Britannia, Ottawa

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Britannia
Neighbourhood
Britannia Beach
Britannia Beach
Nickname(s): Britannia
Britannia is located in Ottawa
Britannia
Britannia
Location in Ottawa
Coordinates: 45°21′54″N 75°48′07″W / 45.365102°N 75.801888°W / 45.365102; -75.801888Coordinates: 45°21′54″N 75°48′07″W / 45.365102°N 75.801888°W / 45.365102; -75.801888
Country Canada
Province Ontario
City Ottawa
Government
 • Mayor Jim Watson
 • MPs John Baird
 • MPPs Bob Chiarelli
 • Councillors Mark Taylor
Elevation 70 m (230 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 8,355
  Canada 2011 Census
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)

Britannia (also known as Britannia Bay or Britannia Village) is a group of neighbourhoods in Bay Ward in the west end of Ottawa, Canada. It is located on the Ottawa River across from Aylmer, Quebec, adjacent to its namesake, Britannia Bay, north of Carling Avenue and west of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. The area constituted a municipal ward from 1973 to 1994 (Britannia Ward).

The area has a mix of low and high income housing. The lower income areas of the area are closer to Richmond Road in the south, and the more affluent areas are located in the community of Britannia Village in the north, which includes the Britannia Yacht Club at the north end of Britannia Road. The total population of the area was 8,355 as of the 2011 census.[1]

Many of Britannia's old cottages live on as bungalows. Surrounded by water, forest, and hills.

The Ottawa River Pathway is a very long segment of Capital Pathway along the south bank of almost the entire length Ottawa's portion of the Ottawa River. A bike path extends from Britannia some 12 kilometers to the Parliament buildings downtown. Today, there is probably no neighbourhood in Ottawa more mixed than Britannia forming a contrast with many of the homogenized satellite communities that have become Ottawa.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Part of a series on
History of Ottawa
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Bytown (founded 1826)
City of Ottawa (1855-present)
Timeline
Timber trade 1806
Rideau Canal 1826
ByWard Market 1827
Shiners' War 1835
Stony Monday Riot 1849
Railway 1855
Capital 1857
Britannia Yacht Club 1887
Streetcars 1891
Hull–Ottawa fire 1900
Sewer explosion 1929
Soviet defection 1945
Greber Plan 1950
Embassy attack 1985
O-Train 2001
Occupy Ottawa 2011
Historical individuals
Flag of Ottawa, Ontario.svg Ottawa portal

This land where Britannia stands was once a part of a large estate, owned by Captain John LeBreton in 1818. John LeBreton advertised the sale of real estate in the village area in 1828. LCol Joseph Bouchette referred to Lac Deschênes as Chaudiere Lake in 1832. [2] Around 1876, an apple orchard near the head of the rapids was undermined and washed away during a big flood.[3]

Britannia United Church

The Britannia Methodist Church formed in 1873 and is celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2013. The Church grew out of services held in the home of Ira Honeywell, the first settler in Nepean Township. Members had been meeting in homes since 1869. In 1911, the Neogothic Britannia Heights Methodist Church was erected at Carling & Richmond. Renamed the Britannia United Church in 1920 after the amalgamation of the United Church of Canada. After her congregation moved to Britannia United on Pinecrest Road in 1961, the building was used to sell Macintosh & Watts china, to sell paintings and as a construction shack until it burned down in 1975.[4]

It was once a small mill owned by Mr John Jamieson to the west of Ottawa. A cottage town and boating club developed around the site of the old mill; Mr. John Jamieson made a pretty resort out of what was once a sand beach.

The Britannia Yacht Club was established in 1887. The Club house still retains its historic appearance. Members of the club have won many championships and Olympic gold medals. Canada's only Gold medal winner from the 1936 Summer Olympics, Frank Amyot, paddled these waters in the 1920s and 1930s. The Club's Dragon Lounge's bar was fashioned out of a dragon sail boat. The Clubhouse was included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, held June 2 and 3, 2012.[5]

The Britannia Bay post office was established in 1889, under the community's first postmistress Mrs C Hand.

The "G.B. Greene", known as 'Queen of the River,' a double-decked side wheeler steamer built by the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company in 1896, took up to 250 passengers up the Ottawa River to Chats Falls on daily pleasure excursions. Although she was dismantled in 1946, her anchor remains at Britannia Beach today.[6][7]

In 1899, the Ottawa Electric Railway Company built a street-car line to Britannia. In 1899, the Metropolitan Power Company was formed to construct a power house just north of the Britannia Boathouse Club with a 2000-foot canal to extend to the lower end of the Lac Deschênes Rapids. The area became popular at the turn of the century because the Ottawa Gas and Electric company extended the trolley line and created an amusement park at Britannia beach to encourage users of the trolley system to use the system on weekends. A cottage and beach community resulted.

The first trip of the Ottawa Electric Railway Car 202 Britannia-on-the-Bay on the Britannia Line was 13 January 1900.[8] The electric line to the village on Britannia Bay was open for regular traffic in the spring 1900.[9]

Children's Day 1904 Britannia-On-The-Bay

By 1904, the trolley company had built a wide pier 1,000 feet long out into the river. Along the east side, there were cottages, and the Boat club house. Along the south side, the land between the road and the lake has been turned into a park, with pavilions and bath houses. The beach was ideal for bathing, since people could wade out almost to the end of the pier without danger. The village, with its two churches and neat cottages, was one of Ottawa's most fashionable suburbs in 1904. Justice Mosgrove had a 35 acre grape farm, not far from Britannia Park, on the river. [10]

Albert Bedingfield's stencil designs, now in the Library and Archives Canada collection, were published by Britannia-Bay, Ottawa, Ont. [11]

During World War I, men were encouraged to join the 207th (Ottawa-Carleton) Battalion, CEF at the Britannia Pier.

During World War II, the Princess Alice Barracks Cabin at Britannia Bay provided a summer home for Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division) personnel near the Britannia Boating Club's facilities for tennis, dancing and boating. Rented from the King's Daughter's Guild of Ottawa, the cabin featured 60 beds, a separate cookhouse and dining pavilion.[12] The cabin had served the King's Daughter's Guild of Ottawa since 1913 as a Fresh Air Cottage for mothers and undernourished children.[13] After the war, the Fresh Air Cottages were rented to families as year round apartments. During a kitchen fire at the Fresh Air Cottage on Dec 11, 1952, Roger Murphy, aged 2 died and 26 residents were left temporarily homeless.[14] The Fresh Air Cottage on Cassels Street, was expropriated and demolished, and is now part of the conservation area around Mud Lake.

Rapid growth in all directions during the 20th century meant that it was soon surrounded by the western suburb of Nepean. Larger, modern houses were built in between cottages. Nowadays it is simply an out-of-the-way part of west end of Ottawa, featuring among other things Barks and Bubbles dog-washing business, Regina Street Public School, a movie theatre complex, Britannia Baptist Church,[15] a Britannia Conservation area centred on the National Capital Commission's (Mud Lake), and Britannia beach.

Although Thomas Ahearn's hydroelectric project was abandoned as unfeasible, the unfinished canal was used in 1951 by Past Commodores Thomas G. Fuller and Reginald G. Bruce with volunteer labour provided by Club members as the basis of the Britannia Yacht Club protected harbour. Today, the BYC harbour provides 250 wet moorings, fuel and pump out facilities, for both sail and power boats.

The Britannia water filtration plant commissioned and constructed between 1956 and 1959 is one of two water treatment plants that serve City of Ottawa's residents. The 23,000 m2 plant, which is situated on 18.7 hectares of city property draws from the Ottawa River and treats an average of about 200 megalitres of water a day. The plant was included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, held June 2 and 3, 2012.[16]

The neighbourhood has a perhaps one of its kind 1967 EXPO style dome covering a local children's hockey rink that made it to the top 500 architecturally significant buildings in Canada in 2002 as voted by CIRA.

In 1976, an article in the Ottawa Citizen described real estate prices in Britannia and in the older Britannia Bay area: semi detached houses ($48,000), duplexes ($65-70,000), 3 & 4 story apartment buildings and is surrounded by highrises; 15 three story townhouses on Kehoe ($95-100,000); older converted cottages ($38-45,000); and two story townhouses on Bradford rented for $250-300 a month. In 1976, schools in the neighbourhood included Regina Public School, Grant School (now closed) and St. Leonard's School. [17]

The neighbourhood and, is the former home of the Ottawa Folk Festival at Britannia Park.

In 2003, Canadian Hydrographic Service published "1550, Britannia Bay to Chat Falls", which was 4 maps on 1 sheet; Previous editions of the cartographic material were produced in 1961, '62, '69, '73, '77, '82, '86, and '96.[18]

In 2003, the City of Ottawa erected a Heritage Designation plaque for William Murphy House, 127 Britannia Road.[19]

In 2010, the City of Ottawa erected a Heritage Designation plaque for Old St. Stephen's Church, 181 Britannia Road. "Built in 1892, Old St. Stephen's Church was one of two churches built to serve the fashionable 19th century resort community of Britannia, and is the only one remaining today. A vernacular interpretation of the Gothic Revival style, it features the pointed-arch windows and door, simple rectangular form and tower commonly associated with the style. Old St. Stephen's Church is now a private residence." [20]

Sub-neighbourhoods[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

  • Adam Acres, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, owned a farm situated on Britannia Bay on the Ottawa River
  • Thomas Ahearn, was instrumental in the development of a 2000-foot canal just north of the Britannia Boathouse Club to generate electricity; The canal is now used by the Britannia Yacht Club as a sheltered harbour.
  • Dick Bell, a member of the Canadian House of Commons owned a farm "Fairfields", situated on Britannia Bay. The Dick Bell park, which houses the Nepean Sailing Club was named in his honour.
  • Captain Thomas G. Fuller was a Canadian naval officer who earned renown in the Second World War for his actions as a member of the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy. His estate was the Moorings across the street from the Britannia Yacht Club. He converted a former tugboat, G.B. Patee II, (1904), into a brigantine tall ship, the STV Black Jack. In the 1980s, he designed and built a brigantine, the STV Fair Jeanne, which was named in honour of his wife. Today, the ships are flagships of the Bytown Brigantine sail training program. His family firm, Thomas Fuller Construction is currently managed by 4 of his 6 children.
  • Ezekiel Stone Wiggins, a teacher, amateur meteorologist and his wife, writer Susie Anna Wiggins built Arbour House, a Designated Heritage Property 1994, as their summer home. Currently housing the Arbour House Studios, 105 Britannia Road, the corner tower, shingled gables and irregular plan are typical of the Queen Anne Revival-style.[21]
  • Paul Wyczynski, Ottawa University Professor. In 1968 he was named Professor of the year. From 1963 to 1969 he was a member of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. In 1988 he was knighted by the French government, was named Officer of the Order of Canada n 1993, was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit by the government of Poland in 2001 and was awarded the Lorne Pearce Award by the Royal Society of Canada in 2006. Over his career he authored and co-authored more than 65 books and numerous articles. He was a proud and dedicated resident of Britannia for almost 50 years until his death in 2008.

Notable architecture[edit]

Property Address Ward Construction Date Architect Photo
Arbour House 84 Bradford Road Bay 1892 Arbour House on Bradford, Britannia, Ottawa.jpg|
Britannia Yacht Club Castle Road Bay 1896 Edgar Lewis Horwood Britannia Yacht Club Clubhouse & Marquis tent.jpg
Britannia Yacht Club Castle Road Bay 1906–1918 Charles Penruddocke William Kivas Band Britannia Canoe Club Ottawa Ontario 1907.JPG
Old St. Stephen's Church 181 Britannia Road Bay 1892
William Murphy House 127 Britannia Road Bay 18..
Rowatt House Britannia Road Bay 18.. Rowatt House on Bradford, Britannia, Ottawa.jpg|
The Tree House 109 Britannia Road Bay 2012 Clea and Colin Lipsett
109 Britannia Rd
|

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population calculated by adding Census Block 3506128903, Dissemination Areas 35060648, 35060647 and 35060649 plus Census Tract 5050030.00.
  2. ^ The Hub and the Spokes or, The Capital and its Environs, 1904
  3. ^ Quiet old Village of Britannia was busy place half a century ago - During intervening years elite of capital built splendid summer homes. Ottawa Citizen - May 18, 1934
  4. ^ Bit of Britannia istory, old church lost to flames Ottawa Citizen Nov 8 1975
  5. ^ Doors Open Ottawa
  6. ^ ""G.B.Greene" Library and Archives Canada collection". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  7. ^ "G.B.Greene". Poetspath.ca. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  8. ^ http://www.railways.incanada.net/circle/excursions.htm#Britannia Britannia-on-the-Bay on the Britannia Line
  9. ^ Ottawa Electric Railway Car 202
  10. ^ The Hub and the Spokes or, The Capital and its Environs, 1904
  11. ^ Albert Bedingfield's stencil designs AMICUS No. 9460447
  12. ^ the Princess Alice Barracks Cabin at Britannia Bay Ottawa Citizen Jul 10, 1944
  13. ^ King's Daughter's Guild of Ottawa Fresh Air Cottage for mothers and undernourished children
  14. ^ Fresh Air Cottage, Britannia Blaze Kills Boy, Roger Murphy, aged 2 -26 left temporarily homeless Dec 11, 1952
  15. ^ Britannia Baptist Church (Ottawa)
  16. ^ http://ottawa.ca/doorsopen Doors Open Ottawa
  17. ^ Britannia's newer homes separated from older Britannia Bay by bicycle path Ottawa Citizen June 24, 1976
  18. ^ 1550, Britannia Bay à Chat Falls
  19. ^ 2003 Heritage designation plaque William Murphy House
  20. ^ Old St. Stephen's Church
  21. ^ Arbour House Historical Plaque
Bibliography
  • Taylor/Kennedy, Eva M./James (1983), 'Ottawa's Britannia', Ottawa, Ontario: Britannia Historical Association 
  • Laberge, Edward P. (1995), 'Sterling Place : a historical sketch', Ottawa, Ontario: E.P. Laberge 
  • Kirby, Donald (1965), 'Historical sketch of the Britannia Yacht Club, 1891-1967', Ottawa, Ontario: Britannia Yacht Club, AMICUS No. 20991722 

External links[edit]