This year, forty years since OSCA started running programs in the then newly renovated Firehall, I am going to look back 40 years to each month’s OSCAR to see what was happening and what people felt was important in 1978.
The February 1978 OSCAR was just 8 pages long but packed a lot in that little paper. [The issue is in fact labeled as the January issue, but this is certainly a mistake as indicated by the issue number and a reading of the contents. As an editor I understand that mistakes happen.] The front-page story, with a small photo of the Old Firehall is titled “Firehall opens to music.” The story goes on to say that the “new Centre was officially opened on the 14th by Alderman Cassey standing in for His Worship the Mayor who was ill.” The Firehall was also the subject of an article by the Editor on page 4. The story talked about the quest for a community centre, and said that 3 Past Presidents of the Association “wore themselves out in the 'on-again-off-again' bargaining that took place over the years.” The price tag for the renovation to create the centre from the closed fire station was a relatively modest $160,000 (around $550,000 in today’s dollars).
While the Firehall story was the lead item, most of the front page was occupied by an article on Attinello Italian Foods, which was situated at 1101 Bank Street, near Sunnyside Avenue. There was a short notice about the rinks at Windsor Park, Brewer Park and Brantwood Park. The only other photo on the front page was of two young people playing pin-ball machines at the “recently renovated” Eldorado Arcade.
Inside the paper the Ottawa South Neighbourhood Study is mentioned in a number of articles, letters and an editorial. In a page 2 story the study’s planner, Mr. Stan Wilder, was not complimentary about OSCA or The OSCAR, and was described as frustrated with the community. “He feels he has gotten a bad deal generally in Ottawa South.”
Other articles covered the environment (with re-use of old clothes), gardening (by Edwinna von Baeyer, who still contributes to the paper), and a new play structure for Hopewell Avenue Public School. The biggest ad in the paper was a one-page advertisement for the El Dorado Steak House at 1069 Bank Street, but a notable advertisement was for Hillary’s Cleaners, then as now, at 1235 Bank Street and still today advertising in The OSCAR.
Brendan McCoy is the OSCAR Editor.
Originally published in the February 2018 OSCAR.