History of the RCCO Ottawa Centre

A History of the RCCO Ottawa Centre

Alternate information

College of Organists Created

College of Organists created.

Installation of Largest Church Organ in Canada

Casavant installs the largest church organ in Canada, a five-manual pipe organ, in Metropolitan United Church, Toronto. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, September 1930, pages 1 and 35

Canadian Guild of Organists Founded

The Canadian Guild of Organists is founded.

The Diapason Magazine Founded

The Diapason Magazine is founded in 1909, publishing its first edition in December. The first edition features a article on the construction of an organ for Northwestern University by the Casavant Brothers. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, December 1909

St. Matthew's Anglican Church Gets New Pipe Organ

Casavant Opus 376, 2 manuals, 21 stops. References and photo credit: Casavant Freres Archives

New Organ for St. Bartholomew's

Warren 1894 pipe organ built for Rideau Hall is donated to St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church. Reference: "St. Bart’s of the Village 1867 – 1967" by Zita Barbara May

St. Francois d'Assise Buys Pipe Organ

St. Francois d'Assise buys a Karn-Warren pipe organ from City of Ottawa for $1,500. The organ had earlier belonged to Knox Presbytarian Church, and had been purchased by the City of Ottawa for $10,000. References and photo credits: St. Francis d’Assise Archives

Imperial Theatre Installs Theatre Pipe Organ

Imperial Theatre, Bank Street, installs a theatre pipe organ built by Ottawa's Brouse-Underhill Organ Company. The April 1917 edition of The Diapason notes that "this organ is unique in many ways, one of the most important features being the installation of a grand piano in a swell box with the great organ and played from either the great or the accompaniment keyboard, as well as pedal keyboard." References and photo credits: The Diapason Magazine, April 1917, page 6; City of Ottawa Archives

Regent Theatre installs Casavant organ

Regent Theatre, on Bank & Sparks Streets, Ottawa, Ontario, installed a Casavant pipe organ (2 manual, 22 stops) in 1916. The Regent Theatre had 1056 seats, and in 1928 became the first theatre in Ottawa to play films with sound. In 1987, the Regent Theatre's Casavant pipe organ was moved and installed in the Chinese United Church, Bank Street, Ottawa. References: Casavant Freres Archives

Death of Noted Organ Builder Edward Lye

Noted church organ builder Edward Lye of Toronto is dead at the age of 91. He is survived by six sons and several grandchildren. References and photo credit: The Toronto Daily Star, Monday, November 19, 1919

Creation of Canadian College of Organists

The Canadian Guild of Organists becomes the Canadian College of Organists.

Capital Theatre Installs Theatre Pipe Organ

Capital Theatre, 90 Bank Street, Golden Palace, installs Theatre Pipe Organ. References: City of Ottawa Archives

St. Lucas Church Installs New Organ

St. Lucas (St. Luke's) Evangelical Lutheran Church gets new pipe organ (Casavant Opus 820, 2 manual, 13 stops). References: Casavant Freres Archives

Ottawa Centre Founded

Ottawa Centre founded under leadership of Dr. John W. Bearder, whose experience included: -Organist of St. Matthew's Anglican Church; -Supervised several school orchestras; -Music editor, Ottawa Journal Newspaper; -National College President, 1926-1927; -Ottawa Centre Chairman, 1921-1934 (13 years).

First Church Service Broadcast Over Radio

First church service broadcast on radio over KDKA Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

H.S. Southam Buys Pipe Organ for his Wife

In 1925, Harry S. Southam, the successful newspaper tycoon of Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa, signs a contract with the Aeolian Organ Company on January 30th to purchase a pipe organ of 2 manuals, 15 stops, 8 ranks, and chimes, plus Duo Art (for playing music rolls). The purchase cost is $15,000, a gift for his wife. Another contract is signed on May 25th for the addition of a Harp for $5,270. A further contract is signed on March 27th, 1929, for the addition of 9 ranks of pipes for $12,475. A third manual is added on July 16th for $1,869. In 1944, a fire almost destroys the Southam residence, but the pipe organ is undamaged and the instrument of 3 manuals and pedal, 17 ranks, with chimes and harp, now valued at $34,000, is placed in storage. In 1945, the pipe organ is donated to Glebe Collegiate, Ottawa by Mr. Southam along with a gift of around $1,500 to help move and install the organ in its new home. In 1964, the pipe organ is moved from Glebe Collegiate to Saint-Louis-Marie-de-Montfort Catholic Church, Ottawa. The original three manual console is eplaced with a two manual. The inaugural concert is held September 25th, with organists Wilfrid Charette of Notre-Dame Cathedral-Basilica and Godfrey Hewitt of Christ Church Cathedral sharing the honours. In 2013, the Aeolian Pipe Organ Opus 1567, Year 1925 is now 88 years old and is still being played every Sunday. References: Aeolian Pipe Organ Company Archives

Ottawa Expropriates Land, Church and Pipe Organ

In 1929, the City of Ottawa expropriated the land, church and pipe organ located at Knox Presbytarian Church on Queen/Elgin Streets. Church services continued to be held there until 1931, and were then moved down the street to their new church at located at Elgin and Lisgar Streets. References and photo credits: City of Ottawa Archives

Largest Organ in Canada is Installed in Royal York Hotel

Toronto's Royal York Hotel receives a 5-manual pipe organ, installed by Casavant. This pipe organ is the largest organ in Canada. References and photo credits: The Diapason Magazine, August 1929, pages 1 and 2

Death of Organist Lynnwood Farnam

Famous Canadian organist Lynnwood Farnam, known as the Master Organist of the Century, passes away on November 30th at the age of 45. References: Farnam’s Archives, Cutis Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA

CCO Becomes RCCO

To mark its 50th Anniversary, the Canadian College of Organists is granted the use of "Royal" by Queen Elizabeth II, and becomes the Royal Canadian College of Organists. The Diapason Magazine notes that "the honor from the Queen is in recognition of the long service of the College in promoting a higher standard of organ playing, church music, and musical composition". References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, June 1959, page 24

Musical Evening At H.S. Southam's Home

Ottawa Centre holds a musical evening at Casa Loma, the Ottawa home of Harry S. Southam and his wife. The evening includes performances on the three-manual Aeolian organ in Casa Loma's music room. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, November 1941, page 24

Southam Donates Pipe Organ to Glebe Collegiate

H.S. Southam donates aeolian pipe organ to Glebe Collegiate along with $1,500 to assist with the installation.

Hulse and Playfair Funeral Home Begins Recitals

Hulse and Playfair Funeral Home, home of new Casavant, begins organ recitals. Recitals include performances by Myron McTavish, Mus.B., F.C.C.O., Carman H. Milligan, Mus.Bac. References and photo credits: Casavant Freres Archives; Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Funeral Home Archives

Recitals by McTavish and Secondary Students

Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa's official organist, Myron McTavish, F.A.G.O., F.C.C.O., L.T.C.M., organizes concerts in which secondary students conduct vocal and instrumental performances using the three-manual Aeolian organ in the auditorium of Ottawa's Glebe Collegiate Institute. McTavish organizes seven such concerts per year, with between 800 and 1,100 people attending each concert. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, February 1947, page 7

Franklin Legge Organ Company Bankruptcy

Toronto's Franklin Legge Organ Company goes into bankruptcy on September 12th. Its US and Canadian creditors include churches and supply houses. The Franklin Legge Organ Company would continue to operate until 1957. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, November 1947, page 32

Diapason Magazine Celebrates 50 Years

The Diapason Magazine celebrates fifty years of dedication to the organ world.

Beginning of Ottawa-area Pipe Organ Building

Ottawa and area undergo major pipe organ building for ten years.

Dominion Methodist Church Burns

Dominion Methodist Church (The Mother Church), on Queen & Metcalfe Streets, burns. The church housed a Casavant pipe organ. References and photo credits: City of Ottawa Archives

Chalmers United Becomes Dominion-Chalmers United

Chalmers United Church, O'Connor & Copper Streets, becomes Dominion-Chalmers United.

Home Pipe Organ Installation Binge

Organists and enthusiasts go on binge installing pipe organs in their homes, Ottawa. Some organs are custom-built in the homes, while others are acquired from Ottawa-area churches. Builders of home organs include professional organ-builders and organists, as well as organ enthusiasts who build organs as a hobby. Space limitations within homes lead to creative organ designs such as organs with horizontal pipes. References and photo credits: The Ottawa Journal Newspaper , Saturday Section, February 12th, 1966

Expo 67, Montreal

A large Casavant pipe organ, measuring 22' 7 1/2" high, 17' 8 3/4" wide, and 10' 4 1/2" deep, is installed in the Canadian Government Pavillion's 500-seat theatre at Expo 67 in Montreal. Daily recitals throughout the entire six-month duration of the Expo are provided by 25 Canadian organists who play for one week each. References and photo credits: The Diapason Magazine, April 1967, pages 1 and 5; Casavant Freres Archives

Opening of National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre (NAC) opens in Ottawa.

Pipe Organs Donated to NAC

To mark the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Holland, the Dutch Canadian Committee, which included the Dutch Canadian Association (D.C.A.), arranges the donation of two Dirk Flentrop pipe organs, the first of which is a six-stop Positiv, to Ottawa's National Arts Centre. References and photo credits: Lowensteyn, J.H. A Social History of the Dutch in Quebec: The Post World War Two Period: Community Life, http://www.lowensteyn.com/dutchque/post5.html (Retrieved 1 Aug 2013); Ottawa newspaper articles, 1970 – 1973

Capital Theatre and Pipe Organ Demolished

Capital Theatre, Bank Street, is demolished along with pipe organ. References and photo credits: City of Ottawa Archives

Pipe Organ Installed in Chinese United Church

The Regent Theatre's former 1916, two-manual, 22-stop Casavant pipe organ is installed in Chinese United Church, Bank Street. References and photo credits: City of Ottawa Archives

United Churces to Close Doors and Merge

Several United Churches to close doors and join with each other over the next few years.

100th Anniversary of RCCO

One Hundredth Anniversary for Royal Canadian College of Organists is held in Toronto.

Diapason Magazine Celebrates 100 Years

The Diapason Magazine celebrates 100 years of publication.

50th Anniversary of RCCO

The Royal Candian College Organists celebrates its 50th anniversary (1909-1959) in Toronto. The festivities included performances by renowned French organist Andre Marchal, American Donald McDonald, and Canada's Hugh McLean and Georges Lindsay. The 50th Anniversary celebration concluded with a banquet featuring an elaborate organ-themed cake. References and photo credits: The Diapason Magazine, May 1959 The Diapason Magazine, August 1959, page 1

Canadian Conservatory of Music Founded

The Canadian Conservatory of Music, Ottawa, is founded by Harry Puddicome, who went on to serve as the Conservatory's director for 35 years. The Canadian Conservatory of Music building was located on Bay Street and housed a Casavant, 2 manuals 10 stops. The Canadian Conservatory of Music would continue to operate until its closing in 1937. Source: Wikipedia

Ottawa Centre Choir Festival

At the Ottawa Centre, Canadian College of Organists annual meeting in April 1923. The May 1, 1923 edition of the Diapason Magazine notes that during the annual meeting, "it was decided to hold a festival service in the Dominion Church next November...", including a choir of 500.

Aeolian Organ Recitals Broadcast on Radio

R.H. Combs operates Toronto's CKNC radio station, the largest broadcaster in Canada, and awards a contract to Aeolian Company to build an Aeolian Organ inside his home. Recitals are then broadcast over CKNC from Combs' home. Combs selected the Aeolian Organ because it provided the best sound quality when broadcast via radio. References: Aeolian Pipe Organ Company Archives; The Diapason Magazine, 1927 Photo credit: Aeolian Pipe Organ Company Archives

Large Organ Installed in Eaton's Store in Toronto

Casavant Freres installs a large concert organ, equipped with 5,696 pipes and 90 speaking stops, in the auditorium of the Eaton store in Toronto. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, August 1931, page 26

J.C. Casavant Dies in Canada

J.C. Casavant, president of Casavant Freres, Ltd., dies in St-Hyathinthe, Quebec. The Diapason Magazine notes that Casavant Freres had earned a "worldwide reputation". Casavant, who had been the last surviving founding member of Casavant Freres, passed away after a 10-day illness. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, January 1934, page 1

Organ Building Stops for War Effort

Organ building in United States stops by order of the War Production Board on July 31. As part of the war effort, the entire musical industry, including the organ-building industry, is converted to defence production. The order to stop organ building is intended to ensure availability of critical materials, including metal, cork and plastic, for war production. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, July 1942, page 1

Death of Dr. Herbert Fricker

The honorary president of the Canadian College of Organists, Dr. Herbert A. Fricker, Mus.D., F.R.C.O., dies in Toronto. Fricker had earlier served as the Canadian College of Organists president prior to being named honorary president, and served seven years as the president of C.C.O. Toronto Centre. Fricker had served as the city organist in Leeds, England, prior to immigrating to Canada. In Toronto, Fricker had served 26 years with the Metropolitan United Church and organist and choirmaster. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, December 1943, page 2

Death of Jospeh Bonnet

Famous French organist Joseph Bonnet dies suddenly at the age of 60 in Ste-Luce sur Mer, near Rimouski, Quebec. Bonnet had served as organist at the Church of St-Eustache in Paris, France since 1906, and had taught at Montreal's Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts. References: The Diapason Magazine, September 1944, page 1

Ottawa Hosts C.C.O. Conclave

The Canadian College of Organists hosts its annual conclave in the Dominion of Canada's capital, Ottawa, Ontario. The conclave's senior staff includes general chairman Carman H. Milligan, vice chairman William France, and program committee head Gerald Wheeler. There were nearly 325 registered participants in the conclave, including 74 U.S. participants. The conclave is covered by newspapers including the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Journal. The conclave's schedule includes events in churches near the Lord Elgin and Chateaur Laurier. References and photo credits: The Diapason Magazine, October 1958, pages 1, 2 and 21

Canada's "Man of Music" Honoured on 80th Birthday

Canadian composer, teacher and church musician Healy Willan, known as Canada's "Man of Music", is honoured by the RCCO on his 80th birthday with the establishment of a scholarship fund bearing his name. References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, October 1960, page 1

The Diapazon and Us (The R.C.C.O., That Is)

In the 1 December, 1959 edition of The Diapason, Dr. Charles Peaker writes an article, "The Diapason and us (The R.C.C.O., That Is)", reflecting on the accomplishments of the RCCO over the past 50 years as well as The Diapason Magazine's 50 years. Peaker emphasizes the close ties among organists in North America and abroad, noting that "it is a delightful thing that the Organists of North America get along so well on one stop...voiced on moderate wind-pressure, THE DIAPASON." References and photo credit: The Diapason Magazine, December 1959, page 8

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