What’s In a Name? Corkstown Road

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.

3 thoughts on “What’s In a Name? Corkstown Road”

  1. Corkstown is indeed a name with deep roots in Ottawa. There’s some thought the road takes its name not from the Rideau Canal settlement but from the Irish labourers at quarries in the Bells Corners area, including the Bishop’s Quarry at the top of the hill between Moodie and Eagleson, where the CANMET complex is now. Henry Bishop also operated a boarding house and a tavern at the site. For more on this, and on the sad plight of Mrs. Lowney’s cows, check out:

  2. Thank you very much for your info and the link to broader and more correct info about Corkstown Rd.
    I have extensively hiked the area south of 417 where many remnants of homes , farms and quarries are obvious. My curiosity about the correct history of the area is peaked.

    It is so nice to get more historical info for this area.
    Thank you.

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