Bethany Hope Centre is an Hintonburg treasure

By Linda Hoad

This elegant red-brick Salvation Army building on Wellington Street in Hintonburg has been serving women and their children since 1924.

As far back as 1907, the Salvation Army began service to children, opening a Home for Children in the former Ross home on a large estate bought from the son of Judge W.A.Ross.

The Ottawa Citizen reported in July 1907 that “the little ones who were in the rescue home on Daly avenue have been sent out to the new house and are in [the] charge of the matron in whose loving care they were committed. There are 16 in all, and needless to say they are enjoying the freedom and fun of the commodious grounds attached to the new home.

The Grace Hospital was the first new building to be constructed by the Salvation Army on their Hintonburg property, in 1922, although tenders had been called in 1914 by Horwood & Taylor, architects, for the Orphans’ Home Wellington St. This proposed building was described as “three-sto-rey, stone & brick, stone foundation, electric lighting.

However, the building that now serves as the Bethany Hope Centre was not built until 1925, possibly following the plans prepared by Horwood & Taylor.

By 1930, the building was known as the Salvation Army Rescue Home, and the Orphans’ Home was still operating in the former Ross house.

In 1958 the Ottawa Citizen reported that the “Salvation Army’s Ottawa Girls’ Home for unwed mothers last year admitted 124 girls.” The report indicates that the women moved into residence six to eight weeks before their confinement at the Grace Hospital and then returned to the home with their baby for about two weeks. Programs on baby care, household and domestic problems, spiritual assistance, rest and relaxation were offered. The home was linked to the Children’s Aid Society for place-ments, since single mothers seldom kept their children at that time.

The residential aspect of this service ended in 1994, when Bethany formed the Young/Single Parents Support Network in partnership with other agencies in 1995. The Bethany Hope Center now provides programs that address the physical, material, social and spiritual needs of pregnant and parenting youth and their children.

The Hintonburg Community Association has requested the designation of this building under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act because of the important role the Salvation Army has played in this neighbourhood (and continues to play at the Grace Manor) and because of its prominent location on Wellington Street.

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