172 Clemow Was Here




The house that was the home of many prominent Ottawa people, concluding the chairman of the NCC, Douglas Fullerton, who lived here with his wife from 1961-1996, and then his widow from 1996-2012, was demolished sometime during the week of July 15-20, 2014.  The Elm tree, one of the last remaining elms on the street, and which was saved through the effort of Fullerton, was damaged at the base during the demolition work.  This tree should be designated natural heritage under the Ontario Heritage Act.


John J. Allen, mayor of Ottawa from 1931-33, built this house in 1912-13. This historic place is designed in a distinctive Prairie architectural style, with key features being the boxy contours, deeply inset side veranda with classical revival pillars, symmetrical fenestration pattern, the l-shaped layout, and the the buff brick exterior.  Either Allan Keefer or Francis Conroy Sullivan or Walter Herbert George was the architect,  as all three were well-versed in this particular style, but there is no confirmation on who the architect was this yet.

Allen established Allen’s Drugstore in 1905 at the corner of Bank and Laurier, and ran the business until he sold it to the United Drug Company in 1918, which later changed its name to Rexall. Allen stayed with Rexall until 1925, first as a branch manager, then operating 2 stores, located at 20 and 48 Sparks Street. Before becoming mayor, Allen served as president of the Ottawa Welfare Bureau.

Allen died suddenly in 1935 while on a visit to Montreal.


His widow sold the house in 1936 to a John McRae, a consulting engineer for the city of Ottawa.  McRae lived here until 1939.  From this date until  1945 Lloyd Breadner, Air Vice Marshall RCAF Headquarters, called this place home. For more info, see http://breadner.hpedsb.on.ca/index.php/about-breadner/history and  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20938476



From 1946 to Nov. 1950, C. Reid Hutchison, lived here with his wife.  Hutchison was assistant manager of Hugh CArson Co. Ltd, manufacturers of Harness, Trunks, and Bags, Head office and factory, 68-74 Albert Street (near the intersection with Elgin).


Prior to this home on Clemow, Hutchison lived at 124 Powell.  He was  very active as a curler, with membership in Glebe, Ottawa,and Rideau Curling Clubs, and was the son of a prominent dentist and curler O. Hutchison. He Died in a hunting accident in Nov. 1950 in Buckingham, Quebec.  From 1951-1959, widow Margaret Hutchison, lived here and worked as a real estate secretary at AH Fitzsimmons and Son.



3 thoughts on “172 Clemow Was Here

  1. Should be retitled “172 Clemow Was Here”. With the house now being completely gone, this article becomes a rather important part of history! I noticed that the permit review papers posted on the property are stapled to a plywood box on a pole, located at the far SW end of the property. Considering its distance from the sidewalk, and the fact that there is an 8′ fence blocking access, how are people supposed to read and review the application/description?

    Apparently the word from the architect is that the house will NOT be in keeping with the architectural heritage of the street but will be the full width of the lot (allowable) and be a large glass and steel structure. So much for heritage!

  2. Here is part of a letter making the rounds from concerned neighbours to city hall:

    Many words have been exchanged by Clemow Avenue residents concerning the ultra-modern glass and steel structure slated for construction at 172, the former site of the Fullerton home.

    What seems to be missing is a forum for residents to channel their misgivings and for the new owner to reflect the legacy of Clemow in the design selected.

    Mayor Watson has been an advocate of building and preserving community – the human factor as well as the historical ties reflected through bricks and mortar.
    Within the last 24 hours more than a dozen neighbours have chosen to sign the attached letter .

    Kindly take the time to review the content of this letter which we will send to Mayor Watson and copy to our counsellor and the Ottawa Citizen.

    Note: We have been informed that the design chosen by the new owner’s family is very similar to that of his brother’s home located at 8 Madawaska.

  3. Here is the content of that letter:

    Dear Mayor Watson,

    I would like to call upon your leadership skills in the handling of a heritage site and obtain a clearer understanding of the degree to which our heritage is, or, is not, valued as a ‘common good’ in Ottawa.

    At the 2011 Clemow East Heritage Designation ceremony, you proudly spoke of the importance of maintaining our heritage as a ‘common good’. On July 14, 2014, just down the street from where you delivered that speech the Fullerton house, at 172 Clemow Avenue, was demolished. I need not remind you of the important role that Douglas Fullerton fulfilled during his tenure at the National Capital Commission nor his beautiful house that you often passed when campaigning and socializing in the Glebe.

    Most home owners on this street have taken great care and gone to considerable expense to preserve its historical legacy. A number of home owners on Broadway, Powell and Clemow have even salvaged their homes by jacking up the structures, strengthening their foundations and then re-cradling the home.

    Part of the tragedy of this week’s demolition now lies in the rubble found at the municipal dump. The other part lies in the steel and glass plans that the current owner intends to follow as he erects an ultra- modern structure on this site.

    As you fulfill your mandate, you often refer to the importance of the community. Mr. Watson, part of being a member of a community means that information and common values are shared. Neither the City of Ottawa nor the new land owner ever informed us about the demolition or building permits. Simply stated, there is nothing ‘common’ and nothing ‘good’ about the proposed plans because they balkanize the legacy most home owners have been striving to preserve over the last 100 years.

    As you are probably quite aware there are some communities such as The Heights, within Houston, Texas where a home owner occasionally has to rebuild a 100 year-old home for structural reasons. Interestingly enough, in the absence of any by-law, they systematically respect the integrity of the architectural design when rebuilding the structure because they understand the ‘common good’ makes for a better community, in addition to preserving the real estate value.

    With these thoughts in mind, kindly afford us the courtesy of a reply to the following two questions:

    1. Would you Mr. Watson, please help us secure an immediate moratorium on any modern buildings on this city block which is actively seeking heritage status?
    2. If a moratorium is not possible, would you consider intervening on behalf of Clemow residents with the owner of the property at 172 Clemow Avenue to ensure that the new structure exhibits the upmost architectural integrity for our heritage neighbourhood?


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