Every road that leads to my home of nearly 20 years, greets you with a dubious sign acknowledging your arrival.
They read, “Welcome to Stittsville”.
You might immediately giggle……….. “Stittsville” tee hee.
That’s my point.
You can imagine how many times the city had to repair the vandalized “S” over the years.
We have laughed about it for 2 decades.
I’m sure there are hundreds of graduating classes and inebriated Sens fans and Flea Market visitors who regale in their stories of spray painting the Stittsville signs.
Hey, truth is, I thought the same thing when we moved here from Burlington in 1999.
Name aside, I soon realized upon our arrival, that every person I told about where we found a house, Hobin Street in Stittsville, was impressed, saying how lovely it is there. I don’t know if they actually knew that or had just heard that. It was true.
We were impressed by the home prices. $245,000.!!!!!!!
The subdivision was called Crossing Bridge Estates. Every driveway had a culvert for drainage and each home had masonry turrets with lights at the street level.
Having just moved from the GTA we said. “We’ll take 2 please”. Reverse sticker shock. Imagine buying a home now in Ottawa for $245k?
It was a lovely home with a huge lot and we fell hard for it. The back yard was ridiculously big. From Hobin to the back fence on one side was 270′ deep and across the back was 180′. It was 70′ across the front. It was amazing. It was listed as an irregular pie shape. The downside was a busy Hobin, if you had small kids. We did not, but even if we did, the upside was so much more than the downside.
So we took it. And that price. Yikes.
Our realtor was Bill Renaud. There’s a blast from the past right?
He was a character. Not sure whatever happened to him but he represented us when we purchased in 1999 and when we sold to move to Halifax in 2009.
I remember listing and was extremely emotional about giving it up. I literally cried the day I drove away from it.
But life deals you cards and you need to play them. The sign didn’t even go up on the lawn. We had a showing booked so we went out shopping to Browns and had a message when we got back. “We have an offer”. I think everyone knows what happened to real estate values here and needless to say sellers did well and buyers got in at the right time….the upside of a balanced market.
We ended up living in Halifax for a few years and I might add that property values there were pretty opportunistic when we relocated, depending on where you lived. We bought a 2 acre spot in Windsor Junction/Fall River for much less than we sold here. Very nice.
After a few years in Nova Scotia, it was off to Kingston for nearly 2. Not the greatest real estate market but a nice place to live.
Fate called 5 years ago and we answered…..it was back to Ottawa. Guess where we chose to live? Right. We actually put an offer on a new house and didn’t get it. That was fortunate. We drive by the location now and say “yuck”. Nice house but terrible lot. We ended up off Fernbank in a great house with everything we wanted. Turnkey really. Constance Macrae was our realtor and she was great. As typical “Stittsvillian” empty nesters, you’ll see us walking and shopping and telling kids to get off our lawn and enjoying everything Stittsville has to offer.
There is a lot about this part of Ottawa that we have come to love over the years, but it all started in 1999 when our very good friends advised us that their parents retired in Amberwood and we’d like that part of the city. That was true. We also felt glad to be here for this amazing couple who we became extremely close to until their passing a few years back. We often drive by their neighbourhood and think of them. We had a standing 5p Saturday cocktail date.
And I know their daughter loved having us close to them.
Stittsville wasn’t my first choice because I commuted to Toronto for a decade from Burlington and did not want a long drive to work here in Ottawa.
Stittsville seemed too far to the by-ward market where CHEZ was located. But we bit the bullet because of the property and the Luke’s. I’m officially 40 minutes to work. No big deal.
Never regretted it.
Brady went to A. Lorne Cassidy, which was literally a 3 minute walk and Adam had to attend HS in Kanata because Sacred Heart wasn’t built. It was not easy on Adam, changing High Schools at his age, but he killed it and settled in quickly. I doubt he’d ever leave Ottawa now. But who knows?
Brady went on to Sacred Heart. I’d drop him off most mornings. Parking lot Zoo. Good school though.
When we first moved here. Hazeldean was a 2 lane soft tar road with no street lights from Terry Fox drive to Rona on Mainstreet. There was no Kevin Haime driving range and certainly no big box stores to the North. In fact, seeing Cabottos was a sign of “oh my god, we’re almost there….stay calm”.
The independent grocer was where the Dollar store/shoppers is now. There have been countless outlets in that mall. One constant has been Napoli’s restaurant. A great success story and community contributor.
We were always somewhat worried about the famous Stittsville landfill north of 417 at Carp. Who knows what goes on underneath a landfill? But so far so good. They’ve got it landscaped and vented. I remember driving up to the top of that heap one day to drop off some yard waste. Have you ever been on a mountain of landfill? Not pleasant. As Eddie said in Christmas Vacation. “Sh@&!er’s Full”. But I digress.
So what’s the big deal about Stittsville?
I am reminiscing because Dawn recently told me about a Facebook page dedicated to our neighbourhood and it’s quite comforting to find a group that is as enthusiastic and loyal and happy with living here as we are. It’s a group that shares good news, observations and editorials about how to make Stittsville a better place to live.
As much as technology is allowing us to become a globally connected community, citizens still want to be connected locally. So congrats to the organizers.
Are we growing too fast? Ya, probably. Is traffic terrible? Trick question. Sorry, but no it’s not…….in context. Yes, Main street is pretty busy from 4-6 but it’s not Toronto.
We have so much to be thankful for with the parks, walking paths, neighbourhoods, shops and stores, restaurants and yes, even that big box zone north of Hazeldean.
We have Kathleen Edwards’ Quitters. Who knew that would turn into a mini Starbucks? I could not have imagined as many choices in 1999. We now have Jack Ketch and the Keg. And more retail is coming to the Brown’s lot.
Come and visit us sometime.
And resist your urge to vandalize the welcome sign. We’ll just fix it anyhow.