Saturday, December 10, 2022

Goodbye Ottawa Neighbourhood Services

 For the Kitchissippi Times' December issue, I wanted to write something in the vibe of the Christmas season - a time of year of charity and giving. And there is no organization more tied in to charity and giving in the history of Kitchissippi than Ottawa Neighbourhood Services. 

Sadly, many people reading this won't even recognize that name. Many others will remember it of course but will have thought the organization closed years ago. In fact, it was just during Covid that the last traces of ONS disappeared. It's a tragic and unfortunate ending to an organization that was so integral to Ottawa, and especially to the Hintonburg neigbourhood. 

And perhaps even more troubling is the fading memory of it's founder and long-time operator Harold Mayfield, who basically dedicated his life to the organization. 

You can read the full article here:

Somehow, the concluding paragraph of the column I submitted got cut off in the final edition, perhaps due to length. But I wanted to re-add it here, as it expresses the disappointment I have at the loss of Mayfield's name in the community:

"It’s a veritable tragedy that the ONS is gone, and just as sadly the Mayfield name is nowhere to be found, including no longer even on his building. A man and an organization that did so much through the many decades of Kitchissippi’s history when the area was working class, and not yet gentrified, the imprint Ottawa Neighbourhood Services had on our community cannot be measured."

It's true... I still remember seeing the "Mayfield Building" name emblazoned on the building at Wellington and Garland as a kid. This would have been in the 90s, so not that long ago. I can't remember if it was on the side or front of the building, or how it was (I feel like it was overtop an entranceway), but regardless, the name is now gone and can't be seen anywhere. If you Google "Mayfield Building" in Ottawa, pretty much it is just my article that comes up. That's really too bad that we don't have anything permanent to honour the contributions of Harold and Marjorie Mayfield. 

The ONS building in 1985