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]
History in the Making - The official opening of the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge - July 12, 2014. The new Rideau River link between Gloucester and Nepean.
Other Coming Events
|Next Board of Directors Meeting - Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 9:30 a.m., 4550B Bank Street, Gloucester (lower level, parking accessible off of Leitrim Road next to the Fire Hall). The meeting is open to the public.|
|Colonel By Day - Monday, August 4, 2014 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. next to the Bytown Museum next to Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal between the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier. Come and see us and ask questions. Books will be available for sale. Details can be found here.|
|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 (June 28, 2014) - 40 Years of Top Generation Club: 1974-2014 is an 80-page book produced for the June 2014 anniversary of the seniors’ club that was responsible for restoring the one-room Ramsayville School, built in 1894. The school, originally known as Gloucester School Section #13, was abandoned and left at the mercy of vandals in the early 1970s when a group of local seniors saw the potential for putting it to use as their clubhouse. Forty years later it is a designated heritage building in excellent condition that is used regularly by the Top Generation Club and other groups. The book, edited by Laurel Sherrer, features a history of the club and of the schoolhouse written by club member Belma (Alexander) Hull, as well as individual recollections of several long-time club members and others associated with the early days of the club.
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,
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 August 2, 2014
The Gloucester Historical Society acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Ottawa
Copyright © 2011-2014 Gloucester Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.