Britannia Village History

A short historical walking tour of Britannia Village and Park

Britannia Village History

Ottawa, Ontario K2B 5X1, Canada

Created By: Douglas T Stiff

Tour Information

Britannia village became a part of Ottawa in 1996, however it has had a long and interesting history before that time. There are a number of heritage homes illustrating classic architecture, as well as one of the oldest yacht clubs in Canada only minutes away. Britannia park is a fascinating example of how public transit (the trolly) dramatically shaped the local area. This tour takes you on a short (45 minute or so) journey around the village and park

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Old St. Stephen’s Church

As the region’s population grew at the end of the 1800s, there was an increasing need for a dedicated site for Anglican services, which had previously been delivered informally from porches and private properties of local residents. In 18... Read more
175 Britannia

This heritage property was built in 1904 by the Murphy Brothers (see Murphy House below) and occupied by Emma Murphy. The Murphy family were early year-round residents of Britannia Village. The Murphy Brothers constructed many of the archit... Read more
Robinson House

This heritage property was constructed in 1895 by carpenter Charles Robinson as his summer residence, during Britannia Village’s rapid growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The historical plaque notes: “The building’s irregular ro... Read more
William Murphy House

This heritage property, designated in 2003, was constructed in 1902 by Edward and Albert Murphy for their father, William, who ran a local ice and cartage business. The house is an early example of year-round residence, compared to the domi... Read more
Rowatt House (66 Bradford St.):

This heritage property was constructed in 1878 for John Rowatt and was renovated by his son, William Rowatt, in the 1890s, when Britannia Village became a popular summer resort. The nearby Rowatt Street is named for the family and their con... Read more
Arbour House (84 Bradford St.):

This residence was constructed in 1892-1893 for E. Stone Wiggins and his wife Susan Wiggins. The former was a teacher and amateur meteorologist, while the latter was a writer. It was designated as aa heritage property in 1996, with the plaq... Read more
Britannia Yacht Club

This clubhouse was built in 1896, on property leased from Ottawa lumber baron J. R. Booth, after the Britannia Aquatic Club had outgrown John Jamieson’s converted sawmills and cottages that had been used since its foundation in 1887. The ... Read more
Britannia Park

Britannia Park’s origins lie in the Ottawa Electric Rail Company’s (OERC) decision to create a dedicated park along the Ottawa River in 1893. Construction of the park began in 1898 and its grand opening, on May 15, 1900, was attended by... Read more
Historical OERC Trolley Station

This sheltered picnic area is a now-defunct OERC trolley station that delivered visitors to the park from downtown Ottawa, operating from the park’s grand opening in 1900 until 1959 (operation transferred to City of Ottawa in 1948), when ... Read more
G.B. Greene’s Anchor

Referred to as the “Queen of the River”, the G.B. Greene was a double-decked wheel steamboat built by the Ottawa Improvement Company in 1896. Leaving from Britannia Park, it took up to 250 passengers on daily leisure activities up the O... Read more
Britannia Pier

Originally constructed by Ottawa Electric Rail Company in 1901 as a point of attraction for visitors. At its peak, the pier with electric lighting, extended a total of 427 m (1400 ft) into the Ottawa River. Initially, the pier was 305 m (10... Read more
The Ron Kolbus-Lakeside Centre

This auditorium was moved from OERC’s West End (Victoria) Park to Britannia Park in 1904 and rebranded the Lakeside Gardens’ Pavilion. It became a staple and long-lasting feature of the park, hosting Sunday concerts, dances, big band an... Read more
Belltown Dome

This indoor ice rink, one of the smallest in the City of Ottawa, was built for the community of Britannia in 1967, as part of Expo67 and Canada’s centenary celebrations. The triodetic exoskeleton structure creates a column-less environmen... Read more
TransCanada Trail

This section of the TransCanada Trail was historically a Canadian Pacific Railway line that connected existing rail networks between Ottawa and the St. Lawrence via Carleton Place, constructed in 1870 to provide alternative routes for freig... Read more
Old Forge Community Resource Centre

Constructed in 1832 by George Winthrop, this site served both as his blacksmith shop and family home. His shop was ideally located between the countryside and booming Bytown (i.e. Ottawa). The structure (modified in 19xx and 19xx) stayed wi... Read more


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