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Welcome to the Home of the Ottawa South History Project

We are a group of local amateur historians whose interest is to research, document, and present facts and information about the history of Old Ottawa South in a fun and informative way.

To find out more about our activities, read this overview article.

From the Archives: Roman Catholic Parish Created South of the Canal

From the Ottawa Citizen Tuesday, November 12, 1929, the creation of a Catholic parish in Ottawa South. The Catholic diocese subsequently purchased the former Calvin Church on Sunnyside at Fairbairn for St. Margaret Mary's Church.

Father A.E. Armstrong Appointed Parish Priest and Will Start Organization Work at Once

Roman Catholic residents of Ottawa South have been granted a parish. It was announced yesterday by His Grace Archbishop William Forbes. Some two years ago a petition was forwarded to the archibishop's palace requesting a new parish in this district. Rev. Father A.E. Armstrong has been appointed parish priest and will immediately begin the organization of the parish, the boundaries of which will be the Rideau canal on the north, the Rideau river on the south, Bronson Avenue on the west, and a point separating Holy Family parish, Ottawa East and the new parish on the east. The latter boundary is not yet decided upon.


From the Archives: Opening Services Calvin Presbyterian

From the Ottawa Citizen Monday, December 21, 1914: inauguration of the Calvin Presbyterian Church on Sunnyside at Fairbairn.
The property was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese when the Calvin Church joined with Ottawa South Methodist Church to form Southminter United. The building now houses St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.

Congregation in Ottawa South Hold Services in Handsome New Edifice


Billings Bridge Sketch 1877

The Archives of Ontario has collected and preserved many works by Anne Langton (1804–1896), artist and pioneer settler in Upper Canada, including this charming depiction of the area along the Rideau River by Billings Bridge.


The City of Ottawa Archives: Hidden in Plain Sight

CA003990 If you're looking to research your house, your family, your neighbourhood, or just explore local history, the City of Ottawa Archives is a great place to start your journey.


Proposed Billings Bridge Street Car Service Never Materialized

The idea of extending street car service southward began with the annexation of Rideauville, and Wyoming Park (now Old Ottawa South) and the village of Ottawa East by the City of Ottawa on December 16, 1907. But street car service was dependant on suitable bridges crossing the Rideau Canal. At the time, swing bridges existed on Bank Street at Lansdowne Park and at Argyle Avenue and could not carry street cars. Almost immediately, new bridges were being planned.


Treasures from the Attic

Jim Montgomery recently uncovered this artifact from a former Bank Street business: a 1927 calendar from A. E. Fairbairn, grocer, located at 1320 Bank Street. Arthur E. Fairbairn operated a general store for many years on the west side of Bank Street, just north of the Billings Bridge. Arthur was the son of Peter Fairbairn, one of Ottawa South's pioneers.


Boathouses on the Rideau Canal

a009197 webThe Rideau Canal has not always been the quiet waterway surrounded by green parkways which it is today. In the nineteenth century it was a busy commercial and industrial zone. North of Pretoria it was bordered by warehouses, wharves, and railway tracks. South of Pretoria the canal banks were more open but there were wharves, a brick works, and private boathouses. The north side of Dow’s Lake was an industrial site lined with lumber piling yards, a cannery and railway tracks.