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A Photo Album of Lebreton Flats and the Chaudiere District
Beginning with the first small settlements gathered around the Chaudiere Falls in the late 18th century, the Lebreton Flats was to become a source of hope, speculation, real estate battles, settlement, industry and disaster. This tale is best related in Phil Jenkins book An Acre of Time (1987)  which develops the story from pre-historic times to the 20th century.  Following on the earlier devlopment of Hull (Wrightsville) primarily by Philemon Wright, the south bank of the Ottawa River sonn became a key part of the development of the region. Pioneers drawn to the lumber trade, and specifically to the Chaudiere for its promise of water power for mills, Lebreton grew into the industrial center of Ottawa which lasted from the mid-1800s until  the end of the lumber boom and the devastation of the Great Fire of 1900. By 1964 the National Capital Commission expropriated the entire area of Lebreton Flats, and the area lay dormant for a number of reasons until the openring of the War Museum in 2005 on the western side of the Flats.


Prior to 1900, however, the Lebreton Flats were a mix of lumber kings, railroads, mills and working class people. Together with the neighbouring district of Rochesterville  it provided the artisans, tradesmen and labourers needed for the largest grouping of sawmills in the world. It also contained the stores, community centers and churches that such a populace would require. Originally known as Sherwood (after Livius Sherwood, along with Captain John Lebreton, one of the early speculators) and the starting point for the famous Richmond Road built by pioneers in 1818, the Flats would evolve from pristine woodland to bustling industrial district to forgotten (and heavily polluted) fields within just a few generations.
Bird's Eye View of Ottawa 1876 (from An Acre of Time)

Map of Lebreton Flats and Chaudiere districts, 1879

All photos and maps are from Collections Canada (document numbers and descriptions provided where available).

Corner of Bridge Street and Duke Street August 1896

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Bridge Street, looking south towards Queen Street,  PA-027802
At left is the John & Patrick Armstrong wagon shop. On the right are lumber piles and beyond them private houses.
Fire insurance plan of Duke St (corner of Duke, Idol Land and Lloyd St. Duke Street, east side taken from Bridge Street, 
Showing McDougal & Cuzner Harware store (nos. 3-5 Duke St)  PA-02780
Bridge Street looking north from Duke Street corner. PA-027803 Intersection of Duke St and Bridge, looking West (end of Duke St) towards lumber piles. PA-027804 Looking west from end of Duke St towards lumber piles on Bridge St PA-027805

Railroads in Lebreton Flats

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Canadian Atlantic Railway Station on Bridge St. 1893 PA-029923 Canadian Atlantic Railway yards on Bridge St. 1893 PA-029923 Canadian Atlantic Railway yards on Bridge St. 1893 PA-027297 CPR Station on Broad Street in 1880s PA-008676 CPR Union Station, 1897

The Great Fire of April 26 1900

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Start of Great Fire,  about 12:30pm. Looking north  towards Hull. Vantage point for photo is from Church Hill, at the west end of Sparks Street, overlooking Wellington Street (Union Brewery is 457 Wellington St.)  PA-135444 1900 fire as seen from Parliament Hill after it has crossed the Chaudiere and entered Lebreton Flats C-002891 Evacuation of the Lebreton Flats as seen on Quuen St April 26 1900 PA-120334 Ruins after the fire PA-028172 Ruins after the fire PA-028176 Damage in rail yards

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Wellington Street C-002991 Lebreton Flats after April 26 1900 fire PA-121784 CPR Union Station and yards after fire PA-135438 Where the fire was stopped - the eastern limit of destruction on Wellington St. C-005477 Ruins after the fire C-002991 Ruins after the fire PA-028150

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Bronson house. PA-028165

The Chaudiere 

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Baldwin's Mill 1875.
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Chaudiere Falls c. 1860 Chaudiere Falls looking toward Hull (Quebec) c. 1867 PA-027949 Chaudiere from Parliament Hill, 1872. Chaudiere from Parliament Hill, 1878. PA-008354 Lebreton and Chaudiere from Parliament Hill  1889.  PA-008351

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Lebreton and Chaudiere from Parliament Hill c. 1900 PA-008335 E.B. Eddy's mills, 1912 PA-029923 Looking south from the Chaudiere towards Lebreton Flats Oct 1890 PA-027215 Perley's and Pattee's sawmills c.1890 Timber slide




Page created March 7 2007