|Air Photo Study|
1901 Snapshot Continued
|The People of Ottawa East
The 1901 Census lists a population of just over 1,400 people. The ethnic composition, as shown by the graphs below, was made up from five main groups: French (Quebec), English, Irish, German and Scots. About 16% of adult residents were first-generation Canadians, employed mostly in blue-collar work. English and French were spoken along with some German. The Irish and French-Catholic families were the largest denomination. The rapid growth of this group in the previous decade resulted in the creation of a new parish, church and school between 1900 and 1902.
At the other end of the data was Sam Wing. He was Chinese, Confucian and the operator of the laundry at 22 Main (near Echo Dr.). He was also the only person in the entire 1901 Municipal Directory listed with his first name first. It appears that the directory editor wasn't familiar with Wong as a last name. There was one black woman (Biggar's wife?) and a Mohawk (C. H. Whitcomb) listed. Everyone else was from north European ancestry.
|The simple graphs below offer an overview of the ethnicity of the village in 1901. The data was extracted from the 1901 census. Rather than count every child in every family in regards to religion, language or ethnicity, the head of the family (usually the father) was taken as representing the family. Other adult individuals (such as sisters, mothers, or boarders, etc.) living at the same address were counted as adult individuals.|
Council was under the direction of the Reeve Henry Roche, a gas inspector for the government residing at 39 Centre St.. The venerable Walter S. Barry, owner of an upholstery business, living at 14 Seventh St., administered municipal affairs. Roche had narrowly defeated Ira Bower, the local dentist and son of J. C. Bower, one of the more powerful village residents. James Ballantyne had been nominated for Reeve but resigned the nomination before the vote.
There were four councillors elected as usual. James T. Harvey of 166 East Ave., a tinner, received the most votes. Wilfred Joly, a blacksmith at 97 Main; William C. Ogilvy, a carpenter with the CAR living at 17 Second St.; and Robert Biggar Junior, involved in the flour business, living at 8 Fourth St. were the other councillors. All of council came from the northern part of the village. This situation would eventually result in the splitting of the village into two wards so that the southern part had an opportunity for representation.
Over the years three groups emerged vying for political power. The Catholics, led by Slattery, Hughes, O'Gara, St. Laurent, Doran and others were lobbying heavily at this point for a new, separate school funded by Catholic Ratepayers. The English/Scot cartel of Lees, Ballantyne, Graham and Patterson families still controlled the key expenses such as education, public works and debentures through their alliance and nomination of like-minded councilors. With this control the village refused to divvy up the taxes and support another school. It must be remembered that Lees and Ballantyne had organized and operated the first public school on a sparse budget. Given their ownership of large businesses and major acreage in the village, they wanted taxes kept to a minimum.
The Catholic response was to create the Ottawa East Roman Catholic School Board during the year and then officially notify council that, under the law, the village was required to collect a separate school tax. They even went so far as to approach J. R. Booth with a request to designate a portion of his business tax for the GTR to a separate school. There is more on this interesting story here.
The Germans had little success at achieving significant political power. Although few were elected to council each year names such Romhild, Lemke and Winges were involved in the nomination process. This group however did receive a large portion of the village contracts whether for road maintenance or village constable. There is more on the German presence in Ottawa East here.
Apart from the political infighting, the major concern involved public works. At this point in time the village lacked a proper water system and adequate drainage. There was a constant fear of epidemics breaking out due to ground water contamination. Simple amenities such as snow clearing from the few wood plank sidewalks were hard to come by. And street lighting became a major issue. The ratepayers were now demanding safety and basic urban amenities.
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