#ThrowbackThursday: Minister of Finance’s New Budget Shoes

It’s everybody’s favourite time in Ottawa: BUDGET WEEK! Yay!

Ok, so maybe it’s not that exciting. For our throwback this week I went digging for interesting tidbits in really old budgets, but those also turned out to be not so exciting! Who knew.

What I did come across though, was a strange tradition that the Minister of Finance would wear new shoes when presenting the new budget to the House. A little further searching as to the origins of this revealed that the Library of Parliament did their own thorough investigation into this tradition, and summarized it into a beautiful chart that I could not possibly hope to outdo. As it turns out, Donald Fleming was the first confirmed minister to wear new shoes, for the budget day in 1960, and it’s unknown where or how this custom came about.

Nevertheless Bill Morneau has again followed suit this year, sporting a $250 pair from the Edmonton company Poppy Barley.

#ThrowbackThursday: Ottawa-Carleton Practice Guide

How many of you remember this item? Better yet, how many still have one kicking around the office?

The Ottawa-Carleton Practice Guide was first published in 1993, and was a place to keep the CCLA by-laws, local practice directions, and back copies of the CCLA Bulletin. It was available only to members in good standing, and to be honest, this is a really nice quality binder, so I can see why! As tempting as it is to revive this publication (librarians: we’re all obsessed with stationery products), you could say our website performs this same function today. Bylaws! Practice directions! Newsletters!

#ThrowbackThursday: “Online Searching – What can it do for YOU???”

As previously discussed on this blog, we love references to old technology, old terminology, and old librarianship topics. I was flipping through the old CCLA Bulletins, and found this delightful piece on online searching.


This was written almost exactly 24 years ago, and obviously in that time online searching has become the first (and for many people, last) stop in their research. I don’t think I’d have to work this hard to convince many people nowadays to try searching online! I found the tidbit about Quicklaw having “peak hours” for researching to be particularly interesting – that is certainly from before my time as a law librarian (and those prices – ouch!).

#ThrowbackThursday: The Carleton Medal

Of the four awards handed out annually by the CCLA, the Carleton Medal is our oldest and most prestigious. This award celebrates someone from our community who has made a significant impact on the profession over the course of their career. The list of recipients of the Carleton Medal is truly impressive – you can check out the full list here.

Carleton Medal – Kenneth Jarvis, R.C.A. (1988)

The history of the Carleton Medal is told with great detail in the book that was written for the 100th anniversary of the CCLA. The Medal was actually struck in that year to mark the centenary, and was designed by Kenneth Jarvis, Q.C., R.C.A. The design was based on the armorial bearings of Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester. Here’s what The First Century has to say:

The main element of his armorial achievement was the broad arrow, and this has been incorporated in the design of the Carleton Medal in two modes; on the obverse it appears in the naturalistic form of the arrowhead plant, a hardy and familiar native of Canadian lakes and streams. In this form it represents growth and vigour, striving upward towards the light, and producing, in due season, fine white blossoms. At the top of the obverse of the medal are the buds of future flowers symbolic of continuing growth. The two plants with their leaves and blooms represent the French and English components of the Association.

The motto, vicimus virtute, may be translated victory through merit and combines the ideas of conflict and the just resolution of it in favour of the more meritorious or deserving. … The motto relates also to Guy Carleton’s motto, quondam his vicimus armis, which may be translated, with these arms of yore we conquered.

(From: William C.V. Johnson, ed, The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton Law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Association’s Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa: Bonanza Press Ltd., 1988).)

The recipient of this year’s Carleton Medal will be announced in the coming weeks, and will be presented at the CCLA Awards Dinner on March 7.


#ThrowbackThursday: Ottawa Public Library

There was an intriguing op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen this week regarding the hot-button issue of the location of a new Ottawa Public Library main branch. In a piece by architect Allan Teramura, the argument is made for building a new show-stopping library in Confederation Park (which, oh hey, is right across the street from the Courthouse!). I’m personally a huge fan of the current darling of the library world – the Halifax Public Library central branch, mentioned in the op-ed – and if we can have something of that caliber in our city, it would be truly exciting.

This lead me to thinking about the OPL main branch, and particularly what I had heard of but had never seen for myself – pictures of the previous main branch, which was a Carnegie library. Carnegie libraries were libraries built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries with money donated from Andrew Carnegie. If you’ve never heard of these, here’s the wiki (and with 125 built in Canada, there’s a decent chance there was a Carnegie library near you at some point! Here’s some more information on Canadian Carnegies specifically.). Ottawa’s Carnegie library was opened in 1906, at the same location as the current main branch, and this is probably my favourite picture of it:

Swoon! This blog post from Unforgotten Ottawa has a great collection of pictures, and a lot more information on this library, including why and when it was eventually replaced with the building we have today.

#ThrowbackThursday: CCLA’s Anniversary Month

Happy new year, Ottawa legal community! We’re back on the blog, and for our first Throwback Thursday post of 2017, we’re looking at CCLA history. The CCLA has been around since 1888, and while the first meeting to discuss the formation of the association was actually held in December 1887, it was in the following month that we came into being! This year we celebrate being 129 years old (which, believe it or not, does not make us the oldest law association in the province!).

On the occasion of our 100th anniversary, a book was published detailing the history of our association. The following excerpt comes from this book:

On December 17, 1881, in the Lecture Room of the Literary Society of Ottawa, a meeting of local lawyers was held for the purpose of exploring the idea of establishing an association of the members of the practising Bar in the community similar to that in place in other cities. The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Mr. Justice W.A. Henry. The result was a neatly printed circular dates at Ottawa on the 4th of January, 1888 requesting the presence of members of the Bar at a meeting to be held in the same Lecture Room, 25 Sparks Street, Ottawa, on January 7, 1888 at 4:30 in the afternoon. The circular is reproduced for posterity.

“Ottawa, January 4th, 1888
Dear Sir,

At a meeting of the Members of the Bar, held on the 17th December, in the Lecture Room of the Literary Society, it was decided to organize a Bar Association for the County of Carleton, and a Committee was appointed for the purpose of making all necessary enquiries with respect to simiar associations in other cities and drawing the declaration and a scheme for organization for submission to a future meeting.

The Committee so appointed have prepared a scheme under the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada for organization, and have drawn for approval and signatures, the declaration for registration under the Literary Associations Act, which it is intended to submit to the adjourned meeting to be held in the Lecture Room of the Library Society, 25 Sparks Street, on Saturday, next, the 7th January Instant, at 4:30 pm.

It is proposed to sign and complete the declaration at that meeting and to elect the Trustees who are to be the governing body of the Association, and whose names must appear in the declaration; and it is of the utmost importance for the future success of the Association that the meeting should be a general meeting of the Barristers and Solicitors of the City of Ottawa.

Your presence is respectfully requested at the above meeting on Saturday afternoon next at 4:30.

W.A. Henry (Justice Supreme Court), Chairman
R. Lees, Q.C.
W. Mosgrove
F.H. Chrysler
R.J. Wicksteed
G.M. Greene
G.E. Kidd
F. Bebbington, Secretary

The meeting took place and the minutes have survived. Details of the event were apparently of enough local interest to have appeared in the Ottawa Citizen the following Monday.

At the meeting it was resolved that an association composed of barristers and solicitors practising in the County of Carleton to be called “The County of Carleton Law Association” be established. The first trustees were the following: Robert Lees; Francis Henry Chrysler; John N. Greene; David O’Connor; William Mosgrove; John Alexander; Duncan Byron MacTavish; Napoleon A. Belcourt; and Francis Robert Latchford. It is a legitimate assumption that the trustees were a representative sampling of members of the practising Bar in Ottawa who numbered at the time approximately 60 souls.

From: David W. Scott, Q.C., “County of Carleton Law Association The Early Years: 1888-1920” in William C.V. Johnson, ed., The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton Law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Association’s Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa: Bonanza Press Ltd., 1988) 6.

#ThrowbackThursday: CCLA Newsletter, December 15, 1986

Robeside Assistance readers, it’s been a terrific 2016. This will be our last blog post until the new year. I flipped through our old CCLA newsletters and was pleased to see that we had one written exactly 30 years ago today. It’s not the most thrilling of old newsletters, but some of you may enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane all the same. Have a wonderful holiday break, and we’ll see you in 2017!


news1 news2 news3



#ThrowbackThursday: Viola Desmond (1914-1965) 1

Very exciting news today! Viola Irene Desmond (1914-1965), an iconic civil rights activist, will be the first Canadian woman to be featured on a banknote. A black businesswoman and beautician from Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond was jailed after refusing to leave the “whites only” section at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1946. Viola Desmond’s image will be replacing Sir John A. Macdonald’s on Canada’s new $10 bill in 2018.

Viola Irene Desmond (Winnipeg Free Press)


Viola Desmond took her case to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax – above is the Notice of Motion. (Nova Scotia Archives). More legal documents associated with this case can be viewed here.


Here is an article from a provincial newspaper covering Viola Desmond’s court case (Nova Scotia Archives).

Sources and Further Reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Holiday Social!

Holiday Party Flyer, 1986


I rubbed my hands together greedily when I saw this while flipping through our old CCLA newsletters. Tonight is our 3rd Holiday Social at the Knox Church (so you should come!), but this little gem is from our library and lounge drop-in in 1986. Please note: there will be no library orientation tours accompanying tonight’s festivities – just yummy eats, festive drinks, and live music!