The Poets’ Pathway Walks in City View, with “Kilmorie” and the City View Community Association

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:

Indian Summer

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.

Location
Route

This walk begins in front of 16 Withrow Ave.  After introductions, we will discuss briefly some of City View’s history, distribute maps of the Poets’ Pathway, and walk to Kilmorie, at 21 Withrow.  On our way, we will pass some other notable homes on Withrow Ave., Epworth Ave., and Peter St.  The walk will end at the Nepean Museum, 16 Rowley Ave.

Kilmorie will be our longest stop before the museum. We will learn about William Wilfred Campbell, hear a few of his most famous poems, and hear Ben sing one of the poems, set to Ben’s music.  We will also hear a bit about “Kilmorie” the house, built by farmer Scott in 1841. Then we will discuss the present conflict.  It began when the Kilmorie property was put up for sale. We'll distribute a brochure from the Kilmorie Heritage Group.

We will walk to, and hear a little, about three other old homes:  the old carriage house on Withrow, the Sullivan house at No. 2 Epworth, and Scott’s second house, at 2 Peter St., near the museum.

Last, we will walk back to the Nepean Museum where there is a new exhibit, and from here everyone can stay as long as they want.

The trees will be opening in lime green, the sun will shine and poetry will be on the wing…  a perfect Sunday walk!

Notes:

Parking is available at Elizabeth Wyn Wood School.

The walk will take place rain or shine.  Please dress for the weather.  You may want to bring drinking water, wear comfortable walking shoes or boots, hats, and, if needed, bug spray & sunscreen.

If you have a story, poem, or a memory of the area, you are welcome to share it with the group.  

About the walk leader

Ben is a musician and composer, a teacher, and family man.  He is a seasoned performer with CDs and classical compositions to his name.  Jane is a retired teacher, a founder of the creative writing programme at Canterbury High School, a six-time national gold medalist at the Improv Games, with a lifetime of experience in theatre, a mother and grandmother.  They are both passionate about Ottawa, its art, its green, its history.  They are both passionate about poetry.

Both have been on the Poets’ Pathway organizing committee since 2006, Jane as Chair, Ben as secretary treasurer. The group's creation is a work of national significance in the city, a work of art itself, a 34-km pathway of green space, displaying fourteen poems by our national poets.  Each poem (twelve of them written in Ottawa,) is on land it describes and was written about. 

You can learn more about the Poets' Pathway at www.poetspathway.ca, where you will find descriptions and photos of different segments of the pathway.  

Guides:

Ben Glossop and Jane Moore

When:
Date:Sun May 5, 2019
Time:12:00 PM
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Where:
Start:16 Withrow Ave, one block west of Merivale
End:The Nepean Museum, 16 Rowley Ave.
Area:City View
Distance:1.25 kms
Accessibility:

The walk will follow city sidewalks and paved roads.  

Gallery
Kilmorie house and grounds Poets' Pathway walk participants, 2014. Inaugurating a plaque at Jane's Walk 2012. Recitation and song along the Poets' Pathway. Attendees at the 2017 unveiling of the plaque commemorating Confederation Poet William Pittman Lett Poets at the Lett unveiling, including George Elliott Clarke (left, Canada's poet laureate at the time).  2017. Winners of the 2018 Poets' Pathway Archibald Lampman Challenge. Historical personnage D'Arcy McGee made an appearance at the Lincoln Heights Unveiling (2018).
Volunteer to Marshal This Walk