Junction Gore -- Gloucester Township
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893

August 25, 2006:

I am looking into Junction Gore (the one in Gloucester county that  regrouped 
Billings through Vanier and the Governor General's domain) in Gloucester county. 
I'm basing myself on books about Vanier and the 1881 county Atlas on-line thanks 
to the digital county atlas project. 
I would like to know the nature of this entity. From your Web site, I gather it 
is a concession. If so, could you point out sources where I could find info on 
what exactly is a concession in Ontario (at that time) and to whom it belonged 
if not to the province)?  
Thank you for your time and help!
Lucie Lecomte

Good morning, Ms. Lecomte:
Thanks for your e-mail regarding Junction Gore in Gloucester Township.
I think this is how the creation of lots and concessions works in Ontario:
The original surveyors were sent in to survey what was basically wilderness 
area. There are prescribed sizes for townships in total acreage. That is, each 
township would be set out to have roughly the same number of acres. 
Somewhere, I have a good book which explains all of this surveying process -- 
I just have to find it!
Now, the survey was begun using a fixed topographic feature of the township. 
In most cases, a river was used as the starting point. In other cases, a
"Baseline" was set up. Often, the Baseline became a major road as is the case
with the Baseline Road in Nepean Township. In the case of Gloucester Township, 
I believe that Walkley Road ( named after Enoch Walkley from Gloucestershire, England)
was the original east-west Baseline and St. Laurent Blvd. was the original north-south 
Baseline. (These are marked on the original 
1879 map, and the digital version of the map, as well). See the following map 
which I have extracted from the 1879 digital map of Gloucester Township.

In the case of Gloucester Township, there are two main rivers -- the Ottawa and the Rideau. The surveyors would have started at one of the rivers and began to survey out 200 acre lots. The original townships were surveyed into 200 acre lots. On the digital atlas map, many of the original rural properties are still two hundred acres, but the urban areas became subdivided into town lots while some of the original 200 acre rural lots have been subdived into parcels of 100 or 50 acres. This was usually done upon the death of the original settler who would give his sons smaller portions of the original farm. If you can get your hands on a paper copy of the map, it's much easier to work with than the digital version. There is one in the 1879 Belden's Atlas of Carleton County which should be available in the Ottawa Room of the Ottawa Public Library. As well I have another one here which I bought at the Gloucester Historical Society, at the corner of Bank Street and Leitrim Road. Anyway, the 200 acre lots were surveyed back from the rivers. The Concessions divided the lots, coming back from the rivers. The concessions usually became the original roads between the lots. The place where the lots surveyed from the Ottawa River and the lots surveyed from the Rideau River intersected is called the Junction Gore. Except for the lots in Junction Gore, all the lots in Gloucester Township are designated either as "Ottawa Front" or as "Rideau Front". The lots south of Walkley Road are Rideau Front. The lots east of St. Laurent Boulevard are Ottawa Front. I hope that this helps. Do you mind if I add your enquiry and my reply to our web site? Please let me know. ... Al ____________________ Hello Mr. Lewis Thank you ever so much. Please feel free to uses any of the material pertaining to our discussion on your Web site. I myself am a student of history. I am trying to finish a PHD on franco-ontarian identity. If ever I can be of help on a toping pertaining to French Canadian history in Ontario, please let me know. I'm not encyclopaedic but have good ideas on where to get documentation. My question on Junction Gore is part of the research I am doing for the Vanier Musepark that is to open in autumn. I would like to add another dimension to our discussion. As you explained, the name Junction comes from the locality being seated at the meeting of the two rivers. That, by the way, was the pragmatic Ontarian answer I was looking for. This natural feature also quickly becomes a strategic one and the attribute of being a «junction» takes on another meaning. The Friends of the Billing Museum state: When Col. John By arrived in 1826 to start building the Rideau Canal, there were already 2,800 souls in the area and Braddish Billings was an established lumberer and farmer. Originally called the Farmer’s Bridge, Billings Bridge at Junction Gore was an important link for getting food to the workers in the new village of Bytown. Anne Gilbert says the same thing for the development of what is to become Vanier: La croissance urbaine d'Ottawa attire aussi les migrants canadiens-français du Québec qui s'engagent dans le secteur du petit commerce et des services ou, après 1860, dans les travaux de construction des édifices gouvernenmentaux. S'y développe rapidemment une vie communaitaire active autour ds paroisses catholiques et d'sintitutions diverses. De même le ravitaillement de la ville en produits agricoles amène la mise en valeur de terres demeurées vacantes en bordure est d'Ottawa. Des Canadiens français s'établissent à Janeville, Cyrville et Orléans. (p.58. Les espaces de la francophonie ontarienne). Thus, the concerned region was a passage for staples and food that were meant for a growing Ottawa. The Billings (1831) and Cummings (1836) bridges are thus important links to understand what is Junction Gore. So in conclusion, we know the origin of the name Junction Gore which is a proper noun. It was called a gore because of it's irregular shape. I'm just not qute sure about it's legal identity. If I understand it is a concession? Have yourself a great day and thank you! Lucie
As I understand it, Junction Gore is the entire area bounded by Walkley Road to the South, St. Laurent Boulevard to the East, The Ottawa River to the North and the Rideau River to the West. I believe that this entire are is the "Junction" where the Ottawa Front lands and the Rideau Front lands intersect. Anyone have any other ideas? ... Al
January 16, 2009: Joan McEvoy Rooney has written an interesting paper called The Settlement of Billings Bridge and Junction Gore.
New July 5, 2011:
Here's a nice farm called "Rideau Bank" for sale in 1836. Source: Bytown Gazette as seen in the Google Digital Archives.

E-mail Allan Lewis

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