“Many Women with Baskets Attend New Market Opening but not a Farmer Turns Up”
This was the headline in the Ottawa Journal on July 10 1924.
The City had advertised the opening of the West-End Market only on the previous day – but many farmers did notreceive the paper until late in the evening or even the following day.
“Where are the farmers?”, “What time is the market to open?” and many similar
questions were asked by disappointed housewives of the west end who had decided to do
their buying on the new market … Some of the buyers came from Mechanicsville.
reported the Ottawa Citizen.
However, the Saturday July 12 market was better attended, with about a dozen rigs there
selling goods. The press noted that many farmers may have been absent because of the
celebrations of the “Glorious Twelfth” [The anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne fought
between William of Orange and James II in July 1690. The Protestant King of England
won thus securing the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland for generations.
However, farmers from Cyrville and St. Joseph d’Orléans (presumably Roman Catholic
Franco-Ontarians) were in attendance and did a brisk business. Some buyers were
disappointed that “the offerings by sellers were confined to garden produce and flowers.
This will probably be remedied next market day as the demand for butter, eggs and meat
indicated good opportunities for sale at the new market.”
In spite of this inauspicious beginning the ‘West End Market’ was officially established
by By-law in November 1940 and the land (including the land now occupied by Parkdale
Park) was acquired by expropriation in 1947 for $15,000.
The block occupied by the market and park in 1912
Prior to the 1924 market opening, the land was assembled but remained vacant until 1908
when the property was sold to John Gow and Arthur A Bayliss who operated a planing
mill, lumber, sash and door business on the site. The land and business was transferred in
1912 to the Greater Ottawa Sash Door and Lumber Company until about 1918. In 1920
the land was sold back to Patrick Labelle, the previous owner prior.
The West End Market was popular in the neighbourhood as evidenced by a petition
organized by residents in 1925 to pass a $12,00 debenture “for the purpose of procuring
the necessary land, erecting suitable buildings and providing the needed equipment and
conveniences for the operation of the West End market. Alderman Laroche said that “the association was voicing the wishes of the whole west end, 35,000 people at least.”
However, when the matter was put to the ratepayers in January 1926, the debenture by-law failed by a vote of 3,468 vs. 4,481. However, Council did approve $600 to improve the market building on Parkdale, including the installation of two lavatories with the sewer connections and repairs to the roof and walls
of the building. The owner, Patrick Labelle, agreed to allow the City free use of the land
(if he did not sell it in the meantime!) in exchange for these improvements.
Parkdale Park was not officially established until May 1964; By-law number 98-64
dedicated the lands acquired in 1947 “for park or recreational purposes or for both such