Historical Commercial and Industrial Development
in and around the City of Ottawa, Canada in the 1800's
July 22, 2021: (see update for July 23, 2021)
Forwarding companies worked alongside steamers on the Rideau Canal (and all other canals). These companies were
very labour and capital intensive. There were several forwarding companies in the 1800's working on the Rideau Canal under various
names over time.
The largest one was the Ottawa and Rideau Canal Forwarding Company. I'll be doing some research into
this company and will set up a new financial table here for it, tomorrow.
Picture Source: Library and Archives Canada, Catalogue Number PA 203692.
July 23, 2021:
January 2, 2021:
This photograph is from the book Lanark Legacy: Nineteenth Century Glimpses of an Ontario County,
by Howard Morton Brown and Glenn J. Lockwood, 1984, ISBN 0-9690289-2-X, page 139.
Keywords: Lieutenant Alexander Rosamond
The combination of a large number of Scottish weavers and textile workers who migrated to Lanark County starting about 1820 helped to make the
Canadian Textile industry become centered in the towns of Lanark County - Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls.
December 21, 2020:
This page shows the Statistics Canada table of classification of industries with examples. The one person small farm
business operation usually grew to a small business in a nearby village with a few employees and eventually evolved into a
larger, private enterprize in a nearby city. The table labelled "the 1871 industrial profile, City of Ottawa" below, fits the
major industrial groups into the 1871 framework. I think that Statistics Canada today uses "The 1970 Standard Industrial
Classification" which may have been updated recently to include all of the new computer businesses, etc.
Keywords: Ramsay Township, Tannery
Photograph Source: Lanark Legacy: Nineteenth Century Glimpses of an Ontario County
by Howard Morton Brown and Glenn J. Lockwood, 1984, ISBN 0-9690289-2-X, page 44, 45
April 30, 2010:
Source: Bytown Gazette, January 14, 1841
Search the Ottawa Citizen and Bytown Gazette for other articles
December 27, 2002:
Source: 1871 Census data and 1879 Atlas of Carleton County, H. Belden, page xxvii.
The major industries are 1. wood (saw mills, sash and door makers, etc)
2. printing (and bank notes), dependent on the
federal government. (Canadian Bank Note Company)
May 2, 2005:
The Ottawa Citizen dated May 1, 2005 includes a special 16 page section written
by half a dozen writers. This 16 page report describes the industrial development
of Ottawa and the Valley through the entrepreneurs - J.R. Booth, John Egan, Allan Gilmour,
Thomas "Carbide" Willson, Morrison Lamothe Bakery, Thomas Ahearn, the A.J Freiman,
Caplans and Charles Ogilvy's Department Stores. Also related is the story of E.B. Eddy
(who started the first major sash and door firm in Ottawa) and McIntosh and Watts.
Other stories: E.R. Fisher, Orme's and the empire built by Robert Campeau.
John Egan (one-time mayor of Aylmer) had timber rights on the Bonnechere River in
Renfrew County. There he established a large farm in order to supply his shanties.
This is where Eganville is today. He also had timber holdings at Fitzroy Harbour and
Quyon. (belden, 1879 map).
November 26, 2005:
1. Businesses in Ottawa 1860s and later (28/04/05 email)
I have learned that my ggf James Craig worked at the J M Currier factory. I believe
it was on the Rideau, I'm not sure if it was on the Ottawa side or in New Edinburgh.
My ggu William Craig also worked there for several years before setting up a carpentry
shop for himself on Wellington St. My ggm's stepfather Micheal Noctor (Nocter)
apparently also worked at Curriers about the same time. J. M. Currier was an M.P.
as well as owning the mills. If anyone has any info about the Currier mills they
can share I'd appreciate it
... Al Craig
From the book Hurling Down the Pine, page 42:
Two men whose names were to become prominent in Ottawa business circles, Moss
Kent Dickinson and Joseph Merrill Currier, rented Thomas McKay's lumber mills
at Rideau Falls in 1853.
February 22, 2007:
I do not know how much information you or your readers are interested in
but I found this today and I wanted to share it with you.
In 1828 in Bytown there were 15 general stores, 3 jewelers, 4 bakeries,
1 chandler shop, I harness shop, 8 shoemakers, 3 blacksmiths, 1 butcher,
2 tailors, and 1 tinsmith shop.
The men who owned the general stores were:
Howard & Thompson . This is the store where Thomas Hunton worked
as a young man when he arrived in Bytown.
McIntosh & Stewart
J. D. Bernard & Co
George & Robert Lang (some of the Langs were here in February 1829. They came from County Armagh, Ireland)
4 1/2 d McKenzie
Louis Mainville “ He also owned a row of about a dozen tenement houses
on Rideau near Dalhousie whose trade he is said to have monopolized.
(housing for the Rideau Canal workers)
August 14, 2007:
From Jean-Claude Dubé:
Just as an aside, I read somewhere but I do not remember where (could have been
a Francis Audet article??) that the many hotels in upper and lower town in the
1850's served greatly as recruiting centres for the lumber industry. When young
lads came to town, looking for employment, they were provided with room and board
and a bar bill by an hotel keeper. They thence became indebted to the hotel keeper
who was then able to barter the services of these lads to a lumber camp who would
garnishee their wages and pay back the hotel keeper. I think that the same kind
of credit system was used by the clothing stores. Aumond and Egan probably
operated that way with their diversified business operations. I suspect that
many lads went home with empty pockets in the spring-time. If I come across that
article again, I will forward a copy to you
More about Jean Bareille
Thank you very much, Al. This is useful information for me.
I get a kick out of the occupation of roture for John Belleile, Belisle, Bareille.
Roture normally means a well-off person of non-nobility status or nouveau-riche.
A bit like Pinhey of Pinhey's Point. It could be Jean Bareille although I think
that Bareille was married into the J.D. Bernard family ???. It could be Belisle
but I haven't come across an old Belisle family yet.
Last year, in the St.Columban-Irish website, you submitted information on a
Margaret Williams, daughter of George Williams, marrying Eusebe Varin from
St.Jacques de l'Achigan, and in which Jean Bareille was a witness. St.Jacques
de l'Achigan is not far from L 'Assomption, where Joseph Aumond and J.B.Turgeon
came from. In fact, some of Turgeon's relatives lived there. That town was
settled by Acadians who came back to Canada after being deported down the U.S.
coast from Nova Scotia (Acadia). It is just south of Joliette.
Jean Bareille, as well as being associated with Joseph Aumond and then owning a
store on Sussex St., also owned a 200 acre farm (Gloucester Township, Front line, lot 23)
that encompassed all or most of the former RCAF Rockliffe Air Base. In fact,
the officers's Mess was Bareille's old stone house (I think he called it
Manoir Beaumont). That stone probably came from the escarpment behind him or
Antoine Robillard's quarry in the not-yet-named Rock Village. (see Aviation Museum
Web site). National Defense has since torn the house down. Ottawa Heritage had some
acrid comments about that in their newsletter a few years ago. To get to his
Manoir , Bareille probably had to ferry across the Rideau River and ramble down
a dirt path where Beechwood and Hemlock Streets are situated, just skirting the
Beechwood Cemetery area. I guess that there were lots of beech trees and hemlocks
in those days. There were also stone quarries in the north-eastern part of the
Bareille then moved to Merrickville and I have lost his tracks there. Maybe
some of the Bytown or Bust afficionados could help me out. I would like to know
what he did in Merrickville, when he died and where he is buried.
(see posting dated February 12, 2008 for more about Jean Bareille ... Al)
Thank you very much for your help.
and from Allen Craig ...
Good Morning Jean Claude,
I do not know Mary's source but there is a list almost identical to hers
in the print version of Belden's 1879 Atlas of Carleton County in the
historical sketch of Ottawa on page xix.
Here are the names of the tradesmen and merchants in 1828 as listed there:
Jewellers Arthur Hopper, William Northgraves, Maurice Dupuis
Cobblers William Murphy, John McCarthy, John Miller, Robert Mosgrove, Henry Shouldice, Watson Little, Andrew Main
Blacksmiths N.S. Blaisdell, Lyman Perkins, William Tormey
Carpenters John Matthews, James Fitzgibbon, John Duggan, James Tough, Isaac Clough
Bakers George Patterson, James Lang, George Shouldice, Thomas Hanly
Butcher Andrew Hickey
Harnessmaker Robert Wanless
Tinsmith Thomas E. Woodbury
Chandlery John McGraves
Auctioneers Daniel Fisher, James Johnston
Tailors Henry Shouldice, Daniel Fisher (later E.R. Fisher on Sparks Street)
Brewer Michael Burke
Tavernkeepers Isaac Firth, John Chitty, Thomas Corcoran, Baptiste Homiere / Homier / Aumier,
John Little, Louis Pinard, William Cowan, Donald MacArthur, "Mother McGuinty / McGinty"
Hope this is of use.
... Allen Craig
Over to Jean-Claude:
Thank you very much Allen.
Mary Cox did reply to me this morning, giving me this as her source of
information and I was planning to go to The Ottawa Room of the Ottawa Public Library to
check it out. You saved me from that trip.
I am trying to key in on the very early influential french-speaking arrivals,
such as Bareille, Aumond, St.Louis etc. There is very little documentation on
these guys. Except for Aumond, they were primarily small-scale businessmen,
tradesmen and entrepreneurs. An example would be Antoine Robillard that opened
up the Gloucester quarries. One of my GGF was a stonecutter in Bytown before
I am not surprised that there were already two french-sounding names as
tavernkeepers. I wrote Al Lewis earlier giving him my suspicion that the inns
and taverns in Bytown later became recruiting centres for "volunteers" to go
to the shanties.
Thank you for your help.
Note: The St. Louis family were early contractors on the Rideau Canal.
They worked at building the dam and locks at Hogs Back. Dow's Lake originally
drained into the Ottawa River at the northwest end of the lake, where the
"boat house" and restaurant are today. The St. Louis Dam is what keeps Dow's Lake
from running along Preston Street to Lebreton Flats.
Hello, Jean-Claude and Al:
I just wanted to let you know that I have more of the records which give names and
occupations (1840-1850) and will pass them along.
It's interesting because as the records progress from 1829 to 1855, the increasing
social status is reflected in the records. In 1829, a man may be a lumberman.
Ten years later, he's a lumber merchant. Ten years later, he's referred to
as Esquire or Squire. Also, their wives' status sometimes evolved to "Dame".
The more respected in the community these families became, the more they were
in demand to be Godparents or Best Man.
Another thing, regarding the early tavern keepers. The taverns in the Market
were hotbeds of land speculation. Charles Rowan had a tavern on York Street
and he sold 100 acres in Osgoode Township to my ancestors. He also owned other
farm land in Osgoode Township which, beginning in 1854, was easily accessible
via the Bytown and Prescott Railway. The station in the Market was 2 blocks from
St. Patrick's Street and it ran across the Rideau River, through the township
of Gloucester and then through Manotick Station and to Osgoode Station before
continuing on to Prescott.
There is a photograph of Rowan's Tavern in Ottawa: An Illustrated History, by
Professor John Taylor. See our bibliography)
October 31, 2007:
In the early part of the twentieth century, due to increased urbanization and
industrialization, there was a strong increase in demand for hydro-electric
power. Dams were built across northern Ontario and western Quebec. The
Ottawa River and the Gatineau River were the scenes of many construction projects.
Garry McFadden has sent in some photos of the Paughan Dam in the Gatineau Valley.
This dam was built in the 1920's.
February 12, 2008:
(continued from August 14, 2007, above):
John Allen SNOW
Was just reading one of your emails on Bytown.net regarding lot 23 Concession 1.
I'd like to let you know that one of my great grandfathers also owned that same
property, don't think it was the whole 200 acres though...maybe 120 acres.. My great
grandfather x3 was John Allen Snow. He used to live in the Bareille house. Then John Snow
died and his son Hammet moved in there. The property looked over Kettle Island which
John Snow surveyed.
I'll keep my eyes open for Bareille, I run across it from time to time.
... Karen P
Note: There is more about John Snow on our Philomen Wright page.
March 3, 2008:
A map printed in 1893 for the Bank Street Planing Company shows the streets of Ottawa.
This map has business card sized advertizing around it's four edges. Each ad shows
a photograph of an established business.
Map Source: Canadian Cities: Bird's Eye Views, Ottawa, 1893
Reproduced in 2004 from an original at Library and Archives, Canada, 2004,
Sponsored by World of Maps, Ottawa, ON.
The commercial businesses are generally three story brick buildings with the storefront
at street level and the upper two floors were used as dwelling units.
The business and their photographs are:
Cole's National Manufacturing Company, 160 Sparks and 519 Rideau Streets,
makers of tents and awnings. (Cole)
Bank Street Planing and Turning Mill, all kinds of house finishings,
owned by Daniel O'Connor, Jr.
H. Philion and Company, Corner of Bay and Florence Streets, manufacturers of sash,
doors and blinds.
J. Oliver Company, Furniture Manufacturing, 86 and 88 Duke Street (Lebreton Flats),
there is an inset photo of their plant at the Chaudiere Falls.
Workman and Company, two furniture stores, Wellington Street and also on Rideau Street.
Stonhouse and Chamberlin, 335 Wellington Street, Carriage Makers.
J. Erratt, Furniture and Carpets, 34 and 36 Rideau Street, known as the
Palace Furniture Store.
The Brunswick Hotel (four stories high), J. Huckell, Proprietor, Sparks Street.
R. Doney, Fine Boots and Shoes, Sparks Street
A. G. Pittaway, Photographer, Sparks Street.
Butterworth and Company, Iron Foundry, Stove and Furnace makers, Queen Street.
Carling Brothers, Brewers and Bottlers, Albert Street,
"The Largest Bottling Cellar in Canada" -- a very popular beer among WW2 veterans in Ottawa in the 1950's.
Ottawa Business College, Corner of Sparks and O'Connor, John Keith, Principal
W. C. Gibson, Steam Biscuit Maker, Plain and Fancy Biscuits and Confectionery.
J. J. Jarvis, Photographer, 117 Sparks Street.
Ottawa Electric Street Railway Powerhouse (a large industrial building)
MCrae and Company, Coal Contractors
Ottawa Free Press Building
Union Bank of Canada, 126 Wellington St, Established 1865.
John Murphy and Company, Direct Importer of Fancy and Staple Dry Goods, 66 and 68 Sparks Street
Parson and Smith, Crockery , Glassware, China, Lamps and Coal Oil
Grant Brothers, Hardware Merchants, Corner Sparks and Bank Streets
R. Parker, Ottawa Steam Dyeing and Cleaning
C.S. Shaw and Company, Importers of China Crockery, 100 Sparks Street
James Hope and Company, Booksellers, Bookbinding, Stationery -- Sparks Street (Drawing below)
Sanitas Manufacturing Company, Plumbing Supplies, Messrs Torney, Georgeson and Gervan.
(a growing business in the 1890's)
Drawing of James Hope's Book Store, 22 Sparks Street at Elgin Street in 1879
Drawing Source: McGill University Digital Atlas Project
August 29, 2008:
The W. C. Edwards Saw Mills on the east side of Rideau Falls, c. 1900
Photo Source: Hurling Down the Pine by Bond and Hughson, page 36
October 11, 2008:
In 1879, Belden's Atlas of Carleton County included the names and occupations of many
August 17, 2009:
New e-mail address for Mary Cox: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 28, 2009:
William Washington Wylie was the owner and operator of the
Ottawa Carriage Company beginning in the 1890's.
November 18, 2009:
We've corresponded before and you've been very helpful.
A friend of mine has an old crock (jug with cork) which has the inscription "W. Moeser, Grocer and Wine Merchant, 29 and
31 York Street, Ottawa".
I've looked through my books about Ottawa but can't find any mention of that business.
Would anyone know more about it?
Thanks very much.
... Carol Gibson (Email)
November 19, 2009:
In 1889 my grandfather was a clerk in William Moeser's store on York St.
From the City of Ottawa directories on the Library and Archives Canada website, it appears that Mr Moeser's store
operated on York St from about 1882
through 1900. A quick search of the directories online here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canadiandirectories/001075-100.01-e.php
using Moeser, grocer and Ottawa as keywords returned 48 pages with entries Some of these will be the entries for employees but most are directly for the store.
I will check the post 1899 directories I have and pass on whatever I find.
February 6, 2010:
The Bronson family's Sawmills at Chaudiere Falls in 1857
Source: Where Rivers Meet, by Courtney C.J. Bond, page 58
Keywords: Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, Great Fire of 1870
February 24, 2010:
Source: Bytown Gazette Archives, February 15, 1844
Names for Search engine: Aumond, Bareille, Chitty, Stethem, Lyon, Goodman, Graham, Hunton, George Patterson, Simon Fraser,
William Stewart (Stewarton), John Forgie, Loux and Wood.
Businessmen in Bytown, 1827-1828
Source: Recollections of Old Bytown, by William Pittman Lett, page 98
July 29, 2016:
Here is the classic economics / labour history book on the development of industrial capitalism in Canada, including
in the Ottawa area:
Labour and Capital in Canada, 1650-1860 by H. Clare Pentland, James Lorimer and Company Publishers, 1981,
ISBN 0-88862-379-8, 280 pages
January 23, 2019
Many of the towns and villages just outside of the city of Ottawa were located on rivers and could easily develop water-powered
mills, such as this one in Almonte on the Mississippi River.
The picture shows the Victoria Woolen Mills, c. 1860. These mills employed many of the Scottish weavers who came
to Lanark County in 1he 1820's.
And here is the Frost and Wood foundry in Smiths Falls on the Rideau River.
June 19, 2020:
Gananoque on the St. Lawrence became an industrial town beginning about the 1850's.
The Gananoque River was an early transportation route from the hinterland to the St. Lawrence River.
Source for the next picture and for the next table is The Irish in Ontario, page 304 and page 307 by Donald Harman Akenson.
March 28, 2021:
Added a picture of Saint-Hyacinthe in the 1830's, before industrialization, below.
Source: A Short History of Quebec by John Dickinson and Brian Young, McGill-Queen's University Press,
ISBN 0-7735-2450-9, page 149.
March 28, 2021:
Added a picture of Saint-Hyacinthe in 1881, below, after some industrialization.
Source: A Short History of Quebec by John Dickinson and Brian Young, McGill-Queen's University Press,
ISBN 0-7735-2450-9, page 150.
Back to Bytown or Bust