Monday, October 13, 2014

The Nepean Bell

Back at the end of the 19th century, when Nepean was a town on the western outskirts of Ottawa, its town hall was situated in what is today known as the neighbourhood of Westboro. In fact, the old town hall was one of the previous locations for Where In Ottawa.

When the municipal offices for Nepean moved further into rural Ottawa, all the way west, into Bells Corners (which was named after Hugh Bell, who owned a tavern in that area from 1834–63), the original bell was taken from the Westboro city hall and erected on a three-legged stand outside the new offices. Each leg represented a family component: father, mother, and child. Nepean was seen as a community in which a family could prosper.

This statue was eventually recognized as the symbol for Nepean and from 1978 was used as a logo on street signs and other city property and stationery.

In 1988, when Nepean City Hall was relocated to Centrepointe, the bell came with it, and that's where it sits today. But this is not the bell that I shot for this month's Where In Ottawa challenge.

Come on, folks! That would be too easy.

While the bell I shot is a good likeness, it isn't the genuine article. No, another statue of the Nepean bell sits at the intersection of Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road, in front of the PetroCan gas station. It is right beside a sign that tells you that you're in the Longfields neighbourhood.

Here are the clues:
  1. Rural crossroads—like I said, the bell is where county roads 15 and 12 intersect. Back in the day, there was nothing to see for miles except farm fields.
  2. Out standing in FFFIIIEEELLLDDDSSS—that's my way of saying Longfields.
  3. The solution is a gas—or, rather, it's near a gas station.
  4. A barrbell—you may think I made a spelling mistake, but Longfields lies in the greater neighbourhood of Barrhaven. We're just a couple of minutes from my house.
Congratulations to our winner, Sarah Blank, who correctly left her guess on the blog post. Your copy of my novel has been sent your way, Sarah!

I would also like to give a shout out to Emily Bracewell, with Shared Museum Resources, who provided me with information about the history of the Nepean bell. Even she thought the bell that I shot was at Centrepointe. Thanks again for your help, Emily!

Where In Ottawa returns November 3.

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