Project Information
After 1907
1901 Snapshot
Air Photo Study
Image Library
The Railway History of Ottawa East continued
The arrival of a railway brought further growth and prosperity as industries moved into the area to take advantage of the cheap rapid transportation the new railway provided. The Ottawa Gas Works located on Lees Avenue after moving from Lower Town. J&T Ballantyne Fuels later built a coal shed on Echo Drive adjacent to the tracks to take delivery of coal brought in hopper cars.
Ballantyne Coal yards c1891
Ottawa Gas Plant - Lees Ave. c1960
But the railway also had some negative effects on the community. There was the noise, the smoke and the dangers of having trains moving and shunting in the community. On several occasions, the Ottawa East Village council had to address a request by the CAR for changes to street crossings and other issues. When the tracks were built, it was found they were too close to the village school on what is now Concord St North and complaints were made to the company by the village council. This may have contributed to the decision to build a new school further away from the right-of-way. That new school is still there today.
Brick School - Concord at Harvey - built 1890
Main Rail Crossing - 1908
Main Rail Crossing - 1912
Main Rail Crossing - 1898
By 1896, Booth was extending his railway system west with the construction of the Ottawa, Arnprior and Prairie Sound Railway (OA&PS) to Parry Sound. This meant more business and consequently more equipment and labourers. His shop facilities at Elgin Street were probably not large enough and there wasn't room to expand, so the Canada Atlantic Railway looked for a new location. The company found it at Mann Avenue with the construction of the tracks along the canal to the company's new Central Station at Rideau Street, a converted warehouse building. The company needed a wye for turning trains so purchased property south of Nicholas street and filled it in (about where the Nicholas street Queensway on-ramp is located). In the middle of the wye, the company built its new roundhouse containing 22 locomotive stalls and 6 storage tracks for its cabooses and included a shop for repairs.

This expansion would no doubt have created further growth in the area as new staff would be required and many of the workers would have found or built homes in Ottawa East north of the tracks. The Grand Trunk Railway took over the Canada Atlantic in 1905 but kept the facilities which survived until the early 1960s when they were demolished in preparation for construction of the Nicholas Street/Queensway interchange.


Bridge over canal with Ottawa East in background
Rial line in Ottawa East near Main St.
Beside Ballantyne house at 54 Main St.
Local boys on tracks at Main St.

With railway expansion came increased business with companies opening along the tracks. Industries opened up west of the canal. As mentioned before, the Ottawa Gas Works opened on Lees Avenue. The company even had its own small industrial locomotives used to move cars of coal around its property. J & T Ballantyne Fuels used the railway to bring in coal and even constructed a large coal shed in about 1915 adjacent to Echo Drive.

The Canada Atlantic Railway (later the Grand Trunk and finally Canadian National Railways) was not the only railway to have a roundhouse in the area. There is newspaper evidence that Canadian Pacific Railway constructed a small roundhouse in the vicinity of the former Algonquin College building on Lees Avenue. This was done to serve the railway's new line (1896) from Montreal via Vankleek Hill. This small stall facility would have provided even more employment for the Ottawa East area. However, the roundhouse did not last long as CP centralized its engine facilities at its larger Ottawa West location (at Bayview Road and Scott Street) likely by the 1920s.

Canal siding - at Main - Echo to left - no date
Rail bridge over canal where Queensway is now - no date
Rail bridge over canal - 1910
Rail bridge over canal - 1899 - Victorian Museum under construction
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