At a glance, you wouldn't expect there to be over 320 acres of unoccupied land between the Montfort Hospital and the National Research Council on Montreal Road, but boy, is there ever. You might be asking yourself, what's the significance? Well, if you'd like to pay the plot of land a visit and see how eerie a neighbourhood without homes or people looks like, you might be in for a good time, though not for long.
Turning off Montreal Road onto Burma Road and continuing straight until Drayton Private will bring you to the place where Burma Road used to continue onto Burma Private, one of the main abandoned roads in the plat. Instead of a continuous road, there is now a fence with the typical NO TRESPASSING sign people like myself prefer to ignore, and a four-foot-wide opening in the fence next to it. Upon entering with a friend who had brought me there, I had no idea what to expect, other than a ten-second description that apparently had been good enough to convince me.
Burma Private stretches on for just under a kilometre of old road, with sub streets and cul-de-sacs branching off every so often; each with old driveways and house space along them. After continuing straight past an old tennis court, you can find the roundabouts of Arcturus and Rigel Private, each with a large green space of trees and long grass in the middle. It's here that my friend and I began to realize just how strange the whole place was.
Other than the 40 odd driveways along the streets, there are traces of previous life scattered throughout the land. Fire hydrants were among the most popular, followed up by old garbage, wooden benches, computer printers from the 90s, old swing sets, and the backboard for a basketball net in the middle of the now forested Rigel Private, the larger roundabout of the two. These objects would have sent hairs on end, had the day not been so warm and sunny.
While the mystery would have helped my curiosity, I did some research and found out that the area was previously a military base from 1918 known as CFB Rockcliffe. The base was decommissioned in 2004 and used as interim housing and other military purposes until being fully decommissioned in 2011, though residents had already started leaving. The allotted land now has approved plans to be used for an estimated 5,300 residential homes over the next 15-20 years.
Photo Credit: Adam Brown