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]

Kot Family Memorial Bench

Memorial Bench Installed on Pontiac Street to Remember Longtime Residents of Cowley Avenue, Steve and Kay Kot

[New Bench on Pontiac Street at Mini-Forest]

If you are walking or biking along the unpaved section of Pontiac Street between Cowley Ave. and Carleton Ave. you will see that the City has installed a new bench facing Champlain Park. The following reflection on the history of her parents and of growing up across the street from Champlain Park during the 1960’s and 1970’s was contributed by Mary Ellen Kot:

[Kot Mom and Dad]
Dad and Mom.

The Kot family, (Mary Ellen, Kathleen, Patricia, Theresa, James and Stephen) is happy to donate a bench to the Champlain Park Community, in memory of our parents, Kay and Steve Kot. Mom (Kathleen Bull) spent all her life (1927-2020) in the west end of Ottawa. She lived at 45 Barrington (later re-named 311 Spencer St.), with her mother and brothers. Dad was from a farming family in Saskatchewan. He came to Ottawa in 1948 to work for the Patent Office of the federal government. His first office was in the Langevin Building where he enjoyed a view of the Parliament buildings. After they married in 1952, Dad joined Mom’s family on Spencer St.
Continue reading “Kot Family Memorial Bench”

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

Continue reading “Roads in the Woods – Pontiac and Other Street Expansion Plans”

Heritage Building Inventory Project

Subject: Heritage Inventory Project
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2017 17:14:22 +0000
From: Heritage Inventory / Inventaire Patrimonial <heritageinventory@ottawa.ca>

Dear Champlain Park Community Association,

The Heritage Inventory Project is moving into your neighbourhood! We’ve begun some preliminary research on your neighbourhood, and we would really appreciate any input from your community.

The Heritage Inventory Project is a city-wide strategic initiative which is evaluating buildings built prior to 1980 for heritage significance. Buildings that meet our design and neighbourhood tests are recommended for addition to the Heritage Register. For more information on our project, please see our website: Ottawa.ca/heritageinventory.
Continue reading “Heritage Building Inventory Project”

Kitchissippi History & Heritage Group – June 5

Subject: Fwd: Kitchissippi History & Heritage Group – Sunday 5 June!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2016 18:50:46 -0400
From: Christine Jackson <cfjackson@sympatico.ca>

Hello Champlain Park Community Association,

I’m forwarding this invitation to you to attend the second meeting of the Kitchissippi History & Heritage Group, which is coordinated by our local historian, Dave Allston. I don’t know whether or not you are already aware of this Group’s existence?

The Group had a highly successful kickoff meeting on Feb 28, with over 40 people in attendance upstairs at Thyme & Again. I may be mistaken, but the CPCA did not seem to be present(?).

As you can see from Dave’s correspondence, one of the Group’s first initiatives will be to help the City update its horrendously outdated list of listed (heritage) buildings. In this respect, Champlain Park is particularly poorly served because the City’s current list only includes 4 addresses, two of which are buildings that were apparently moved into CP from elsewhere. The City’s current list does not even include the wonderful Kot home at the north end of Cowley Ave.

I do not know whether the lack of Champlain Park buildings on the list to date has to do with previous negligence or lack of interest on the part of the City or an unwillingness on the part of owners to have their buildings listed. (There may be some ramifications on owners somewhere down the line in the process.)

The City will be looking to community associations this June to help them identify potential listed buildings and I’m hoping that, if you do not already know of this, then you will help to ensure that we participate and get any buildings of heritage value in Champlain Park listed – before they disappear forever! The meeting on 5 June, to be attended by City planners, will no doubt tell us what to expect in that respect.

Besides Dave’s invitation (below), I am including below, for your info, the report he sent to those of us who attended the Feb 28 meeting.

Hope to see some of you there on June 5!

Christine Jackson (Cowley Ave)

Subject: Kitchissippi History & Heritage Group – Sunday 5 June!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2016 17:46:35 +0000 (UTC)
From: Dave Allston <daveallston@rogers.com>

Good day everyone!

So it’s taken a lot of work and a few twists and turns, but we finally have a date and time arranged for the next meeting. I’ve booked Sunday June 5th, from 2-4 p.m. in the large hall at Kitchissippi United Church (thanks to Jen Gillespie for the great suggestion!). I hope you will all be able to attend. (http://www.kitchissippiuc.com/contact-us/)

This will be a particularly important meeting because I have arranged with the City’s Planning Department to have representatives from the Built Heritage section make a presentation to our group regarding the big project underway in 2016 to rebuild the Heritage Reference List. Our group can have a key role in this project, in terms of helping identify potential inclusions for this list (which should not be limited necessarily to just buildings and houses by the way – the heritage list does also include “Historic buildings, districts and landscapes”). Remember too that there are different levels of recognition on the list. Of course designation is key for those which we know must be protected, but it is important to “list” those addresses which may have heritage value, and would force a harder look when an individual looks to demolish. (My presentation on designation appears in the message forum http://kitchissippihistory.freeforums.net/board/1/all-discussion-topics if you’d like to read more about this).

City staff will be on hand for the first hour or so, and we will cover this topic in depth, and learn what role we can take on. They will also take Q&A, so this will be a great opportunity to ask questions.

The second hour of the meeting I’m still putting together (any suggestions/ideas, please let me know). We will have one presentation for sure, and I would also love to take at least 30 minutes to have any interested individuals or groups take 2-3 minutes to present updates on what they’ve been working on, share dates of upcoming history walks/events of note, or to advertise any projects they are working on that they would like input/assistance on, or to share current research topics, etc. From the last meeting, I know there was a LOT of networking that happened, especially post-meeting, a lot of people got in touch with each other through the get-together, so I’m glad at minimum we can make those connections! I think it’s important for us as the local history nuts to build our network as much as we can!

Thanks very much to you all for your continued interest in this group. Feel free to pass on the word to anyone you feel might be interested, and I look forward to seeing everyone again in a few weeks.

Cheers, Dave Allston

(p.s. the message board idea has been a bit slow on the uptake, so we can discuss other/better ways of maintaining communication at the next meeting. But feel free to visit at http://kitchissippihistory.freeforums.net/board/1/all-discussion-topics for any questions/thoughts)

From: Dave Allston, 2 April 2016

Good afternoon everyone,

First off, my apologies for not being in touch sooner. The month of March flew by, and I’d kept intending to get organized and get in touch with everyone again, and have some kind of online meeting place established. So hopefully we haven’t lost too much of the great momentum that had been built up in February. Once again, thank you to all of you who made the meeting at Thyme and Again. It was an amazing turn-out, and I could not be more impressed at the level of interest in the community in discussing local history! I have a lot of optimism about where this group can go, and the interesting sessions we can have/work we can contribute to. Already I am getting input on some ideas where the History Group (we still need an official name!) can be useful. Of course there is the big task to do with the heritage designations/listing, but one interesting project which has come up recently through three local community associations and the West Wellington BIA, is regarding the Ottawa 2017 celebrations. Grant money is being made available through the city, and this committee I’ve been working with has put in a grant application towards organizing a significant local history project. Our history group could be able to play a substantial role in this project. So more to come on that soon.

So my email today has two purposes. One of course is to re-establish contact with everyone, but secondly, I also wanted to alert you to an online message board I’ve set up (it is very simple for now) to try to create a community where we can all visit and discuss issues, questions, projects, and promote within the group. I’ve tried to select a platform which is easy to use, easy to sign up for, but also allows for sharing of documents/photos/etc. I’m not overly technical, nor do I have the time to put together something fancy, but I think (or at least I hope) this does the trick, at least for now. Perhaps down the road we could explore having a more detailed website established.

So if you go to the link below, you will find the starting point of the message board. You can post without signing up, or you can do a 20-second registration to be able to post under your name, and take advantage of other functionality. I encourage you all to use this as much as you would like. I’d love to see people posting history questions, sharing something they’ve written, or a neat photograph, sharing a project they’re working on, or to point out a news story that affects local history/heritage, etc. The more chatting and posting we get, the better chance we have of it becoming a real community, so I encourage you to not be shy and post anything you like. Consider posting too about ideas on how this group can be utilized! We have a lot of keen, knowledgeable people involved, and I have a mailing list of almost 100 right now, which is amazing.

The link to the board is: http://kitchissippihistory.freeforums.net/board/1/all-discussion-topics

To start off, I’d recommend viewing my “Welcome to…” post (direct link: http://kitchissippihistory.freeforums.net/thread/5/welcome-history-heritage-group-discussion). I also posted my presentation and the hand-out related to the Ottawa heritage reference list and the heritage designations on one of the threads as well. Hopefully you find the site easy to use, and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. (Note I will also put up a link to the board on the front page of the Kitchissippi Museum blog, so if you misplace this email, not to worry, just come to my blog).

I am aiming to set up the next meeting in May, so we can all get together again. On the message board, I’m trying to gauge roughly the best day/time to have a meeting (does Sunday afternoon generally work? is a weekday evening better?, etc.) I’ll also try to recruit one or two guest presenters (volunteers with something they’ve recently/currently worked on welcome!), and will also aim to have one of the City Heritage planners on hand as well to present the City’s heritage designation project. I’m hopeful that our group can act as the vehicle through the community associations (with representation from multiple CAs) so that the Heritage Planners need not visit 8-9 CAs individually, but rather can speak to them all at once. I’ll do the legwork with the CAs for that in the next week or so.

So thank you again to you all, and please feel free to email me anytime with any questions/ideas, or post them to the message board!

Dave Allston

Fibre to the Home Coming Soon!

Some of you may have noticed the Bell Canada trucks busy working in our area, this April of 2016. They seem to be installing fibre optic cable (made by Corning going by the writing on the cable) and drop boxes to connect to subscribers. Looks like we’ll have very high speed Internet in the ‘hood soon!

Power Pole Stack
In case you’re wondering what’s on a typical pole in our neighbourhood, here’s a list:

  • The big grey metal can at the top is an electrical power transformer, operated by Ottawa Hydro. Provides electricity to your house.
  • The metal arm of a street light is next one down on the pole, not sure if that’s owned by Ottawa Hydro or the city. Doesn’t matter too much since the city owns Ottawa Hydro.
  • The grey tube on the bottom left is for splicing home phone lines into the old fashioned telephone cable (many pairs of copper wires wrapped in a black covering, one pair for each customer), operated by Bell Canada.
  • Next is a small cable TV junction box followed by the bigger aluminum box with lots of fins that contains cable TV electronics, run by Rogers. Everyone on the block shares the coaxial cable, but it’s operating at radio frequencies so it can handle more data than twisted pair. I recall that Rogers did a similar upgrade of the neighbourhood around the year 2000, so they could handle Internet in addition to TV.
  • Finally on the far right is the black blob which is the fibre optic junction box (a Corning OptiSheath Multiport), with around 8 jacks where lines to individual homes can be plugged in. Unlike electrical plugs with just need simple contact, the fibre optic ones precisely line up the two ends of fibre optic strands the size of a thread so they touch snugly and light can pass through. Light is at even higher frequencies than radio waves, so even more data can be transferred. They also seem to use multiple cables back to the network, about four per block. That’s probably the ultimate in data transfer for the next century.

– Alex

Cowley Family History now In Print

Subject: Hot off the press! – Cowley family history now in print
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2016 00:06:30 -0400
From: Christine Jackson <cfjackson@sympatico.ca>

The articles I have written previously on the Cowley family history and which are posted in the history section of the CPCA website have been compiled into a new booklet, just published by the Historical Society of Ottawa.

The family’s history in the Ottawa Valley has been expanded upon somewhat, while a little less space is devoted to their English origins.

If anyone is interested in reading more about this family, which was responsible for establishing the Champlain Park neighbourhood (formerly known as Riverside Park), information is attached on how to obtain a copy of this booklet — From Steamboats to the NHL: The Ottawa Valley’s Cowley Family.

Thank you
Christine Jackson


Cowley History Talk – February 22

Subject: Upcoming talk on the Cowley Family – founders of Champlain Park
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2016 09:28:05 -0500
From: Christine Jackson <cfjackson@sympatico.ca>

Some residents may be interested in the talk I’m giving at 7pm Monday evening (22nd) in Arnprior about the family behind our neighbourhood of Champlain Park – the Cowley Family. (See attachment)

Arnprior is a relatively short drive west of Ottawa and the weather forecast for driving is good!

Thank you
Christine Jackson


Last Chapter of the Cowley Family Saga

Subject: Last chapter of the Cowley Family Saga published
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:24:50 -0400
From: Christine Jackson <cfjackson@sympatico.ca>

Dear Webmaster

Residents of Champlain Park may be interested in the third and final installment of the Cowley Family Saga, which has just been published in the quarterly journal of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), entitled: The Cowley Family Saga – Part 3: Back to the Beginning.

A pdf copy is attached. Would you kindly post it with the other two parts of the Cowley Saga on the ‘Our History‘ section of the CPCA website?

Written and researched by Christine Jackson, who lives on Cowley Avenue, Part 3 is an account of the lives of the Cowleys’ yeoman farmer ancestors in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, England, going back into the 16th century.

Parts 1 and 2 (both are already on the CPCA website) outline the lives of Captain Daniel Keyworth Cowley, his ancestors in England and his descendants. They include an account of how ‘Captain Dan’ came to Canada in 1831 and became a successful pioneer riverboat captain in the Ottawa Valley, while his great grandson Bill became a hockey star and NHL Hall-of-Famer.

I have attached a photo of the village of Ashover in Derbyshire, England, where the earliest-known Cowleys lived in the 16th & 17th centuries. Please feel free to use it on the website if you would like an image to go with this post.

Thank you!
Christine Jackson