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Brantwood Place Stone Gates

Original artist's conception of the Stone Gates - from the Sibbitt Brochure

What began as a marketing ploy to establish the exclusivity of a neighbourhood later became a revered Ottawa East landmark. The Brantwood Place Stone Gates, built about 1912, became a focal point of community spirit and then ultimately, a war memorial.

Had the original developer of Brantwood, Robert Sibbitt, realized the future importance of his pillars, he may have chosen better quality cement. It appears that soon after construction the elaborate ironwork arch that joined the inside pillars became unstable and was removed. By the 1940's, with ground vibration from increased traffic and the odd whack by a snowplow, the cement that formed the pillars began to crumble. A decision by the city to remove the structures however was met with furious opposition by Ottawa East residents.

As the history of Ottawa East has shown time and time again, when confronted with a problem the solution is usually arrived at by the creative thinking of the residents. Led by respected long-time residents E. P. Nunn, Art Humphries and many others, in 1949 residents negotiated with the city to designate the gates as a war memorial. The dedication took place on Remembrance Day of that year. It also marked a rare occasion when the city actually listened to the people of Ottawa East. A much more complete story of this topic can be found in the November 1989 Mainstreeter article by Vicki Davis located here.

Brantwood Gates dedication as a war memorial - 1949
Brantwood Gates dedication as a war memorial - 1949

Today (2004) the Stone Gates are once again threatened - this time by Mother Nature, frenetic snowplow operators and a tight city budget. The Winter 2004 Mainstreeter article written by Pierre Johnson, President of the Old Ottawa East Community Association, with help from Susan MacPhee, Nancy Smith, Heather Moxsley and this writer, describes the present debate. The article is found here.

Given the present-day threat by Queensway expansion to the old town hall, it is critical that the correct decision regarding the gates be made. The silent sentinels that have stood since 1912 may soon be the only remaining original landmarks on Main Street!

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