The Armour Heights Neighbourhood
First Houses (see
the picture gallery)
to Suzanne Heilingbrunner's Story
Before the Second
World War, the Armour Heights area was on the outskirts of the
city. As was happening all over Peterborough, thousands of the
houses were being built or purchased by soldiers and their families
soon after their return from the War. The government helped somewhat
by providing mortgage loans.
The family pictured below, purchased a partly assembled home,
called a "Halliday Home" which arrived by truck in front of 254
Caddy Street in Spring, 1947. This particular model was called
"The Bevin". Eight foot sections of 2 by 4 wall had already been
assembled at the factory in Hamilton, with the doors and windows
installed. These flat sections of wall were then bolted together.
However, all of the digging, block laying, plumbing, roofing,
wall boarding, flooring, and electrical work had to be carried
out on site. The first back hoe in Peterborough was used to install
the water and sewer system serving this house, the first one
built on Caddy Street, east of the creek.
The plans, or blue prints, for this house described the requirements
in detail. All of the needed lumber and other supplies, including
nails and the kitchen sink, came with the order for the house.
The home builders, Don and Betty Delong, moved to a larger house
several blocks away, when their fourth child was about to be
born. Betty and Don eventually moved back into a cozy Halliday
Home at 685 Ross Street, after their children grew up.
Send in your stories about the development of the Armour
Heights neighbourhood to Dan
They can be published right here.
Dean ( Heilingbrunner) who now lives in Arizona and whose
parents built this unique house with the wrap around
balcony, very near Armour Heights , sent along her recollections
of growing up in the neighbourhood.
Yes, that house "in contrast" was
and Dad immigrated to Peterborough in 1951, after their marriage. They
came from England and Germany respectively. They
bought the lot at 310 McFarlane St. the spring of 1952
and started building. My
dad had training with design and building. (He was
an engineer.) So the "unique" house was
a passive solar design, reminiscent of the chalets in Southern
They moved into this incompleted home in
winter of '52 and finished the upstairs the next year. Around
1960 they built an addition on the right side. They
sold it in 1979. We loved living there. There
were huge picture windows in the front, so one could see
the milk man drive up with his horse and wagon on Saturday
mornings. (Unfortunately that ended before I remember.)
After a fresh snow we delighted in watching
the horse-drawn sidewalk plows. We always wanted to run out and
pet the horses. Along came the popcorn man from
time to time, pushing his handcart around the neighborhood.
We had a gentle slope on the side of our
yard for sliding when we were little, and huge trees to
climb in the backyard. The
neighbourhood parents asked the City Recreation Department
if they could develop the triangle of land between our
house and Simmons St. into a park. We called it
the "Tot Lot". There were swings, teeter-totters,
a slide etc. there. In winter the city flooded the
sandbox area to make a skating rink. Life was good!!
We also used the school yard for all kinds
of play. Sliding
on the hills in winter, riding our bikes on the concrete
yard, using the baseball diamond on weekends. It
was great to live across from the school. I remember
walking past those big trees where the Ludgate House was,
often daydreaming as I walked to school. In those
days we came home for lunch too. Armour Hill gave all kinds
of adventure opportunities. The big kids went sliding
and skiing there in the winter. Of course, they
always went with the warning "Stay away from the road".
In summer we'd take cardboard and slide down
the slope on the grass. There were thickets to explore, and
games to play. The canal was so much fun in the
summer. We swam in "Toby's bay". (The
Toby family owned the last house on the street by the canal.)When
boats would pass we'd ride the waves of their wake. We
took our little sailboat down there too. The big boys used
to jump off the High Bridge . We always had stern
warnings against that. That was not necessary -
it looked far too scary to try.
Then there was the Lift Locks, and Nicholls
Oval, Barrett's store, and so much more. The
neighborhood seemed so huge and fascinating as a kid. Now
it seems so small. But it was a wonderful place
(and time) to grow up. I've enjoyed your entries on
the website, and I've enjoyed recalling the fun times.
Suzanne ( Heilingbrunner) firstname.lastname@example.org
In a series of articles about the accomplishments of the
various Peterborough mayors, this excerpt
refers to the building of wartime houses, their deficiencies
and their staying power.
PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER April 10 1965
A CRITICAL housing shortage; selection of a site for the new
City Hall and Memorial Centre, and the building of the Civic
Hospital were four major problems the city council had to face
in the three years that William G. Ovens was mayor.
During the war 500 'wartime' houses had been built in four neighboring
communities and 60 more were scattered throughout the city. When
they were built, the plans called for removal after the war but
their continuing use now, more than 20 years later, offers an
interesting contrast with estimates that their life would be
When the houses on Burnham's Point were being constructed—the
first group erected in the city — Ald. James Dutton remarked,
in looking over the work along with other members of the council,
'of course, when the war is over, all these houses will be cleared
away. They are just a temporary convenience for people on the
move to munitions work.'
Had no cellars
The houses had been designed for speedy
construe-lion. They were minus cellars, foundations and other
details which go into permanent homes.
All thoughts of levelling them were routed even before the war
ended, and discussions were getting around to terms of sale and
to making them permanent. The one exception was the block of
125 at the west end of Charlotte Street situated on what was
then called, the Hatton property: the farm of the late George
W. Hatton who was for many years the crown attorney.
There, the houses were put up for auction and had to be removed
by the purchasers. The property was re-subdivided into 95 larger
lots on which houses ranging in price today from $15,000 to $25,000
In May 1947 terms of sale were approved by Wartime Housing Limited,
the Crown Corporation which owned the homes, and the city council.
A down payment of 15 per cent would
be required and for the remainder of the purchase, a monthly
payment at about the same rate as rent charged. For the first
five years the transaction would be by agreement of sale, and
after that, if the purchaser was still an occupant, he would
receive a rebate of 17.5 per cent of the amount paid. He would
then receive a deed and the sum remaining would be registered
as a mortgage held by the crown corporation. In addition to monthly
payments the government agency would collect from the tenants
the annual municipal axes for the city's tax collector.
It was also provided that for any houses not sold, the city
would continue to accept from the agency, $25 and $30 a year
depending on the size of the house, in lieu of the municipal
Bought and sold
The houses on Burnham's point were bought by the Peterborough
Lumber Company, the owners of the land, and these were also changed
into permanent dwellings and sold.
Making permanent the wartime houses did not begin to provide
the housing accommodation for families requiring homes and the
paramount concern of the council in 1946 was a harassing scarcity
Peterborough needed 1,340 additional dwellings and it was said
that of these, 670 should rentable and 30 per cent the remaining
should be apartments. By 1946, 2,500 men in the armed services
had returned, many of them had married either before they went
overseas or while overseas, and now they too wanted to set up
homes of their own. An additional 1,000 men were expected to
return that year. The city paid $11,000 for 20 acres of land
on McKellar Street and here 100 more houses were built. Returned
men were given the first opportunity to purchase. These and additional
homes later built in the area required further annexations. The
city's boundaries were continually changing and it required several
more years of home building before there were enough houses to
meet the demand.
Council, in February, 1946, bought 43.25 acres of land from
Hugh Stewart for $19,-000 as the site for Civic Hospital. Plans
went ahead for the building estimated 10 cost $1,338,000. However,
with de-lays in working drawings, shortages of building materials
and increases in building costs, it was estimated a year later
that the hospital would cost $1,775,000. That estimate proved
later to be far from the final cost. The contract was let to
the Eastwood Construction Company and on November 25, 1948, Viscount
Alexander of Tunis, the Governor-General, laid the cornerstone.
Selecting a site for the Memorial Centre turned out to be a
more involved and controversial question. A general committee
was set up in 1945 and several sites pro-posed. The council offered
King Edward Park and other sites suggested were Morrow Park;
James Stevenson Park and the block of land opposite George Street