Hintonburg & Mechanicsville – A Narrative History
Written by John Leaning
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About the book:
Published in 2003, Hintonburg and Mechanicsville: A Narrative History is an informative and affectionate look at the little-known history of two bilingual Ottawa neighbourhoods, both of which began as early industrial and streetcar suburbs located within sight of Parliament Hill. Based on archival research, personal interviews, and secondary sources, this book is the first attempt to tell the story of this complex, dynamic, and multicultural area.
The book was originally to be about Hintonburg but also came to touch upon Mechanicsville because of the close ties between the two and the resemblance between their early patterns of development. Although Mechanicsville was never part of the Village of Hintonburg, it was an integral part of the parish of St. Francois d’Assise. The two neighbourhoods developed in tandem and have been subject to similar economic pressures throughout their history.
Previous to the author’s interest in writing a book about Hintonburg, the HCA Heritage Committee had gathered documentation for library and archival sources, including assessment rolls, insurance plans, plans for subdivsion, city directories, and old newspaper files. What the committee lacked was the time to organize this information and weave it into an interesting narrative. John Leaning’s interest in the community inspired him to accomplish this onerous task, with research and editorial assistance from Paulette Dozois and Linda Hoad, members of the HCA Heritage Committee.
About the Author: John Leaning is an architect, planner, author, and artist who practiced in London, Paris, and Stockholm before coming to Canada. He became the National Capital Commisssion’s first Chief Architect in 1966. A founding member of the Glebe Community Association in the 1960s, Leaning made the neighbourhood the subject of his first book, The Story of the Glebe, which he published in 1999.
John Leaning’s firm located their offices in Hintonburg for many years and it was during this time that Leaning began to research and learn more about how Hintonburg had developed.