Thursday, May 23, 2024

Live upcoming presentation: The Homes of Wellington Village!

Invitation - All are welcome!

On next Tuesday evening (May 28th), I will be speaking at our Wellington Village Community Association's AGM with a presentation on the history of homes in Wellington Village!

The presentation will be largely photos/visuals based and will cover the last nearly-200 years of homes in our neighbourhood. From the earliest farm houses to the boom of the early 20th century, and developments since. All with a focus on Wellington Village (the area between Island Park and Holland, Scott and the Queensway).

As part of the presentation, I will also 'premiere' some long lost film footage I found deep in a UK archives over this past winter, of our impressive Kirkpatrick House/Byron House (now the Peruvian Ambassador's residence) at 539 Island Park Drive. This rare footage shows the British war evacuee children playing on the property, and walking in the area of Island Park and Geneva. Some of it is even in colour! The full footage I have is 14 minutes long but I'll have it cut down to 2 minutes or so of highlights (the full 14 minutes I'll be sharing here on the Museum in the very near future).

The AGM is on Tuesday May 28th at 7:30 p.m. at Fisher Park School, Room 111 (the end of the school right by Holland Avenue). The history stuff will be sandwiched between a presentation by Jeff Leiper on some important zoning changes (which will soon very much affect the character of our neighbourhood), as well as our usual AGM business (which is well worth staying to hear, to learn more about what the WVCA does!). 

I hope to see some of you there! Cheers!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Street Profile: The History of Faraday Street

I was well overdue to do a "street profile", and had been poking away at one for Faraday Street for a while, but was inspired to finish something up when I received an interesting question a couple of weeks ago about a backyard discovery. It's lengthy and detailed, but I can only be thorough on these things. I feel bad even that I couldn't cover every house and long-time family and event. Had to draw the line somewhere. I hope Faraday Street residents past and present enjoy this history, and I think there is a LOT in it that will also interest neighbourhood residents as well, on some subjects that don't pertain just to Faraday. Enjoy!

* * *

Current Street Name:
Faraday Street
Former Street Names: None 
First established: 1895
Name meaning: Named for Michael Faraday (1791-1867), noted English scientist who is regarded by many historians as the 'Father of Electricity'.  

From Wikipedia: His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Although Faraday received little formal education, as a self-made man, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. Faraday also discovered that the plane of polarization of linearly polarized light can be rotated by the application of an external magnetic field aligned with the direction in which the light is moving. This is now termed the 'Faraday Effect'. 

Michael Faraday (source: Wikipedia)

How named: The Ottawa Land Association was re-subdividing the original Hintonburg plan laid out by the Hintons in 1874 (Plan 58). Originally on that first plan, there was a street roughly in the vicinity of the future Faraday Street called "Thomas Street", but it was only a short segment running west off Parkdale. On the new plan that the O.L.A. registered in 1895 (Plan 157), new lots and streets were laid out, with three streets running east-west between Manotick Street (now Carling) and Richmond Road (now Wellington): Ruskin Street, Faraday Street, and Tyndall Street. Originally all three ran from Queen (Parkdale) to Harmer Avenue, so the first iteration of Faraday Street is a segment of the street that no longer exists!

Plan 157 showing Faraday Street

The original length: Amazingly, Faraday Street at one time ran in a straight line all the way east to Melrose Avenue! When Robert Reid Jr. subdivided his family farmland in 1915 (what is now the Civic Hospital neighbourhood, Plan 135079), he simply used the existing Ruskin and Faraday names when he extended those streets east from Parkdale.

Part of Plan 135079 showing the Faraday extension

Interestingly, in 1923, Reid and his family re-subdivided virtually their whole neighbourhood plan, creating a new plan (Plan 174464) which introduced the Sherwood Drive name in place of Faraday for the portion west of Parkdale. Regardless, that part of the street existed only on paper at the time anyways.

However as the neighbourhood began to build up, the awkward division of Faraday made by the CNR line (now the Queensway) became problematic for deliverymen and mailmen, as well as visiting guests who would hit the dead end at the rail tracks and think the street ended. Frustrated local residents brought a petition to the Board of Control in May of 1939, asking that the Faraday name be changed for the portion between Parkdale and the CNR line. The matter was referred to the commissioner of works and the Town Planning Commission, who agreed with the name change to Sherwood Drive, which was what the street was named east of Parkdale anyhow. The city also accepted to bear the costs associated with the name change. For some reason it took nearly two years for the Board of Control to finally adopt the change. 

Ottawa Citizen, May 6, 1941

For the purposes of this street profile, I won't include any of the old Faraday Street portion east of Holland, as this would be more appropriate as Sherwood Drive history.

The creation of Faraday Street:

The Faraday Street that exists today (running between Harmer and Mayfair) was laid out in 1914 by the Ottawa Land Association. The OLA had acquired this land many years earlier from the Stewart family (read more on this here:, and had sat on the land waiting for the streetcar to arrive, and for land values to increase. The OLA were savvy investors, as the establishment of the neighbourhood was directly in their hands - many of the primary OLA owners were also the proprietors of the Ottawa Electric Company and Ottawa Electric Railway (so it is also no surprise they would want to recognize the contributions of Michael Faraday in naming a street for him!). 

1914 Plan of Ottawa published by the Ottawa Improvement
Commission. Note that Faraday and Ruskin are both shown
continuing west of Granville, but that was never the case in
any registered plan of that area.

In advance of the May 31, 1919 auction of lots, the OLA created plan M48, which laid out the lots on Faraday Street and all of the other streets in Wellington Village south of Wellington Street.

Plan M-48 showing Faraday Street

Nearly the entire street was laid out with identical 50x100 foot lots, except for the three most westerly lots (lots 2363, 2364 and 2365 on the south side, and lots 2312, 2311 and 2310 on the north side) which were laid out with 40, 40 and 41 foot widths respectively (rather than make 2 lots of 60' width, the OLA decided to make 3 lots of about 40' to fit within their plan). All of the streets on the plan shared the same 66' roadway allowance width. Faraday contained a total of 44 lots which fronted the street, 4 lots cornering Clarendon, and 2 lots cornering Harmer, a total of 50 lots touching Faraday.

On auction day, May 31st 1919, 47 of the 50 lots on Faraday sold, for a grand total of just under $8,000, or an average of $164.66 each. Hard to believe the entire street was purchased for less than $8,000! (The Bank of Canada inflation calculator shows that $8,000 in 1919 is worth $136,000 today - still an incredible steal!)

The highest price paid for an individual lot was for lot 2322 at the northwest corner of Clarendon (114 Clarendon), Robert P. Yetts, clerk with the Department of Inland Revenue, who paid $300. The cheapest lost purchased was lot 2319, on the northside (171 Faraday), purchased by Arthur Ball, stone cutter, along with another lot on Edina, for the incredible price of $75 total. 

Interestingly, Edward J. Rainboth, civil engineer and the man who surveyed and laid out the Wellington Village subdivision for the Ottawa Land Association was one of the auction's most active buyers, purchasing nine lots in the neighbourhood, including three on Faraday. (He then began flipping them for a profit two years later).

Lot buyers paid their fees and owned their lots immediately, and were able to build right away should they wish. A few did, but most lots were purchased by people more with investment in mind.

Infrastructure on Faraday Street:

One of the biggest flaws of the early days of Wellington Village was how poorly it was planned. Though it was talked about as a coming subdivision for many, many years, the Ottawa Land Association did not do things in a logical order. They sold the lots and allowed people to start building - before any thought was given to infrastructure services like water, sewer, sidewalks, street paving, or large-scale tree removal. Even though it was the 1920s, and these services existed on streets surrounding the neighbourhood, it was the wild west for the first arrivals. People were building houses connected to absolutely no services, with no idea when they might come. On top of that, Cave Creek ran through the middle of the south half of Wellington Village, including right through Faraday Street, and was known to overflow in a significant way most springs. So the early home-buyers had the additional challenge of living in the middle of a small lake for a few weeks each spring, with water-filled basements, and damaged properties.

The City would eventually, slowly provide services (in most cases bit by bit, as homes were built with people to pay for them), but they weren't done in any kind of coordinated way. And when special needs arose, like a sewer for the Lady Grey (future Royal Ottawa) Hospital, or a storm sewer for Cave Creek, they had to claw back land and run these services through properties and streets, digging up freshly laid roads and sidewalks. It was a mess. Below is a list of how some of the early services arrived on Faraday.

The first notice for civic improvements on Faraday came in December of 1920, when the City announced "Report No. 788B", which was the construction of 18", 12" and 9" tile pipe sewers on Clarendon from Byron to Faraday, with a branch onto Faraday from the city limits (west end at what is 200 Faraday today) to Clarendon, and continuing east from Clarendon 5 lots deep (east to what is 137 Faraday today). The city would pay about 28% of the cost, while lot owners would pay the rest based on a per foot of frontage to the street, paid in 20 annual installments as part of municipal taxes. This work was not completed until 1922.

Faraday Street is to receive its first services!
Ottawa Journal - December 22, 1920

By April of 1921, water service was still unavailable to most of Wellington Village. The City was willing to provide water main extensions to new homes as they were built, but the issue was that they wanted those first houses to pay a larger fee. Though the city solicitor argued that this was not fair, it appears this is how the city ran things for the first builds. Thus this likely slowed very early development, as those interested in building early might have balked at the additional costs they would have had to pay to be the first to bring water service down their street. Further complicating things, the building inspector at the City began refusing to issue permits who wanted to build homes on Helena, Faraday and Geneva, because the water mains did not pass their lots, with the nearest service being a block to three blocks away. The inspector gave in, but homebuilders were duly warned. "The board decided to issue the special permits which have red lettering saying the city will not guarantee water", wrote the Citizen. 

Controller Ellis supported this, saying he didn't see why the city should object if the prospective householders were willing to go without water. Thought he was still skeptical of why someone would choose to do this. "I do not know that we should object to people building on their own lots which are not supplied with water", stated Ellis. "It is their own funeral."

In 1921, Ottawa was in an employment crisis. Mayor Plant urged that any work that could possibly be undertaken for the city be done to provide work for the unemployed (as otherwise, the city figured it would be paying out just as much in relief funds to the unemployed, but getting nothing out of it). Thus an ambitious list of civic improvements to be undertaken during the long, cold winter was drawn up in the fall of 1921, and Faraday Street appeared on the list to be graded (along with Clarendon Avenue) at a cost of $9,000. The grading work was described broadly as "cutting down small hills and filling in hollows on them." 

The grading was to begin in December of 1921, and that work, along with the grading of a lengthy stretch of Carling Avenue from Preston to Parkdale, was to employ 100 men for 8 weeks of work. However, the Faraday and Clarendon Avenue grading jobs became political. The city wanted to do the work as a local improvement, meaning the property owners with houses on Faraday (only a couple by this point) would have to pay a large percentage of the cost of the work. Alderman Forward argued that the city should pay for the job, not homeowners, and that the spirit of these jobs was to mitigate unemployment anyways. The point was also made that the city had at least some kind of onus to "provide a street which was at least passable".

The debate raged on into late January, delaying the work. At the Board of Control meeting on January 19th, the Controllers argued the subject in detail. Controller Ellis stated he did not support doing the work even as a local improvement unless the people on the street petitioned for it. Controller Cameron then accused Ellis of opposing providing work to the unemployed, to which Ellis stated that Cameron "seemed to have the gayest little habit of trying to raise the tax rate by forcing work", whereas he (Ellis) was opposed, on principle, to initiating local improvements. Cameron shot back at Ellis: "And you will let the people starve on your principle".  In the end, with the Mayor's urging, it was agreed that the grading work would happen from the city's general fund, not charged to the home owners. By this time, the project had grown to grading Byron, Java, Iona, Geneva, Faraday and Clarendon. The work took place in February 1922.

As well, Faraday was to receive water service, from Clarendon to the western end of the laid out street, as well as from Harmer to 300 feet west (so basically, just five houses deep). So in early 1922, the sewers committed to in 1920, and the water pipes were added onto a large portion of Faraday. (Sewers were later added in early 1923 from Harmer to 500 feet west of Harmer, and then a final sewer segment was added in fall of 1923, a 9" sewer for 200 feet to connect the previous two installations, which cost $671.92.) 

It surprises me that all this work was done like this; that water and sewer services could be installed separately. Then months later they'd dig up the same area of road again to extend the sewer, or add water. Lots of digging and re-filling, rather than just doing everything at once. But I guess when you have houses only coming in gradually, a couple per year on each block, the system was dependent on having people to pay for them. 

Sidewalks came in by segment as well. In April of 1922, Report 912B noted that Faraday Street would receive its first sidewalk, a 5 foot concrete sidewalk on the north side of the street from Harmer to Clarendon, at a cost of $2,226.20 (of which $540 would be paid by the city, the rest by home owners over 10 annual installments).

A month later, May 1922, Report 923B provided for a sidewalk on the south side of Faraday from Clarendon to the western end of the street at a cost of $1,410.20. In July 1922, Report 973B was for a sidewalk on the north side of Faraday from Clarendon to west limit for $1,410.20, and then in March 1924, Report 99C provided a sidewalk on the south side of the street from Harmer to 300 feet west.

March 1924 (Report 59C) was for a 200-foot run of sewer on Faraday from lots 2343 to 2346 which was the last segment of missing sewers.

In March of 1927, Nepean Township announced it would extend water mains and sewers west down Faraday from the Ottawa city limits to Mayfair that summer as a local improvement.

Finally, in May of 1930 Report 471C provided for a concrete sidewalk on the north side of Faraday from lots 2328 to 2333 for $297.50, to be paid by the home-owners on the route. This I think is the last bit of sidewalk that hadn't been originally built in 1922-1924. This work was completed by October 1931.

The expropriation for the Lady Grey Hospital Sewer

In 1922, the city announced it had to run a sewer for the Lady Grey Hospital (now known as the Royal Ottawa Hospital), and so they expropriated 5x100 foot strips of land from lots throughout Wellington Village to accomplish this. Lots 2327 (141 Faraday), 2328 (133/137 Faraday), 2347 (136 Faraday), and 2348 (138 Faraday) had underground portions of their lot expropriated. Yes, underground portions. So the city did not get any above-ground land, but the expropriation allowed them to own the land beginning at 6 feet below the surface and downwards (with stipulations on what could be built on top of the land directly above).

Lot owners were offered $70 or $75 (about half of what they'd paid for their lots) as part of the deal, but most were not pleased with the offer, nor for both the damages caused by the work done on their lots, and for the future risk in having a large 30" concrete pipe sewer running underneath their property. As well, it was felt that having 45-foot wide lots were less desirable than 50-foot wide lots, which would potentially limit the size of houses to be built on the lots in the future, and for future land re-sale value.

The Lady Grey Hospital sewer was laid during the winter of 1922-1923, at a cost of $40,000.  The sewer, a 30-inch concrete pipe sewer, was laid 16 to 17 feet below the surface of the land.

Ottawa Journal - August 9, 1922

In January of 1923, it was announced that one of the early homeowners, James H. Johnstone of 128 Faraday opened a lawsuit against the city over damages caused by the installation of the sewers. Johnstone led a group of dissatisfied land owners in Wellington Village who took the City to court, claiming the sewer was not being built by "the nearest practicable route", arguing it should have been built on the route of Cave Creek (which a century later, seems absolutely sensible, and actually would have killed two birds one stone, as you'll read below in the Cave Creek section of this article further on). Johnstone had protested to Board of Control multiple times, but told the Citizen that "his protest was received contemptuously." The group was seeking damages (between $350-$750 each) and also wanted an injunction preventing the city from entering onto their properties. 

William F. Dawson, who owned lot 2328 (where the duplex 133-137 Faraday would one day be built) argued that the location of the sewer meant he could not build on the west side of his lot and worried if he were to build a fence, that the city could come along later to make repairs to the sewer and tear it down. He also argued that he had used part of his land for gardening and that the surface soil had been damaged. Lot-owners were also upset over several large trees that had to be removed as well.

Chief Justice Sir William Mulock heard the case at the Supreme Court on January 31st, and in the end ordered judgment in the amount of $685 total, with each plaintiff receiving between $100-$180. He agreed that the amount offered by the city had been too small. The Judge ordered that provision had to be made for the city to be able to enter their properties to repair and maintain the sewer, but compromised that the city at least could not install manholes on their lots. 

The sewer was finished by the spring of 1923, and I imagine, still lies beneath some of the properties of Wellington Village (though I can't say for sure if it still has any function).

Cave Creek's path through Faraday Street

I've written quite a bit about Cave Creek in the past (check out for a fun history I wrote a few years ago), and Faraday Street was in its path way back in the 1920s. Prior to the auction of 1919, it wasn't so much a problem in this area, but once the houses started to arrive, it became a big problem. The spring melts brought all the waters from south of Carling Avenue, Hampton Park and beyond, down towards Faraday. Early houses saw cellars flooded and properties damaged from the waters that would arrive. 

The Creek created a noted gully on the street:

Ottawa Citizen - June 19, 1925

A culvert on Faraday was even proposed in January of 1927 to help with the problem:

Ottawa Citizen - January 4, 1927

The City of Ottawa finally decided a storm sewer was necessary to take the Cave Creek waters and carry them to an outflow trunk at Harmer. Today this system is still known as the "Cave Creek Collector", but in order to build it back in the 1920s required a lot of logistics. A route had to be chosen, land expropriated (in as minimally an intrusive way as possible, especially since the street had been built up significantly, with houses on a third of the lots), and the work done to dig out the route, and bury the pipes. This was no easy task, as the Cave Creek route proposed followed the route of the actual creek itself. It didn't simply travel down the middle of a street. It zigzagged throughout the neighbourhood, through backyards, front yards, underneath houses, and under sidewalks and streets which had only just been constructed in the previous couple of years. But it was an undertaking that needed to be done. 

The first notices of expropriation were sent out in July of 1927. The affected lots on the north side of Faraday was the entirety of lot 2332 (which would be 119 Faraday if it existed), and a triangular front corner piece of lot 2331 (123 Faraday) measuring 20' frontage and 22' deep). On the south side of Faraday a triangular rear corner piece of lot 2345 (126 Faraday) measuring 22'6" along both the side and rear edge, and then a 15' wide strip the full 100' length of lot 2344 (112 Faraday). These are better shown in the map below:

Using GeoOttawa to show the route of the Cave Creek
Collector sewer. If you select the "property parcel" layer
it will show all the little slivers of property that the City
expropriated in the 1920s for this sewer

May 1928 aerial showing the work in progress. That's
Harmer on the left, and Helena, Faraday and Iona from
top to bottom. You can see the major disruption in the
middle of Faraday and the obvious areas where the 
trenching has been dug out for the sewer to go.

The sewer manages to snake in behind properties and through corners, and along edges, except for the lot on the north side, at what would be 119 Faraday. The sewer goes right through the center of the property. As a result, the City had to expropriate the entire property and it remains a vacant lot today, never having been built on.

Empty lot 2332 (what would be 119 Faraday Street)
(Google Streetview, September 2019)

The Cave Creek project was wrapped up in 1928, bringing a lot of relief to residents of the neighbourhood. 

My understanding is that 82 years later, in 2010, that old Cave Creek sewer was abandoned, and a new trunk sewer was installed in a slightly different alignment using the center of city streets (down Geneva from Island Park Crescent to Clarendon, down Clarendon from Geneva to Faraday, down Faraday from Clarendon to Harmer, and then down Harmer to Byron). The old sewer I assume still exists beneath properties in Wellington Village, but is not in use. One wonders why the vacant property at 119 Faraday couldn't be sold, backfilled, and built on now?  (Unless I have my information wrong about the 2010 replacement)

* * *

The first houses on Faraday Street:

The first two building permits issued on Faraday Street were issued in April of 1920, nearly a year after the lot auction. One permit was issued to William Geremy, for lot 2325 on Faraday, to build a frame home, on the lot where 147 Faraday would eventually be built. Geremy was an unmarried labourer who paid $150 for his lot at the 1919 auction, and obviously intended to build Faraday Street's first house, but it never happened. He would later sell the lot in 1926 empty (though he sold it for $275, so he made a little profit at least). 147 Faraday would be built between 1926-1927.

The other permit issued in April of 1920 was for a "temporary building" on lot 2345, to James H. Johnstone. The "temporary building" permit seems to have been a trick used by some lot owners to get around the rigid building conditions put up by the Ottawa Land Association on Wellington Village lots.  Along with the usual conditions of not allowing places that would sell "intoxicating liquors", manufacture gun powder or dynamite, or operate as a slaughter houses or "piggery", the OLA included that only one house could be erected on any lot, and that it must cost at least $1,500 to build. This was to ensure that a higher class of neighbourhood would develop, and would keep out small cottages and shanties. However, there was clearly some allowance in the city's building department for temporary houses to be built, assumedly for a lot-owner to live in while construction or preparing to construct a larger home. Thus, in Wellington Village's early years, quite a few tiny, 1-storey cottage-type buildings popped up, including at least three on Faraday. 

Faraday had a big boom of construction in its first few years. By the end of 1923, the street numbered 15 houses. Seven (and possibly eight) of these original 15 homes built between 1920-1923 still exist today. These are profiles of those early 15 houses:

The Johnstone House - 128 Faraday Street

Though this house is long gone, Johnstone and his family became Faraday Street's first residents when he built his little house in 1920.

There's a lot to the story of this house. It's quite a tale. And it's the story of this house that first got me intrigued into writing about Faraday specifically. I was approached in April by Colin Guthrie, who when visiting a friend's house on Faraday, noticed a random concrete column in the back corner of their lot. The owners shared in the confusion of what it came from, and it had been an ongoing curiosity and mystery for them as well. He shared a photograph of it, and was asked if I knew what it could have come from. The first thing that struck me was that it looked identical to the poured concrete pillars that were the original supports in my 1927-constructed house on Gilchrist. I removed those pillars ten years ago, but I remembered them to be a good 14 or 16 inches wide and long. Just as the one behind 128 Faraday seems to be. 

The mysterious concrete column
behind 128 Faraday Street
(photo courtesy of Colin Guthrie)

So I dug into old aerial photos and fire plans, and found that in that backyard location once stood an old structure. At first I thought it was a garage, which would make sense in that location, but further digging revealed that it wasn't a garage back there. It was an inhabited house! 

The story of this house goes back to 1919 and the aforementioned James Henderson Johnstone. 

Johnstone was a stationary engineer with the Department of Public Works. He was born in 1873 in Lanark Village, where he lived until 1899, when he married his wife Sarah Ramsay (who was of the Ramsayville pioneering family) and the couple briefly resided in Toronto, before moving to Ottawa. They had at least two children (some unconfirmed records show the couple had three other children lost at very early ages). 

So in April 1920, James obtained his permit to build a small temporary house, which he did during the spring of 1920. If there were happy plans for the future for the family to build a grander home one day soon on Faraday, those plans were sadly scuttled. Sarah tragically passed away in hospital later that year at age 44, leaving behind Kenneth (age 12) and Kathlaine (age 16) without their Mom. 

Just five months later, on Census Day 1921, the Johnstones show up in their home on Faraday Street, and now have a 37-year old housekeeper Edna Kendall, who a few years later it would be revealed, was James's new prospective wife. 

However, more sadness arrives. On November 14th, 1923, 15-year old Kenneth Johnstone passed away after a quick illness. He had been attending school at Hopewell Avenue School until a week prior his sudden death. By this point, Kathlaine had moved to Smiths Falls where she was a nurse in training at the Smiths Falls General Hospital. 

By this point, it is apparent that Johnstone was perhaps becoming a little unglued. He already begun pursuing a series of claims with the city for various reasons, the first of which was the Lady Grey sewer case mentioned above. 

In September of 1927, Johnstone approached City Council with a series of grievances dating back four years. One claim resulted in what surely must be one of the most comical moments in Ottawa city council history. 

Johnstone claimed that the city had been dumping garbage on a lot adjoining his home, which caused him to lose his young housekeeper, who he said was to be his wife. Johnstone in his letter to the city claimed that it was up to the Mayor to now find him a wife! A small committee of alderman was assigned to reviewing Johnstone's file, and in their official report on Johnstone's claims, jokingly included his request for the Mayor to find him a wife as a valid one.

"This task the mayor balked on, so the clause in the committee's report recommending this was struck out", reported the Ottawa Journal. The rest of the report was adopted, which settled with Johnstone for $160 for damages to his land, and $19.65 for damages to his roof.
Headline from Ottawa Journal
September 20, 1927

The next day, a letter was received at City Hall addressed to the Mayor and signed "Tillie the Toiler". Apparently the girls at city hall were making sure they would have first crack at any future civic matchmaking!

"The girl employees of City Hall learn with interest of your appointment by City Council as wife selector for J.H. Johnstone of Faraday Street, and hereby respectfully request that applications of the girl employees of the civic service be given prior consideration, and that the qualifications of the positions be amended by striking out the age of applicants and changing the specified weight of 160 pounds, to 125 pounds to 160. Signed on behalf of the girl employees. Tillie the Toiler."

Johnstone may have won a bit of a settlement, but it appears he lived his final years alone, in his tiny 1-storey, 3-room cottage. Any plans he may have had of building a full-sized house were gone. He later passed away in 1934 at age 60. 

Though he may have become a little eccentric on Faraday, he had the choice property on the street. In 1921, he had acquired the neighbouring two lots to the west (lots 2346 and 2347, where 132/134 and 136 Faraday would later be built) and thus for years owned a 150-foot wide lot that still retained most of the original trees from the old primeval forest that had covered most of this section of Wellington Village. A great aerial photo from 1933 shows development all around him, with his heavily-treed lots and little setback house. 

May 1931 aerial photo of 128 Faraday Street.
Harmer would be at left, Clarendon at right. The old 128
Faraday is the black-roofed house at the back of the lot. 
So many trees on the triple lot!

After Johnstone's passing, his daughter inherited his lots. It appears she fixed the house up and seemingly intended to sell it at first. The ad below I am pretty sure is for the original 128 Faraday:  

Ottawa Citizen - May 16, 1935

Either it did not sell due to the depressed economy, or perhaps she just changed her mind, but soon enough, Kathlaine had moved in to the house with her husband Ellard Suffel and their young son. However, once again, more sadness struck. Ellard passed away at age 36 just three years later in 1938. 

Soon after his death, she sold the properties, and the original Johnstone house at 128 Faraday was demolished in 1939 to make way for a duplex. Kathlaine went on to a career in health care, including as superintendent of the Pontiac Hospital in Shawville in the 1950s. But she had a hard life, losing her Mom young, losing her siblings young, losing her husband young, and apparently had a distant relationship with her son later on as well. Over time it appears she was happy to distance herself from her past. In speaking with one of her grandchildren with whom she had a close relationship, they were not aware of many details of her early days. She even had changed her name, going by Kathleen Johnson (not Kathlaine Johnstone). This new name even appears on her tombstone. 

I tried hard to find an old photo of the original house through descendants, but it was a hopeless search. 

Now why the concrete support column stood seven feet above ground level is still a bit of a mystery, but it must have been some kind of old form of structural support, which perhaps was critical in keeping the entire wood-frame house standing, or the roof in place. Though the house has been gone 85 years, it's pretty cool that this column has survived ever since. Aside from trees, it's the oldest piece of Faraday still standing!

The Blais House - 119 Clarendon Avenue

119 Clarendon (Google Streetview). The original portion
is evident in this view looking southeast.

Of course, it was a different time. So you can't be too taken aback by the fact that scribbled across the Blais' entry on the 1921 census in big bold black letters is "Deaf Mute". But this Census record helps demonstrate that this house existed by June 1921, thus making it the oldest surviving house on Faraday. 

1921 Census - Blais entry. 4 room house

The 1921 census shows the home as a 4-room wood-frame home occupied by Alex and Agnes Blais. The house fronted Clarendon, and I believe still exists as the core of what is still now the much-expanded house at 119 Clarendon. 

The Blais' had raised 10 children in the Russell area (all born between 1877-1899), and their new house in Wellington Village must have been a retirement plan for the couple, who were 69 and 64 years old. 

The Blais' did not buy their lot at the auction, but instead bought one of the Rainboth lots (the surveyor of Wellington Village) for $425 in November of 1919. They took out a pair of mortgages in May and July of 1921, but were clearly already resident there on Census Day of 1921, so they built likely in 1920 and took out the mortgages afterwards. 

The Blais family on their farm, pre-Faraday Street.
Estimated to be taken around 1910. That's likely Alexandre
standing in the centre with the flat hat on, and likely Agnes
seated at left. Youngest daughter Valerie is 4th from left.
(Source: Suzanne Blais, Ancestry)

The Blais did not remain long however, perhaps this neighbourhood didn't suit them. They sold in August of 1922. 119 Clarendon was added to over time, including a major renovation and addition between 2008-2011, but I believe the core of the house is still the original 1920 Blais home.

The Douglas House - 123 Faraday Street

123 Faraday Street (Google Streetview 2016)

So it's not quite the current 123 Faraday that was built in 1921, but almost. There was a small cottage house that existed here temporarily that puts this property near the top of the list of Faraday's first houses.

Joseph Monteith Douglas was born in New Brunswick, but living in Spanish Ship Bay, Nova Scotia in 1914, when at the age of 17, he enlisted with the Canadian Forces for WWI. He suffered a severe arm injury in France in 1916 when a shell burst near him, sending fragments into his arm. He spent the next eight months in hospital, having several operations to remove the metal and repair the injured nerves, before finally being discharged back to Canada. Two years after arriving back in Canada, he had found his way to Ottawa and was under the tent at the Land Association auction in May 1919, where he purchased lot 2331 on Faraday for $125. 

A year and a half later, in December of 1920, Joseph married Alice Ruth Hubbard. Both were 23 years old. Soon after marrying, the couple built a tiny cottage property on the lot, which was uniquely built at a 45 degree angle to the street. It would have been occupied by mid-1921. This little house was their home for nearly three years, and then in 1923, they took out a mortgage towards construction of 123 Faraday, which still stands today. After the new two-storey home was complete, the old cottage for put up for sale in a classified ad in April of 1924!

Ottawa Citizen - April 29, 1924

The couple lived a seemingly quiet life on Faraday, and did not have kids. Joseph was employed with the accounting branch of the Department of the Interior. The couple sold their house in 1943, and eventually ended up in Grimsby, Ontario. Joseph lived to the impressive age of 96, passing away in 1984.

The home later experienced tragedy. In 1965, its residents, Air Vice-Marshal John George Bryans and his wife Kathleen were in a bad car accident on Highway 7 near Peterborough. Kathleen was killed in the crash, and John was seriously injured. The couple had moved to Ottawa in 1960 after John retired from the RCAF after 32 years. 

The Nicholls House - 185 Faraday Street

185 Faraday Street (Google Streetview 2016)

George William and Florence Nicholls had met and married in London, England and had come to Canada in 1907. George had been employed as a stevedore (a person who unloads cargo from ships) prior to WWI, in which he enlisted in 1917, serving overseas, and returned home. The family was living nearby on Spencer Street off Carleton at first, but attended the May 1919 auction and purchased lot 2314 on Faraday, on which they intended to build a larger home for their sizable family of four sons and one daughter. 

Thus the couple built 185 Faraday between 1920-1921, and would remain here until 1956. George Nicholls became a long-time employee with the Public Works Department, retiring in 1947, but joining the Corps of Commissionaires until he passed away in 1950. 185 Faraday is definitely notable for its unique shape and window layout. 

145 Faraday Street

One of the original houses on Faraday was the original 145 Faraday. It survived until I believe the 1990s, but has been replaced at least 30 years ago by a large house more than double its footprint. 

I wish I had a photo of it to share, perhaps someone out there does, but it was a small bungalow, that ran half the width of the lot on the west side. 

Its earliest days are lost in a series of mysteries of which old handwritten records only show tiny clues. It is easily one of the most difficult houses I've come across to research.  The lot (2326) was sold in the 1919 auction to William Sklaruk for $150. He and his wife Patricia had come to Canada from Austria in 1911, where they had married three years prior. They ended up in Ottawa, and built one of the first houses on Faraday. However, they seemingly and oddly never even appeared to move in, renting instead to a tenant (Museil Nicholls), before selling in March of 1923. William soon after built 36 Smirle, where the family lived until 1975. 

The Sklaruks many years after William
built 145 Faraday Street
(Ottawa Citizen - June 20, 1958)

Anyhow, the original 145 Faraday was sold in 1923 to a widow, Melania Serwas, who is impossible to find any history on, aside from a mysterious gravestone at Beechwood cemetery marking an unused grave.

Melania Serwas stone at Beechwood. It was
purchased for her, but never used, as the date of death
has been left empty. (source: Ancestry)

The records on Serwas are spotty, owing in part to her Central European-sounding name. The city directory listed her with a different last name each year (Serivas, Scrivas, Melonia, etc.) and the only piece of biographical information from those directories is that in 1926, she was employed as a window cleaner. Was she a relative of the builder Sklaruk? A fellow Austrian? It's uncertain. By 1927, she had moved out, and new tenants were in, and she sold in 1929. Wherever she ended up is a mystery, and her only remaining trace in the city seems to be that one unused Beechwood grave plot.

The buyers in 1929 however would have a much longer existence on Faraday Street - the Twa family would occupy the house for the next nearly 30 years. William Twa and his wife Olive were 55 years old, and lived with their adult daughter Hazel when they purchased the home. William was employed as a driver for the Ottawa Paint Works. Hazel married in the fall of 1938, with the reception at the Twa home on Faraday. Sadly she would experience much loss in the next few years. Her father William died a year later at age 65, and then tragically, her young husband Lance Corporal John Gerald Wilson was killed in action in France in 1944. Mom Olive passed in 1959, and Hazel remained in the house until 1967. 

The Maddox House - 167 Faraday Street

167 Faraday (Google Streetview, May 2016)

Arthur Ball built a few houses in this part of Wellington Village. Typical of the small-time home builder of the era, Ball would buy one lot, build a house, move in, and live in it while the acquiring and building a new house, rarely working on more than one house at a time. His first home in WV was lot 2462 on Edina, for which he took out a permit in May of 1920 and constructed 35 Edina (which was demolished in the 1980s). 

Ball finished construction on 167 Faraday in 1922, and resided there for a little over a year, before renting it out to David Crisp Maddox and his wife Blanche in late 1923 or early 1924. The Maddoxes eventually purchased the house in May of 1928.

Ad listing 167 Faraday for sale (when it had the civic number 69)
Ottawa Citizen - June 13, 1925

David Maddox made the news in 1959 when he returned to Queen's University at the age of 81. Sixty years prior he had gained his first hob as a chemist in London, England after graduating from Westminster College of Pharmacy. He came to Canada in 1907 and worked as a druggist in Toronto and Western Canada. After serving in WWI, he attended Queen's to study geology and obtained a bachelor of science degree, working summers with survey parties across Canada. After graduation, he joined the borings section of the Geological Survey with the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys.  

"While at Queen's studying geology, Mr. Maddox encountered an arts student studying philosophy, and suggested it appeared to him as a "a lot of useless junk". The indignant arts man expounded on the importance of the study and Mr. Maddox then vowed he would return to Queen's to undertake philosophy as a course leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree", wrote the Journal in 1959. Maddox followed through on that promise 37 years later.

Maddox had also been an instructor at Woodland Boy's Camp, an active member of the Macoun Club, junior field naturalists' organization, and was in the choir at Kingsway United Church. He also wrote several short stories and poetry, apparently publishing at least one book, 'For God and Peace' in 1937.  

Sadly it doesn't appear Maddox accomplished his goal, as he passed away the following summer in August of 1960. 

171 Faraday Street (and 173 Faraday Street)

Arthur Ball also constructed the house next door to 167, at 171 Faraday, which was completed in 1921. It was sold in September of 1922 to Charles Hill. Hill interestingly had a year earlier purchased the two empty lots on the opposite side (lots 2318 and 2317, where 273 and 277 Faraday now stand). I guess he felt it easier to just buy Ball's house on the adjoining lot and have a triple lot, rather than build a new house of his own on his double lot. 

Charles Hill and his wife Annie had originally come to Ottawa from England in 1913, where he had worked in waste-water with the Metropolitan Water Works in London. He became a foreman with the Ottawa Water Works Department. The couple had one son and five daughters. 

Charles enlisted with the Canadian military when WWI broke out and became a sergeant with the 38th Battalion CEF. As part of that unit, he got "blown up at Passchaendale in November 1917" which his service record notes caused him to have a variety of issues, including "vivid dreams", pain, headaches, memory loss and reduced muscular strength, all as a result of that incident. Despite all of this, he returned home and had an admirable, long career with the Water Works.

Charles Hill, builder of 173 Faraday

He later became a deacon of the Parkdale Baptist Church and chairman of their board of trustees. 

The Hill family resided in 171 Faraday until 1929, when Charles built 173 next door, and the family moved in there. The Hills left Faraday in 1936 for Westboro, where the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1939. They later moved back on to Kenora Avenue.

171 Faraday was an interesting house in the 1920s. It was used as the voting station for elections of the era (voting was typically done in the living room of the deputy returning officer, rather than at schools, churches and community centers as it is done today), and Hill was forever selling odd items in the classified ads, like building materials, or even hens. Or a combination of them!

Ottawa Citizen - August 23, 1927

The original house at 171 Faraday was unfortunately demolished in 2016 and replaced with a new home, but 173 still stands today.

The two Hill-built houses at 173 Faraday and 171 Faraday
(Google Streetview May 2016)

The new 171 Faraday (Streetview 2019)

Here is an ad listing 171 for sale back in 1933:

Ottawa Journal - August 14, 1933

The Doxsee-Kelly House - 166 Faraday Street

166 Faraday (Google Streetview 2019)

166 Faraday was built by Harvey Armstrong, a teamster and WWI vet from Marathon, Ontario. He had come back from the war, and purchased lot 2355 at the auction for $200. That fall his wife Mabel gave birth to their first child, Earl, and soon Harvey built the house on Faraday, which was completed in mid-1922. Strangely, it was listed for sale soon after its completion. It did not sell right away however, and the Armstrong family was resident in the home for two years, eventually selling to Margaret Honeywell, of the pioneer Honeywell family of the west end in 1924. Harvey Armstrong would go on to become Chief Clerk of Committees of the Senate of Canada.

Harvey Armstrong (top right), builder of 166 Faraday
with wife Mabel and children Earl and Iveah.
Circa 1925 (Source: Ancestry)

166 Faraday is actually the first Faraday Street house listed for sale in a classified ad that I could find:

Ottawa Citizen - October 13, 1922

William and Hattie Doxsee would live here as tenants for several years until purchasing the home from Honeywell in 1928. William was employed as seismologist at the Dominion Observatory. They would stay here until 1954, when another long-time family, the Kellys, would purchase it. 

The Allan House - 104 Faraday Street

Constructed by John Duncan Allan in 1921 for him and his wife Clara Matilda, who had just married in 1919 (though they were an older couple, John was 61 at the time). He was employed as a carter. The couple had no children. 

104 Faraday Street (Google Streetview, September 2019)

They used lumber from the M.N. Cummings mill in Westboro to build the house (we know this because Cummings placed a lien on the house during construction due to an unpaid bill, assumingly for lumber, in the amount of $383.92). Apparently the couple had the house duplexed in 1932, and tenants occupied the other half of the house. John died in September 1941, and his widow Clara remained in the home for several more years. 

The Green House - 106 Faraday Street

Built in 1922 by Albert E. Green and his new wife Alice Chamberlin. They had acquired the lot in August of 1922, and were married in September, building the house that fall and winter. They didn't live in the house for several years, keeping the house as a rental with tenants until about 1932.

In 1923, Alice's sister Elsie Chamberlin acquired the lot next door, and finally in 1931 took out a mortgage to build 108 Faraday Street. She also rented out her house to tenants, and at some point in time moved in to 106 Faraday with her sister. It was still the Green's home when Alice passed away in 1973.

106 Faraday Street (Google Streetview, September 2019)

144 Faraday Street

144 Faraday Street - April 2009

The house was built in the summer-fall of 1923 by 29-year old homebuilder Harry Colbert and his wife Hannah. Harry built a lot of houses in Kitchissippi during his career, well into the 1950s when he was operating as Harry Colbert Ltd. At the time, Harry and Hannah had two small boys, and this house was where they spent the children's early years, before selling in 1931.

This house was demolished between 2009-2011, and replaced by a large double (142-144 Faraday). 

200 Faraday Street

200 Faraday Street (Google Streetview, September 2019)

This house I'm not sure about. A house was originally constructed here in the summer-fall of 1922, by William and Gertrude Turner. It was a bungalow, fairly large and square in shape, with a "plastered with cement mortar" finish. By 1948 it was 1.5 storeys and today there is a 2-storey house with a flat roof (the flat roof dates back to at least the 1980s). Without deeper digging, I can't say for sure whether the original 1922 structure forms part of the house or not. So this is the 'maybe' house on the list of oldest homes.

The property has had a lot of different owners and occupants over the years. Even the Turners were barely there. They had come to Ottawa from Montreal, and sold the house to the Walker family in mid-1924 (though that sale agreement fell through 6-7 years later and the Turners had the house back, renting to tenants in the 1930s). 

The Keeler House - 129 Faraday Street

129 Faraday - 2016

The house at 129 Faraday was built in 1924, but it appears in this list because just like a couple of other addresses on Faraday, it began with a small cottage-style home on the lot. 

John Keeler was a bit of an all-round carpenter, working with the Ottawa Electric Railway, as an "edger" at a saw mill, and independently as an electrician and carpenter. In fact, John was one of Kenora Avenue's first residents too as he had first built a house on that street. John and Clara lived in 129 Faraday until the 1940s, raising 7 children in the home.

John F. and Clara Keeler built both the initial cottage in late 1921, where they resided until taking out a building permit in November of 1923 to build 129.  Originally numbered 139, the east side garage addition was added in the 1950s

The Niblock House - 105 Faraday Street

105 Faraday Street - August 2015

105 Faraday Street was a cute little house constructed by Zina and Eva Niblock in 1923, and was the family home until 1969, where Zina and Eva raised their four children. Zina was employed as a clerk in the J.R. Booth lumber office.

Tragically their oldest, Manford Niblock, was killed in WWII as part of the RCAF, at age 20. His death was described as being accidental in air operations. Sadly, his boyhood friend Carl Caldwell was killed the very next day in a separate air mishap. Manford's younger brother Keith had just gone overseas as part of the RCNVR and had just visited him on a previous weekend. Keith survived the war.

Ottawa Journal, February 22, 1943

The original 105 Faraday was demolished between 2017-2019.

The Catterill House - 109 Faraday Street

Built by Lorenzo LeDuc in 1922-1923, LeDuc was a small-time home builder in our area, who built several Wellington Village houses. He's also better known as the guy who later opened Charlie's Diner, the restaurant on Richmond Road just west of Island Park (now the site of Napoli's Pizza), which was well known for being camouflaged as a bus! He ran the Diner from 1940 until the mid-1970s when Napoli's took over.

109 Faraday Street (Google Streetview, September 2019)

The first occupants of 109 Faraday were Harry and Oliveer Catterill, who had married in June 1923, just two weeks after buying the home! They later had a son, Brian, a few years after moving in. The family remained in the house for 40 years until 1963, even after Harry sadly passed in 1942 at the young age of 54. Harry was employed as a lumber yard foreman with the E.B. Eddy Company but retired in 1936. 

* * *

Those were the 15 first houses built on Faraday. Below are profiles of other interesting houses on the street:

The Sproule House - 125 Faraday Street

This wasn't one of the first houses, but it does have an interesting story tied to it. The lot was owned by Joseph M. Douglas during the 20s and 30s when he had a triple lot, but eventually discovered it would be worthwhile to sell the excess land. So in 1936, Douglas sold lot 2330 to H. George Sproule. Sproule and his family built 125 Faraday, which became the home for his widowed mom Nellie (her husband Robert had died in 1919, leaving her along with six children aged 4-14). 

When WWII hit a couple of years later, three sons Robert, Godfrey and George all enlisted. Godfrey had been employed with Beach Foundry when he enlisted in 1939. He was initially with ground crew with the RCAF but trained up to become part of aircrew. In February of 1944, he was reported missing in air operations over Europe, and a month later, his family received word he was captured and a prisoner of war in Germany. After over a year in German prison camp, he was freed and safe in England in June of 1945. 

Ottawa Citizen, June 2, 1945

Godfrey Sproule was lucky. He was one of just two members of the seven-man crew who survived the crash, and was obviously fortunate to survive the prison camp as well. 

Or arrival back in England, he wrote a letter to the family of fellow crew member Denis Dart, writing: "All the way to the target and all the way out of the target there was a continual stream of fighter flares along our path. We evaded them as much as possible. Before we reached the target we had a fighter attack but managed to get away. We bombed and were on our homeward journey when we received an underneath attack. The tracer entered our starboard inner engine. The rear gunner reported the attack and I heard Denis say the starboard engine was losing revs. Then there was the second attack. Cannon shells exploded in the front of the aircraft, and I was stunned and knocked out. When I came to my senses the aircraft was in a dive, the front of the aircraft was badly smashed. I managed to work my way to the pilot Hughie Craig who gestured me to abandon the aircraft. At the time I saw Denis and the other members getting ready to abandon. I forced my way down the nose of the aircraft, removed the safety hatch and jettisoned it, found my 'chute and jumped. The last I saw of the aircraft it was still in a dive."

"I was captured in Germany the following night. I had been travelling in a south-easterly direction toward France and hoping at the same time to meet up with the rest of the crew. Later I met the navigator Bruce Sutherland. He had no news of the other members. Sometime later I made enquiries of the German authorities. They reported the other members were killed and the bodies of Sergeant Dineen and Sergeant Dart were the only two identified. I was sure till then that the other members would get out. As you probably know there is a definite sequence to the abandoning of the aircraft. The rear and mud-upper gunner go out the escape hatch rear, the five in the front go out the escape hatch in the nose. He had practised this procedure often so that no time would be lost. It was my duty as air bomber to open and jettison the hatch and get out first. The others were to follow, the last being the pilot. I have no idea what happened after I left the aircraft, there are any number of things that might have occurred. I am sure something went wrong because they had a reasonable time to get out."

Godfrey and Bruce were both imprisoned at Stalag Luft VI at Heydekrug in what is now Lithuania, later moving to a camp in Poland, and again to Germany, in long death marches in the cold with minimal food and water, finally being freed by the Russian Army in April of 1945, allowing him to get back to Ottawa and Faraday Street on July 18th. 50 RCAF members including Godfrey arrived in Ottawa at Union Station the evening of Tuesday July 18th to a huge cheering crowd.  

His story was told in a book called "Failed to Return: Canada's Bomber Command Sacrifice in the Second World War" (by Keith C. Ogilvie, 2021). 

125 Faraday Street (Google Streetview, August 2015)

The Harbottle House - 181 Faraday Street

Built in 1925 by electrician Sydney J. Harbottle, the family was on Faraday Street for nearly 40 years.  He and wife Margaret had four children, including daughter Jean, who wrote this letter to the children's page the Ottawa Citizen ran in the 20s and 30s, talking about the various birds she would see in the Harbottle's yard. 

Ottawa Citizen - March 2, 1929

181 Faraday still stands today, but was renovated between 2009-2011, enlarged with a really great large side addition that compliments the original structure very well. 

181 Faraday Street - April 2009

181 Faraday Street (Google Streetview - September 2019)

183 Faraday Street

183 Faraday Street (Google Streetview - September 2019)

Surprisingly, the only Faraday Street house that appears on the heritage register currently is 183 Faraday. (Note the heritage register is not a list of designated houses, but only a list of houses with potential heritage interest. The primary advantage of being on the heritage register is that a demolition permit requires longer for approval, as it gives additional time for city staff and community groups to consider its heritage value).  

183 Faraday was built in 1931 by Fred T. Skinner, civil servant, and his wife Florence Elliott. It was sold in 1936 to Walter and Helen Cunningham, who resided in the home for over 50 years. Below is a photo I stumbled across on Ancestry of some of the Cunningham family in the rear yard of the home.

The backyard of 183 Faraday Street - 1940
Cunningham family members (source: Ancestry)

* * *

Two other houses on Faraday not mentioned above have been demolished. Well, one fronting Faraday (133, built in the 1950s) and then 117 Clarendon (built 1923-1924) at the northwest corner of Faraday. Luckily Google Streetview has captured both houses in their archive:

117 Clarendon Street - April 2009

133 Faraday Street - April 2009

* * *

Faraday Street grows west

The property line between 200 and 202 Faraday on the south side, and 201 and 203 Faraday on the north side represented the dividing line for many years between the City of Ottawa and Nepean Township. That sounds somewhat arbitrary, but this now-imaginary line was once the dividing line between Nepean Township lots 33 and 34. Long ago, a fence may likely have run between where these houses stand, all the way from Richmond Road to Carling Avenue, to divide what was the Stewart family farm of lot 34 and the Cowley farm in lot 33.  

When the Ottawa Land Association first laid out Faraday Street in their plan, they only laid it out to where 200 and 201 Faraday exist. They couldn't lay it out any further, as this was the extent of their land holdings. 

Next door in lot 33, Hampton Park Ltd. owned all of the land, and in 1910, they laid out their first subdivision plan, which was the little area including Mayfair and Piccadilly Avenues between Richmond Road and Byron. Fast forward to May of 1925, and they filed a new plan, which was centered around the new Island Park Driveway, and creating the streets and lots to surround it. Hampton Park Ltd. chose to extend Piccadilly and Mayfair south of Byron (despite it being separated by a massive hill that had been significantly cut out to create a level grade for the streetcar), and so those two streets ran south through this new section. For simplicity's sake, four new lots were simply added at the western ends of Kenora, Java, and Faraday to create a natural end at Mayfair. (Byron, Iona and Helena continued through Mayfair). 

Part of Plan 408 showing the Faraday Street extension

Thus in 1925, on paper at least, Faraday Street was extended by 160 feet to the west (though no houses would appear here until 1941). 

Though the street feels like one continuous road today, there is one reminder of this past... the sidewalks! Where the sidewalks end is where the city limits once existed. When sidewalks were added back in the 1920s, they only went as far as the city limits. Nepean Township could never afford (or simply didn't prioritize) adding sidewalks for their portion, thus why all the western ends of the streets have no sidewalks, and nor do Mayfair and Piccadilly.

Faraday Street looking west: where the sidewalks end
(Google Streetview September 2019)

* * *

Businesses on Faraday Street

Usually as part of my street profiles, I cover any businesses that operated on the street over time. However, as Faraday has always been strictly residential, there have never been any stores or shops on the street. There have been a couple of home-based businesses operating on Faraday, including a pest control business at 141 Faraday, who used a particularly eye-catching ad in 1938!

Ottawa Citizen - September 24, 1938

Ottawa Journal - May 8, 1939

I also found an ad for general contractor James Paterson and Son operating out of 132 Faraday in the early 1960s. 

Ottawa Journal - March 11, 1961

* * *

Other photos and clippings of interest:

Fire insurance plans are a great way to show the growth of the neighbourhood, and where each house was at a given time. The fire insurance maps of 1922 and 1948 (the only ones I've seen that include Faraday Street) are shown below.

Note that yellow typically represents wood-frame houses, pink is brick, blue is stone or concrete block, and grey denotes outbuildings and sheds. The blue circles represent fire hydrants, and a pink diamond represents a fire alarm box. 

For optimal viewing, be sure to click on the photos below, or better yet, right-click and save to your computer or device and view it that way.

Fire insurance plan view of Faraday Street, January 1922.

1948 fire plan showing all of Faraday Street
(note it looks funny as I had to piece together the plan
from three different sheets)

Aerial photographs are also a great way to track the progress of the growth of a street. Occasionally photos were taken at a low altitude and high resolution that brings a lot of detail to life. The City of Ottawa's "GeoOttawa" tool does have some great old aerial photos built in to the mapping tool, but there are really good sets out there that I wish they would add in there, like the 1931 and 1933 ones I'm showing below. Mayfair at left, Harmer at right, and Faraday is the street left to right through the middle in both.

May 26, 1931

May 5, 1933

This is a view of the west half of the street from 1984:

June 5, 1984 view of west half of Faraday

Lists of residents are always fun to look at, to find old neighbours names and such. Below are two lists of residents taken from the federal election voter lists of 1940 and 1962. What's cool about these lists is that they also include occupations. The number on the left is the street address; the number on the right is just an elections code and can be ignored.

1940 list of electors

1962 list of electors

Here is an ad listing a lot for sale at Harmer and Faraday, across from the lawn bowling club, which is a reminder that long before Fisher Park School opened, that the southerly portion of the property was home to a lawn bowling club. (You can read more on the pre- and early days of Fisher Park at

Ottawa Citizen - March 10, 1924

Here is an early ad for 170 Faraday for sale in 1927. I like the writing used, and the detail. "A Real Snap".

ad for 170 Faraday
Ottawa Citizen - February 26, 1927

The 73-mile hike! On June 29th, 1925, a group of boys from Wellington Village, including Charlie Hill of 71 Faraday took part in a 73-mile hike to a cottage at Blue Sea Lake. The impressive story was reported on in the Citizen:

Ottawa Citizen - July 11, 1925

On October 5th, 1925, a delivery man for the Canadian Packing Company, Wallace Leslie, was badly hurt making a delivery on Faraday using his horse-driven rig:

Hardly a street in Ottawa would have been untouched by WWII, and along with the stories shared above, it is worth mentioning the story of Eric, William and Sydney Roud, three sons of Albert Roud at 182 Faraday Street, who all enlisted in the war effort in 1940. A fourth son, Harvey, eventually joined as well. The newspapers covered the boys on a somewhat regular basis, including a story of heroism involving Sidney, and amazingly, all returned home after the war.

Ottawa Citizen - May 25, 1940

Ottawa Journal - August 16, 1941

Ottawa Journal - June 19, 1943

The photo below shows Ruth Niblock of 105 Faraday (at the end on the left), a student at Fisher Park High School in the fall of 1955.

Ottawa Citizen - October 25, 1955

Here is a view of Faraday looking north from above Carling Avenue, during the construction of the Queensway. The CNR rail line was pulled up, the right-of-way widened, and the Queensway run through. Quite a change for residents of Wellington Village in the 60s. Looking at this photo, it's easy to imagine how much more connected the neighbourhood would have felt to the streets south of the Queensway:

Faraday Street looking north from above Carling Avenue
during building of the Queensway in 1960. Fisher Park at right.
(part of City of Ottawa Archives CA-08381)

Another view during Queensway construction, a nice oblique view looking east down Faraday towards Fisher Park in April of 1961:

April 1961 view of the east end of
Faraday Street (Part of
City of Ottawa Archives, CA-8454)

A view down Faraday Street in 1978

A few years ago I acquired a set of photographs of Faraday Street taken on a quiet afternoon in August of 1978. There's nothing too special about the photos. No houses are clearly seen. No incidents have happened to warrant the photo taking. A few cars are parked on the street. Two boys ride their bikes, while another sits on a wagon. Fisher Park, closed for the summer, is seen at the end. 

Looking east from almost at Mayfair

A little further ahead from the above photo, where the
sidewalk ends (or is it where it begins?)

Looking east just past Clarendon

A few steps further east towards Harmer

Looking west from just before Clarendon

Looking west from the corner of Clarendon

A little further west towards Mayfair, still facing west

More recent photos:

The Faraday street parties were captured in the Ottawa Citizen in both 2007 and 2011! Below are the large photos that appeared those two years. 

Ottawa Citizen - July 14, 2007

Ottawa Citizen - June 11, 2011

* * *

Hope you enjoyed the history! Sorry I couldn't profile every house, or this (already way too long article) would have been three times longer. I'm sure I missed a lot of deserving long-time families, notable neighbours and events as well, which is unfortunate, but I did what I reasonably could with the resources I have. I usually focus on the early days (the 20s and 30s) to really cover off how the street formed and how the early houses and families arrived. So much history packed into one little street!