's Weekly Event Round-Up: April 10-16, 2014

Smokin' / by J. Michel from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

Here are our contributors' picks for the best events in Ottawa this week.

Thursday-Sunday, April 10- 13: Ottawa Guild of Potters Spring Pottery Sale
Get your fill of locally-crafted bowls, cups, vases and other works of pottery art at the Ottawa Guild of Potters Annual Spring Sale and Exhibition. Proceeds from the sale of specially-marked pots will go to Helping With Furniture, an awesome local organization that provides used furniture and household items to families in need.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa

Thursday, April 10: Radioactive Series Presents The Goodluck Assembly
The Radioactive music series is featuring indie rock group The Goodluck Assembly live in concert this Thursday night. Presented by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. and the Mercury Lounge, the show will include an opening set by Kennedy Cult, a heartbreak pop four-piece that released one EP a month in 2013.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Friday, April 11: Messagio Galore Take XIV
Gallery 101, 51B Young St. at 8pm. Performed by the Quatour Gualuor: jwcurry, Rachel Lindsey, Georgia Mathewson, Brian Pirie, & Robert Rosen Featuring work by Richard Beland, bill bissett, Jaap Blonk, Victor Coleman, Dureau de La Malle, Fortunato Depero, François Dufrêne, Paul Haines, Raoul Hausmann, dom sylvester houédard, ernst jandl, Cøghdur Krübben, Alastair Larwill, F.T.Marinetti, Tomahawk, Richard Truhlar, David UU, Don Van Vliet, Frank Zappa & more. $20 at the door. A rare & fantastic opportunity to see a well-choreographed performance of sound poetry, skits, comedy, whimsy, poesie & more.
-- Amanda Earl, Bywords

Saturday, April 12: John Geggie and special guests at the NAC Fourth Stage
For a dozen years, jazz bassist John Geggie has brought superb jazz players from Canada and the world to play together in new combinations at the NAC Fourth Stage. Saturday's concert may be the last, but he's got a great lineup with many Juno-award-winning Canadian jazz musicians. Saxophonists Christine Jensen (2014 Juno) and Joel Miller (2013 Juno), and pianist David Braid (2012 Juno) are all well-known as ground-breaking composers as well as instrumentalists. And when you add in drummer Ted Warren and trumpeter Jim Lewis, who have played in many memorable concerts here, it's going to be an unrepeatable night.
-- Alayne McGregorOttawaJazzScene.ca

Sunday, April 13: Ottawa Vintage Fashion Show
Canada’s largest vintage clothing show is happening this Sunday, April 13 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. This bi-annual fashion sale gathers rare-one-of-a-kind pieces, jewelry, scarves, hats, purses, and cocktail dresses under one roof. There’s sure to be something for everyone at any price range.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Sunday, April 13: “Energy East: Our Risk – Their Reward”
You may have heard talk of the proposed Energy East project that would convert an existing natural gas pipeline through the Ottawa area to one that would carry oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chair, and Eriel Deranger, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, will be in town to share their views on the proposed pipeline and its possible effects. 7 p.m. at the Mayfair Theatre.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa

Wednesday, April 16: Lunchtime Roundtable, Gotta Go! Campaign
The Gotta Go! campaign recognizes that sometimes, well, you just gotta go. The goal of this new initiative is to get more safe, clean and accessible public toilets in Ottawa. If you’ve ever needed to find a public washroom in a hurry, you’ll understand the urgency. Find out more at @25One Community (251 Bank St., 2nd floor), noon-1 p.m.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa

Have a great week!

See also: Ottawa Events Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

April 08, 2014

Rose Simpson: "Dear taxpayer. Thank you for your letter. We misplaced it. Love Canada Post"

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina. You can read her previous columns here.

First Snow Storm of 2013
First Snow Storm of 2013 / Photo by Zhu from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

As usual, I spent part of the morning pouring over the online want ads looking for a job.
Once in a great while, one jumps out for which I might actually be qualified. It's not often, given my lack of bilingualism and absence of a nuclear level security clearance.
But I'm not giving up.
I need to buy dog food.
One caught my eye this morning.
Canada Post was looking for a writer for its correspondence division. Ah, I thought. I can do that.
I spent some time working in the Prime Minister's Office answering correspondence back during the short term tenure of John Turner's government.
I'd been working as a writer in Pierre Trudeau's PMO, so the correspondence gig was a bit of a demotion. Instead of writing lofty briefing notes for MPs, I would be lending my ear to the gripes of a nation thoroughly pissed off at the Liberals, particularly Westerners who hated The National Energy Program and Trudeau's distain for the common people.
But in politics, sometimes a job is a job.
I must say, the Trudeau folks were interesting, fun and cool as compared to the
Turner lot, known forever in my mind as the Government of Grey Men in Old Man Pants because all his advisors wore their pants right under their nipples. They were also incompetent as hell compared to the well-oiled machine of the Trudeau government.
The correspondence job was a toughie.
It was also awesome.
It made me feel close to other Canadians, even the guy who sent a letter, in which he included a photo of himself jacking off. (Here's my contribution.) or the man who must have spent four hours making a pop up middle finger. He was the best.
I think I would be great at the Canada Post job. I can already see myself in the chair, opening up the email and watching hundreds of pieces of correspondence load, all of them about how pissed off Canadians are that Canada Post is taking away their home delivery, raising the stamp to one dollar, and generally NOT delivering the nation's mail on time.
I might even see my own emailed correspondence in the pile, the letter I wrote this week about the mailman who keeps leaving our gate open so my dogs can get killed on St. Laurent Blvd., the same guy who delivers mail to us addressed to the public school four blocks down, the same guy who gave my husband the finger the other day because he didn't appreciate the ice on our sidewalk after a snow fall.
What a prick.
I would write back to myself the following:

Dear Ms. Simpson

Thank you for your letter. The president of Canada Post would very much like to thank you for your comments and he has made a note of them. (Lie.) I have forwarded your concerns to our Vice-President of Mail Delivery (who is also losing his job). As you are aware, Canada Post is downsizing its delivery service to better and more efficiently serve Canadians (justification for squandering taxpayers' money in the past) and soon you will be able to have the opportunity of getting some exercise by walking your dog to your handy neighborhood communal postal box. The carrier in question will be on the unemployment line very soon so don't be too hard on him. If you don't like him, let your dog loose when he's in your yard and he will be sure to shut your gate in the future.

Thank you for contacting Canada Post.


name here.

p.s. I'm only fantasizing about this situation as I am not qualified to apply for this position. Apparently, you need to have a Master's Degree to be a correspondence writer for Canada Post, which is further evidence that the post office is squandering your tax dollars hiring an over-qualified person for an entry level position.

-- Rose Simpson

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