The Poets’ Pathway Walks in City View, with “Kilmorie” and the City View Community Association
Kilmorie house and grounds
The Poets’ Pathway is 35-km trail, much of which is on already-existing recreational paths through Ottawa. It runs from Britannia Beach, south along Pinecrest Creek, east along Nepean Creek; it crosses the Rideau River, curving north toward the Ottawa River, ending at Poet's Hill in Beechwood National Cemetery, where our poets rest. The Pathway celebrates, in particular, the land and Canada's national poets, the Confederation Poets.
The Confederation Poets were widely known at home and internationally. They wrote after Confederation, the first to write about this wild new country, in strong Canadian voices. They were famous, rock stars of their time. Of the five Confederation Poets, Lampman, Scott, and Campbell lived in Ottawa, and wrote about Ottawa and her land. The Confederation Poets are to Canadian poetry what the Group of Seven is to Canadian art.
City View neighbourhood is lovely, green, and historic. It is situated a little north of the Poets’ Pathway, and it houses a treasure: Kilmorie Estate, which was the home of Confederation Poet William Wilfred Campbell, Poet Laureate of his time. This walk will shine a light on this treasure which belongs to Ottawa and Canada.
(The Poets’ Pathway has unveiled three plaques featuring Campbell’s poems: "Indian Summer" at McKay Lake, “Down the Merivale Road” on Colonnade Road, and “A Wood Lyric” in front of Coronation Park.)
“Kilmorie” is the only remaining home owned by any of Ottawa’s Confederation Poets. The two-acre estate and the City View neighbourhood together form an island of tranquillity and health, just behind busy, bustling Merivale Road.
There is conflict about the home today. The Poets’ Pathway, the City View Community Association, and others have been fighting to save the estate from developers for more than two years. The development would replace one hundred mature trees, woodland, and even the view of this heritage home, by squishing thirteen units into two acres.
The Kilmorie Heritage Foundation Board NFB has been inaugurated to try to buy the land. The people of City View have wanted a public park for decades. Their taxes have paid for a park for decades. There is no park, a situation contravening the City’s own by-laws.
A Kilmorie Estate park, with oxygen-giving trees, shade, a home for city wildlife, a rest for the spirit, and “Kilmorie” as a cultural centre are worth fighting for. We are fighting for them.
William Wilfred Campbell's iconic poem, "Indian Summer" was memorized in school by generations of Canadians. Here it is again:
Along the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.
Now by the brook the maple leans
With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.
Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river's mouth,
Throughout the long, still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.