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All photos from Library and Archives Canada.

Streetscape Memory Bank: The lost Ottawa community of Uppertown, Pt. 2

By Andrew Elliott on November 15, 2015

Last time, we looked at the area of Uppertown now taken up by what is now 395 Wellington, or Library and Archives Canada. This time I’m interested in taking a look at some of the houses located on Lyon, the north side of Vittoria, Kent and Cliff Streets.  [Ed. note: Here’s a Google Maps link to help orient you.]

Here’s a snapshot of a section of a larger scale fire insurance plan that appears to have been created by the government in 1912 and is now is now in the possession of Library and Archives Canada:


You’ll noticed that Lyon Street once extended north of Wellington and at the intersection with Vittoria, takes a jog to the northwest. One of these homes, whose photo you will have seen last time with the woman standing out front with her arms crossed is the R.C. Douglas House, located at 9 Lyon Street.

Here’s the front of the house, as seen above.

unnamedA combined stone and brick house that looks to have been built prior to 1875, the place in 1912 was owned by a man who was a hydraulic and bridge engineer for the department of railways and canals. The house stands roughly near the spot where the central heating plant was constructed in 1918-19. A newspaper notice from 1914 notes that Douglas sold his property to the government from for several thousand dollars.

At the corner of Lyon and Vittoria Streets was this lovely frame house. Officially, it had the address of 125 Vittoria Street and in 1912, it was the home of William Thomas Cleave. Cleave was a boatbuilder, operating a boat building business since the 1880s, and he lived in the house with Belle and May (clerks in the Ottawa Truss and Surgical Manufacturing Company) and Eliza. A son, William J.Cleave, lived nearby on Wellington Street. According to a newspaper notice, Cleave died at the end of January 1915 in his 82nd year.

Across the intersection was a 3-storey stone apartment building. 41 Lyon street was known as the Northcliffe Apartments, and a search through the census of 1911 does not reveal any details as to who lived there. I am able to note that the owner of the property was Albert A. Fournier, president of a department store (in operation for nearly 30 years in 1912) of the same name which was located at 323-331 Wellington street. The photo survey of 1912 has some great shots of the apartments. You can also see the buildings at this intersection in this closeup of the fire insurance plan:

Taking a trip along the north side of Vittoria Street, we come to 117 Vittoria, which was owned by Frederick James Wilson and his wife Mary and daughter Florence. There is no indication as to what Wilson did for a living in order to live in this wonderful stone construction in the second empire style. Again here are front and back views of the property.

Next door to Wilson was Enoch B. Butterworths, 65, head of the Butterworth Company on Sparks Street, which was a hardware business. He died in 1928.


The next building was a row house, owned by the Graham estate, with tenants Robert Walker with wife and son and daughter (111), and Gardiner Taylor and his two daughters plus a domestic servant (109), and although no one is listed in the 1912 directory for 107, the census for 1911 notes that Maggie Cloutier and her three children were here.

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Next door in 105 Vittoria was Dr. William Ayton Leggo, with his wife and three children. Leggo was a dentist, and was the son of one of Ottawa’s first dentists, Dr. John Leggo. Leggo Jr. practiced dentistry from 1883 until his retirement in 1928, and he died in 1942.

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A neighbour was LN Poulin, who was also the owner of the Poulin department store at Sparks and O’Connor, most recently the Zellers Store and now converted into Winners and the Biermarkt.


Here’s the rest of Vittoria as far as Kent, as seen on two close ups of the fire insurance plan.

Another neighbour a little further east was Andrew Holland, a respected Hansard reporter and also famous for bringing the Kinetoscope and movies to Ottawa in the early 1890s. He would move to the old Sparks house on Sparks Street shortly after government expropriation occurred.


From mid-block of Vittoria to Kent, two major property owners owned several row houses: Annie and J. Clark owned the following two:

James and Henry Jackson owned the remainder amount of property (with many tenants) near the northwest corner of Vittoria and Kent streets. The Jacksons lived in a corner stone house with the address of 69 Vittoria. James was a bookkeeper and Henry was a dentist.

Next time: a look at the mansions on Cliff Street, Vittoria Street Street east, and the lawn bowling and curling clubs.

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