Neighbourhoods located in Rideau Township:
The hamlet was named after Stephen Burritt, whose family was the first to settle in this area. At one time, the hamlet prospered due to its location on the Rideau Canal. The community straddles the river, so part is located in Rideau Township, now part of Ottawa, and part in North Grenville Township.
There is a lock on the canal to bypass rapids here, the Burritts Rapids Bridge which crosses the canal and a stationary bridge which crosses the river.
In 1793, Stephen and Daniel Burritt, from Arlington, Vermont, settled in the vicinity of the area now known as Burritt’s Rapids. A plaque was erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board commemorating the founding of Burritt’s Rapids.
By 1812, Burritts Rapids had become a bustling hamlet. At the peak of its prosperity, it had telegraphic and daily mail, 2 general stores, a bakery, a millinery shop, 2 shoe shops, a tin and stove store, a grist mill, a woolen mill, a tannery, 3 blacksmith shops, 3 wagon shops, a cabinet shop, 2 churches, 2 schools, 2 hotels, a bank and an Orange Lodge.
The hamlet’s natural advantages as a transportation centre were enhanced by the opening of the Rideau Canal in 1831. Burritts Rapids was the site of the first bridge across the Rideau River. A post office was opened in 1839.
By 1866, Burritts Rapids was a village with a population of about 400 on the Rideau canal, in the townships of Oxford and Marlborough, and counties of Carleton and Grenville. It had two schools, and citizens were in the lumber business.
Unfortunately, the hamlet was by-passed by the railway, and its importance gradually diminished with the decline of the canal as a means of transportation.
Burritts Rapids was home to the Rideau Correctional and Treatment Centre from 1947 until its closure in 2004. It was subsequently demolished in 2013.
Public high school students in this area go to South Carleton High School in Richmond.
History of Burritts Rapids Community Hall
The Hall was built in 1855 by John French and operated as a general store. In 1892, the building was sold and it changed hands several more times during the early 1900s. The facility became known as the “Albert C. White Memorial Hall” in 1927, but in October 1935, Casey Swedlove sold the Hall and its property to the community. At that time, the name was formally changed to The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall, and has been run as a non-profit facility ever since.
In 1984, the Hall was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as being of architectural and historical value: “… the building is an outstanding example of an early nineteenth century vernacular temple-fronted commercial structure, of the Classical Revival Style. It is clad in narrow feather-edge clapboard and is highlighted by recessed panelled front doors, large commercial style front windows, with panelled surrounds, engage pilasters, with classical entablature, returned eaves and small 12 over 8 upper sashes…”
In 1986, an extension was added to the south side of the building. Moneys for the project were donated by several local citizens and businesses, all of which are memorialized on a plaque inside the Hall. Many of the building materials were donated by the production company which filmed “Boy in Blue”, in Burritts Rapids in 1984. The roof was installed by a volunteer group who proclaimed themselves to be “The Geriatric Builders”.
By 1866, Malakoff was a post office in the township of Marlborough-26 miles from Ottawa, and 3 miles from North Gower; the postmaster was John Pierce. Citizens included Robert Kerr, who owned a hotel, and was a general merchant.
Kars was originally named Wellington Village. In 1857, to distinguish it from another settlement called Wellington in Prince Edward County because mail intended for one often went to the other, the village was renamed Kars – a name chosen to commemorate the Canadian-born General William Fenwick Williams who had undertaken in the siege of the town of Kars for the Ottoman Empire against the Russian Empire.
By 1866, Kars was a post village with a population of 200 of the township of North Gower, on the Rideau river, one mile from the line of the Ottawa and Prescott Railway. It contained four general stores, and one steam saw mill, established by A. J. Eastman, in 1852, which had the capacity of turning out three millions feet of sawed lumber per annum; a brewery owned by A. J. Eastman & Co., with a capacity of turning out forty barrels per week; a tannery, two wagon shops, a cooperage, a school, a hotel; two churches-the Church of England, frame, erected by John Eastman, Esq, and presented to the Church Society; and the Wesleyan Methodist church, frame. Mails tri-weekly. The Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 520, met in the Orange Hall, on the first Tuesday in each month.
The Rideau River is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal. Kars is along the longest uninterrupted section of the River between locks at Long Island in Manotick and Burritt’s Rapids. As a small community, most residents work in the city of Ottawa. but the village has an automotive garage and a general store/post office.
The village had two schools until 2011. However in that year, a decision was made to demolish Kars Public School in favor of an expansion of Rideau Valley Middle School. The enlarged school, renamed Kars on the Rideau Public School, is located on nearly 12 acres of land and its nearby soccer fields are among the best kept in all of Ottawa.
Kars no longer has a summer fair, but a dog show has continued to run at the former fairgrounds site.
Rideau Valley Air Park is located to the south of the village and is the base of operations for the Rideau Valley Soaring School.
The village of Long Island Locks was first settled in 1833. In the 1830s, a small settlement formed in the area of the newly constructed Long Island locks on the Rideau Canal, but there was no development in the area of present-day Manotick. A post office was established in 1854.
In 1859, when a bulkhead was constructed across the west branch of the Rideau River, entrepreneur Moss Kent Dickinson and his partner Joseph Merrill Currier obtained the water rights and constructed a stone mill, on the shores of the Rideau River. The flour mill, as well as a carding mill, sawmill and a bung factory, also built by Dickinson, helped spur the development of the settlement. The flour mill was purchased in 1946 by Harry Watson and renamed Watson’s Mill. It survives today as a working museum with an operational grist mill.
M. K. Dickinson, Esq., established the Long Island Flouring Mills in 1860, which had the capacity of grinding one hundred barrels of flour per diem; the buildings were substantially built of stone. The saw mill, built by M. K. Dickinson, Esq., employed twelve men, and turned out about two million feet of sawn lumber per annum.
Dickinson House, built in 1863, was the first major building in Manotick. It served as a general store, bank, post office, and telegraph office. The Dickinson, Spratt, and Watson families, who owned/operated Watson’s Mill, used the house as their residence from 1870 to 1972. The house is currently furnished to give visitors an interpretation of what the space was like when the Dickinson family was in residence. It is included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, alongside Watson’s Mill. Doors Open Ottawa sometimes coincides with Dickinson Days, which is Manotick’s annual festival celebrating the Founder of the village.
By 1866, Long Island Locks was a post village with a population of 100 of the township of Gloucester, on the Rideau canal, seven miles from Gloucester station, on the Ottawa and Prescott railway, and 15 miles from Ottawa. The village contained two general stores, and a number of mechanics. There were two church buildings here, one occupied alternately by the Presbyterian congregation and the English Church, and the other by the Wesleyan Methodists.
By 1866, Manotick was a post village with a population of 100 of the township of North Gower, on the Rideau river, five miles from Kelly’s station on the Ottawa and Prescott Railway, and 17 miles from Ottawa. There was excellent water-power supplied by the Rideau canal. Mails tri-weekly. The Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 477, mets in Orange Hall, in Manotick village, on the first Friday in each month.
The original St. James Anglican Church was built of wood in a Norman style in 1876, on land donated by Moss Kent Dickinson. When a larger church was built in 1985, the original style and appearance, including a Norman tower, the original stained glass windows, plaques and much of the other furnishings were maintained. The church was included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, held June 2 and 3, 2012.
Manotick was host to a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) experimental ionospheric laboratory often referred to as the RPL, or the Radio Propagation Laboratory . It was located on the Prescott Highway. The RPL evolved from Section 6 of the Operational Intelligence Centre (OIC/6) of the RCN during WW II. It originally occupied small huts on the Prescott Highway, which, in the years 1944-47 housed a naval High Frequency radio station, operating under the call sign CFF. The station received and transmitted messages between Naval Service Headquarters, Allied Authorities, ships at sea, and frequently intercepted enemy transmissions. A name plate now marks the site, which is located south of the Experimental Farm’s (Ottawa) arboretum, between the Rideau Canal and the Prescott Highway.
SunTech Greenhouses LTD, a Hydroponic Greenhouse covering 2.3 acres was constructed in 1999 on a ninety acre lot. An additional twelve thousand square feet was added in the spring of 2001, bringing the greenhouse acreage to 2.5 acres. Since then, the infrastructure was increased by 1.5 acres in 2012, bringing the total greenhouse surface to 4 acres.
As commercial traffic on the Rideau became less important, the population in the village declined. The population in the village rebounded as Manotick came to be viewed by some as a bedroom community for Ottawa, joining the City of Ottawa in 2001.
With perceived overdevelopment of housing in south Ottawa, including the rapid growth of Barrhaven, Manotick strives to maintain its character and property values by carefully managing growth and working closely with developers. Large mass production developments south of Ottawa often advertise as being located in Manotick during early development which can lead to confusion on the borders of Manotick.
- Manotick Public School – The only public elementary school in Manotick, teaches kindergarten to grade 5 in English and French.
- St. Leonard Catholic School – Teaches over 500 kindergarten, primary and junior students in English and French.
- St. Mark Catholic High School – Teaches grades 7-8 and 9-12 in English and French
- South Carleton High School – Teaches over 1300 grade 9-12 students, located in Richmond. It is the primary public high school for the region.
On the first Friday and Saturday of June, the people of Manotick congregate in the heart of Manotick around Dickinson Square to celebrate Dickinson Days. The festival is named after Moss Kent Dickinson, who operated Watson’s Mill and was responsible for founding Manotick. This spring festival, organized by local organizations such as the Kiwanis Club, the BIA, and Watson’s Mill, usually includes activities such as a parade, pancake breakfast, arts and crafts sales, wagon rides, music, dance and drama performances. The celebration coincides with “Pioneer Days”, organized by the staff and volunteers of Watson’s Mill.
Dickinson Days usually coincides with Doors Open Ottawa, where many local buildings, such as churches and government buildings, are open to the public for one day a year.
Watson’s Mill is Manotick’s most recognized landmark. Its image is used as a symbol for the village. It is the only working museum in the Ottawa area and one of very few operating industrial grist mills in North America. Indeed, Watson’s Mill still sells stone-ground whole wheat flour which is made on site.
Moss Kent Dickinson and Joseph Merrill Currier founded the mill as the Long Island Flouring Mills in 1860. It was one of a series of mills constructed in the area using power from the Rideau Canal. It earned its current name when it was purchased by Harry Watson in 1946. Watson was the last owner to operate the mill at an industrial level. When the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority bought the mill in 1972, it was developed into a museum.
The mill is also well known for its ghost story. The legend is that Ann Currier, wife of Joseph Currier, haunts the mill, following her death in a tragic accident there in 1861.
Watson’s Mill is open to the public during the summer months and hosts a variety of events, including milling demonstrations every Sunday.
Mahogany subdivision dispute
In 2007, Minto Developments Inc. sought approval to construct a community of approximately 1800 new homes in Manotick. The number was later revised to 1400 in early 2008 through the Development Concept Plan process with the city of Ottawa and numerous public meetings and consultations with residents. The project drew concerns by residents in the area. In the opinion of some local residents, the Minto proposal went against the spirit and letter of the pre-existing Manotick’s Secondary Plan. The Secondary Plan for the Village of Manotick was adopted by the City of Ottawa at amalgamation in 2001, providing for growth of only 250 houses by 2020. Residents cited that the project would double Manotick’s population and that the current services and infrastructure will be insufficient to handle the population explosion. Some residents were also concerned that Manotick will lose its “small town” character. Villagers want future development direction to be decided by residents and their elected officials, not developers.
On April 24, 2007, the West Manotick Community Association (WMCA) organized a town hall meeting to discuss the issue of Minto’s proposed development at the Manotick Arena. The event drew over 2000 citizens concerned about preserving the rural character and scale of Manotick and to ensure any future planning accounts for the rural nature of the village. During 2007 and 2008, the City of Ottawa, the WMCA and Minto all hosted several formal and informal public meetings to demonstrate changes and evolutions to the proposed Development Concept Plans and to encourage public debate. Changes to the plan were made by the developer through the process.
In 2008, the Ottawa City Council rejected Minto’s proposed development, stating that Minto’s plan did not comply with the City’s Official Plan for Manotick, nor its Secondary Plan. Additionally, the City claimed that the proposed development did not match the village’s “rural character”. Minto appealed the council’s decision, sending the matter to the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”) in a seven-week hearing that ended in late January 2009. The OMB overruled the Ottawa City Council in a “controversial” decision to approve Minto’s plans. The City of Ottawa requested a Leave to Appeal the OMB decision, with a hearing that took place on June 25, 2009.
Ultimately, extensive cooperation between Minto and the community resulted in an approved plan for the development, and the construction now is long underway.
By 1866, North Gower was a post village of the township of North Gower 6 miles from Osgoode Station, on the Ottawa and Prescott Railway, and 22 miles from Ottawa. It was situated on Stevens Creek. The village contained four general stores, two wagon shops, five boot and shoe shops, and other mechanical trades. There were three churches, the Church of England, Rev. Mr. Merritt, rector; the Wesleyan Methodist, Rev. W m. M. Pattyson, minister; and the Canada Presbyterian Church, Rev. Wm: Lochead minister. There was a school, with an average attendance of forty eight pupils. The 5th Division Courts were held here.
In 2001, North Gower was amalgamated into Ottawa along with the remainder of Carleton County.
- City of Ottawa Archives, Rideau Branch (1876) – 6581 Fourth Line Road. The former North Gower Township town hall was restored in 1980s and opened as the Rideau Township Archive in 1990. The one-storey, brick-faced building features fine proportions, careful detailing, and a cupola. The archives photo displays highlight the postal history of Rideau and the stories of home children in the area. The archives was included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, held June 2 and 3, 2012.
- Former Marlborough Township Hall (1855) – 3048 Pierce Rd, Pierces Corners. Constructed by Robert Mackey as a community centre, the one-story frame building was moved to its present site in 1934. The framing uses a series of posts and trusses that allows a clear ceiling.
- Holy Trinity Anglican Church (1879) – 2372 Church St. A single story stone church supported by heavy stone buttresses and fronted with an imposing bell tower, it sites on land originally deeded to the Synod of the Diocese of Ontario in 1867. Tall stained glass windows dominate the Sanctuary while commemorative ones are displayed throughout the church. The Church also has its own Churchyard Cemetery – a beautiful example of a rural churchyard cemetery, still with lots available to the parishioners and the general community.
- North Gower United Church (1870) – 2332 Church Street.
- St. John the Baptist Anglican Church (1892) – 3027 Pierce Rd., Pierces Corners. This solid timber frame church designed by Amaldi and Caldeson, Architects, has stone foundation and central bell tower. All original pews and stained glass windows. Church stable, once used for the congregation’s horses, still stands. This church was decommissioned in 2008 (approximately).
- Perkins Lumber – 2338 Roger Stevens Dr. An independently owned lumber yard founded in 1936, will stand as part of the area’s heritage. in 2011 Perkins Lumber joined the Home Hardware Group.
- The Old Co-op.