Dundonald Park, 1920s (Source: Library and Archives Canada/Department of the Interior (PA-034336)
This fence was a frequent target.
(Source: Library and Archives Canada, Topley Series SC, PA-010136)
Perhaps the result of local pressure to ensure that this does not happen, another dispute between the City and the Federal District Commission erupted. Although the City had been previously assessed as being on the hook to provide security for the park, the maintenance appears to have been treated with something of a light touch by both parties. Letters to the editor, decrying the park’s condition in both the Journal and the Citizen became common. By 1945, the Federal District Commission had decided to install a fence across the entrances to the park during the winter months to “keep children off the park and stop them from destroying the shrubs.” The city took a hands-off approach, electing to do nothing when nearby residents regularly broke the fence. The Commission did relent, but with the cryptic response of “we may not be so nice come summer.”
|Ottawa Journal, |
December 1, 1949
Following the Second World War, the normal community uses (and abuses) of Dundonald Park would come to be seen as somewhat less important – at least temporarily. Without going into great detail, the small walk-up apartment at 511 Somerset across from the park was home to Soviet cypher clerk Igor Gouzenko. In 1945, Gouzenko defected, demonstrating that the Soviet Union was indeed spying on Canada; in no small part to secure nuclear secrets from the United States. This event is widely considered to be the public beginning to the Cold War.
|Gouzenko's apartment on Somerset (June 2013).|
|Meetings recorded by the |
Kellock-Taschereau Commission (1946)
(click for full size)
As the realities of the Cold War set in, Centretown residents’ concerns returned to more parochial ones, filled with local intrigue, rather than international. A March 1965 report in the Journal described local complaints that teens were making out in the park. Unlike previous complaints, the Chief of Police quipped that the hedges surrounding the park made it “suitable for lovers.”
Today, Dundonald remains a well-loved oasis in Centretown enjoyed by one and all. Whether you’re there to escape the summer heat, to people watch, use the playground equipment on its west end (which was originally installed to some controversy in the early 1970s), or to catch an outdoor film screened by Centretown Movies, Dundonald is a Centretown jewel valuable to one and all.