The McArthur Family
One of the first families to settle in the Vanier area was named McArthur. Donald McArthur arrived in Bytown in 1827, and built a small inn there. He prospered as the owner of a second hotel built of stone at the corner of Sussex and George streets in Lower Town. Donald McArthur acquired a large tract of land in the southern part of Quartier Vanier in 1833. He farmed this 200-acre lot with his wife, and their household included two children named John and Donald Jr. He was one of the first pioneers in the area that became Vanier. Others were Clements Bradley, George Sparks (cousin of Nicholas Sparks), Gideon Olmstead and Charles Cummings. These families helped establish the initial community, which was named Janeville, probably after Donald McArthur’s wife Jane. Donald, who was 86 years old when he died on April 12, 1876, was buried in Beechwood Cemetery. When Donald McArthur died, his wife took over the management of the family farm. According to local tradition, Jane McArthur allowed gardeners from the village of Cyrville to travel across her property to get to Ottawa, thereby avoiding the toll gates on the Montreal and Russell roads.
This major thoroughfare is named of course after the McArthur family, which used to live there. However, unlike Montreal Road, or Beechwood Avenue, McArthur Avenue did not witness any rapid development in the early 1900s. Aerial photos from the 1930s still showed large empty fields near this artery. It was not until the post-war years that sustained development took place in this part of Quartier Vanier. With the end of the Second World War, and the beginning of the Baby Boom, the city of Eastview suffered serious housing shortages. As a result, major home construction projects were planned in the city, including several in the vicinity of McArthur Avenue, in order to meet this pressing need. Following the International Architectural Style popular in the 1940s and the 1950s, the buildings were usually comprised of three floors, and their shape was rectangular or cubic and had flat brick facades and flat roofs.
One such housing project occurred in 1950 on Blake Boulevard, just north of McArthur Avenue. Another equally impressive project was launched at the intersection of Lafontaine Street and McArthur Avenue in 1954. Known today as Eastwood Park, this series of identical buildings provided accommodation that was both modern and luxurious at the time for a monthly payment of about one hundred dollars. The housing boom in the vicinity of McArthur Avenue during the 1950s led subsequently to the establishment of schools and businesses along this major artery. To this day, McArthur Avenue is characterized by a mix of residential and commercial buildings which give it a distinct identify within Quartier Vanier.Points of interest of the McArthur Circuit