Thomas Joseph Regan and Norah Jessie (Lahey) Regan, October 9th, 1937– Photo Noreen Tyers
As a child we attended Church with our parents and we went to the Little Anglican Church on the Montreal Road, in what was then called Eastview, now part of Ottawa.
This church had been part of my mother’s family and was where we went to Church, Grandpa (John A. Lahey) did a lot of wood-graining in this beautiful little stone Church. He would maintain all the wood inside the Church, the Pulpits, the Alter, the sign for the Hymns to be sung during the Sunday Services. There were also exposed Beams in the fcont of the church above the alter and the choir benches all showed up this graining talent. Grandpa also maintained the little chairs and tables From the Sunday School. He would, repair and replace parts when necessary and keep them painted and well maintained. Many a time while visiting with him in his workshop there would usually be a little burgundy/red chair in his shop.
Many of my extended family attended St. Margaret’s Church, Grandpa’s sister Eva and her family. Eva’s husband was a Lay Reader. There were also members of my Grandmother’s, Charlotte’s, family who were also part of the c hurch family.
Over the years my mother and later my father, were Sunday School Teachers, Choir Members, and members of the Young People’s Group. Mom and Dad met and were married at St. Margaret’s and their children were baptised and confirmed there. As you can see Church was always a part of our Sundays as children. We also participated in the events of the church and our Girl Guide Group met there. It seems to me it was the hub of our little town, and as a child I was right at home there.
Now much preparation went into to getting ready for church on Sunday mornings. Our clothes would be laid out ready to be put on all pressed and neat. We would all have been bathed and have our hair washed Everyone was spit and polish and ready for church after our sleep.
On Saturday evening our Dad would gather up our shoes brush them off and set them down and he would start to polish. When he was finished they would all be shining just like new.
Memories also come back of sometimes Mom would go looking for a piece of cardboard and trace the sole of Dad’s or her own shoes and cut out an inside sole and slip it in the shoe it belonged in. Money was always a little tight and I now realize that as children we were always provided with good shoes and new ones were bought when we outgrew them. I now know that there was not always money available for new shoes for my parents, so thus the cardboard would be placed inside to protect their feet where the hole in the sole appeared. On rainy days I bet they had wet spots on their socks. Love shows up in many ways and my parents always put the children’s need in front of their own.
Come Sunday morning, up we would get have our breakfast and off to church and Sunday School. We were advised to walk not run so that the dust would not rise and cover the polished shoes. Everyone looked spit and polish with shiny noses from our clean faces and our freshly polished shoes. You soon learned that your parents were proud of their family and especially their children and how they looked and how they acted. You made sure you were on your best behaviour and did as you were told.
We would attend Church for the first part of the service and then go in to Sunday School for our lesson I would have been about five or six. Everyone knew each other and if it wasn’t family it would be friends who attended Church. There were a few people who I did not know, but I am sure my parents knew just about everyone, so you made sure that all was right and proper.
One Sunday at the end of the first hymn there would be a prayer to the Lord to thank him for our well being and anything else we needed to thank him for. Sometimes it would be a thank you for new shoes or socks or something that had come your way during the week. I can now remember thanking him for one of Grandma’s muffins after school. I am not making light of church or religion but would often think, now just what do I thank him for. I did not want to stay on those young boney knees too long or it might just begin to hurt.
While very serious and giving thanks, the man that was sitting behind me sneezed and I jumped. Even worse I felt something hit the back of my head and land in my lap! Oh My God, the man had sneezed out his false teeth. Never a thought, I just picked them up turned around and handed them back to him.
Needless to say my Mother poked me and her face was red, not sure was the redness because she was embarrassed or angry. Out came the hanky from her breasts and she was wiping off my hands, not to careful I should say. Oh I am sure I am in the bad books, I had done something that did not sit well with her. There was one thing about it we were going into Sunday School soon so I would be out of reach and not in the path of those oh so not pleased stares.
Footnote: Sure got a lecture on the way home this is something one never does in Church. You must never bring attention to any wrong doing. I just could not figure out the reason behind this treatment from my Mother, after-all my co-worshipper behind me was also embarrassed as he was in a state of being without his top teeth.
Yes there was a lecture on the way home, but then I did hear a few giggles when the story was told by my Mom.
From the Pen
Of Noreen Tyers
Sunday April 29th, 2018
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St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, built in 1887 along a country road leading from Ottawa to Montreal, once stood amidst fields. Just one block west, on the corner of what is now Montreal Road and Cyr Avenue, a hotel opened around 1900 – a time when Janeville (later Eastview, now Vanier) was expanding. First named after its builder, J. Barnaby, the establishment was eventually called Eastview Hotel.
Not much is recorded about these unlikely neighbours until 1949 when controversy erupted. The owner, Ronaldo Chénier, planned a $100,000 expansion that was to include a licensed cocktail lounge and bar. Chénier had purchased two smaller dwellings that provided distance between the church and his establishment. The two homes, number 186 and 200 Montreal Road, were to be moved to a vacant lot on Montfort Street.
The church was against the granting of a liquor licence. “To suggest establishing a cocktail bar within 35 feet of our church“ said Rt. Rev. Robert Jefferson, Bishop of Ottawa, “seems to me to be tempting the law.”
St. Margaret’s campaign to halt the expansion failed and a 30-room addition was completed in 1950. The atmosphere of the new wing was described as “modern, convenient, handsome and homelike.” Eastview Hotel became a popular spot for meetings and social gatherings but by the late 1970s the specialty dining room had closed and Playpen, a lounge featuring nude dancers, attracted a new clientele.
The establishment was up for sale in 1980 and the financial circumstances seemed to worsen with each owner. In 1990, the City of Vanier ordered the hotel closed due to safety violations. The order was overturned but several days later a blaze broke out destroying the property.
The hotel’s building contractor, along with the owner, who had carried three mortgages to keep the business afloat, were accused of intentionally setting fire to the building. The court dismissed the charges and the cause of the fire remains unknown.
The hotel’s neighbour, the grey limestone church building with a tiny bell, survives to this day. St. Margaret’s offers services in English and Inuktitut and is also the home of a Mennonite congregation – a reflection of the urban core that now surrounds Vanier’s oldest building.
Top Row Photos (left to right):
– Eastview Hotel at beginning of 20th century. Photo: AMO; Luc Laporte, Vanier, 1983.
– Proposed site for hotel expansion between St. Margaret’s Church (left) and Eastview Hotel (right). Photo: Dworkin; The Evening Citizen, 1949.
– Montreal Road looking west with Eastview Hotel (left). Photo: LeDroit, 1969.
– Eastview Hotel, Ottawa Citizen file photo, 1975.
Bottom Row Photos (left to right):
– St. Margaret’s Church and Eastview Hotel, Photo: Henri Durand; La petite histoire de Vanier, 1975.
– St. Margaret’s Church and Eastview Hotel in 1980s. Photo: Thérèse Frère; Muséoparc Vanier.
– Montreal Road in fall of 2011. Photo: MS.
Posted 3rd December 2011 by MS from Vanier Now