Linda Hoad, vice-president of operations at Heritage Ottawa and a founding member of the Hintonburg Community Association, recently led a historical walking tour of the Hintonburg neighbourhood. Capital Current grabbed a camera and tagged along.

The walking tour began at the Saint François d’Assise Church, which was built in 1914-15 according to a design by Hull architect Charles Brodeur. With five bells and two towers, the church can be seen from most places in Hintonburg. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

The village of Hintonburg was named after Joseph Hinton, who designed the community’s town hall in 1893. Many people in Hintonburg then travelled to work on Ottawa’s street car system, which helped the area grow and connected it to the city’s downtown.

Throughout the tour, Hoad explained that many of the buildings in the community had been repurposed several times throughout the last century. So it was with the original red brick Hintonburg fire hall. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

But lately, the Hintonburg community has been clashing with city planners who hope to intensify development in the area because of the westward extension of the LRT commuter rail network.

The Orpheus music theatre venue is home to one of the longest-running theatrical organizations in Ottawa. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

Hoad said there has been a longstanding plan to intensify residential development in Hintonburg. But controversially, construction of the LRT line has led city planners to push for even greater intensification.

“They always say, ‘It’s so close to transit, we have to have more intensification!’ But the plan already took that into account,” Hoad said.

Hoad, in the centre of the photo in a red coat and reading a document, talks about the brick building behind her, which was a French Catholic school until 1988, and is a physical reminder of the vitality of the French population in the area. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]


What was once a residential dwelling became a multi-purpose building because of developments during the Second World War. Heritage Ottawa has been pushing for this site to be preserved for its historical significance. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

“It wasn’t as though the LRT came out of nowhere,” Hoad continued. “We’ve known about it for a long time, that it was going to replace the bus rapid transit. In a sense, light rail has brought visions of glory to the developers.”

The Salvation Army building is a designated heritage site. Known as Bethany Grace manor, the land was bought by the Salvation Army and the building was put up after the Second World War. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

Hoad added that for the most part, residential intensification that’s been happening is good. But every now and then, there are developments that don’t please the Hintonburg Community Association. 

This white building is the former Capital Wire Cloth Company factory. Wire cloth is used in the production of paper. The building is considered a good example of 20th-century industrial architecture. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]

“It’s always been a kind of ‘live and let live’ community,” Hoad said of Hintonburg. “It’s an eclectic mix of many histories that have remained alive.”

The final stop was the Bridgehead coffee shop. Across the street to the right is the church where the tour began. The Bridgehead was once a residential building where the streetcar would go by. [Photo © Alexander Dolansky-Overland]