The Glebe is a neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located just south of Ottawa's downtown area in the Capital Ward. According to the Glebe Community Association, the neighbourhood is bounded on the north by the Queensway, on the east and south by the Rideau Canal and on the west by LeBreton Street South, Carling Avenue and Dow's Lake. This area includes the Glebe Annex, an area west of Bronson Avenue that maintains its own neighbourhood association. The Glebe has a strong community association which, in addition to running a large community centre, lobbies the local government on issues such as traffic calming and neighbourhood development. The Glebe has a community newspaper, Glebe Report, that has been published independently since 1973.
The area is called the Glebe because in the initial 1837 survey of Ottawa the area of 178 acres was deeded by the Crown to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church as Clergy Reserve. The word "glebe" means church lands, and the area was originally known as "the glebe lands of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church". When the area was opened for development in 1870, real estate agents began to refer to it simply as "The Glebe". The initial area was bounded by Carling Avenue and Fifth Avenue on the north and south sides, and Main Street and Bronson Avenue as the eastern and western limits. The original city limits on the south side had been set at Gladstone Avenue when the city was incorporated. Annexation in 1889 extended the new limits to the Rideau Canal. By Act of the Provincial Legislature, the Glebe became part of a small but growing city. By the late 1960s, the Glebe was bounded by the Queensway on the north side, by the Rideau Canal on the east and south, and with Bronson Avenue as a western boundary.
The Glebe was one of Ottawa's first suburbs. In 1871 James Whyte, one of the leading merchants of the town, built a large residence on the Canal Road on the north side of the waterway at the midpoint between what is now Bank Street and Bronson Avenue, which served the Basilian Fathers in the 1960s. In 1872, James Whyte moved into a new home on Bank Street near Holmwood Avenue, which served the community in the 1960s as a residence for older people. In 1882 the creation of Central Park and the construction of the new Canada Atlantic Railway terminal on the west side of the Rideau Canal at the end of the Glebe encouraged the development of the southern section of the city. In June 1891, the first electric streetcar set off down Bank Street for the Exhibition, which opened at Lansdowne Park in 1888.
After 1945, postwar housing filled in the remaining acres, particularly on those streets just off Bronson Avenue where house construction had declined in the years after 1930. Side yards and vacant lots disappeared in the final stages of development. Elsewhere in the Glebe, house construction at the time was unplanned and erratic, with housing standards lower and development haphazard. After World War II, however, these areas were largely removed or rehabilitated so that by the late 1960s the Glebe possessed housing stock suitable for both upper- and middle-income groups. The Ottawa Improvement Commission, the forerunner of the National Capital Commission, beautified the area with special attention to sidewalks, trees and shrubs, and streetlights. In the middle part of the century, the Glebe changed as the middle class moved to more distant suburbs such as Alta Vista and Nepean, and the Glebe became transformed into a predominantly working-class neighbourhood with the houses subdivided into multiple apartments or turned into rooming houses.
The neighbourhood began to change again in the 1970s when it underwent significant gentrification and became one of Ottawa's elite neighbourhoods. These changes are obvious in the census. From 1971 to 1996 the percentage of the population with university degrees rose from 10 to 60 percent. White-collar employment grew from less than half to some 95%.
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