1934 Robbery, Police Chase, Shooting Story

Just for the record, if you haven’t seen the private Facebook post or public Tweet

Local historian Dave Allston has dug up a 1934 story about some kids who idealised John Dillinger way too much, leading to a robbery and a dramatic chase across town with the young robbers shooting at the police from a stolen car, that ended up in our neighbourhood (at Pontiac and Cowley) with the thieves escaping into the forest. You can read about it on his web site at:


Neighbour Debra e-mailed Dave and wondered if Pontiac Street connected directly to Island Park Drive (there are remnants of the road with manholes in the woods, and the related old sewer line caused backflow in the 2019 flood and has since been plugged up). Dave replied back, with this 1926 map:

[Map of Champlain Park area roads in 1926]

There’s also a 1950’s map in our Roads in the Woods – Pontiac and Other Street Expansion Plans post.

It’s interesting to see how First Street became Premier Avenue, and now it’s Amanda (name of a neighbour’s child) to avoid duplicate names across the amalgamated Ottawa.

Later on Dave commented that it became Carlou Avenue briefly, from 1947 to the early 1950s. Here’s the fire insurance map he mentioned:

[1948 Fire Insurance Map where First Street becomes Carlou in 1947]

4 thoughts on “1934 Robbery, Police Chase, Shooting Story

  1. Wonderful story! The woods abut our back yard on Clearview.
    One map appears to appears to show Clearview was once named Bristol St. is that correct?

    1. Yes, it does look like the name was changed. Perhaps as uninhabited lands got built up, temporary names were replaced by ones the people living there liked better. Or maybe the land developers wanted something more marketable for their 1950s neighbourhood build.

  2. Hello! Just chipping in here to say good catch! And that yes, in May 1947, two street names in CP changed by Nepean Township council: Bristol was switched to Clearview, and First was switched to Carlou. This was done apparently to “facilitate mail delivery”, which was just beginning in the neighbourhood, particularly as there were duplicate names elsewhere in the city. At the time CP was still in Nepean, but annexation to Ottawa was imminent (it would happen in 1950) so neighbourhoods were being proactive under pressure of the post office department to rename streets, renumber for consistency (even numbers on the west side of the street), etc.

    (Carlou wouldn’t last long as a name – it changed to Premier just after annexation, but you’ll still see it on some old land registry plans, maps, etc. such as this one, from the 1948 fire insurance map set: https://imgur.com/vaCpgQb). Cheers!

    1. Thanks for the interesting detail, it’s now the street with four names! I’ve appended your 1948 fire insurance map to the main post so that it’s easier to see.

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