As one of two major arteries within Crystal Beach Lakeview, Corkstown Road represents a significant placename in our community. But where did “Corkstown” come from?
Corkstown is actually tied to the early history of Ottawa’s settling and the construction of the Rideau Canal. You probably think of Lieutenant-Colonel John By when you think of the canal, and rightly so, the folks who did the back-breaking and sometimes dangerous work were mostly emigrants from Ireland. The labourers lived in a series of shanties on the west bank of the canal called “Corktown” or “Corkstown”, in reference to County Cork in southwest Ireland, from which most of them had emigrated. The settlement was allowed due to the workers’ desperate poverty and inability to pay rent.
Corktown disappeared shortly after the completion of the canal, but lives on as Corktown footbridge over the canal and our very own Corkstown Road.