Ordnance Lands

Much activity is occurring these days on the edge of the Glebe, and particularly in the area known as the Glebe Annex, which is a small area defined by Bronson, Carling, Energy Mines and Resources complex, and the Queensway.  Just to the west of the Glebe Annex and down the hill is an area that was once known as the Rideau Canal Ordnance Lands, which was land set aside by the British Ordnance Department in the 19th century to protect the waters of the canal.  By the 1920s, this land was no longer considered to be of much use, mostly because it was low lying and swampy, and so was gradually sold off by the Canadian government.  This is how we get the beautiful park that was created by the Ottawa Improvement Commission known as Central Park East and West.

The area near Dows Lake would have been of great interest to the Ottawa Improvement Commission, but land ownership here was much more complicated, with ownership divided up between the Booth Lumber Company, various railways, and other industry such as the “quarry” we see below.

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At the top of the hill there is a small street named Maclean Street that goes one block from Cambridge to Bell street, and on old maps dating to the 1920s, this little street was named Ordnance Street.

I’ll have more photos from this Ordnance Land photo collection in a future post, but it is worth the changes to the landscape in this general vicinity some 20 years later, with this image of the Carling and Rochester intersection, which shows the Federal District Commission headquarters just at the far left of the photo in almost the exact spot as the quarry.

Or another image further east and further up the hill at the Cambridge Street intersection.  Here you get a clear view of the FDC headquarters, how “improved” the landscape is compared to photos from the first part of this post, as well as a clear idea of how narrow Carling is:

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