Munster – A Brief History
The area of Munster was originally settled in the early 1800s by Irish and Scottish immigrants and veterans of the War of 1812 as a farming community. At the time, the ‘hub’ of the village consisted of a general store, an Anglican Church and a Methodist Church. At some point a post office was also added to the area.
Among the early settlers was Thomas Tubman. When residents proposed naming the village Tubman’s Corners, Mr. Tubman declined and suggested it be name after one of the four ancient kingdoms of Ireland, and Ireland’s largest province to reflect the heritage of its settlers, thus the name Munster.
In the 1970s a subdivision – what we now know as Munster – was developed.
Of the original buildings, the Methodist Church became Munster United Church and St. Stephen’s Anglican Church became the community library.
The subdivision, developed by John H Johannsen & Co. Ltd. and Holitzner Homes, was comprised of more than 400 homes, which at the time sold for between $20, 000 and $25,000. Plans came with options including garages, double garages, fireplaces and choices of exterior design, resulting in the variety we see today. Additional development by Giambardino Construction followed in 1983, closing off the last parcel of land within the hamlet proper.
With the construction of the subdivision, the population of the area rose quickly from 28 to 750 and is now estimated at more than 1,000 people.
The original ‘town store,’ run by Lloyd and Beryl Hobbs, was a true town store carrying everything from milk to groceries and dry goods, tend to postal needs and catch up on local news.
There were also two operating Orange Halls at the time; the existing location on Bleeks Rd. and another in the old school on Munster Side Rd. The Orange Order is a protestant fraternal organization. Based in Northern Ireland and Scotland, it has chapters throughout the world.
One of the original residents recalls, “We felt a bit like pioneers during the first winter. With only forty families we became reliant on each other and the local farmer, Elmer Hobbs. With his tractor, he overcame the snow drifts and the primitive road system, most of which were just the trails left by the construction crews. The streets were not completed until the next spring. Power was sure to be lost in every storm as it initially came across a long stretch of wilderness. We were careful to stock candles, matches, batteries and water that winter.”
Formerly part of Goulbourn Township and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton, it became part of the City of Ottawa with the amalgamation in 2001.
As the surrounding communities grow, Munster remains somewhat the same but that doesn’t mean there is nothing happening.
In the summer of 2010, another resident recalls when Martin and Chris Kratts were in town filming their TVO and PBS Watertown children’s show Wild Kratts’ from her backyard. “They were here over a period of two months, filming wildlife in our backyard and the forest behind. They are amazing people and so down-to-earth. What they filmed they used in about 5 episodes – the bluejays with acorns, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks etc. It was neat to watch t.v. and see our back log fence, birdfeeders, old tree stump and the forest, and to see our name in the credits. They used our place as their base. They gave us a lovely engraved birdfeeder and bags of birdseed. For us, it was a great experience.”
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