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The Stone Gates: Welcome and Memorial
by Vicki Davis - Mainstreeter - November 1989

At the corner of Beckwith and Main Streets stand a pair of stone gates. They are so distinctive that all. who come into the area notice them. They might be the entrance to some grand estate. Closer examination reveals two brass plaques. One designates them as a war memorial and one as a heritage structure.

Brantwood Place -a new idea in town planning.

In 1911, Robert Sibbitt planned Brantwood Place as a new concept in subdivisions. The area spanning Clegg Street to Elliott Avenue, and from Main Street to the Rideau River, was to be developed as an exclusive neighbourhood.

"The principal roadway - Beckwith Road - has the decorative feature of massive gateways of architectural masonry and ornamental ironwork--lending an air of exclusiveness and distinction to this high class home section," extols the real estate pamphlet.

The pillars were solidly built of fieldstone with cement trim in 1912. An ornamental iron structure By the late 1940's the which originally spanned the s ton e gat e s had gate posts was removed many years ago.

The area did not grow as quickly as the developer had anticipated, partly due
to the distance from the centre of Ottawa, and partly due to the flooding of the Rideau River in the spring. The area began to develop rapidly after the Second World War.

By the late 1940's the stone gates had deteriorated and were considered a hazard by the City. When a work crew arrived to demolish them, they were met with angry residents who loved the landmark. The gates stood firm.

A war memorial

Ottawa East residents negotiated with the City. If the gates became a war memorial, they would be maintained in perpetuity by the City. E.P.Nunn, a long-time resident, organized the project to save the stone gates. He, like other neighbours, felt it was a worthy landmark to be preserved.Art Humphries is one of the World War II veterans who went from door to door gathering donations for a memorial brass plaque in 1949. "I was born on Clegg Street and joined the armed
forces in 1939," he says. "In 1945, I returned to Ottawa and married Jean, who also served in the war. We moved into a new house on Glengarry Road and have been there ever since," he says.

On November 11, 1949, the stone gates were dedicated "to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice and to the honour and glory of those men and women of this community who served in the armed forces, 1914-1918/1939-1945" .

Acting mayor Geldert addressed a crowd of some 500 Ottawa East residents, alderman L.L. Coulter unveiled the plaque, and wreaths were laid in memory of F .0. Peter Lochnan and F.O. W.H. Thompson (RCAF).


By 1977, the gates had again deteriorated and the brass plaque had fallen off. Repairs were again made, and the plaque replaced. A plaque in French and a new bilingual heritage plaque were also installed.

On November 11, 1982, the gates were rededicated. Alderman Nancy Smith officiated. Art Humphries unveiled the memorial plaques (both English and French community members who had lost their lives in the two world wars. Saint Paul University hosted a reception.

The stone gates at Beckwith and Main Streets are a distinctive Ottawa East landmark--for their historical value and memorial significance. The plaque reads, "Praise can add nothing to their
gallant worth." It helps us to remember those ordinary people who did extraordinary things in times of war. It also helps to emphasize the value of times of peace.

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