The Carlington Summit

The coming of a new year is often an occasion to look back on the past to reflect on what has happened and how we got to where we are today. It just so happens this is precisely what this column is all about. I have selected three January issues of the Summit as the focal point of our trip through the archives this month.


The January 1984 front page contained a picture of a substantial snowbank encroaching upon a roadway. The caption read, “Glacier crossing, proceed with caution!” The picture would not be out of place in the paper today given the amount of snowfall so far this season.

The front page also boldly proclaimed that Lloyd Francis representing Ottawa West, had been nominated by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as Speaker of the House.

Another story indicated a proposal for a social service centre in Carlington had received positive endorsement from the Social Health Policy Committee.

The Summit published the comments of several community leaders as they looked ahead to 1984. Glenda McDonell, principal of St. Elizabeth school said, “I entered 1984 with renewed enthusiasm. I feel that both parents and teachers, as a team of educators must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe, in order to accomplish great things.”

“I would like to see a closer knit community with people more involved in activities,” were the comments of Barb Fretwell, President of the Mooretown Tenants Association.

The president of the Home Owners' Association, Gordon McMichael, had many dreams for the community. “I would like Carlington to have a stronger voice in dealing with officials at all levels of government. I would like our organization to pay more attention to recreational services, to Neighbourhood Watch, to social services, and to education.”

Bruce Firestone (say again!), President of the Businessman's Association, was looking forward to the completion of the Merivale Road redevelopment. He was perhaps too optimistic when he prognosticated, “Once the construction is completed, however, business will begin to renovate and we will see an overall improvement to the area. I would like to see benches and trees for the area, and I will personally push for a fund for this.” (I guess the dreams of the Ottawa Senators got in the way of this one.)

Not to be outdone, Summit staff also took a look into the future. They foresaw the extension of the Fisher Avenue sidewalk to Baseline Road, a renovated Alexander Community Centre, a new fire hall built, approval of funds to deal with the skunk problem, new sidewalks on Rosenthal and Kenzie, and expansion of the neighbourhood Watch program.

Some Grade 6 students from W. E. Gowling school provided their hopes and resolutions. Andy Fenton said, “My hope for 84 is that they lower prices. When you go into the store you pay almost and arm and leg for a bag of chips.”

Tracey Brown took a broader view of the future. “My hope for 84 is to end all wars around the world. Even at Christmas the Lebanon war was still going on when love and peace and caring for one another is supposed to be shown.”

Unfortunately, war touched many lives, as these remarks from Teck Tang so poignantly stated. “ In 1984 I hope to visit my country for a month if there is no more war like before. In my country, I went to catch fish in a little pond. Sometimes I went to guard a cow. I liked to pick fruit to eat. In my country there was a lot of good fruit.”

Peter Robertson was writing a flashback column in those days, one which I hope to see reprinted in the future. In the January 1984 issue he looked back to 1946 when the city of Ottawa annexed (from Nepean) the vets housing project.

Finally, a major story appeared about Earl Crowe, a major contributor to arts and culture in Ontario for more than 25 years. “It was also in 1957 that he bought property in Carlington, building a home on Dorchester Avenue. He recalls sitting on the front step and seeing nothing but pine trees and pheasants in an area which is now entirely developed!”

Jump five years

Clem's Corner (see page 2) in January 1989 offered some dieting tips for the new year. They included gems such as, “If you eat something and nobody saw you eat it, the calories don't count,” and “Two diet sodas cancel the calories in a pound of shortbread cookies.” Maybe these tips were intended to fatten everybody around you, so you begin to look thinner.

Daphne Biggs, in her Daphne's Diary column, offered more practical tips, centred on diet and exercise. The latter could be provided by the fitness classes at the Alexander Community Centre.

Jocelyne D'Aoust proclaimed the second annual Carlington Food Drive a success. Approximately $6,500 in food and money was collected, more than doubling the success of the first drive.

Editor Frances Tanner wrote a column about the facts of social housing in response to allegations by the Carlington Community Association that the community had more than its fair share.

Maurice Viau was recognized by the Bellevue Community Centre as its volunteer of the month. Other stories included news from the two elementary schools, an update on the 92nd Brownie Pack's (snow-less) winter camp, and an ethnic and marital status profile of Carlington based on Census numbers.

Political advertisements included those from Kathy Yach (OBE), Marlene Catterall (MP), Linda Hunter (OBE), Bob Chiarelli (MPP Ottawa West), Mark Maloney (Alderman), Brian Mackey (OBE) and Richard Patten (MPP Ottawa Central).

School protests

“Gowling intermediate students move to Fisher over trustees' protests” screamed a front page headline in the January 1993 paper. “Fisher park to reopen as intermediate school” headed another story on the same page. All the furor was over a December 1992 decision that saw W. E. Gowling become a JK to Grade 6 school, losing Grades 7 and 8 as well as its six portable classrooms. The school's parents' association chair Greg Clunis and former co-chair Frances Tanner spoke to the board in favour of the change even though a large minority of parents opposed the move.

On page 2, editor Frances Tanner counted “the blessings of 1992” for the Summit. She thanked staff, writers, advertisers, photographers and carriers in her half-page editorial. (The Summit sure could use a stock of volunteers like that again.)

Jim McNeill continued to write his Family Fun column with wacky stories about his family and promotions for the upcoming shows at the West End Family Cinema. His son Brendan also contributed several jokes from Summit readers or his own repertoire.

Kris Trotter at CCHS wrote two extensive articles about quitting smoking.

As we know, January contains Weedless Wednesday and is often the time, following New Year's, that addicted smokers promise to give up the weed. Trotter wrote, “Many ex-smokers say that successfully beating their nicotine addiction was the most significant accomplishment in their whole lives. Let's show all those people who have resolved to quit smoking that we congratulate their decision, will support them in their struggle, and will celebrate their successes both large and small.”

Carol Throop wrote an interesting story about mothers going back to school. She featured the experiences of Lynne Crocker and Terry Campbell.

Interesting also that an Ottawa Hydro advertisement spoke about finding and sealing hidden drafts in the home. As we now face an substantial increase in heating costs — gas, electric or oil — the featured Energy Tips package would still be useful today.

Another food drive story indicated the donations of food and money in the sixth annual event came close to $10,000. This tale complimented nicely the article on the welcome supper at Bellevue Manor. This was an effort of the Good Neighbours programme. “The group tries to provide informal support to anyone who faces barriers to feeling comfortable in their community.” These two stories, plus many others never written, highlight the good and caring nature of our community.

A centre page spread recounted the events and accomplishments for 1992 as captured in the pages of the Summit.

The paper also announced the upcoming official launch of the National Capital FreeNet on February 1.

Clem's Corner featured the usual line up of humour and quips. I will finish off this month's journey through the archives with two items. “A successful person is one who went ahead and did the things the rest of us never got around to doing.” “One moment of patience may ward off a great disaster; one moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”

Until next month.