In 1868-The Ottawa Agricultural Society acquires 19 acres of land east of Bank Street and adjacent the Rideau Canal for the purpose of a fairground.The fields used for the Exhibition are later turned into a permanent park. Many citizens question the location of the park so far out in the country. Ottawa at the time does not extend much beyond Bank Street and Maria Street (later Laurier Ave. West). Southwards, Bank Street is little more than a trail with fields on either side, but there is a toll gate where McLeod Street now intersects Bank Street. A three-plank boardwalk runs down one side, but comes to an end near McLeod Street. It seems that the bears went away after that and only were mentioned when the famous beloved wrestling bear Terrible Ted came to the Civic Centre.
Ron McConnellThe land was granted to the Society by my ancestors, the Williams family, who owned most of the property on both sides of the canal at the time. The condition was that an “Agricultural Fair” be held there at least once a year. When the City of Ottawa decided to move the Exhibition out to Rideau Carleton and discontinue the annual fair, they weren’t aware of the condition. Needless to say, there was a lot of backroom dealing happening for a number of months to get out of the agreement.-