Richmond Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
also Skead's Mills
November 28, 2002:
Richmond Road "Took the Cake" for Dust in the 1860's
Ottawa Citizen, c. 1910 (from my Great-Grandmother's Scrap Book ... Al):
"In this almost dustless age, new timers can have no idea of the dust
which used to be on the country roads fifty years ago.
In those days, there was no provincial highway, no suburban commission roads, no
"second class county highways" and very few plain everyday macadamized roads.
Mr. William ARNOLD tells us about the time in the sixties when the Richmond Road
was at the height of its fame as a dusty thoroughfare.
At that time, the square timber business was at its height. To properly understand
what follows we must leave the road and take to the river for a few moments and see
the square timber cribs being made into rafts below the Chaudiere Falls.
At the period, iron chainexpensive and the lumbermen, in binding up the cribs
together into rafts, used "witches" of birch instead of chain. These "witches" were
really a species of rope made from tender birch saplings. The sapplings were twisted
in a machine till they became shredded and rope-like in pliability.
For these saplings, there was a great demand by the Ottawa lumbermen. Consequently,
the supplying of birch saplings became a profitable business in itself.
And now we get back to the Richmond Road and watch the farmers of Richmond, Stittsville
and Hazeldean bringing in saplings to Ottawa. We will watch them at the point on the
road between Bell's Corners and Ottawa where they are most numerous.
The farmers carry their saplings (branches and all) with the top ends dragging on the
ground and the butt ends being anchored under their seats. The Richmond Road was a
very dusty thoroughfare. It was bad enough on a windy day to travel on it. But when
the farmers with their trailing saplings came along (and there were many of them) the
dust became unbearable.
The people who knew most about the Richmond Road dust, from personal experience,
were the rivermen who travelled on foot between the foot of the entrance locks at
Ottawa and Skead's Mills. These men went down on the cribs from Skeads Mills and
walked back. Between Ottawa and Skead's Mills there were quite a number of hotels.
The dust naturally made the lumbermen "very very thirsty" as Harry Lauder would say,
and it follows that the rivermen made frequent trips into these hotels for liquid
refreshment. It is to be feared that most of the earnings of the rivermen went into
the hotels, and all because of the dust.
And now the dust is gone, the rivermen are gone and the hotels are gone - there is
nothing of the past but a memory."
June 23, 2005:
Skead's Mills at Kitchissippi Lookout
This photograph, taken June 22, 2005, shows the remaining foundations of
Located at Kitchissippi Lookout on the Ottawa River Parkway, between
Island Park Drive and Woodroffe Avenue, the sawmill employed many local labourers.
The beach which is adjacent to the mill was called Westboro Beach.
Kitchissippi is the original Algonquin name for the Ottawa River.
(actually Kitigan Zibi).
(keywords Skead, NP).
December 13, 2009:
Les Soeurs de La Visitation Convent, 117 Richmond Road
I have heard the old stone convent behind the old stone wall at 117 Richmond Rd. has been sold to Ashcroft. I have also heard that Ashcroft
plans on building six condominium buildings on that site and adjoining land.
Unfortunately I don't have a picture of this grand old building that was built in the 1880's to show your readers. I would like to make sure
that this old building in this historic part of Ottawa remains intact, through a historical designation.
I have never been inside the building but I have walked all around it. There are no trespassing signs on the property but am told the
Sisters will give you a tour of the place if you knock on the door. Apparently there are exquisite religious Fresco's inside the place.
The purpose of this email is to inform your readers of the possibly destruction if this building does not get a historical designation.
If one googles 'Les Soeurs de La Visitation" they will find out more information. I have emailed Heritage Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and Christine Leadman councillor for the area at email@example.com to voice my concern of this development. I hope your readers will
do the same. I have no personal ties to the convent, but I am tired of everything being torn down in this city. Hopefully someone has
a good picture to remember it by. Maybe you could post this on your website.
Thanks for this. By co-incidence, the Ottawa Citizen of yesterday (December 12, 2009), had a feature article regarding
Ashcroft Homes. The re-development of the convent property was mentioned among other projects.
E-mail Karen Prytula and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, area