Thursday, August 18, 2016

Frederick Heney and his incredible Richmond Road mansion

One of, if not the key figure in west Ottawa 100 years ago was Frederick Heney. Very few contributed more to the development of the area than Heney, and aside from being perhaps the most well-known citizen of early Kitchissippi, was also one of the most well-off. This was reflected in his awesome home which stood on the spot where the Canadian Bank Note Company stands today, on Richmond Road by Kirkwood Avenue. The house was demolished in 1947 in a historically regrettable move, and perhaps even more unfortunate is how Heney's accomplishments have become faded over time. Even most of Kirkwood used to be called Heney Street until the 1940s.

My article in the Kitchissippi Times this week focuses on Heney's life, and his family's 100-year presence on Richmond Road, and most particularly his amazing mansion house. What I like about the story too is that it speaks of how the house does actually live on today, probably unbeknownst to residents of the Hampton-Iona community, many of whom probably still have building materials, components or furniture which once were a part of the mansion.

Please click on the link below to view the article, which also includes some pretty cool photos:


  1. Although Kirkwood replaced Heney in west Ottawa. Heney St. does exist in Lowertown now. The local Lowertown Echo paper published an article on Heney (and family) and their role in Ottawa's history.

  2. Hi, thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment. So I think where things get confused is that there are actually two different Heney families that both date back to two individual men in early Bytown days, incidentally both named John Heney. Hence why each are better known by their nickname - "Buffalo" John Heney in this case, and the other John Heney was "Red John" due to his hair colour. They were not related, but both went on to have large, well-active Ottawa families. The lowertown Heney Street was named for (and most of the writings about the Heney family are about) the "Red John" Heney family. So in 1941 when the federal Post Office Dept was standardizing addresses, to make things easier (not to mention in anticipation of the annexation of Nepean which was well-known would be coming soon), they had to change all duplicate street names. Ottawa went through a similar activity back in 2000 when we had amalgamation, and twin street names had to fight it out for who kept the old name. So the lowertown Heney got to stay, and the west end Heney unfortunately had to change. Cheers!