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Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service

The Wallis House was purchased by the Navy in 1943 and converted into barracks for the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service. The ladies of the WRCNS (known as WRENs) worked in various locations throughout the city on administrative duties.

The Wallis House was designated a navy facility and was part of HMCS Bytown (a stone frigate, the name given to navy facilities not at sea). The building at that time was covered in vines that provided a home for spiders, an occurrence not lost on the ladies stationed there who had to sweep the ceilings daily.

The barracks was used by the WRENs until 1945 when the Wallis House was abandoned in the post-war demobilization. The vacant building became occupied by vagrants and squatters, but was soon turned over to emergency  housing.

Years later, the WRENs who lived at Wallis House would fondly recall their time spent there.