Published in The BANAR September 2020.
In the fall of 2000 Lois Kemp spearheaded the renaming of parks that would help pass the history of Blackburn onto future generations. A recommendation was sent to the City of Gloucester by the BCA to rename some of the parks in Blackburn Hamlet. The new names highlighted the history of the area and recognized those who had either contributed to the creation of the Hamlet, or were original landowners. The proposal was accepted in November 2000.
The early settlers are those who purchased land from the government in the 1800’s. They had to clear the land of tree stumps, build their own roads, and schools, etc. All these people also served as trustees on the school board and some of their sons, grandsons also served over the years.
Richard Dagg: In 1857, three families of Daggs settled in the area and was known as Daggville. It later became Blackburn. Richard Dagg donated the land for the first school in the area and Anglican church.
John Kemp: In 1857, John Kemp settled on Lot 10 (Keystone Park and Norman Johnson Alternative High School area) and four generations farmed the homestead. The Blackburn Public School—first a one-room red brick building and in 1964 a two-room yellow brick building—now called the Norman
Johnson Alternative High School was built on the Kemp property. John Kemp’s descendents sold lots along the Navan Road in 1948. There are still members of the fourth, fifth and sixth generation of Kemps living in the Blackburn area.
Joshua Bradley: In 1858, Joshua Bradley settled in Blackburn. This summer the Bradley Estates is being built on the former Bradley homestead. It was through the efforts of his son, William Bradley, and Robert Blackburn (once the Reeve in 1864, then MP) that the Post Office was approved and the community then became known as Blackburn.
Agnes Purdy: In 1858, Agnes Purdy settled on Lot 9 (just a half kilometre east on Navan Road from the Blackburn By-Pass) with her husband William. Four generations of Purdys farmed the land until the NCC expropriated the farm for the Greenbelt. Agnes played a significant role in the development of the area as a major fundraiser as well as treasurer for 30 years with the St. Mary the Virgin Anglican church on the Navan Road (1879), and as school board secretary for twenty years.
Isaiah Scharfe: Isaiah Scharfe settled in the Emily Carr School area around 1850. Four generations lived in Blackburn. They sold lots and built houses on what is now Innes Road, previously the Cyrville-Navan Road.
Blackburn Hamlet Builders
On June 18 1958, the federal government gave authority to the NCC to establish a greenbelt around the City of Ottawa.
A group of sixty small landowners in Blackburn, with the help of Dolphin homes (Costain), convinced the Township of Gloucester and the NCC that services could be brought across the Greenbelt to support a satellite community in the middle of the Greenbelt. On March 29th, 1963, the Minister of Municipal Affairs approved the official plan of the Township of Gloucester for Blackburn Hamlet.
In 1967, the first new residents of Blackburn Hamlet moved in.
Several key men were instrumental in creating Blackburn Hamlet as the community it is today.
Harold Diceman and Allan Beddoe were recognized as Hamlet Builders by having parks or streets named after them.
Robert MacQuarrie was a Gloucester Councillor from 1958 to 1966, and was instrumental in providing advice to the Council and to the NCC, on the feasibility of installing services to the Hamlet in support of the community. The Ottawa City Council renamed the Orleans Recreation Complex in his honour.
Michael Budd: The National Defence Department had expropriated the original Budd homestead in 1942 for the military Proving Grounds. The Budd family relocated to Budd Gardens’ present location and once again in 1958 were expropriated by the NCC for the Greenbelt.Michael Budd, Charles and Allen Beddoe, Harold Diceman, Eldon Kemp and Dolphin Homes (later known as Costain Homes) convinced the NCC and the Township it would be feasible to bring the services across the Greenbelt and to develop a self-contained satellite community— Blackburn Hamlet.