Roads in the Woods – Pontiac and Other Street Expansion Plans

When you walk in the woods, you may encounter a few house foundations and manholes. They are hints of past development and ancient plans. I recently came across an old map that explains them.

There’s a 1930s manhole on Pontiac, west of Patricia, obviously part of Pontiac when it existed there. You can easily walk over it since the forest path goes over the old road. I should really get a photo of it, but it’s currently too cold and snowy outside to do that.

Relative Location of the Secret 1960s Manhole



There’s a stranger 1950s or 60s manhole in the woods near Clearview and Island Park Drive, high off the ground, suggesting a planned street height.

Close-up of the 1960s Manhole, note the height.

Looking at a 1950s EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) evacuation map for Ottawa, there’s quite a bit of detail around our Champlain Park neighbourhood that shows what streets could have existed or had existed. With the latest closure of part of Pontiac to turn it into a park, we have even fewer than back then.

1950s Map of our Neighbourhood (click on it to enlarge)

It looks like Pointiac curves around to make a U shape with Clearview. Those little narrow roads are the back alley stable access ones. There are still a few around, though usually overgrown or encroached on by adjacent houses.

So, was it a former street that was closed (like the river ends of Daniel, Keyworth and so on) or was the U a new planned street? Well, the manhole height tells us there never was a road there, so perhaps that U was a plan which didn’t happen.

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– Alex

One response to “Roads in the Woods – Pontiac and Other Street Expansion Plans

  1. Wow nice find! Very interesting! Thx!

    Jacques & Mania