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September 26, 2013

Can you help pinpoint the location in this historical Ottawa photograph?

Trying to pin point location in Ottawa.
(Click image for full size.)

UPDATE: I think it's solved. OttawaStart reader David Adair (and several others) identified the building in the distance as the Dominican College at 96 Empress Avenue. David also asked his mother, who's familiar with the area, if she could identify anything else in the photo. She believes the smoke stack was once part of an old beer factory that stood near Albert Street. The other clue in the photo is the sign for Highway 17. Wellington Street was at one time known as Highway 17.

Based on those clues, I took a look at Google Streetview on Booth Street near Albert. It's not the same angle as the photograph but you can see the Dominican building in the background. I think the original 1941 photo was taken closer to Preston Street.

Jamie McCaffrey writes:
Good day. I was hoping to identify the location this photo was taken near central Ottawa (I believe) around 1941. It appears to be near a junction for Highway 17 - which is now the Queensway (Highway 417) - so that might make it a little difficult if the area is now under an overpass, but I'm hoping someone might recognize that building in the distance. A church? A school?
Jamie adds some historical info about the photo:
"The soldiers are #1 Special Wireless Section and they're about to be deployed to England after months of training in Ottawa. They would be lucky to suffer few casualties during their time in Italy and later Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. They were praised by the commander of the British 8th Army in Italy as having provided key information on a counter-attack by German forces that allowed the allies to hit first and save the day. Very interesting times - but these fellows were more than happy to return to their lives of being teachers, public servants, store owners, judges, etc after the war. Their pre-deployment barbeque was attended by some bonifide Hollywood stars who were in Ottawa filming "Captains of the Clouds" One of the vets was all too happy to show me his dinner menu which was signed by all the stars, including Billy Bishop (who was a military adviser) and James Cagney."

If you know anything about the photo, please comment below or send an email to feedback@ottawastart.com 

See also: Ottawa History Guide
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  1. From my father:

    I was seven at the time and Pop was overseas by then.
    I can remember the Canadians parading before Korea – they were a tough looking lot. I vaguely remember Pop leaving by the Isabella Street siding.
    Usually they would parade from Lansdowne Park which was a military base to the railroad station or a railroad siding and the number watching suggests it was a departure parade.

    1. Okay, he sent me more about the train station and the route they walked:
      It was known as the Union Station and trains left under beside the Chateau Laurier where there were also streetcars and then across the bridge into Quebec and then back across into Ottawa. They also went along where the driveway is now and of course the current Queensway replaced railway tracks. The siding where troops loaded was across from where the YMCA is now.


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