Ottawa family fighting for Munster land
Members of an Ottawa family are going to court to fight for compensation over land they say belongs to them.
The Hannas say 300 acres of land in the city’s west end was wrongly taken from their grandmother Gladys Hanna decades ago.
The land is now worth an estimated $2 billion.
It was once sprawling farm land, but is now the site of 450 houses and a public school.
Doug Hanna, Gladys’ grandson, found out about the land by chance while talking with his cousin a few years ago.
“After my aunt had passed, I went over to visit my cousin,” Hanna said. “And he said, mom said we still own the land.”
That conversation sparked three years of uncovering document after document that appeared to support the claim.
Hanna’s great-grandfather was one of many Irish immigrants in the area, settling in Munster.
“My dad was born here, his father died here and he was laid to rest in the house,” Hanna said of the original homestead where his grandparents lived.
His grandfather Lewis Hanna died in 1945, leaving his widow with a lot of land.
Five years later, the land was gone.
Some documents say Gladys Hanna sold a quarter acre of her land in 1950 for $35,000 to pay her taxes.
Others say a man claiming to be the executor of her husband’s estate sold a quarter acre for $50 later that same year.
The discrepancies lead Doug Hanna to contact a lawyer, Elise Hallewick.
“It seemed like such a wrong had been committed here,” Hallewick said.
She says they are ready to bring the case to the Ontario Superior Court.
Hallewick says the Hannas can’t sue anyone, because the people who are suspected of taking the land have died.
So they are going through the government’s Land Titles Assurance Fund.
“They don’t expect to bankrupt the province or get anywhere close to a couple billion dollars,” Hallewick said. “But they do deserve some kind of compensation.”
Doug Hanna says he won’t give up hope of getting some kind of compensation for the land.
“This is our land, this is our home,” he said. “This is where I want to go.”
With files from CTV’s Joanne Schnurr.