Friday, December 4, 2020

A rare, almost unbelievable glimpse from Carling Avenue and Merivale Road - 1933!

Though technically just outside the borders of Kitchissippi, I came across this photo and couldn't help but share it! This is as rare a photo as you'll find of the then-suburbs of the City. 

In the early 1930s, some of the roads in the suburbs of Ottawa were widened and/or paved for the first time. Merivale Road was one of these streets, and once the job was finished, a photograph was taken. 

What makes this photo particularly special is that includes not only a rare glimpse down old Merivale Road, but it shows the vast lumber piles of J.R. Booth, that famously occupied the site of what is now the vet homes of Carlington east of Merivale. 

Merivale Road at Carling Avenue, 1933
(City of Ottawa Archives, CA-26316)

To situate yourself, it's as if the photographer was standing directly in front of the old Hydro Substation on Carling, looking south down Merivale, at the most easterly point of what the intersection is now (to the east of the little grass triangular median). 

Here is the comparative present-day view:

Google Streetview

You'll see just 20 feet or so ahead of Carling Avenue is an old railway crossing, which was the siding for J.R. Booth's yard, so that the lumber could easily be shipped in and out along the old GTR/CN line that ran on the path now used by the Queensway. That old siding line is why there is now the little lane that turns from Merivale to Carling, opposite Island Park Drive, creating the triangular grassy area where Merivale meets Carling.

An aerial photo from 1945 shows the whole area, and the vastness of the Booth lumber yards. That's Holland/Fisher at the far left, Carling running left to right along the bottom, and that's Merivale running in a diagonal line away from Carling. The big 2-storey shed/barn visible in the 1933 photo can be seen in the 1945 photo as well:

1945 aerial photograph

The 1933 street-level photo was buried essentially un-labelled and loose inside an old folder deep in a collection at the City Archives. Unearthing it is a rare prize I'd say!

Stay tuned in December for a ton more photos/info on this intersection, as I will be sharing an in-depth photo-heavy history of the landmark Macies Hotel (now the Best Western Plus) on the southwest corner of this intersection, courtesy of the Macies family collection! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I've long wondered about that triangle.

    Did Mr. Booth have another yard at the north of Dow's Lake? Or was that earlier?