Title/Description: Portrait of Mayor Charlotte Whitton. Whitton was Ottawa's first female Mayor. She came into office in 1951 after Mayor Grenville Goodwin passed away suddenly and remained in office until the end of 1956. Whitton was outspoken, passionate and often butted heads with City councillors. She returned to municipal politics in 1961 and remained Mayor until 1964.
Photographer: Doug Bartlett.
Date: June 9, 1954.
Credit: Andrews-Newton Photographers Fond / City of Ottawa Archives / MG393-AN-P-002249-012.
Copyright: City of Ottawa Archives.
Charlotte Whitton was a colourful character, known as much for her strong temper and volatile working relationships with other staff and council members as her political decisions. She was Mayor of Ottawa from August 1951 to the end of 1956, and again from 1961 until the end of 1964.
Whitton was a well-known social worker and author, having founded the Canadian Council on Child Welfare. In 1950 she made the decision to run for office and was the first woman to be elected to the Board of Control. In August 1951, after Mayor Grenville Goodwin died suddenly, Whitton became the first female mayor of a major Canadian city.
Mayor Whitton was a strong supporter of the monarchy. Outstanding moments in her term included the Royal Visit by Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1951 and attending the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.
Whitton accomplished a great deal during her time as mayor, including the beginning of construction on the new City Hall on Green Island. She also oversaw the building of a significant number of affordable housing units, had an old hospital renovated into a senior citizens complex, and greatly increased the city’s revenue from federal government grants.
In 1956 Whitton decided to run for a seat in the House of Commons as the Progressive Conservative candidate for Ottawa West. Whitton lost the election to the Liberals by a little over 1000 votes. By the end of 1960, she decided to run for mayor again and won the election. She continued to have a poor working relationship with the members of City Council, resuming a tumultuous relationship with council members and staff alike.
After losing an election in 1964, Whitton returned to the City as an alderman in 1966, a position she held until late in 1972 when she fell and broke her hip. Whitton died in January 1975, just a few weeks after suffering a heart attack. She was the first former mayor to lie in state at City Hall, which allowed people to pay their respects during a public visitation.
Title/Description: Mayor Charlotte Whitton presenting shield to Janet Lintell, water ski jumping champion.
Date: February 1, 1954.
Credit: Andrews-Newton Photographers Fond / City of Ottawa Archives / MG393-AN-NP-029878, MG393-CA-003050.
Copyright: City Of Ottawa Archives.