Saturday, March 3, 2018

Profile on the Hinton family - Part 1

After years of on-and-off research, I finally pulled together all of my research, and have put together a profile of the Hinton family. This is perhaps the column I am most proud of, for the amount of digging invested, and the importance of the subject matter. Until now, very very little has been written on the Hinton family (namesakes of Hintonburg). So for the first time, the Hinton family are being brought to life!

Bruce Elliott wrote a little about the Hintons in The City Beyond, and there are bits and pieces scattered around the internet on them, but largely their story has been largely hidden. And until recently, I had never even seen a photograph of them, nor had any of my historian contacts, some of whom had researched the Hintons themselves. It was through deep digging in the archives that I unearthed the first photo, which was mislabelled as "J. Hunton". I conferred with one of Ottawa's top historians Bryan Cook (who has published a book on William Pittman Lett, son-in-law of Joseph Hinton), and he shared with me a small, grainy old photo of what he believed was Joseph Hinton, though unconfirmed. We compared the two photos and agreed it was a close enough match. But I still was not 100% sure either or both photos were of Joseph. I then lucked out on finding a set of three photos donated to the Bytown Museum, which had photos of Joseph and Robert Hinton, as well as their famous Richmond Road farmhouse. The photo confirmed my original photo was Joseph as well! For good measure, some deep diving into the Lett family fonds at the city archives unearthed even one more photo of Joseph Hinton, and his wife! Sometimes it takes one domino to start things, to connect the dots.

With these great photos in hand, I was energized to get the written account finalized and published in the Kitchissippi Times. I stumbled across a handwritten biography of Joseph Hinton in the Lett family fonds, written by a grandson or nephew back around 1900. It was short, but contained some key pieces of info. I then took my 4+ years of notes on the Hintons, and began writing out the family chronology. Every time I came across a piece of information, or a newspaper article, I saved it in a file. Individually each piece says little, but put together, it tells a true story and gives a lot of key dates when the Hintons arrived, opened their farm, constructed their new house, and so on.

There was just so much information that I found it impossible to edit down into just one article. So it looks like my profile of the Hintons will be at least a two-parter, maybe even a three-parter.

The column includes the details of how Joseph's parents escaped death in a notable event in Ireland in 1798, how he made his way to Canada, the associations he made when he first arrived, his importance to the settling of Richmond, Ontario, and how he made his way to the neighbourhood that would soon bear his name - Hintonburg.

Please see this link for Part 1!:

Joseph Hinton in March 1871 (LAC)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

1972 Queensway car crash in photos

When it comes to digging through the various archives for Kitchissippi-related content, suffice to say I long ago had a handle on the basic materials that the federal, provincial and city archives had in their holdings. And to be sure, it wasn't much. Which is thus a big part of the reason why the hunt for west end Ottawa historical items is all the more exciting. As I say all the time, you can find a billion vintage photos of Parliament Hill, the Chateau Laurier, the Byward Market, etc., in books, on the internet and in the archives. Central Ottawa is extremely well-covered, and also well-written about (I should say, extensively written about; "well" being a bit too positive. I feel strongly that the definitive book about Ottawa's history has yet to be published). However the west end, until recently really has had very little written on it, and at least before the Kitchissippi Museum came along, it was next to impossible to find photos online or anywhere really. So I consider this my ongoing challenge, to dig deeper and deeper in to the archives, and come up with rare, hidden gems, that show our area's past in an interesting, and sometimes subtle way.

So with that little disclaimer, I now get to a series of three photos (well, four including the one from the newspaper) which I discovered recently, and found really interesting, from back in 1972. They are pretty random photos, of a really random event, but there are quite a few elements which I found make them pretty cool. 

As the Ottawa Journal caption below will tell you, a sudden summer shower in the afternoon of July 26th, 1972 caused three separate car accidents on the Queensway in Ottawa, all near the Island Park Drive off-ramp (I would suspect rubbernecking may have contributed to one or two of them as well!). The Journal sent a photographer to snap a series of photos of the accidents and the cars involved, and as you can see, one photo did run the following day. However, the complete original negatives from that reel of film survives, and from it, I selected three other photos which are pretty neat. 

So while these photos might appear largely uninteresting to the average person who might come across them, I love them. Here are a few reasons why, and some observations:

- Cars of the 1960s-1970s era are easy to appreciate, and so seeing a few of them on the Queensway is pretty cool
- Who doesn't love a car crash! Seeing the difference in the impact and damage in a 1972 crash is interesting. The car that was rear-ended actually does appear to be pretty seriously damaged (looks like it rear-ended the car in front of it as well); while the one with the front-end damage needs some work, but it sure didn't crumple like today's cars do. (Further along, almost underneath the big overheard signs, you can see a car turned sideways and up on it's side! Unfortunately the photographer did not take a photo of that car close-up for some reason!)
- The Queensway divider is a chain link fence, installed into a eight-foot wide grassy median
- There are only three lanes going on both directions (the grassy median would be converted to extra lanes many years later)
- The old Queensway exit signs for Carling and Kirkwood
- Ontario license plates used to be issued new each year, with the year engraved right into it
- Traffic is still going by, and there are guys (with 1970s facial hair and clothes!) just standing on the road smoking, waiting for the tow truck I guess!
- A guy on a ride-on mower has stopped by to have a look, on the opposite side of the Queensway!

Ottawa Journal, July 27, 1972
(Source: Ottawa Archives, CA-25844)

(Source: Ottawa Archives, CA-25845)

(Source: Ottawa Archives, CA-25846)

Anyways, just a few simple photos of a random crash 46 years ago, but so much to take away from it. Hope you enjoyed it! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Westboro/Richmond Road 1935 vs 2018

Posted this to my Twitter and Facebook today, but felt I should add it to the Museum too, of course.

Westboro has changed a little in the last 80+ years... I'll be watching the Super Bowl at Whispers tomorrow (as I do most years). Here is Whispers on Richmond Road now, and what the identical location looked like in about 1935 (in a photo I just acquired this week). Amazing!

(You can read more about the history of Whispers itself from a post I made 3 years ago at:

To enlarge the photos, simply click on them, and a new window will open showing a larger version:

Richmond Road at Tweedsmuir, looking west
(Source: Google Streetview, August 2017)

Richmond Road at Tweedsmuir (then known as "Xavier
Street") circa 1935 (Source: unknown, likely Ottawa
Archives, Suburban Road Commission Fonds)

The history and saga of Westboro's missing bell

Westboro's bell - now at Ben Franklin Place in Nepean
(Photo courtesy of

One of the most intriguing stories I have heard since my childhood, and which continues to get brought up regularly even now, is the story of the missing bell in Westboro's Town Hall. The heritage building acted as Nepean's government headquarters from 1896 until 1966; the last 16 of which was after Westboro had become part of Ottawa, no longer part of Nepean. In 1966, the bell was removed in the night, and relocated to the new Nepean town hall. For 50+ years, a war of words has been waged over ownership of the bell; is it more a piece of Nepean's history or Westboro's? There is no easy answer. And though there are obviously bigger issues in the community today, the topic is still an interesting one. A lot of interest has been expressed in putting a bell back into the empty belfry at the old town hall (now the Churchill Senior's Recreation Centre), and I'm sure someday we'll see something up there. I think a great opportunity was missed with Canada 150 grant money, but I know both the Westboro and Westboro Beach Community Associations continue to explore options!

Here is the full history of the bell, right back to exactly when it was first ordered, even through which store, and when it was delivered!

Special thanks to Ron Statham for once again providing some first-hand experience on another exciting piece of Westboro history!

Westboro Council Minutebook - May 26, 1916

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Kitchissippi Museum presents: 1960s west Ottawa home video train footage!

I am excited to finally launch this amazing video footage that I acquired a while back from local railroad aficionado Bruce Chapman. Bruce himself filmed all of this on his home movie camera back in the mid-1960s. He has quite a bit of train footage, so for this video I went through and pulled out most of the footage filmed within Kitchissippi.

There are a total of 8 clips filmed mostly in 1966-1967. Some are dated, some have accompanying info (below) from Bruce Chapman, and I've done my best to label key reference points in each video. There is no audio that was recorded.

You can view the footage here:

The first clips are the most exciting, as the footage is filmed from inside the cab of the engine, essentially providing an unbelievable opportunity to experience (at least to some degree) the feeling of driving down the CPR rail track along Scott Street inside a train in 1967.

Here is a list (and start times) of the different clips:
0:00 - October 28, 1967 - Final days at Ottawa West station. Leaving Ottawa West station going west towards Churchill Avenue, alongside Scot Street, from inside the cab of the RDC of #261.
2:59 - 1967 date uncertain - In cab of RDC unit on train #262 travelling from Brockville to Ottawa; this is footage from Churchill to Ottawa West station
4:50 - April 2, 1967 - Train #90, 8795-8745-8749 bringing 4-8-4 3100 to Ottawa, crossing Churchill Avenue
5:30 - October 28, 1967 - Ottawa West station's last day, panning the area from inside the yard
7:26 - Date unknown - "Scott Street in Ottawa; 'light' diesel locomotives heading westbound to pick up the rest of their train which they've left west of Westboro station, as their train was too long to fit into the small Ottawa West yard in one cut. The locomotives are all MLW: RS-10, RS-18, RS-10, RS-18"
8:26 - Date unknown. Shot from up Gilchrist Avenue looking north. "RS-18 and RS-10 on train #90 passing by on Scott Street."
9:31 - 1966 - Train #75, the through freight from Montreal to Ottawa on the M&O Sub, arriving at Ottawa West station early one morning (after crossing the Prince of Wales bridge)
10:12 - April 12, 1966 - #2 ("The Canadian") and #4 ("The Dominion") consolidated at Scott Street/Gilchrist Avenue

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Blind Beggar of Pinhey Street

Recently while researching another topic, I stumbled across a hilarious little nugget from the Ottawa Journal in 1898. The newspapers of that era had almost a small-town feel to them; especially when it came to talking about the suburbs or the little villages outside the city limits, the papers would run what was the equivalent of hot gossip on the people of the community.

This little article from August 23rd, 1898 made me laugh, for the sheer ridiculousness of it, and so I had to share it here.

Ottawa Journal, August 23, 1898

I decided to take a few minutes and try to find out more, if I possibly could, on John Albert and Mrs. Lazor. A quick check of the list of residents of 1898 show that there were actually 2 or 3 John (or Jean) Albert's in Hintonburg in 1898, making things a little trickier, but not impossible. Through a little advanced research, I was able to confirm that John Albert was a 62-year old man, widowed, living at what is now 81 Pinhey Street in the home of his daughter Mary and her husband William Knowlton. Mrs. Lazor was Mrs. Victoria Lessard, the 34-year old wife of general labourer Joseph Lessard. They lived two doors down, at what is now 75 Pinhey Street.

I was curious if the Journal had ever written anything else about either one, so a few quick searches, and voila, I found not just another article about John Albert, but an article that tells more of the same soap opera, written just a month earlier. And it too had equally as harsh words about John Albert!

Ottawa Journal, July 28, 1898

Further digging found that John had been having a rough few years. Three years earlier, his late wife had been hit by a train, and lost an arm. 

Ottawa Journal, July 8, 1895 

From my digging on Ancestry, it turns out his wife, the former Philomen Delina LeCuyer died less than a year after her train accident and amputation. She passed away on May 14th, 1896, from an ovarian tumour, which she had suffered from for two years. On her death certificate she is listed as 63 years old, and the wife of John Albert (who was unable to sign the register, for obvious reasons, so an "X" was made as his mark).

However perhaps a little more intriguingly, on the next page of the same death register, just a month later, on June 14th, is listed a death of Emma Albert, 29 years old of Hintonburg, the wife of John Albert (again with an "X" made as his mark)!! Could it be that the blind beggar of Pinhey Street was a true womanizer of the 1890s? But how did his new wife die so soon? How had he even remarried so quickly? The new Mrs. Albert died of "acute phthisis", which apparently is a "galloping consumption" described as "although applicable to several forms of wasting disease, is commonly used to designate a malady having for its chief manifestations progressive emaciation of the body and loss of strength, occurring in connexion with morbid changes in the lungs and in other organs." So it's possible that its not the same John Albert, but a quick check of the other Hintonburg John Albert's showed that they did not appear to be widowed. So its very odd for sure.

Then two years later, John Albert ran off with the married and much younger Victoria Lessard from two doors down, and what is interesting about her, aside from her propensity to run off with blind and broke 62 year old men (and bands of gypsies), is that fact that she and her husband had EIGHTEEN children! Yes, from 1882 until 1910, the couple had eighteen children, almost one per year, though only half at best survived infancy. While she did run off with John Albert in July-August of 1898, then ran off with the gypsies, records indicate she eventually came back to her husband and family, where she lived the rest of her life; after this adventure, her next child, daughter Mary, came in March of 1899 (and five more after that).

120 years ago, the home of the Lessards (75 Pinhey at left)
and the Alberts (81 Pinhey at right). Salacious times!

So, just a little 19th-century Hintonburg gossip, scandal and comedy for a Friday night!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Street Profiles: The History of Hinton Avenue

Current Street Name: Hinton Avenue
Former Street Names: None
First established: 1895

The Hinton farm, shown on an 1879 map
Name meaning: The street is named for the Hinton family, who first acquired land in the area in 1837, and established a farm here by about 1858. Patriarch Joseph Hinton was one of the true pioneers of Nepean, having been one of the first settlers of the military settlement in Richmond in 1825. His son Robert (born in 1831) became the first of the family to move to the future Hintonburg area (he is listed as operating a 165-acre farm between Parkdale and Harmer as early as 1858). Joseph joined his son in this area in the late 1860s, and helped establish the first post office, school and town hall in the neighbourhood. The community was named "Hintonburg" in 1879-1880.

How named: The Ottawa Land Association had acquired the Hinton family farm in 1892 (from Andrew Holland, who had acquired it in 1887). In 1895, they re-subdivided the farm, keeping part of the original Hinton subdivision from 1874, but largely establishing a new grid layout of streets. Included in this new plan (Carleton County Plan 157) was the new Hinton Avenue, running from Scott Street (then called Ottawa Street) south to Carling Avenue (then called Manotick Street). Hinton Avenue was likely selected as the name for the street it was in particular, because the original Hinton farmhouse was located almost exactly where Hinton Avenue now runs, set back a little from Wellington Street.

Early Days & First Houses:
Hinton Avenue was first laid out in the plan filed in October of 1895, and officially registered on the 31st of December of that year. Lot sales could have began as early as January 1896, but the OLA plan was almost strictly for speculators at that point. Aside from the appeal of lots alongside Richmond Road/Wellington Street, it was the coming streetcar that was going to help sell the land in this then-isolated former farmland. It was April 1896 that the first streetcar travelled down Wellington and turned up Holland to the Experimental Farm (see for more details on that). But with the OLA holdings being so vast, there was simply very little that made the Hinton Avenue lots stand out at that point, and in general lot sales were at a trickle in those first few years.

Ottawa Land Association's 1895 Subdivision (Plan 157),
which created Hinton Avenue for the first time

The first lot sold on Hinton Avenue was sold on December 17th, 1897. Lot 1522, at the north-west corner of Richmond Road, was sold to Thomas E. Burnside for $250. Burnside was a foreman at the McKay Mills in Ottawa, but more than that, he was the 30-year old son of long-time area farmer Christopher Burnside (the family of which is honoured in the name of the Mechanicsville street).
Seven months later, on July 21st, 1898, Burnside would also purchase lots 1520 and 1524, to give himself a large square at that corner (where the Royal Oak is now located). Around 1901, a house was built here, that would later serve as a social club, grocery store, butcher's shop and beauty parlor.

On May 30th, 1898, David and Mary Agnes Rice purchased lot 1349 from the OLA for $300, and took out a mortgage for $700 on the same day, building a home fronting on Richmond Road, at the north-east corner (at 205 Richmond Road, later 1213 Wellington Street, and where the Westpark bowling alley parking lot exists today). More on the commercial history of the corner of Hinton and Wellington a little further down in this article.

The first lots sold that actually fronted onto Hinton Avenue itself were sold a little later in 1898. On July 12th, 1898, Jabez E. and May Kenny purchased lot 1345 for $250, and took out a mortgage for $700 on the same day to build their house. They constructed 97 Hinton Avenue by the end of 1898. The young couple had been married in 1896, and had recently celebrated the birth of their first child, a son in 1897. Jabez Kenny was only 23 years old, and had been running a grocery store on Richmond Road in Hintonburg before gaining employment as a conductor on the Ottawa Electric Railway. Perhaps Kenny drove some of the streetcars that would have gone by his own new house, on the way to and from Holland Avenue.

Meanwhile, two months after Jabez purchased his lot, on September 19th, 1898, his father Robert Kenny, a blacksmith, purchased lot 1518 across the street for $175, and took out a mortgage for $1,000 on the same day, to build 98 Hinton Avenue. 98 Hinton was torn down sometime in the 1980s.

97 Hinton Avenue - the Jabez Kenny house; First and oldest
house on the street (Google Streetview, August 2017)

In March of 1899, Robert sold 98 Hinton to James W. and Mary Burnett. He then purchased the neighbouring lot 1516 from the OLA in August, and built 96 Hinton Avenue.

96 Hinton Avenue - the Robert Kenny house; second-oldest
house still standing, though sadly not for long, soon to be
demolished. (Google Streetview, May 2016)

96 Hinton Avenue in June 1991
(City of Ottawa Archives CA-24312)

Sadly, Jabez Kenny, builder of the street’s first home at 97 Hinton was killed just a year and a half after finishing his home, on July 1st, 1900, at the age of 25 in an awful railway accident. He had recently begun working with the Canadian Pacific Railway, after leaving the Ottawa Electric Railway. The gory details of his unfortunate death were recounted in the Ottawa Citizen the following day:

Ottawa Citizen, July 2, 1900

In 1899, more lots began to sell, as the Hintonburg area was entering a boom period. John D. Cottrell a carpenter, and railroad motorman, purchased a lot for $175 and built the house at 83 Hinton. It was completed by the summer of 1899, as confirmed by a note in the Ottawa Journal (this house too still exists today):

Ottawa Journal, May 13, 1899

The next house built on Hinton was construction south of Richmond Road, on the spot where the double of 136-138 Hinton now stands. William J. O'Meara, a conductor with the electric railway, built a house here between 1899-1900. It was a very small, 2-storey wood house, set a fair distance back from the street. It was demolished around 1950 and replaced by the double.

On June 20th, Elizabeth A. Stott purchased lots 1504 and 1530 for $220. She would sell lot 1504 almost immediately after to Nap Lepage, who built a home by the north-west corner of Armstrong (which was then known as James Street). This house fronted onto Armstrong, 281 Armstrong, and was demolished in the 60s. (Lot 1530 south of Richmond Road sat vacant until the 30s).

July 22, 1899

1900 saw three more houses built on Hinton, at 74 (built by butcher William H. Mason), 78 (Charles Lapensee, an engineer who worked for James A. Forward) and 86 (Louis Visseau, a general labourer). All three are long gone, demolished in the '50s, '80s and '30s respectively.

146 and 152 Hinton came next, around 1901-1902, and then 130 Hinton in 1903, 101 Hinton in 1904, 140 in 1906, and so on, usually with only one or two new houses popping up on the street per year, until after about 1908 when the real estate market in the area really took off.

Here is a photo of 92 Hinton Avenue in 1991 (built 1907-1908 for John C. Lucas, a millwright for J.R. Booth):

92 Hinton Avenue in June 1991
(City of Ottawa Archives CA-24311)

Here is an early ad advertising lots for sale on Hinton Avenue in 1907:

April 23, 1907

Here is a short blurb appearing in the paper about the sudden popularity of Hinton Avenue lots later that year. There would be a mini-construction boom in this are between 1908 and the start of WWI:

October 17, 1907

More history of Hinton Avenue north of Tyndall

Despite the boom on Hinton Avenue during this period, no lots south of Tyndall Street would sell until 1909.

Here is a cool snapshot of Hinton Avenue in 1912:

1912 Fire Insurance Plan showing Hinton from Armstrong
south to almost Tyndall. Yellow is wood, pink is brick, blue
is stone or concrete block, and grey is shed/outbuildings.

Hinton Avenue was paved in 1917:

July 13, 1917

Land south of Tyndall

The land south of Tyndall, though laid out back in 1895, did not begin to sell until 1909. This was likely due to the OLA's preference to push the more northerly lots, though it can be reasoned as well that a lack of infrastructure (sewers, water, electricity, paved roads) likely kept buyers away, though oddly investors as well. OLA may have intentionally not offered those lots for sale at the time.

Tyndall in fact was originally to run west of Holland Avenue; on the original plan from 1895 above you can see that it runs west all the way through Harmer. The streetcar line was built between 1899-1900 a little to the north of this Tyndall area, and so by 1909, it was realized that a new street would need to be laid out. Thus Byron Avenue was created through an application to the Board of Control, a new 60 foot-wide street to run alongside the streetcar tracks (the tracks came before the street). The "old" Tyndall Avenue portion west of Holland was erased, and future OLA subdivision plans for Wellington Village used a layout with Byron Avenue, not Tyndall.

The first lot south of Tyndall on Hinton Avenue was sold in 1909. This was lot 1564 (now the site of the new duplex at 190-192 Hinton) to Hugh Boone. Oddly though, within a year, almost all lots between the railway and Tyndall were sold. 1909-1910 was clearly a boom period for this area. The OLA, through their sales agent, prominent Ottawa agent J. Y. Caldwell, had a fairly aggressive marketing campaign for the "suburban lots".

"Suburban Lots" - July 10, 1909

Despite the sale of all the lots, there was still to be a 7 year wait until the first house was actually built on Hinton Avenue south of Tyndall!

Things got moving when Walter B. MacDonald, a civic works engineer with the City of Ottawa who lived downtown on Arlington Street, decided to sell his investment lots. He had pooled together $4,750 from an incredible seven different lenders in 1912 in order to purchase seven lots on the east side of Hinton (essentially the equivalent of what is now 189 Hinton all the way to the end of the street at 213 Hinton). In 1915, he sold these lots in two halves to new investors (for his efforts, he made a little money, but it wasn't far off break-even). The investors who bought this land where 201 to 213 Hinton exist today were Ottawa lawyers Louis A. Smith and Frederick S. Dunlevie.

They began to flip individual lots (and half lots), mostly to small-time home builders. And this is where construction on this part of Hinton began. In November of 1915, contractor Isaac Villeneuve acquired lot 1393 and began construction on 201 and 203 Hinton Avenue. He completed 203 Hinton by the spring of 1916, and on April 4th, it was sold to its first occupant, Norman R. Cole, an "electric instrument maker" with the Department of Inland Revenue. Thus 203 Hinton holds the distinction (by a few months) of being the first completed and occupied house on this part of the street.

201, 205 and 209 Hinton were not far behind, and were completed in the late summer of 1916. 201 (and I believe 209 as well) by Villeneuve, and 205 by Thomas Holman.

The 1916 Ottawa City Directory shows the newly completed houses on Hinton, including Cole's occupancy:

From the 1916 Might's Ottawa
City Directory, listing all house
occupants on the street.

Lots in this area being sold by the OLA at this time had building conditions added including the following: "the buyer covenants and agrees that should any building be erected on said lands within fifteen years, same shall consist of only residence and their necessary outhouses, said residences to be erected as single buildings or double tenements only, to be built of no material other than brick, brick-veneer, stone or cement, such residences should they be single residence, to be erected at a cost of not less than $1,800 and should same be double tenements, said double tenements to be erected at a cost of not less than $3,000 and all said residences to be erected at a distance of at least 12 feet back from the line of the street upon which they face.”

Back to the west side of the street, as mentioned above, the very first lot sold in this area of Hinton was in 1909 to Hugh Boone (lot 1565). This lot was the first to be built on on the west side, but not until about 1919, when Miguel Shea built a 1 1/2 storey wood-frame home. This home survived until the late 1960s. The photo below shows this house as it was just prior to demolition. The lot remained empty until the new duplex was built in the late 1990s (the "after" photo below).

190 Hinton Avenue - April 27, 1965
(Source: Ottawa Archives CA-25715)

190 (and 192) Hinton Avenue present day
(Google Streetview 2017)

Here is a great aerial oblique view of this portion of Hinton Avenue (and the west side of Holland) from October of 1964, just five months after the opening of the Queensway:

October 1964
(Source: portion of Ottawa Archives CA-8893)

Hinton Avenue south of the Queensway

Naturally, the portion of Hinton Avenue south of the Queensway was the final portion to be developed. By the mid-1930s, it was still just empty land, best demonstrated through some old aerial photographs from 1927 and 1933:

June 24, 1927 view of Hinton Avenue South, looking west.
Civic Hospital at left of course, with Parkdale and Holland
the only streets visible. Most of what is now Hinton was
heavily treed at the time. 

May 5, 1933 view of Hinton Avenue South. That's Ruskin at
left, the railway line (Queensway) at right, with Holland the
solid line through the centre. Hinton is the street below it,
now visible due to the building of some infrastructure.

In October of 1930, the Board of Control for Ottawa approved a project to install sewers on Hinton and Hamilton between the CNR tracks (now the Queensway) and Carling Avenue, at a cost of $19,500. The work was originally to be done during the winter of 1930-1931, but delayed until late 1931.

In August of 1931, the sewers as well as grading of Hinton from the Queensway to Carling was approved. The grading of Hinton was to cost $9,000. (Hamilton was also being done as well, along with Sherwood from Fairmont to Parkdale, at 90 feet wide). Due to depression, work to start was contingent on federal and provincial funding being received as planned for local improvements. This was part of the first relief works program, to create jobs for underemployed men in the area as well. 150 men and more were to be hired from a pool of registered unemployed men, then counting at 5,552 (2,346 of them married).

By 1934, promotion of the lots in this neighbourhood began, the selling agents for the OLA being Thomson & Scott. See one of their many ads below:

May 12, 1934

Lots sales were initially fairly slow, keeping in mind the economy was still weak at the time, and the threat of another world war was prevalent, particularly as developments in Germany had the rest of the world keeping a careful eye.

Ottawa Journal, July 12, 1934

Construction on the first houses in this section started in 1935. The first completed house was that of Harold Corken and his wife. Corken was a prominent citizen, holding the position of manager of Canadian Department Stores in Ottawa (a chain operated by Eaton's). However in March of 1936, a farewell party was held in his honour as he was returning home to work for Eaton's in Montreal. His house was I believe 397 Hinton Avenue.

By October, three more houses were complete and occupied on Hinton: 399 (which I believe was not originally a duplex) occupied by John Dufort, a sales manager; 406 occupied by Charles Moore, a truck driver and 408 occupied by two families, Earl R. Jarvis, a manager, and Frank Martineau, a salesman.

These first four houses were the first of a flood of new construction. By the summer of 1936, there were a total of 28 completed homes on the southern portion of Hinton Avenue (south of the CNR line).  Below is an ad for one of them, 383 Hinton Avenue, built by James Tapp:

May 9, 1936

By summer of 1936 these houses were completed on Hinton South: 379, 381, 383, 385, 397, 399, 403, 405, 407, 409, 411, 415 and 421 on the east side; 380, 384, 386, 392, 394, 406, 410, 412, 414, 416, 418, 420, 424, 432 and 434.

May 1936 also saw a zoning change, to allow duplexes at the south end of Hinton Avenue, which led to a major construction boom of duplexes on the street right after:

Ottawa Journal, May 9, 1936

Within just a few years, the entire section had filled out. A view of the street as of 1948 can be seen below in the fire insurance plan (again pink is brick, yellow is wood, and blue is stone or concrete block; pink triangles indicate fire alarm boxes, blue circles are fire hydrants):

1948 fire insurance plan showing Hinton Avenue south
from Carling to Ruskin

1948 fire insurance plan continued, showing Hinton Avenue
South from Ruskin to the CNR line (Queensway)

History of Shops and Businesses on Hinton Avenue

The most obvious commercial enterprise to mention when discussing businesses on Hinton Avenue is Beach Foundry. Though it wasn't "on" Hinton Avenue per se, Hinton originally ran right through the center of the foundry property. Part of the purchase agreement for Beach to buy the land to build the factory in 1919 was that the City of Ottawa agree to close Hinton Avenue at Spencer and allow Beach to build from Holland to Hamilton. This was agreed upon, and in 1920 the land was sold and construction began. (More on Beach Foundry at

Beach Foundry in 1979, a few years before closure.
(Photo courtesy of Paul Johanis)

Ottawa Journal, January 12, 1920
Discussing the closure of Hinton
at its north end, to become part of
the Beach Foundry property (now
part of Holland Cross)

Beach Foundry would have been seen from far down Hinton looking north, as it was a wall of offices that looked down Hinton Avenue.

At the corner of Spencer were two other long-time Hinton Avenue businesses. On the southwest corner was J. Robinson & Son, a brass foundry which was built in 1941 and operated until at least the late 1970s. It was operated by Joe Robinson and his son Charles. Joe had apprenticed in England for seven years before going to work on his own in Canada after WWI. Previously he operated another foundry (Canada Brass and Machine Works) over on Hamilton, before deciding to build a new, and simple building on Hinton, which he ran well into his 80s. In 1975 he was profiled in the Ottawa Journal, then 85 years old, and his business was the last brass and aluminum casting foundry in Ottawa and one of the final few in Canada. I can't find a really good photo of the building on its own, but it can be seen pretty well in one of the low elevation aerial photos I have, cropped below. Sapacon is now at this site now, but I do not believe the building is the same, or if it is, it has been renovated and expanded extensively.

Joe Robinson at age 85, pouring aluminum.
Ottawa Journal, April 8, 1975.

The extreme north end of Hinton Avenue in 1964. That's the
Robinson foundry at the corner, and imposing Beach Foundry
at the top/right. Holland Avenue running from bottom left
corner, and Spencer Street from top left.
(Source: portion of Ottawa Archives CA-10851)

Across from Robinson's, occupying the entire block between Spencer and Armstrong, is the former Capital Wire Cloth & Manufacturing Company facilities, much of which still stands today, including portions designated as  heritage. ( for more info on the building, which expanded multiple times over the years). The original portion built in 1912 was on Hamilton, but a renovation in 1919 extended it over to Hinton (and it was later expanded multiple other times). Capital Wire Cloth built on Hintonburg's industrial past, carrying on with this new technology which survived over 60 years in this location (from the Hintonburg CA website: "Wire cloth was used in the manufacture of paper from pulp. The cloth, really a fine-gauge metal screen, was dipped through the pulp mixture to strain the solids from the liquids. The extensive paper making industries at the Chaudière were ready markets for this product. The wire cloth was woven on very heavy looms set onto the concrete floor in the main section of the factory. Finishing of the cloth, which involved stretching it on large tables, was carried out on much lighter equipment located on the second floor.") It has always been my intention to do thorough post on the history of the building, and track down some vintage photos of it. For now, the best I can do is the photo below showing it mid-restoration a few years ago when they blasted off the old paint and gave it the nice white finish it has now.

Capital Wire Cloth building under restoration a few years ago
(courtesy Spacing Magazine). I do not have a vintage photo
of the building, so this as close as I can get to showing
the building as it originally would have looked.

The Capital Wire Cloth building as it looked on the fire
insurance plan in January 1922. Spencer on the top,
Armstrong on the bottom.

Along Hinton north of Wellington are all residential houses, though a few businesses have moved in and out over time. #75 at the corner of Armstrong was recently for a few years the offices of the Ottawa Sport and Social Club (OSSC), but now appears to be reconverted to residential. Meanwhile OSSC has moved up the street slightly to 85 Hinton, another converted house.

Next door at 79 Hinton, this home in 1961 became an "Ivan Salon", but only for a brief period (seemingly only for a little over a year):

Ottawa Journal, February 4, 1961

Two doors down at 83 Hinton, this former house now appears to be converted in to small commercial units, for three or four companies. I note that Myticas Consulting, BNuvola Solutions and City Wide Properties all appear to have offices in there, or at least did as of the fall.

A little further up the street, on the opposite side, at 92 Hinton, Central Tile Company was operating as early as the early 1960s, and I could still find an ad or two into the late 1970s:

Ottawa Journal, February 14, 1976

And finally, 97 Hinton, the original/oldest house (aka the Jabez Kenny house) is now commercial, home to Emerging Minds, a clinic for children with "autism and other neurodevelopmental challenges". (My middle child Emmett had a few speech therapy sessions there last year; it is a great clinic, with some wonderful staff).

Hinton at Wellington Street

At the intersection of Wellington Street, Hinton Avenue has seen a lot of businesses come and go over the years. Technically the businesses front on to Wellington Street, but it is worth covering the four corners for a bit of history. There are currently two parking lots on the corner, but it has changed over the years.

The northeast corner might be easiest to start with. It is now the parking lot for West Park Bowling and Daniel O'Connells, but from 1898 up until the 1960s, two houses stood in this spot, at 1213 and 1215 Wellington West. 1215 I have discussed previously on this blog, it was the long-time home of the Charlie Leung Chinese Laundry (pictured below), while 1213 (no photo) was built by David Rice as a home, but in the 1920s was used as a physician's office by Dr. George M. Pennock. John and Amy Young moved in to that house in 1929, where they remained until the mid-1960s and it was demolished. This spot during the 1980s (and probably as far back as the 70s) had a photo finishing/development booth in the corner of the lot. As a kid I remember the vacant, abandoned kiosk sitting there for years, probably until about 1998 or 1999.

Charlie Leung laundry, by the corner of Wellington & Hinton
in 1960. (Source: City of Ottawa Archives CA-20745)

On the northwest corner, this is now the Royal Oak. But that is a new building, constructed sometime around 2000-2001. Before that it had been a parking lot for some time. But going way back in time, a building was constructed here by Thomas Burnside about 1901 (1217 Wellington), and started life as the home for the 'Royal Social Club', a "society" organized for the young men of Hintonburg. Not long after it became a grocery store and then butchers for a number of years (including the name Jacob Saslove which stands out, operating there in 1927). But the building was best known as "Ed's Beauty Parlour" and barber shop, operated by Edward Baker from 1930 until he retired in 1969. It was later Topaz Imports, Orphan Annie's craft shop, and Alex's Camera Repair, before being demolished in the 1980s.

1217-1219 Wellington Street West, now the site of the
Royal Oak, at the northwest corner of Wellington
and Hinton. Then Ed's Beauty Parlour & Barber Shop.
February 23, 1965 (Ottawa Archives, CA-24327)

On the southwest corner is now the parking lot to the new Pet Valu and former CAA & Hasty Market building. It has been a parking lot for 70 years, but prior to that, a house stood here that was built for esteemed Hintonburg Town Clerk William A. Mason around 1901 (1220 Wellington). From 1913 until 1928 it was a grocery shop, and in 1931 it became Albin Cmikiewicz's "Imperial Shoe Renewing Service" shop. Albin was a 22-year old immigrant from Poland, whose brother John had come to Ottawa a few years earlier and opened a similarly named shop (Imperial Shoe Repair) on Bank Street, which he ran into the 1970s. Albin ran his store on the corner of Wellington and Hinton until 1948. It was demolished to make way for a parking lot for the newly built Dominion grocery store next door (what is now the Pet Valu).

Sadly I don't have a photo of the Imperial Shoe Renewing Service building, but below is the original Dominion store (now the Pet Valu), from 1954. It remained a Dominion into the early 1980s.

Dominion grocery store at corner of Hinton and Wellington,
January 30, 1954 (Ottawa Archives CA-3022).

On the southeast corner, this spot was vacant for many years, in fact it was not built on until 1947, when the single-storey commercial block of four units was built. It featured F. W. Towsley's mens wear shop, Stephen-Harvey jewellers, Susan Kennedy's stationery, and Albert's Flowers at the corner. Many different shops have operated out of these locations, which now features Anthony's pizza shop at the corner. This spot was the long-time home of Sun Kwong chinese restaurant.

Albert's Flowers (now Anthony's Pizza) at the southeast corner
of Hinton and Wellington, sometime between 1954-1957.

South of Wellington Street, I can find no reference to any commercial businesses on or along Hinton Avenue, in either the north or south sections. Well, at the south end of the street at Carling Avenue is the Central Medical Building (west corner) and the Duke of Devonshire retirement residence (east corner). The west corner had been the location of McNeil's Drug Store at 1111 Carling during the 40s and 50s before the medical building was constructed in the very early 1960s. Meanwhile a gas station existed on the east corner from the 50s until the late 70s until an office building was built there (and later converted to the Duke of Devonshire maybe ten years ago).

Miscellaneous other stories, articles & photos from the Early Days:

The first mention of Hinton Avenue in print came in the spring of 1899, by way of its first residents, the Kennys.

Ottawa Journal, May 8, 1899
A random story from 1904, where someone got off one streetcar attempting to transfer to the Britannia line, made challenging by the two feet of water along Richmond Road near Hinton!

Ottawa Journal, April 7, 1904

Here is an early advertisement for a house for sale on Hinton Avenue:

February 13, 1913

And an early ad for a house for rent (at $10 per month):

October 1, 1915

Another ad for a duplex for sale on Hinton in 1922:

January 25, 1922

Another ad for a house for sale from 1931:

April 2, 1931

A great story of bravery from 1942:

Ottawa Journal, December 28, 1942

The arrival of the Queensway & Expropriation of houses on Hinton

On September 28th, 1952, the final trains ran on the Renfrew subdivision line of the Canadian National Railway, and Nepean Junction diverted all rail traffic on to the Beachburg subdivision line. This eliminated all rail traffic on the lines that crossed Hinton Avenue. Almost immediately, the Federal District Commission (the forerunner of the National Capital Commission) began acquiring additional properties alongside the former Canadian National Railway route. The Greber Plan, produced by Jacques Greber under the direction of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and released in 1950, called for the complete reorganization of Ottawa’s road and rail network. Included amongst the various recommended parkways was an east to west expressway along the existing CNR line. 

Commencing in 1954, the FDC purchased properties alongside the CNR line, as there was a requirement for an expanded corridor through the existing line. Rail lines were removed, and preparations began towards the construction of the much needed thruway. 

On October 15th, 1957, Queen Elizabeth II set off an explosion of dynamite at Hurdman’s Bridge, commencing officially the construction of the Queensway.

More on the building of the queensway through our area here:

Back to Hinton Avenue itself, between 1959 and 1960, four houses on Hinton north of the railway line were expropriated and removed to make way for the new Queensway: 215 and 217 Hinton on the east side, and 218 and 200 on the west side of the street. These four houses were either moved or demolished during this year. Many of these houses were saved and moved elsewhere during the Queensway construction, but the movement of these homes are not easy to track. Records are sparse as houses were sold as if they were pieces of equipment; the buyer was expected to show up and remove the house as they wished.

The photographs below show the early stages of clearing for the Queensway. The tracks have been removed, the expropriated houses removed, and grading commenced for the construction of the Queensway. The photos also provide a pretty cool oblique view of the houses on Hinton around the Queensway.

Holland, Hinton and Hamilton looking west. Fisher Park school
at the top left edge. November 20 1960
(Source: Ottawa Archives CA-24811)

April 1961. Hinton and the east side of Holland, looking east.
Construction of the Queensway overpass at Holland is just
starting (bottom, centre). Fisher would be just below it.
(Source: portion of Ottawa Archives CA-8455)

April 1961, similar view, with a better look at the houses on
the north side of the Queensway.
(Source: portion of Ottawa Archives CA-8456)

Hinton Avenue North & South

On December 11th, 1967, Judge Peter Joseph Macdonald heard the case for the proposed by-law changing many street names in Ottawa, primarily to add north-south designations for streets split by the new Queensway. Included in this by-law was the modification of the name of Hinton Avenue to both "Hinton Avenue North" and "Hinton Avenue South", along with many other streets in the area which to this day continue to have the "North" and "South" markers in the street name.

Here is the official advertisement announcing this bylaw:

Ottawa Journal, December 2, 1967

One final photo... It is the north end of Hinton Avenue, in the summer of 1984, as Beach Foundry was mid-demolition. You can still see some of the Beach buildings in the photo, but a large portion of the lot has been cleared. The Holland Cross condos would be built starting in 1986.

North end of Hinton Avenue, June 5, 1984.
Beach foundry at left, Wellington Street at far right,
and Holland Avenue along the bottom.