Billings Bridge - The most important entry point from Gloucester into Ottawa since 1830.
Here we see the current bridge on opening day, September 2, 1915
Photo by Binks & Wallis and supplied courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, Copy Number C-014138
The Story Behind the Picture
It is the day of the official opening of Billings Bridge, September 2, 1915. A large crowd has gathered including City engineer Askwith, Gloucester Reeve Caleb Hardy, his council and county officials, and Brad Billings, the so called 'King of Billings Bridge'. The bridge is brightly decorated with red, white and blue cheesecloth streamers and flags borrowed from the Exhibition association. The bridge is roped off at both ends and also decorated in preparation for an official ceremony. Cars are rounded up including the fire chief's car and the mayor's private vehicle. City controllers and councillors and newspapermen are assembled in the cars and they rush south from the city to the bridge. Without getting out of his car, Ottawa Mayor Nelson Porter cuts the rope and drives across the bridge with the other vehicles. After driving a short distance, they turn around and drive north across the bridge with the mayor briefly stopping. He insists that no speeches will be made and he quickly departs. What appears in the photo as a specially scripted event turned out to be totally underwhelming. [Ottawa Journal, September 3, 1915 p.14]
Other Coming Events
|Next Board of Directors Meeting - Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. (next meeting, Saturday, April 12, 2014), 4550B Bank Street, Gloucester (lower level, parking accessible off of Leitrim Road next to the Fire Hall). The meeting is open to the public.|
|Come and See us at GENE-O-RAMA - Saturday, March 22, 2014, Confederation Education Centre 1645 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa (corner of Hunt Club and Woodroffe) Please click here for further details.|
|The Gloucester Historical Society participates in Doors Open Ottawa - The Gloucester Museum artifacts and the Grace Johnston History Room will be open to the public on Saturday, June 7, 2014 and Sunday June 8, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Many of the artifacts relate to Gloucester's old rural heritage. St. James' Anglican Church Leitrim, the first English Church of Gloucester Township circa 1860 will also be open next door. The weekly Sunday worship service at 10:30 a.m. is open to the public as well as a picnic being (weather permitting) held in the churchyard starting at Noon, also on Sunday. The church is a good example of a rural 19th century Anglican church. Interpretive tours will be provided in both buildings.|
|Gloucester Roots Index Added (February 14, 2014) Click Here to View|
|Newsletter Index Added (January 29, 2014) Click Here to View|
|Carleton County Wardens from Gloucester Added (October 17, 2013) Click Here to View|
|Gloucester History Page Improved - (February 13, 2011) A lot of information has been recorded in the Gloucester historic time-line over the last 5 years but as the time-line has grown more comprehensive, it has also become more difficult to find specific facts and stories. To make it easier, a comprehensive index has been added and navigation links will facilitate moving around the page. Click here to see the latest history page and index.|
Discussion Group - The Gloucester Historical Society
now has a Google Group so that Gloucester History and Genealogy can be discussed
publicly. This is great opportunity to share information and make inquiries.
To join the discussion:
|Important Announcement - Once again in 2014 for the period of June through August, the Grace Johnston History Room will be open to the public each Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to research family or Gloucester history and talk to our experts. For the address and directions, please click here.|
|Gloucester Place Names Project - Perhaps, one of the most important research projects in the Society's history. The Society is attempting to identify and assemble all place names, past or present, within the original territory of Gloucester Township and provide some information on each.. This will be an evolving project which will lead to the publication of a book. In the meantime, our research will be appearing on this website. You are welcome to review our Place Names page.|
|Honey Gables - The Gloucester Historical Society is pleased to announce that we are collaborating with a community researcher with the end goal of producing a detailed written history of Honey Gables authored by the community researcher.|
|Volunteers - If you are interested in history, there are opportunities to learn more about your community by helping out in the history room. Please contact us for details.|
|Donations - The Gloucester Historical Society always welcomes donations that preserve Gloucester History. We will accept family histories, community histories, organization histories, church histories, school histories, photographs, historic documents and artifacts. Items of historic significance will be preserved in an appropriate local museum or local archives. If you would like to donate something, please contact us.|
|GHS Newsletters Now On-Line - Click here to view almost every Newsletter published by the Gloucester Historical Society since 1993.|
New Publication (April
21, 2013) - Gloucester A to Z by Robert Serré
New Publication (April
20, 2013) - The Emergency Shelters at Finter (Rockcliffe) and
Uplands 1946 - 1954 by Glenn Clark
New Publication (February
7, 2013) - Who was Who in Ottawa 1855 - 1967 by Robert Serré,
New Publication (November
16, 2012) - Clarkstown (Eastview / Vanier) Pioneer Families /
Familles pionnières by Robert Serré, 2012
New Publication (July
23, 2012) - Who Was Who in Gloucester, Eastview/Vanier and Rockcliffe
Park by Robert Serré, 2012
New Publication (November
3, 2011) - Place Names of Ottawa, Canada's Capital 1791-1950 by
Robert Serré, 2011
New Publication - Hawthorne
Reflections - compiled by Laurel Sherrer, 2010
New Publication - Gloucester
Lions Club Inc., History of the first 42 Years 1968 - 2010 by the History
Committee of the Gloucester Lions Club and Robert Serré. Edited
by Glenn Clark, 2010.
New Book (written in French)
- "À LA MÉMOIRE DE MES ANCÊTRES"
by Robert Roy with the collaboration of Robert Serré
Robert Roy was born in Orléans. After several years of genealogical research,
he produced, with the assistance of GHS president Robert Serré,
a book that was published on October 29, 2010. This 184-page book, which
includes 263 photos and illustrations, provides lineages for fifteen ancestors,
fourteen going back to France, and one to England: Roy, Bruyère,
Marion, Bigras, Bouchard, Blanchard, Cléroux, Foubert, Versailles,
Lacourse, Cousineau, Cantin, Chalifoux, Bouet, and Dunning.
This book also contains a considerable amount of information about the
history of the Lower Ottawa Valley, the communities of Saint-Joseph d’Orléans,
Embrun, Marionville, Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Navan and Sarsfield, as well
as a bibliography. It sells for $25.00. To order a copy, simply e-mail
email@example.com, or call 613-741-2765.
- “Perseverance, Pranks and Pride –
Tales of the One-Room Schoolhouse” by Joy Forbes.
The book focuses on the life and times of English- and French-speaking
individuals growing up in the Ottawa Valley region who attended or taught
in one-room schoolhouses from around the turn of the century until 1992
when the last one closed in Ontario. There are approximately 75 short
stories about individual experiences as well as brief histories of many
schools. Il y a quelques histoires en français. It also includes
many interesting photographs and images of memorabilia, which until now
have not been documented. Contributors of note include Larry Robinson
of the Montreal Canadiens, Graham Ritchie of Ritchie’s Feed and
Seed, as well as the well-known local author, Mary Cook, who was also
gracious enough to compose a very flattering preface.
The book can be purchased online at www.oneroomschoolhouses.ca>
The Gloucester Historical Society is proud to have provided contacts
and information in support of this project.
Did you know?
13. The current Billings Bridge and Cummings Bridge were both originally designed for streetcars but neither would ever be used for that purpose.
14. Gloucester had two historic airports at Rockcliffe and Uplands, however, the first inter-city airmail flight into Ottawa used neither. That historic flight in 1913 made use of Slattery's Field, south of Clegg Street in Ottawa East.
Is it Gloucester or is it Gloucester?
Join the Debate
Is there a correct pronunciation for Gloucester?
Has the pronunciation changed over the years?
What is the current common pronunciation?
What was the pronunciation in the past?
What is the francophone perspective on this question? Is it different?
We came up with three possible pronunciations.
The latter two being a matter of emphasis.
We would love to hear your opinions by e-mail or through our Google Discussion Group mentioned below. A selection of comments will be included in an upcoming edition of our newsletter.
the Month - December 2012
Harry Allen was a Gloucester Councillor from 1978 until 1985, at which time he was elected mayor. He took great courage to approve a 29.4% tax increase in 1989, which allowed the City of Gloucester to come out debt at a time of high interest rates. Because of this, he received death threats and had to wear a bullet proof vest during public consultations. He was voted out of office in 1991 but his successor was able to implement a tax freeze as a result of his courageous decision. The City of Gloucester entered amalgamation with Ottawa free of debt.
Before his political career, Mr. Allen was known for his community work in Beacon Hill. He got involved in community and township recreation committees that helped build the Earl Armstrong Arena and the Sawmill Creek Pool in Blossom Park as well as a number of parks. He also helped found the municipal Pineview Golf Course.
When in office, he developed a strong relationship with the National Capital Commision which enabled him to have the Rockcliffe Parkway realigned at St. Joseph Boulevard. He also widened St. Joseph Boulevard and the bridge that now bears his name and was involved with the extension of the Queensway in Orléans. Mr. Allen had a passion for public transit and worked with OC Transpo to develop a more efficient transit service in Gloucester.
Mr. Allen is a native of Ireland and immigrated to Canada in 1953 and came to Ottawa in 1968..
The bridge was officially named on August 24, 2012 and Mayor Jim Watson
and Innes Ward Councillor Rainer Bloess recognized his many contributions
to the community. Mr. Allen was joined by family and friends for the ceremonial
unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the bridge sign.
| About the Logo:
For many years the Gloucester Historical Society used the wooden bicycle which had been made by 17 year old James Blair in 1898. The official logo as shown above was designed by R.N. Strong, Graphic Designer, who was commissioned to come up with a meaningful design.
The original bicycle is incorporated in the design and the colours of the Gloucester Historical Society, yellow and green are used. The green in the part below the word "Gloucester" represents a ploughed field, complete with furrows.
Last Updated March 8, 2014
The Gloucester Historical Society acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Ottawa
Copyright © 2011-2014 Gloucester Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.