Blossom Park

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Blossom Park
Neighbourhood
Blossom Park is located in Ottawa
Blossom Park
Blossom Park
Coordinates: 45°20′39″N 75°38′15″W / 45.3442745°N 75.63752°W / 45.3442745; -75.63752Coordinates: 45°20′39″N 75°38′15″W / 45.3442745°N 75.63752°W / 45.3442745; -75.63752
Country Canada
Province Ontario
City Ottawa
Government
 • Mayor Jim Watson
 • MP David McGuinty
 • MPP John Fraser
 • Councillors Diane Deans
Area
 • Total 6.19 km2 (2.39 sq mi)
Elevation 90 m (300 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 14,060
 • Density 2,271.4/km2 (5,883/sq mi)
  Canada 2011 Census
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Forward sortation area K1T

Blossom Park is a neighbourhood in Gloucester-Southgate Ward in the south-end of the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Before the 2001 city of Ottawa amalgamation it was a suburb of the city of Gloucester. The current limits of the neighbourhood are: Hunt Club Road to the north, Airport Parkway to the west, Conroy Road to the east and the Greenbelt to the south (near Lester Road).

According to the Canada 2011 Census, the population of the neighbourhood was 14,060.[1]

The area was cleared and farmed by settlers who began to arrive in the early decades of the 19th Century. Early settlers included Charles Kinmond, a native of Perthshire, Scotland, James Spratt, Leonard Wood (1805–1888) and his wife Martha (1821–1905) and John Halpenny (1818–1873) who hailed from Wicklow, Ireland. Their farms were accessed by the Metcalfe Road, later known as Highway 31 (now Bank Street) which became a major regional thoroughfare by the middle of the century.

The first known reference to "Blossom Park" appeared in a subdivision plan which was drafted by the Bytown Suburb and Land Company for the north half of Lot 9, in the 4th Concession, Rideau Front of the Township of Gloucester which was approved by the township council on November 6, 1911 and subsequently filed at the Carleton County land registry office in Ottawa.[2] A street grid was established but little development took place and the area remained essentially rural through the first half of the 20th Century. It was transformed into a suburban community with the construction of bungalows on 150 x 100 foot lots along Central Boulevard (now Kingsdale Avenue) and Rosebella Avenue and on the north side of Lawrence Avenue (now Queensdale) between Albion and Conroy Roads in the 1950s. Lots on the south side of Queensdale between the future site of the Sawmill Creek Housing Co-op (built 1983-84) and Conroy were sold piecemeal for residential development beginning in 1960.

Lots fronting on the east side of Highway 31 were severed by farmer John W. Goth (1878-1959) and sold piecemeal for residential development beginning in 1947.

Saint Bernard Roman Catholic Parish was established in 1957. Saint Bernard School had opened its doors in 1955 followed by the adjacent Blossom Park Public School in 1956 and later Sainte Bernadette: a French-language Roman Catholic school on the east side of Sixth Street which opened in 1965. The Kmart Plaza (now the Blossom Park Shopping Centre) opened in 1970. Transit service was extended to the community by the Ottawa Transportation Commission (now OC Transpo) in 1972. The Quail Ridge subdivision was constructed in the late 1970s followed by Bernard Court (which was built in the early 1980s) and the Victoria Heights neighbourhood which was constructed in the late 1980s.

Wood's Cemetery, on a hill on the west side of Bank Street was formally established in 1881, but the site had actually been used by settlers as a burial ground from the 1850s or earlier, the oldest marked grave being that of Charles Kinmond who died December 19, 1859. The adjacent Jewish Cemetery, now known as the Jewish Memorial Gardens, was established in the early 1900s.

The Gloucester Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1928 and stood on the west side of Highway 31 near Sieveright Road was demolished in 1990.

The Aladdin Drive-In on Albion Road was a major local attraction from 1951 until its closure in the mid-1990s.[3]

Blossom Park residents welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip when their motorcade passed through the community during the royal tour commemorating the centennial of Confederation in 1967. Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker visited Blossom Park Public School in 1971. Ski Jumper Horst Bulau who competed on the World Cup circuit and represented Canada at four Olympics grew up in the neighbourhood and attended Blossom Park Public School.

Blossom Park reached a major milestone on the road from rural to suburban with the opening of the Kmart Plaza (now Blossom Park Shopping Centre) on the site of a former cow pasture on the southwest corner of Highway 31 (Bank Street) and Queensdale Avenue in August 1970. Originally anchored by Kmart, the mall now features Farm Boy, Giant Tiger, a dentist, hair dresser, Telus store and the Kallistro Greek restaurant. A KFC outlet opened on the northeast corner of the intersection of Bank and Kingsdale in June 1980. Originally a take-out location, a seating area and drive-thru were added later. A Becker's convenience store opened on the southeast corner of Bank and Queensdale in 1986 in the building which had previously housed a motorcycle dealership and was originally a Shell service station built in the early 1970s. A Top-Valu service station was built around the same time on the opposite side of Queensdale. The Becker's closed in 2011. The site is now occupied by an auto dealership. The Top-Valu station is now Pioneer. Dairy King, a fast food and ice cream take-out store, was a neighbourhood landmark on the southeast corner of Bank and Kingsdale from the 1960s until 2006. Chips & Dairy, a similar establishment, was opened on the west side of Bank at Kingsdale in 2004.

Popular neighbourhood establishments in the 1980s and '90s included Gerry's Steak House and downstairs bar which opened on the east side of Bank Street in the late 1970s and Chow's Chinese restaurant on the west side of Bank. Gerry's closed in 2000 and was replaced by the Kam Fung Chinese restaurant which closed in 2012. Chow's, which opened in the early 1980s and closed in the mid-1990s, occupied a building which had previously housed the Steer Burger restaurant. The Steer Burger had opened as a take-out establishment in the 1970s and was eventually expanded to include seating. The site had previously been occupied by an Esso service station which had originally stood on the east side of Highway 31 (Bank Street) but was relocated when the former location was expropriated by the Ministry of Transportation when it widened the highway in 1957. Chow's was the scene of Blossom Park's only known murder when 34-year old mother of two Anne Frances Yeo was shot and killed in the parking lot by her estranged boyfriend on May 18, 1985. The former Steer Burger/Chow's was demolished in 2007.

K.S. Restaurant, named for its owner Khalil "Kelly" Swaita, popularly known as "K&S" and renowned for its pizza was a neighbourhood fixture from its opening in a strip mall on the northeast corner of Bank and Albion in 1971. It was renamed: K.S. on the Keys and relocated to Dazé Road near the South Keys Shopping Centre in 2009.

Many of the early settlers in the area were British and Irish immigrants and the population of the community remained of predominantly British and Irish origin through the 1950s.[4] This began to change with the arrival of immigrants from central Europe and the Mediterranean region, particularly Italy, in the 1960s. In more recent decades the community has welcomed people of Caribbean and African origin and has grown more diverse.[citation needed]

The north-south light-rail line project (which was cancelled in 2006) was planned to pass on the western edge of the area when the expansion would have been completed in 2009. Natives disputed ownership of a parcel of land with the city of Ottawa that was to be used by the LRT line.

Sub-neighbourhoods[edit]

The Gloucester Historical Society Gloucester Place Name Project has identified several places within Blossom Park:[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population is a total of the population of Census Tracts 5050123.02 and 5050123.01
  2. ^ "Gloucester Roots" column, Gloucester Leader, March 1982.
  3. ^ "One drive-in still stands-but it's empty" Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 2, 2014, pg. 3.
  4. ^ 1861 Census of Canada returns for Township of Gloucester, County of Carleton, Enumeration District No. 8, pgs. 89-90.
  5. ^ http://www.gloucesterhistory.com/placenames.html