One of the biggest builders in Ottawa during the 1950s and 1960s was Campeau Construction, a name still known today, even though the builder is no longer active. Many of the houses in Alta Vista were custom built, but Campeau was one of the first builders to construct tract homes in the area.
|Approximate locations of areas where Campeau built|
Beginning in the 1950s Campeau began building houses southwest of Kilborn Avenue and Alta Vista Drive, north of Randall Avenue. At the time, bungalows and one-and-a-half storey houses were most popular. Many of the “Victory Houses” built by Wartime Housing Ltd. for returning veterans after WWII were one-and-a-half stories, and the style soon became very popular for all builders. Below are some of Campeau's one-and-a-half storey plans built in the area:
With time, the one-and-a-half storey house became less popular, and bungalows and split-level houses became the norm. An easy way to determine the age of houses on a street in Alta Vista is to look at the style of the houses. If there are many one-and-a-half storey houses, the houses on the street were probably built in the early 1950s. Bungalows became very popular in the late 1950s and 1960s, and split level plans more popular in the mid-to-late 1960s. Below are some of Campeau's bungalow plans built in Alta Vista:
The CMHC, or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (then called the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation), published a series of plan books from the late 1940s to the 1970s with houses suitable to be built in Canada. Many of Campeau’s early houses look to be built from these plans, or at least very much inspired by them.
|Some of the early houses in Alta Vista built by Campeau have a very similar plan to this CMHC design.|
The area northwest of Kilborn Avenue and Alta Vista Drive was developed as "Applewood Acres" by Campeau. While the majority of houses in the area were build by Campeau, there are some streets with custom built houses (many from CMHC plans), as well some custom designed houses built by Garand. According to a Campeau brochure from the late 1950s, 350 houses were built by the company in Applewood Acres.
|A CMHC plan built in Applewood Acres|
While the majority of houses in Alta Vista are detached, Campeau constructed one of the few pockets of semi-detached houses in Applewood Acres.
The least built type of houses in 1950s and 1960s were two storey models. I believe this has a lot to do with the whole idea of the suburban lifestyle, and having the luxury of land which allows for a sprawling house on one level. Two storey houses were more common in older areas like the Glebe, where lot sizes were generally narrower. So, even if technically the house wasn’t on a sprawling ranch property, having a bungalow at least eluded to idea of having a lot of land. That being said, Campeau built a few two-storey models, most based on the same basic plan, just differing in the sizes of the rooms:
Many of the Campeau plans built in Alta Vista and Applewood Acres were also built in Elmvale Acres, Queensway Terrace and Bel-Air Heights - often with slight variations.