1946 – 1986
To understand the present, one must look into the past. This is what we have done. A community that nurtures such full life is not created overnight. Our parents understood this. That is why, forty years ago, they rolled up their sleeves and began their work. These first settlers and those who followed created an infrastructure for the community that remains unequalled to this day. They were able to kindle a community spirit that continues to animate us and, even more, they provided for a promising future that guaranteed a place where an entire new generation imbued with their values, might transmit this precious and envied heritage to its own children.
On behalf of my generation and of the children of my generation, I am proud to present to these “pioneers” this brief history of their work, as a token of our deep and grateful recognition.
To all, a happy 40th anniversary,
The Lakeview Terrace Residents’ Association
To condense 40 years of history into 20 pages or so of print is a difficult task. At best, one can pin point the highlights from those years giving the uninformed reader a general idea of how things were. For those readers who lived that history, however, the following account may seem shallow and inadequate. But perhaps it will stir memories which have faded over time and might even spur the oldtimers to flesh out the skeleton of facts which follows.
A HISTORY OF LAKEVIEW TERRACE
In January 1945, four months before VE Day, the Veterans’ Land Administration submitted to the South Hull Town Council a plan for the subdivision of the old Patrick Clark farm which lay between the present upper and lower Aylmer Roads just west of the Connaught Park Race Track.
THE VETERANS’ LAND ACT
The Veterans’ Land Act, a successor to the Soldiers’ Settlement Act of WWI, was passed in 1942 as one of the several measures planned by the Canadian Government to help veterans become reestablished in civilian life after the war. The V.L.A. provided financial assistance to aid veterans who were interested in taking up farming either on a full-time or part-time basis. The part-time farmer was usually located on a small holding of three to five acres, although for a few years the V.L.A. experimented with suburban developments made up of half-acre lots.
To qualify as a small land holder, a person had to be a veteran of World War II and he had to have resigned from the services without having taken advantage of any of the other benefits, such as educational assistance, which were offered to veterans at that time. Overseas service was not mandatory.
One important qualification was that the veteran have a job which would continue to be his principal source of income. Most small holdings, therefore, were located close to towns or cities which could provide employment. The applicant had to be able to make a cash down-payment of 10% of the cost of his house and land as well as meet the mortgage payments each month. Only those who could demonstrate “… good character, stability and thrift… ‘’ and a capacity for careful planning were eligible for the role of small land holder.
Probably the most important condition was that the veteran agrees under the terms of the contract to develop his land so that he could, in time, come to rely upon the sale of produce as extra income in times of real need. He was encouraged to specialize in one or two crops which were in demand in his area — poultry, fruit, flowers, garden truck, or bees — rather than grow a wide variety of produce.
An excerpt taken from «A Handbook for Servicemen», published in 1944, summarized the aims, scope and main details of the V.L.A. and outlined the goals of the small holding:
“By starting in a small way, the veteran and his family can assist themselves materially in the production of wholesome foodstuffs and by experimentation, decide which sideline best fits in with their particular tastes and needs. In some cases the veteran will gradually transform his holding to a point where he can safely engage in specialized production as a fulltime occupation and relinquish his outside employment; in others the veteran will prefer to remain in his ordinary occupation and use his holding as a home but with room to follow some interesting hobby in a healthy atmosphere.”
The Handbook cautioned that the Veterans’ Land Act “. . . is not intended to serve merely as a stop-gap following demobilization. It is expected to provide an anchorage for the future where veterans will make their homes and establish ownership of them.” It offered the veteran “. . . a stake in the general scheme of things in Canada”.
The V.L.A. was administered by a Director who was responsible to the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs. There were regional offices across Canada which were run by Regional Supervisors assisted by local advisory committees. For Lakeview Terrace, the regional office was in Montréal. Their first Regional Supervisor was E.J. Tapp, a man whose interest and concern for the veterans was woven into the very fabric of the little community which got its start with the “original 40” in 1946.
HISTORY OF THE CLARK FARM
The V.L.A. subdivision in the Municipality of South Hull was located on Lots 15a, 15b, and 16a of Range 1 and Lot 16e of Range 2. Although the property was known as “the Clark Farm”, it had in fact been established originally by Robert and William Conroy during the 1870’s (p. 12).
Like their father, Robert Conroy of Aylmer, R. & W. Conroy were lumbermen. It was their large sawmill operation at the Deschênes Rapids which had employed enough people to start the village of Deschênes during the 1870’s. The Conroy farm was located just north of Deschênes on land which had passed down from their grandfather, William McConnell. It was one of the best-known stock and dairy farms in Eastern Canada.
A description in 1889 of the 150 acre farm property listed the buildings which were located at that time on the present site of St. Médard School:
1. A story and a half frame building and outbuildings occupied by the superintendent of stock farm and employees.
2. Butter factory and creamery with the most modem machinery for dairying purposes and capable of handing the milk of 400 to 500 cows.
3. A large frame piggery, capacity 150 pigs.
4. A hennery.
5. Horse stables.
6. Large frame barns, feeding stations and silos.
In 1902, the farm and buildings were bought by Patrick Clark who named it “Silver Spring Farm” because of its abundant supply of excellent spring water which Clark sold as bottled drinking water for office use in Ottawa. Clark continued to operate the successful dairy, eventually leasing it to John Lumsden during the 1920’sand 1930’s.
Lumsden, a flamboyant millionaire whose wealth had been made in the lumber trade, ran the whole operation as a show farm according to the most advanced theories of the day. Visitors came regularly from all over to see the large herds of purebred Holstein dairy cows which were housed in conditions so sanitary that the milk did not have to be pasteurized. Here, the white-smocked farm assistants washed their hands before milking and manure was cleared from the barn by means of mechanized conveyor belts to avoid splash and contamination.
During the late 1930’s, Clark was without a tenant for his farm and because of his age had no interest in farming it himself. In 1942, he sold the land and its buildings to the Veterans’ Land Administration to become the site of a small holding subdivision.
THE V.L.A. SUBDIVISION
The subdivision laid out by the V.L.A. was made up of 240 half-acre lots which were the smallest units of land allowed under the terms of the small holding. Eventually, the concept of half-acre lots was cancelled since lots of this size were not large enough to carry out the aims of the V.L.A. (p. 13).
The shape of the subdivision consisted of two large concentric ovals joined at regular intervals by four short streets and bisected from East to West by another longer street Laurier. The two ovals were framed on four sides by linear development which had the effect of enclosing the whole and holding the community together. Running from North to South through the development was the Deschênes (now Vanier) Road which much earlier, long before the growth of Deschênes Village, had been called the Mountain Road.
The idea behind the development was that the V.L.A. would start things off by building forty houses. Other veterans would then be attracted to the community to build their own houses on lots which they would purchase from the V.L.A. The community would quickly grow to become a model subdivision embodying all the aims of the small holding concept.
The first 40 houses were constructed by the firm of Hill-Clark-Francis on a cost-plus-fee basis. According to this arrangement, all costs incurred by the contractor were totaled plus a fee, which in this case was 10%. The cost estimate for each house averaged $6,000.00 although the actual cost turned out to be a little more than that so in some cases the house prices were higher.
The veterans purchased the houses from the V.L.A. at a cost ranging from $6,000 to $8,000. However, this price was adjusted to cover the write-off of cost overruns and the cost of carrying out remedial repairs. In each case, the veteran made a down-payment of $600.00, and had 25 years to pay off the mortgage at 3½%. In each case, the veteran received a conditional grant of $1,400 at the outset. If he stayed in the house for 10 years, this conditional grant never would have to be repaid; but if he left after, say 6 years, this $1,400 would be due and payable in addition to the amount then outstanding on his mortgage.
The V.L.A. hired the McLaughIin Brothers to put in a central water pumping System as the houses were being built. One of the springs which years earlier had been the source of Clark’s famous drinking water was pinpointed and a shallow well drilled near North Arm. The spring was capped to produce some of the best water to be had in South Hull and a pumping station was installed. No other section of South Hull had its own water System, all other areas relied for water on individually dug wells. The fire hydrants which were erected throughout the development were, similarly, the first to exist in the rural municipality. A few years later this system would prove inadequate because of heavy water use. The V.L.A. then drilled a deeper well and assessed each homeowner $2.65 per month for water services.
The first 40 houses were of seven different designs and were built in pairs so that they could share driveways and utility poles. All the original 40 houses were constructed South of Laurier Street and built in a scattered pattern with considerable distance between each pair so that new people would be attracted to build in the areas between the houses. The V.L.A.’s aim was to encourage the intermingling of old and new residents, thereby creating a more homogeneous community and avoiding an isolated section of V.L.A. built homes.
A note from Brigadier T.J. Rutherford Director at one time of the V.L.A., outlined the V.L.A.’s expectations of the residents whose task it was to shape and develop the community:
“Those who live in the Veterans’ Land Act Subdivisions in and around the Capital City have quite a responsibility as they are expected to be a model to the other communities as well as an inspiration for thousands of visitors who come to the City each year and wish to see at first hand what the veterans have done.”
The following names are of those people who are referred to today as the “original 40”:
OUIMET, Mrs. Jean
THE FIRST YEARS (1946-1952)
The first sight of their new homes must have been daunting for many. Twenty pairs of houses “scattered like chickens” in a bleak landscape that has been described variously as “a sea of mud”, “a wasteland”, ‘a treeless desert” and “a field of mud that sucked your overshoes off at every step (p. 12). The houses had been built on that part of the Clark farm that had been the pasture. The few trees that had grown in the pasture were either destroyed by the construction machinery or else were old and potentially-dangerous elms which threatened the houses over which they loomed.
The original 40 moved into their new homes late in the fall of 1946 and during the winter of 1947. According to the V.L.A. statistics of the time the average veteran was between 25 and 30 years of age. Most were newly married and trying hard to get established. Most had never before been homeowners and many were unaware of the mechanics of running their own homes, let alone the complexities of fruit and vegetable cultivation. And some, of course, were also learning to live with the visible and not so visible scars of battle that are the inevitable legacy of war.
Refrigerators and stoves were hard to come by right after the war. In order to help the veterans, the V.L.A. purchased a number of these appliances, stored them in the old Conroy barns, and sold them to those residents who needed them. Although many of the homeowners had ice boxes (the ice was supplied by Mr. Bastien of Aylmer), these were sometimes difficult to find that first winter.
But for every problem the V.L.A. had a solution. Instructions for a make-shift refrigerator were issued to those who lacked that convenience. The homeowner was to acquire an orange crate and stand it on its end in the basement so that the small shelf in the middle of the crate would hold the food to be kept cool. He was then to place a large wash basin full of cold water on top of the crate and drape a towel or piece of damp cheese cloth all around the crate with one end of the cloth resting in the basin of cold water. The theory was that the cloth would act as a wick to keep the food cool as the water in the cloth evaporated.
As winter wore on, however, it seemed that many of the houses were becoming large refrigeration units in their own right. The houses were heated with coal which was delivered by horses and carts supplied by the V.L.A. By the end of February, some of the houses had burned five tons of coal, and even with the furnaces wide open, the interior temperatures could not be raised above 60° F. Lack of insulation, the absence of storm windows, and the failure to plug outlets seemed to account for much of the cold.
Only one or two residents had telephones that first winter because the lines had not yet been brought into the development. Since cars were few, transportation anywhere away from the community was limited either to the Gatineau Bus Line on the upper Aylmer Road or the Hull Electric Street Car line whose tracks ran along the route of the present lower Aylmer Road.
The large stone car barns in which the Street cars were serviced still stand at the south-east corner of Vanier Road and the lower Aylmer Road where they were constructed when the Hull Electric Railway was first put through in 1896.
Perhaps the women had the most difficult time at first. It was lonely, living in a scattered pattern and at some distance from each other. The lack of telephones made contact less easy and the difficulty of walking to either the upper or lower Aylmer Roads with small children in tow to catch a bus or tram made trips from home something of a rarity. The treeless surroundings seemed to emphasize the women’s isolation. One woman remembers wistfully watching a lighted Gatineau bus pass the development one evening, filled with people going places and doing things in a world that seemed very remote from hers.
The nearest general store was in Deschênes, so although food shopping was possible, it was not convenient. What helped to save the day was the practice then of delivering the basic foods such as bread and milk. Many of the women remember Mr. Devine, a delivery man for Standard Bread, whose sunny personality always added a pleasant touch and a bit of the outside world to everyone’s day. Mr. Dompierre in Hull delivered groceries for awhile as did Mr. Poirier in Deschênes.
To compound the difficulties of the first winter, there was a snow storm in March so severe that snow clearing attempts simply grounded to a halt. The snow started on a Sunday and by Monday the road had disappeared. The women who had small babies and relied on the regular delivery of bread and milk had nothing on hand. A request for emergency provisions was put through to Ottawa by Mr. Benoit, a former parachutist in the army, and owner of a small general store in Deschênes. The supplies were sent out by the evening train which made a special drop-off at Deschênes where they were picked up and drawn home on sleighs by residents on skis.
By January of that first winter, major defects in house construction were becoming apparent and many of the veterans wondered aloud if they had not paid too much for houses which seemed to have been poorly built. Cracks were appearing in walls, ceilings were leaking, floors were heaving in places, doors and windows were not fitting tightly and some basements were awash with water. It was decided that a homeowners’ association should be started in order to deal effectively with the repairs which would be needed to rectify the construction fauIts.
The V.L.A. supported the idea of homeowners’ associations. As part of an agricultural Training Course held in Ottawa, the V.L.A. asked the question:
“Where does a strong, active, interested homeowners’ association enter into this picture? It will greatly reduce your problems and make administration much simpler because such an organization eliminates most of the many, individual petty complaints that arise. The veteran learns to depend on his association to represent him and his neighbours with the V.L.A; the school board, the township council, and so on. Because he identifies his interests with those of his neighbours, he tends to become a good community citizen — and maybe that is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation endeavours.”
The first meeting of residents was held on January 16, 1947, followed quickly by a second meeting on February 6, where residents decided to form themselves into a chartered body to be known as the Lakeview Terrace Ratepayers’ Association. Membership was 50 cents per person and although all members could attend the meetings, only one member per household could vote.
It was at this meeting that residents chose the name Lakeview Terrace for their subdivision and selected the street names. Tom McConnell and Bob Percival stenciled and erected street signs as a guide to delivery men.
The following report of the meeting appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of February 7. 1947:
“Among the main items for discussion was the matter of defects in construction and material used in building the veterans’ homes. The difficulties which ex-servicemen on Veterans’ Land Act projects in other parts of Canada had encountered were brought to the attention of the meeting and members of the executive disclosed that they had been in touch with J.W. Murphy, MP, who last Monday asked for a royal commission to investigate small holding projects of V.L.A.”
Other subjects raised at the meeting became the issues around which the Ratepayers’ Association would continue to focus for years to come: landscaping and horticulture, land drainage and the water plant, taxation, garbage collection, postal delivery, fire protection, a satisfactory transportation system and an improved school arrangement.
The meeting also resolved to advertise their project in order to interest more veterans in the 200 remaining lots. The Citizen quoted one resident as having said that: “Most of the boys here are from Ottawa and we feel that if news of this development were generally known many more Ottawa veterans would be interested.”
Cliff Chadderton (p. 14), elected the first President of the Ratepayers’ Association, set about making a detailed list of the construction defects and arranging for a V.L.A. inspection of the houses. Remedial repairs were duly carried out to everyone’s satisfaction.
The house lights of the scattered homes were ineffective in penetrating the darkness into which the development was plunged at night. Elwood Edey and Jim MacDonald set the pace for the community by sharing the cost of the first street light at the corner of Crescent and Lakeview Drive. The 100 watt bulb, mounted on a pole, was operated by means of a switch in a wooden box and the two men took turns turning it on and off for three-month periods during the year. They drew straws to determine who would have the pleasure of winter duty. In February 1949, the Ratepayers’ Association petitioned the South Hull Council to allow the Gatineau Power Company to erect 10 street lights in Lakeview Terrace, the cost to be shared by all the property owners except the V.L.A.
Central to all that went on in the community was the first Regional Supervisor, E.J. Tapp. A WWI veteran, Mr. Tapp had full charge of the Lakeview Terrace Development, two other Developments on Woodroffe and Fisher Avenues in Ottawa as well as a number of V.L.A. farms in the area. Mr. Tapp was seen as the one who gave Lakeview Terrace its spirit. He was described warmly as a “terrific man”, and “a wonderful person who took such an interest in the gardens he’d even come out and help you.
“He bent over backwards for us. He was a great guy.”
“He was really a very loveable person,’ like a mother hen looking after her chicks.”
“He truly loved the vets and his job.”
He was seen as infinitely patient and had mastered the trick of turning down his hearing aid during the most vocal of the Ratepayers meetings, smiling and nodding understandingly while the veterans vented their frustration over the building defects in their houses. It was Mr. Tapp who encouraged the landscaping and the planting of trees along the streets in front of their homes.
Through the Municipality of South Hull, over 400 maple trees were obtained free of charge from the Québec Ministry of Lands and Forests at Berthierville in 1949. Ray Doré picked up the trees in a V.L.A. truck and all the residents participated in the planting which alleviated the barrenness of the street landscape then and contributed greatly to the lush appearance of Lakeview Terrace today.
Horticulture and land development were such an integral part of the small holding concept that in 1948 the V.L.A. instituted a competition in order to stimulate the veterans to improve their lots and to encourage horticultural societies and government experts to provide the veterans with information and advice (p. 14).
The name of every one of the 17,761 small land holders established across the country before May 1948 was entered in the competition which was to be judged in the fall of 1949. Extra points were to be given for the utility and permanence of planting and for planning and maintenance of the garden (p. 14). “For instance”, said the article in «The Legionnaire» of 1948, “a veteran who is growing produce for sale and specializes in one or two crops for which his soil and markets are adapted will receive more marks than a veteran who has a wide variety of crops and tries to sell a small surplus of each”.
Fifty percent of the points were awarded for agricultural development, 30% for general landscaping and 20% for house and building upkeep. Arnold Gale and Elwood Edey alternated as winners of the Canada-wide competition for its first few years, and other residents such as Ray Doré and Cedric Ludington were consistently mentioned as high point earners. Ralph Hayter, Grounds Superintendent at Government House, awarded the prize money which was to be spent only on shrubs or plants for the property. Mr. Tapp’s gentle promptings, combined with Lakeview Terrace’s well-developed competitive spirit, set a fine record.
One direct outcome of the V.L.A. competition was the development of a Lakeview Terrace Horticultural Show. The first Horticultural Show and Field Day was held on August 19 and 20, 1950. The V.L.A., which strongly encouraged horticultural societies, supplied two marquees, 10 folding tables and 20 folding benches to help make the venture a great success. Needless to say, those veterans who had made a good showing in the V.L.A.’s national competition also acquitted themselves well on the local level.
The first two Horticultural Shows were held where the very first communal rink was also located — in a field on the north side of what is now Crescent at the corner of Maple. In its first year, the show consisted of exhibits of fruits and vegetables which were judged by the Ottawa Horticultural Society and deemed to be of fine quality. Everyone agreed that the show held great promise, even the exhibitor who entered a display of 6 eggs in a basket which he labeled “Hen Fruit”. The winners were crowned Flower King and Vegetable King and prizes consisted of bulbs or plants to be added to the garden toward the following year’s competition. In the second year, baking and needlework exhibits were added and a Cooking Queen was crowned. The Horticultural Show was held at South Hull School after the school’s construction in 1951.
The Field Day part of the program added a spirit of friendly informality to the two-day show. The whole community was brought together for picnics, races, baseball games and a bicycle-decorating contest for the children. Once the Horticultural Society was formed, the two functions were held separately, to the disappointment of many who had enjoyed the gala atmosphere of the jointly-held events.
Another uniting feature in the subdivision was the appearance of COMMUNITY LIFE, the newspaper first published by George Heaton and Eldon Sivyer from October 1950, until December 1952. It was intended to be “. . . the Independent medium by which the residents of Lakeview Terrace were kept up-to-date monthly on the news of the community. It not only provided a service to the Ratepayers’ Association by printing any information the Committee wished brought to the attention of the members at large, but its pages were available to any resident who had something to say in either a critical, serious or humorous vein which was of general interest to the community”.
The January 1951 issue contained an agenda for the annual meetings of the Ratepayers’ Association, a list of the Board of Directors for the next year’s Horticultural Show, and an article by Ray Doré urging all residents to join the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Jean Ouimet wrote La Page Française, and Marie Sivyer and Dora Gale submitted recipes and sewing hints to the Women’s Page. Marion Heaton and John Gordon waxed lyrical in the Poet’s Corner and Tom McConnell reported that progress was being made in the construction of the new Protestant school.
Efforts to acquire a new Protestant elementary school had begun as early as 1948. Appalled by the limited facilities provided by the various one-room schools scattered throughout the Municipality, Protestant residents with young children, petitioned the South Hull school board for a new school to serve Lakeview Terrace and environs (p. 15). Perhaps no other area of interest was destined to point out the differences in expectation between the “Lakeviewers” and the members of the old South Hull families as clearly as that of education.
The V.L.A. had anticipated that conflicts might arise between their subdivisions and the districts surrounding them. As part of their Agricultural Development Training Course, the V.L.A. warned that “. . . many small holding divisions become almost self-contained communities within a municipality, and this often brings complications to the municipal government, the original residents and the veterans …” An excerpt from a letter written in frustration by J.H. Gordon, President of the Ratepayers’ Association, to the Inspector of Protestant Schools in 1949 outlined the divergence in thought:
“The crux of our difficulties lies in the fact that we are essentially an urban group, isolated in a rural area. Our aspirations, hopes and plans for our children and future are diametrically opposed to those of the majority of the South Hull residents. Our group is convinced of the necessity for change and betterment of the school facilities as they are at present, whereas our neighbours regard any proposals made toward this end as newfangled notions, patently ridiculous as their fathers and grandfathers received adequate educations in the selfsame schools with identical facilities.
You will be familiar with the attitude compounded of the liveliest apprehension and dogged, unreasoning opposition with which the Natives here view any suggestion embodying change, particularly when such change implies even the most moderate increase in the present Mill Rate. Against such windmills, we do not fancy the Don Quixote role in which we appear to be cast much against our wills.”
The South Hull school board, against whom the charges were leveled, read like a “Who’s Who” of early pioneering families. Like most rural people whose annual farm incomes were subject to the vagaries of chance and weather, they had learned a practical, no-frills approach to living which had served them well over the generations. It was not surprising that the two groups would knock heads over improvements in educational facilities.
Protestant residents petitioned the Superintendent of Education in Quebec City to be permitted to join the school municipality of the town of Aylmer ”… where the predominantly urban representation provides a more congenial and sympathetic atmosphere . . .” than the “economy-minded psychology” of South Hull.
The V.L.A. saved the day by selling lots 47 and 48 to the Protestant School Board of South Hull for a flat fee of $400.00 with the provision that the school board Install a water meter in the school and pay all water charges. The four-room South Hull Elementary School was built and opened on April 13, 1951.
Reporting in COMMUNITY LIFE a few years later, Tom McConnell, Lakeview Terrace’s representative on the Protestant School Board, gave the school board and its retiring members a round of applause:
“I feel that we, the Protestant Ratepayers of South Hull, are greatly indebted to every one of the above Commissioners who have retired. We must remember that over and above the ordinary business of operating a school, a new four-room school was erected and then four more rooms were added.
You can realize the problem of a five man board without any previous experience faced with a building project costing close to $120,000.00 … you will have to admit it is quite an undertaking and that these men are to be commended.”
The Roman Catholic School Board of Rapides-des-Chênes also felt the pressure of increased numbers of children. In 1952, the old Conroy barns were demolished to make way for the new Catholic Notre-Dame School, which was located at the south end of Lakeview Terrace on land which had been bought from the V.L.A. The new school opened in January 1953. Later, two other schools were built nearby: St. Médard in 1958 and St. Georges in 1960. Jean Ouimet, one of the “Original 40”, was Secretary-Treasurer for the Board from 1952 to 1956.
As in most communities in those post-war years, much of the social life of Lakeview Terrace revolved around the home. During the day, the women were busy with children, gardens and housework but tried to meet for coffee and give their children a chance to play together. House parties provided most of the social life and always included the children who participated with gusto (p. 15).
The myriad matters of community concern gave all residents, the men especially, ample opportunity to get together and “to get things done”. Because so much of the work involved a team approach, there was a strong social element to it. But building a community from scratch was not something to be accomplished in only a few hours a week, nor was it done by individuals working alone:
“The veterans were raring to go. They were just home from the war and they were anxious to develop the place, to see it grow. We were all about the same age and the kids were very important to us. We wanted the best for them and everybody was eager to do their part”.
“You all depended on each other. People really knew how to co-operate and work together in those days”.
“The veterans had to survive and they learned how to scrounge and work together. No group could have been closer knit”.
“There were great organizational abilities here, many highly qualified men. Everybody contributed in their own way”.
“There was so much activity here then. It was a great bunch of people”.
“It used to be like one big family, why people just walked into each other’s houses without even ringing the doorbell”.
“Oh, it was a close-knit community, all right. There wasn’t much money, the mothers didn’t work, there was little babysitting so you depended on your neighbours or took the kids with you. All the parents kept an eye on all the children”.
The residents did organize special social activities. As President of the Ratepayers’ Association, Eldon Sivyer’s annual report of 1952 listed the principal events to which the residents had looked forward in those pre-television times:
“On the 25th of March, 1952, a social evening was held in the Protestant School Auditorium at which time the following films were shown — The City’, ‘Nineteen Fifty One Grey Cup Final’ and a Technicolor film’ entitled ‘God of Creation’. Refreshments were served by the ladies of Lakeview Terrace and a door prize was given.
On the 17th of April, 1952, a social evening was held in the Protestant School Auditorium at which time an address was given by Mr. A.C. Norcross, entitled ‘How to make the most of your small holding’. In addition, films were shown and once again the ladies provided sandwiches, cakes and coffee and a door prize was given.
On the 24th of May, fifty dollars worth of better type fire crackers were let off to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
On the 10th of June, approximately 40 members of the Association were taken on a conducted tour through the Bradings Brewery. This insight into the manufacture of a local product proved highly interesting and took second place only to the meal which followed and which oddly enough had a certain liquid refreshment.”
The report also summarized the practical issues of community management with which the Ratepayers’ Association had dealt:
“Subdivision street signs, first stenciled and erected in 1947 by Tom McConnell and Bob Percival at their own expense, needed to be removed, repaired, repainted and replaced.
Mr. A.C. Norcross, a consultant on landscape and development problems from the V.L.A., was made available to give advice and provide landscaping plans to anyone who was interested. He was also willing to help engineer a tree-planting program’’.
The Deschenes Road, running as it did through the development, was a traffic hazard, as was Lakeview Drive (a dead-end street) which many drivers tried to use to reach Deschenes. The Ratepayers’ Association asked the South Hull Town Council to:
1. Have all weeds and the dangerous elms along the Deschenes Road removed;
2. Put an end to the speeding on the road which some had dubbed “the Racetrack”;
3. Erect a Dead End sign at the intersection of Lakeview Drive and the upper Aylmer Road;
4. Oil all the gravel roads in the development in order to keep the dust down.
First the Federal District Commission, then the V.L.A., was approached to spray the area as a measure toward mosquito control. The V.L.A. was asked to spray the weeds on the vacant lots and the Town Council was asked to burn the hay on the vacant lots in order to reduce the risk of fire.
There was an investigation into the possibility of securing better fire insurance rates for the community.
In any rural area, fire protection was a serious concern. In 1952 Lakeview Terrace ratepayers agreed to pay $6.00 each in order to buy their own fire-fighting equipment which would be stored at the Garden Road service station for $8.00 a month. The Labonté brothers, owners of the service station, agreed to serve as firemen at a cost of $5.00 per call. Additional money for equipment was raised by selling hay on the vacant lots and by holding “Millionaire’s Night” at South Hull School.
Later in that same year, the Lakeview Terrace volunteer fire brigade was formed. Hydrants were inspected, hoses were checked, and residents were briefed on what to do in the event of a fire. During the next few years, fires at two houses and at South Hull School were battled successfully with damage kept to a minimum.
The fire brigade stayed in effect until South Hull arranged with Deschenes to provide fire protection in return for police protection. In 1956, Deschenes had a pumper and a truck but no hose. Aylmer, however, had an adapter which allowed their equipment to be used in an emergency. But before sending fire equipment to Lakeview Terrace, the Town of Aylmer asked for assurance that the caller would pay the charges.
In 1956, the Lakeviewers’ fire equipment was moved from the Labonté’s Shell station and stored in the new recreation shack on the playground which had been laid out on its present site on October 1, 1955. Residents were assured by volunteer fire chief, Ossie Miles, that even if many of the men were at work during the week days, Ray and Tip Labonté would still continue to act as firemen and, when called, would come “on the double”.
By 1952, only 39 new homes had been added to the original 40 by individual builders, most of who had heard of the development from friends or relatives who had moved in earlier. Growth in the community was much slower than had been expected, and 150 vacant lots still remained to be built upon. Residents felt that the subdivision lacked a settled appearance with so much unsightly, uncared-for land around. A number of residents believed that veteran settlement alone would not ever fill the empty lots. They thought that conditions for building on the V.L.A. land should be relaxed, allowing in civilians, perhaps, or veterans who had not yet resigned from the services. It was generally agreed that an increase in the size and importance of the community would do much to raise property values, improve the social and recreational facilities, and bring better service from trade’s people.
In 1952, a petition signed by 72 ratepayers requested that the V.L.A. open up the sub-division to civilians in order to accelerate development. Eldon Sivyer, who knew of a group of veterans and civilians who hoped to build on a co-operative basis, showed representatives from the co-op around Lakeview Terrace and gave them a “pep talk” on the advantages of building in the community.
THE MARROCCO AND MARRICK CO-OPERATIVES (1952-1956)
Momentum for the co-operative housing movement in Canada was provided by the post-war shortage of inexpensive houses! Father F.A. Marrocco, later Bishop Marrocco, brought the idea from Nova Scotia to Ontario when he became Director of the Institute of Social Action of St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa.
To form the co-operative housing group, the members purchased shares in the group and pledged $600.00 for a down payment on a lot and other starting up costs. Once construction began, the group obtained a low interest mortgage, in this case, a 30-year mortgage with CMHC. Some of the members who were veterans, and who had not already received other veterans’ benefits, made alternate mortgage arrangements with the V.L.A. after construction was completed.
When St. Patrick’s College advertised their first course on co-operative building in 1952, 100 young men and their families responded. Under Professor Gerry Clarke, they met once a week for a year to study the principles of Co-op management. Here, they learned how to do cost-accounting and sub-contracting, how to estimate the materials and other requirements for houses of different sizes and designs, and how to determine which construction jobs they could do themselves and which they should contract out.
In the end, only 34 families hired a foreman and set out in the summer of 1953 to construct houses of five different designs in Lakeview Terrace. The V.L.A., from whom they bought the land, requested that they build on lots which intermingled with the V.L.A.-built houses south of Laurier Drive. The mixing of the original residents and the new co-op members allowed the two groups to meet and merge easily, and encouraged the sense of community togetherness which the V.L.A. tried hard to foster in its subdivision.
Each co-op member had to Invest 1,250 hours in construction labour over a period of a year’s time; anyone who was not able to work his quota had to pay $1.00 per hour, and anyone who worked overtime received $1.00 per hour. This arrangement guaranteed that each person’s investment in the project was essentially equal.
For many of the co-op members, the work was arduous and unfamiliar. Each person assumed responsibility for one (p.16). aspect of house construction, be it cements work, electrical installation, roofing and so on, and all houses were worked on simultaneously. No one knew, during the period of construction, which house was destined eventually to be his. In this way, the quality of workmanship for each house was maintained and ensured. The Creighton’s house on Vanier Road had a shack on the property which was used as the men’s headquarters and as storage for tools and equipment. An occasional hard-earned happy hour would find the men in the Deschenes Hotel which they fondly dubbed “The Town and Country”.
When the time came to arrange for occupancy, the name of each co-op member was printed on a ping-pong ball which was put in a barrel. The names were drawn at random, and each couple chose their preferred house design and location when their name was selected.
The year 1956 was an outstanding one for the growing subdivision. The Marrick Co-op, a name composed from a combination of Marrocco and St. Patrick, moved in North of Laurier Drive that summer. To build their houses, the group of 20 families hired a master carpenter and two other carpenters whom the men took turns assisting during vacations, on evenings and weekends. A single house design was chosen, but individuals could select the exterior siding of their choice. Five houses at a time were worked on but according to a principle of co-op building no one moved in until all houses were completed. In June of 1956, names were drawn and each person in turn chose the lot he preferred. The Marrick group elected to keep their houses together in order to reduce the travelling between houses as they were being worked on and to limit the policing required during construction.
Unlike the Marrocco Co-op, whose mortgages were mainly with CMHC, the Marrick Co-op purchased land and took out 30-year mortgages through a two-part expansion to the original V.L.A. program which was put through in the 1950’s.
THE MIDDLE YEARS (1956-1975)
In September 1956, Eldon Sivyer started publishing COMMUNITY LIFE again, giving Lakeview Terrace its much-missed community newspaper. Its reappearance was hailed by Kirk Ludington whose note to the Editor read:
“Yes Sir, it’s easy to get out of touch. A vote of thanks to you and everyone connected with the paper — once again we live in light.”
COMMUNITY LIFE did a tremendous amount toward informing residents of the activities and decisions made by the Ratepayers’ Association executive and the various committees, but probably it’s most important role was that of community booster and promoter. The paper outlined the jobs that needed to be done and urged each reader to “do your share”, or “pitch in and help”, or “be ready, willing and come out without asking”. Readers were told that future accomplishments were limited only by the residents’ “imagination, ability and drive”.
Perhaps no drive in the history of Lakeview Terrace could rival the push for a new ice rink (p. 17). In 1956, many of the children in Lakeview Terrace were at an age where they could start to participate in organized sports. A previous rink on the playground, with snow-bank sides, had proved inadequate for larger children, and during hockey games the puck kept sinking out of sight in the snow. A changing shack, one of the original construction shacks which had been bought from the V.L.A., was too draughty to be of much use during the winter.
The first step was to replace the old shack with a new one which would also house the fire equipment. Completed in February 1963, the new cement block building had two dressing rooms, one for girls and one for boys, and was kept cosy by an oil furnace (p. 18). With benches all around, a good floor and insulated walls and ceilings sheeted with hardboard, the shack was deemed to be a great improvement by all. The new rink was to be a double rink so that pleasure skating could take place around the outside while hockey was being played on the inside. It was to have boards instead of snow banks, and proper lights for evening activities.
Organizing the rink-building was a monumental project. It was to be a regulation-size rink which would take second place to none in the area, the kind of rink “which a community of approximately 200 homes normally expects and requires”. “A good rink, of course, costs a lot of money”, stated an article in the September issue of the newly reborn COMMUNITY LIFE, the first of many articles to report on the rink’s progress.
The estimated cost of the new rink was $1,200.00, which was reduced to $700.00 after the South Hull Council made a donation of $500.00. The Recreation Committee decided not to go door-to-door asking residents for donations. Rather, they believed that the residents could donate their time and energy to do much of the construction themselves and to organize money-making schemes which would pay for the project. The rallying try was “LET’S NOT STOP UNTIL WE ARE OVER THE TOP!”
Articles in COMMUNITY LIFE headlined “MORE MONEY NEEDED” gave way to “DOLLARS POUR IN” as the campaign to raise funds heated up. Millionaire’s Night, Monster Night, rummage sales. President for the Month Club, children’s Freshie sales, book sales and proceeds from Amateur Night and weekly dances all added up. Scores of letters were sent out to Ottawa and area businesses which served Lakeview Terrace, soliciting either funds for the rink or prizes for the various moneymaking functions being planned. Nearly every resident — man, woman and child — had a role to play in the project. Perhaps nothing was as revealing of the residents’ military experience as their ability to organize themselves effectively and delegate efficiently.
While some organized to raise the money for the large, new rink, others set about the business of building it. A roster of names, divided into teams headed by a captain, was drawn up and each team was given a specific job to do such as digging for the water main, installing the plumbing, fabricating and erecting the rink boards and initial flooding of the rink.
After the rink was officially opened on February 23, 1957, it became the centre of community winter life for many years to follow, and the source of some of the best memories for residents of all ages (p. 18). The rink continued to bring people together and to foster the cooperative spirit in the community. The men took turns flooding and maintaining the ice while the women ran a canteen at the shack where they sold hot chocolate and snacks.
By the winter of 1959, Lakeview Terrace had 115 boys between the ages of 6 and 18 participating in their organized hockey league (p. 19). Thirty percent of these boys came from such areas as the Brickyard Road, Mountain Road, Deschenes and Baie Simard, so Lakeview Terrace was becoming a sports centre of sorts for the region outside Aylmer. Hockey night and the awarding of trophies, sometimes attended by such stars as Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Larry Regan, was always an exciting affair (p. 19).
Men’s Broomball and Women’s Broomball (the Red Devils and the White Angels) leagues were set up for the adults. (p. 20). But the most-attended event was the annual Winter Carnival which entailed extensive planning and broad community involvement. Headed up by members of the Recreation Committee, funds were raised, prizes were solicited from local businessmen, and various events were planned. A Carnival Queen was chosen from among Lakeview Terrace’s young women and crowned at a gala celebration (p. 21). The rink was the focal point for most of the Carnival’s sporting events such as skating races, exhibition hockey games, broomball tournaments and sleigh rides for everyone.
So successful were the winter activities that a few years later the recreation committee even considered getting artificial ice put in and a curling rink. The Labonté brothers, involved as usual, cleared the rink of heavy snow and made a donation toward the purchase of hockey sweaters.
Spurred on by the success of the rink, the recreation committee added a baseball diamond at South Hull school, and a tennis court and play equipment on the playground which continues today as a gathering spot for all age groups.
AMALGAMATION (1975 – 1986)
The amalgamation of Aylmer, South Hull and Deschenes in 1975 did much to centralize many of the smaller community based activities which had existed before. Recreational services were taken over by the City of Aylmer and minor hockey was organized from there. At the same time, most of the second generation for whom the recreational facilities had been established in the first place had grown and left the community. Many of the “Oldtimers” had also moved on and their houses were occupied by people who had not even been born when the war had raged. The Oldtimers who stayed felt that they had done their share and had earned a well-deserved time of peace and quiet. The Ratepayers’ Association put its feet up and the pace of the Community slowed to reflect the changing times.
In the early 1980’s, the City of Aylmer claimed that the spring water which had supplied Lakeview Terrace for so many years was contaminated and told residents that they would have to abandon the original system and be hooked up to city water. The old spirit stirred at this pronouncement and the Ratepayers’ Association reactivated itself to fight a change which many did not want. This time, the oldtimers were not alone. Many of those involved were younger residents who were sons and daughters of the veterans who had stamped out the territory in the first place. One or two of the second generation had never left but many had gone and returned, drawn home again by memories of the old-fashioned values, the sense of commitment and the spirit of co-operation which had characterized the years of their youth.
Today, the Ratepayers’ Association has a new constitution, but just as in the old days they are hard at work trying to preserve and improve the quality of life in their community. Neighbourhood Watch and Block Parent programs continue the co-operative feeling and a community newsletter keeps everyone informed. The watchdog committee keeps an eye on unwanted zoning changes and the recreational committee organizes outings, sports events and special functions. And young children are there to plan for, just the way they were 40 years ago.
In those 40 years there have been many changes. The taxes are higher, there are many more trees and the population is more diverse in terms of age and experience, but the old similarities are there too and residents who did not grow up in Lakeview Terrace have been attracted to the area by the trees, the large landscaped lots and the settled atmosphere of an established community. The V.L.A., no longer in existence, would be very satisfied to know that the concept it fostered so strongly, that of the citizen’s responsibility to the community and the community’s responsibility to the citizen, has endured so well.
Pat Jones, Elwood and Marjorie Edey, Eldon Sivyer, Dora Gale, Jean Ouimet, Ralph Peppy, Marg and Ossie Miles, Jean McClurg, Veria and Harry Hayes, Snookie McConnell, Owen Collins
The Executive Committee of the Lakeview Terrace Residents’ Association:
François Tran, Bill Dolan, Louis Huot, Bastian Kruldenier, Debbie Sladden, Keith Howard, Art Peppy, Ray Carson, Anne Artigau, Vicki Laprairie, Hank Mason
would like to thank the following persons for their valuable collaboration, without which this 40th anniversary would not have been possible:
Basil Alexander, Margaret Alexander, Jean-Pierre Artigau, Claire Bent, Pam Carson, Maurice Constant, Pat Dolan, Fred Gilbert, Rachel Grondin, Sheila Glendon, Polly Gray, Norma Huot, Hélène Kruidenier, Simone Jaenicke, Edith Murray, Ernie Matthew, Ossie Miles, Tony McDonald, Jacques Mongrain, Nancy Peppy, Margaret Prat, Robert Sladden, Carole Tran, James Tomkins and all the others who have contributed directly or indirectly to the success of this event.
A special thank you to Charles Woollam for taking on the arduous task of printing this book.
To André Touchet, our Councillor, our sincere gratitude for his involvement in this celebration.
To all, our deepest appreciation.
The Executive Committee
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THE CLARK FARM
LES DÉBUTS DE LAKEVIEW TERRACE
BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF LAKEVIEW TERRACE IN 1950
H.C. CHADDERTON The L.T.R. Association’s first president — 1956
EXPOSITION HORTICOLE — Ray Doré et juge
THE SOUTH HULL PROTESTANT SCHOOL. OFFICIALLY OPENED ON APRIL 13, 1951
WOMEN’S INSTITUTE — 1956
Les premières maisons des Coopérativer 1956.
Mayor Jules Loeb opened the new Recreation Centre building on Feb. 16, 1963. Seen here with the Mayor are Jack McLachlen, Ralph Peppy, A. Senecal, E.J. Sivyer, A.R. Bailey and C.B. Watt.
Le 23 fév. 1957, le Colonel Lucien Lalonde, sous-ministre des Affaires des anciens combattants, inaugure officiellement la patinoire. On reconnaît ici Bob Toomey, Pam Finlayson, Eldon Sivyer et Emile Legault.
HOCKEY LEAGUE — PEE WEES. TOP, left to right : E. Hinds, M. Steele, J. Wade, T. Moore, C. Clarke, M. Miles., A. Jones, D. McLachlen, c. Wicks, J. Gauvreau, P. Kiefl. BOTTOM: A. Peppy, T. MacDonald, M. Sivyer, H. Amisson, T. Stone, C. Woollam, J. Routliffe.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard presenting trophy to Jeff Maloley. From right to left: F. O’Leary, H. Hayes, J. McLachlen, R. Peppy, coaches.
Winter carnival contestants, 1956/’57. From left to right: Marilyn Peppy, Joan McDonald, Ann Routliffe, Marlene Davis, the DeGagné twins.
LADIES’ BROOMBALL — TOP: B. Coderre, R. Cullen, H. O’Leary, P. Woollam, J. McLachlen, D. Gale, E. Hay, M. Miles, O. Armstrong, R. Bériault. BOTTOM: E. Creighton, J. Twolan, M. Sivyer, D. Miles, J. Doran, M. Young, J. Ward, E. Roberts, I. McLaughIin.
MENS BROOMBALL — TOP: F. Cullen, F. O’Leary, L. Walsh, F. Coderre, J. Knight, P. Nezan, D. Hanratty, R. Woollam, J. McArthur, O. Collins, G. Woollam, BOTTOM: R. Finlayson, W. Miles, K. Ludington, W. Bergeron, C. Ludington, J. Chamberlam, A. Charron, T. Moore, G. Lusk, L. Bériault, B. Aubrey.
The first Ice Carnival Queen, Louise DeGagné. Winter 1956/’57
Carnaval d’hiver 1956/’57
Carnaval d’hiver 1956/’57
Aerial view of Lakeview Terrace 1984 (Photo aérienne pleine page à la fin du livre)
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