History of Riverview Park

(Excerpt from the book by Orrin Clayton 2007)

Riverview Park was originally part of Gloucester Township, a historical township in Eastern Ontario. Gloucester Township was originally known as Township B and was established in 1792. In 1800, it was part of Russell County, but became part of Carleton County in 1838 and was incorporated as a township in 1850.

Over the years, parts of Gloucester Township were annexed by the expanding city of Ottawa. Gloucester was incorporated as a city in 1981 and became part of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2001.

The immigration of Loyalists from the American colonies led to the alienation of much of Eastern Ontario, including Gloucester, from the Mississauga Indians in 1783. Gloucester was roughly surveyed in 1792. Gloucester was probably named after a member of the Royal Family, either the first Duke of Gloucester (William Henry 1743-1805) or his son, the second Duke of Gloucester (William Frederick 1776-1834).

The Township of Gloucester remained without permanent settlers until 1812. The first settler in Gloucester was Braddish Billings, a lumber jobber on the Rideau River. On his journeys he spotted a location now known as Billings Bridge. In the winter of 1812-1813, he cleared four acres to build a cabin. He eventually acquired 1,400 acres of land. For seven years, Billings and his family were the only settlers in Gloucester. Then neighbours arrived close by and others near Black Rapids.

In 1820, a survey was completed and by the time the Rideau Canal was opened in 1832, a bridge crossed the Rideau at the Billings settlement and workers were taking up land near Long Island. When Gloucester was incorporated as a Township in 1850, its western limit was the Rideau River and its northern limit was the Ottawa River.

Riverview Park is southeast of the downtown area adjacent to the Rideau River, a location on which is its namesake. At its greatest extent Riverview Park is bounded roughly on the west by the Rideau River, on the north by Industrial Avenue, on the east by St. Laurent Boulevard and on the south by Smyth Road.

The neighbourhood was primarily built in the 1950s during the baby boom era, but there are some new developments, especially near Station Boulevard and Avalon Place, as well as on Bathurst Avenue, Rolland Street and on Smyth Road, as well as commercial development at the Ottawa Life Sciences Technology Park.

Riverview Park is home to a variety of schools and parks, and the area is relatively diverse socioeconomically. There are many apartment buildings in Riverview, specifically on Riverside Drive, Coronation Avenue, Alta Vista Drive and on Russell Road. There are also many townhouses. Riverview Park is home to CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) as well as the Ottawa General Hospital, the Perley Health Centre (formerly Perley-Rideau Veteran’s Hospital), and other medical facilities. Riverview Park is home to a diversity of schools. There is one French elementary school (Lycée Claudel), a French High School (Franco Cité), an English Alternative school (Riverview) an English public school (Vincent Massey) and a Montessori school. There are also five churches, a fire hall, a community centre (Dempsey) two shopping areas and six parks.

Riverview Park is also served by three transitway stations: Hurdman, Lycée Claudel and Smyth. Riverview Park in 2000 had an approximate population of 12,000 from 5,538 residences (homes and apartments).

Community association history

The first meeting of the Riverview Park Property Owner’s Association was held on November 17, 1952 in the basement at the home of Mr. H.A. McPhee, Balfour Street. The meeting was called to order by Mr. Jack Johnston who officiated as Chairman for the evening. Most of the general meetings were held monthly due to the activity of the RPCA in monitoring the development within the community.

Most meetings were held in basements of Board of Directors and from 30 to 90 persons would attend a meeting. It was not until 1955 when the Public School was built that meetings were held in the school. The Association has been active ever since.

More details on both the growth of Riverview Park (along with fabulous pictures) and on the activities of the Riverview Park Community Association can be obtained in Orrin Clayton’s book, the “History of Riverview Park” written in 2007. You can purchase a copy from Orrin via letterit@rogers.com