It's perhaps the topic I'm asked most about, and certainly the one that newer residents of the neighbourhood express the most shock over. There are few who remain who experienced it, and to tell the story now sounds more like folklore, but it's true... Fully half of the McKellar Park neighbourhood was once a golf course!
I've promised for years to do a thorough history of the old golf course, and I've chipped away at researching it for a long time. The Covid lockdown has given me extra time to really dig in, and so I've finally put together a lot of research and investigation to tell the full story.
Up until now, there has been a couple of things written on the golf course. Joe McLean of Flagstick Magazine brought the whole story out of the attic in 2008 with his great article on the course, complete with a well-labelled old aerial map showing the location of each hole, and a description of each as well. Bob Grainger when he wrote 'Early Days' for Kitchissippi Times before me, did a great follow-up article as well in 2014.
But other than those two articles, there is precious little about the course online, and certainly a major dearth of photos.
Readers of this site know that my articles usually aren't short. I've put out some pretty long columns here over the last 5+ years, as I love detail, and try not to leave anything out. When I write for the Times, I restricted to a word count, so I cover only the critical points to tell the story. With the Museum, I can include anything I want, and usually try to build up the article with as many photos, newspaper articles, maps, etc. to help tell the full story. Can the history of a street, building or topic really ever be TOO long?
For the purposes of covering the McKellar golf course properly, I've decided to split it into five articles. Partly due to length. Also that it will allow me to get the pieces out individually over time, and not have to wait for the full thing to be finished. I should have the first part up within the next few days, and hope to have the full five parts published all within July. I'm still chasing down a few photographs and interviews, so it's possible that I may stretch a little into the summer, but I'll do my best to get them all up soon.
The five parts I've decided on are:
Part One: McKellar Park background, beginnings, and the general history of the Club
Part Two: The course layout and club boundaries
Part Three: The clubhouse and other buildings
Part Four: The Hall of Fame (Names/Faces, Winners, Holes-in-One, etc.)
Part Five: The closure of the Course & its many proposed & rumoured futures
For this series, I've had a lot of help in putting it together. I'm especially grateful to David Jeanes of Heritage Ottawa for his help in putting exact addresses to the course layout (and creating a kind of walking tour of the original course), Dr. Bruce Elliott for sharing some of his original research, and many others I've spoken with and interviewed.
I'm really excited to share this history, and bring the full story of the McKellar Golf Course to life. I hope you enjoy this series.
In the meantime, if you are reading this and have any suggestions/contributions on the subject, I would definitely love to hear from you. If you have any old photographs, momentos, memories, etc. of the course, or have a tip on who might, please let me know asap! You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.