21 Withrow: The Heart and Soul of a Community

Not far from busy Merivale Road is a familiar landmark on the edge of the City View community.  This beautiful cathedral like property, 21 Withrow Avenue, has a fabulous home built in 1842 of locally quarried stone.

In 2015 the last resident Dr. D. Roger passed away and the property was put up for sale by his family. They had applied for a demolition permit which they withdrew once the community and the City worked to have the house declared heritage. We, the community, are still fighting to declare this early farmland heritage designation also.

A developer, Theberge Homes, has a conditional offer on the property and has been planning an elite subdivision. Most of the over 100 trees are slotted to be destroyed. This subdivision planning shows a total disregard to many of our bylaws and the City View Community Association, our Community and interested supporters who have been opposing this development.

We need your help! We are collecting donations to strengthen our plea to City Council to purchase this property. We have an excellent proposal to create a Canadian Poetry Centre, along with a passive place for people to enjoy nature and the gardens. It will be there for our future generations

Below you will find some “Did you know” facts that may surprise you about 21 Withrow Ave. You will also find a link to our Community web page where you can find a wealth of information along with instructions on how to donate or pledge to help save this incredible historic site.  Tax receipts will be issued by the City of Ottawa.  If this does not move ahead, all monies will be refunded

DID YOU KNOW…….

  1. The Merivale district was known as the “Back Bush” because of the bush terrain that enveloped it. This area is where many Irish immigrants settled and established productive farms with fine farm houses. Many of our founding families were settlers here (Hoopers, Nesbitts, Boyds, Scotts…)
  2. City View is the oldest municipal property in Eastern Ontario and the site of some of the earliest settlements in Ontario. It became a separate geographical identity from Merivale when it received its name in 1890.  City View became the largest Police Village in the county.
  3. 21 Withrow Ave was one of the original farms along the Merivale Corridor. Pioneer Archibald Scott built “Kilmorie” 125 years before City View grew around it.  This beautiful house was built with locally quarried stone in 1842.  There are many architectural features that are specific to this time period.
  4. The Scott family donated a parcel of land to the Experimental Farm. This parcel of land is along Baseline Rd and bound by Merivale and Fisher. It is still marked by the distinct pencil-like red posts with white tips.
  5. The Scott family lived at 21 Withrow until the early 1900’s when they sold the farm to William Wilfred Campbell who named it “Kilmorie House”.
  6. William Wilfred Campbell belonged to the renowned group of The Confederation Poets. He was hired by Sir John A. Macdonald to work in the Civil Service in 1891 and earned $1.50 a day.  Campbell had transferred from Railways and Canals to the Department of the Secretary of State in 1892, obtained a permanent post in the Department of Militia and Defence in 1893, and then moved in 1897 to the Privy Council Office.  In 1908 he would finally find a suitable niche in the archives branch in the Department of Agriculture.
  7. For W.W. Campbell, Kilmorie was his refuge. At Kilmorie, “Where the woods are scarlet and gold”, Campbell entertained kindred spirits as youthful Mackenzie King, Caldwell, who is a friend of City View, and Tait, who still remains Canada’s greatest sculptor.
  8. Campbell and his poems are a part of Canadian History. There was skating at the Governor-General’s party even though it was dangerous at this time of year. Henry Albert Harper, Mackenzie King’s friend and roommate, died trying to save a young girl from drowning in the Ottawa River.  Mackenzie was so touched by Harper’s heroism that he later dedicated the statue of Galahad, located at the bottom of Parliament Hill on Wellington Street, to Harper.   Campbell wrote a touching poem that effectively captured the country’s reaction to the incident.
  9. Kilmorie serves as a reminder of the area’s agricultural history. It is one of Ottawa’s oldest surviving houses, built 13-23 years after the Bytown Museum building, the oldest surviving stone house in Ottawa.

 Go to: “www.ourcityview.ca” for more information.

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