Since the Fall a group of senior students have been exploring Rockcliffe Park with tour guide extraordinaire Elizabeth (Liz) Raymont Heatherington ’63. Each Friday at lunch, through rain, snow, sleet, and sun, this small yet mighty group would meet Liz outside the school and set off on an educational adventure. Some walks took the group down main arteries in Rockcliffe, while others took the group down winding paths and little-known roads, revealing stately private homes, residences of ambassadors and high commissioners, as well as parks and parklettes – each with a connection to Elmwood.
The charm of these weekly walks has been Liz’s stories of the founding families of Elmwood, their daughters, and how these families shaped not only our school, but the City of Ottawa. Liz talked about inventor and businessman Thomas Ahearn, lumber baron Henry Bronson, and the Southam family which built its fortune in newspapers, while walking past some of their grand estates which still stand today. She shared stories of other well known Ottawa families whose daughters attended Elmwood, and other more recent alumni whose family homes are either still privately owned, or occupied by foreign ambassadors and diplomats. Liz, who has a vast knowledge of art history and architecture, coupled with a long career in the foreign diplomatic service, has always been able to weave in an informative piece of Rockcliffe Park’s history, an interesting architectural observation, and even an anecdote of a day-in-the life of a former Elmwood student, making these Friday walks enjoyable and educational for all.
Last week Liz was joined by middle school students for their first Hiking the Hood experience, visiting the Apostolic Nunciature to Canada, the impressive property located at the head of Manor Avenue, known for its signature gatehouse. The previous owners of this home included members of the Keefer family who in 1929 sold the home to Carine Wilson, prominent Elmwood Old Girl and the first woman to be named to the Canadian Senate. This week another group of middle school students will join Liz for another exciting adventure.
A special thank you to Liz for showing our students that the heritage of Elmwood runs deep in the roots of Rockcliffe Park. Hiking the Hood will continue throughout the Spring.
Article written by Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Andrea Thomson.