Brian Foreman’s life has taken him many places: he lived in Switzerland to attend bible college; France, where he served as a missionary for 15 years, and even had a few brief stints in Chicago. He has travelled the world on business, from Egypt to India, from England to points in Asia.
But his early years were started in the community of Carleton Heights, and he now lives not far from the house he grew up in.
The community is nestled beside Mooney’s Bay, and stretches to Chesterton Drive to the west, Meadowlands Drive to the north, and Viewmount Drive to the south.
The community’s street signs bear witness to the military history of its earliest residents. The streets are named after battles fought in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Names such as Normandy, Apeldoorn, Ortona, and Falaise serve as some of the prominent street names in the community. Some may think that a reminder of these bloody battles would be unwanted. But maybe it serves as a memory to those that gave the ultimate price in those battles.
Jack Foreman, Brian’s father, and his wife Frances moved to the community in the late 1940′s. The community has its roots in the post-war boom, where homes were built for soldiers returning from war in Europe and the Pacific. Brian thinks they may have even been able to buy lots at preferred prices, because their war service, to build homes on it.
A former x-ray technician who served in Southern Italy during World War Two, Jack moved to Ottawa with Frances to work for a large company that sold and repaired x-ray machines. When not working, Brian says Jack would join others at the Carleton Heights Curling Club on Friday nights. The club, which still operates today, was started in 1956 by veterans in the community. For the first two years, the club consisted of two outdoor curling rinks and borrowed rocks.
Brian also has fond memories of the community. He attended Carleton Heights Public School, and would go skating on the rink beside the community centre on Apeldoorn.
“They had the hot stove shack in the winter time, and a rink,” Brian said. “It was a pretty great place. I can remember getting my tongue frozen to the wire mesh at the back of the rink, which every kid does once.”
He remembers the driving range that used to be where Dynes road now links Prince of Wales Drive and Fisher Avenue. Young people used to play mini-golf there. He remembers the drive-in movie theatre that used to sit at Baseline Road and Fisher Avenue. He remembers that the Green Valley Restaurant on Prince of Wales drive was a landmark of day, where many families would go for formal sunday dinners.
The community has changed over time obviously. The driving range and drive-in movie theatre have long disappeared from the area’s landscape. The community is no longer on the fringes of the city, but is now considered part of Central Ottawa. Brian notices that the big lots that made up the community don’t seem that big anymore. Many of the original houses have been replaced with larger, more modern homes and condos.
But regardless of the changes to the community, its roots will always lie with the military veterans that settled there. And for Brian, Carleton Heights and the surrounding area have always been a great place to call home.