Our March 31st guest speaker shares an interest history’s darker side. Author of nine award-winning books on Canadian history, Charlotte Gray published Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise in 2019 to tell the story of the rise to wealth, and the unsolved murder of Sir Harry Oakes.
Harry’s life was not a rags-to-riches story (his father was a lawyer, and Sir Harry studied to be a doctor) but his life became one of adventure (with a bit luck here and there) that lead to his becoming one of the world’s wealthiest men. Harry made some famous and influential friends along the way, but it’s possible that one of these might have been responsible for his brutal death.
Charlotte traveled to such diverse places as the silver mines of Kirkland Lake and the elegant mansions of the Bahamas, in search of details on the life and death of the mining magnate who was considered a generous philanthropist and gentleman to some, and a crude and arrogant monster to others. Which of these is the true version of Sir Harry? You’ll have to watch the video of Charlotte’s presentation to find out how she feels about this Murdered Midas.
The Historical Society of Ottawa went underground for our March 10th presentation, following author Andrew King on a journey to some of the hidden secrets of Ottawa’s past.
In 2019, Andrew wrote Ottawa Rewind: A Book of Curios and Mysteries. This was a collection of stories Andrew had written individually for local publications, about lesser-known people, places and events in Ottawa’s past. He followed this book up recently with Ottawa Rewind 2: More Curios and Mysteries, which takes a more “in-depth” look at the city beneath our feet.
One of Andrew’s earliest investigations lead to historic Pooley’s Bridge in search of a cave. Years earlier some girls had found the cave by accident, entered and followed the dark path about 150 feet before turning back in a panic after hearing what seemed to be the sound of mournful organ music.
Other secret passages are not so hard to find. One of the more curious of these is in plain sight, near the steps that lead from the Rideau Canal locks up to Parliament Hill.
Andrew not only searched for the location of the city’s many hidden tunnels, passageways and “subterranean secrets”, he mapped them out in 3D to help us better visualize where these mysterious place are; in case you’re interested in following Andrew’s path of research. Or, if you’d rather play it safe, watch the video of Andrew’s presentation and let him tell you his stories.
Ottawa resident and award-winning author Charlotte Gray shared with us the story of the life and death of Sir Harry Oakes on March 31, 2021.
On March 10, 2021, Andrew King, Ottawa artist, cartoonist, columnist, and author of the Ottawa Rewind books and blog, shared some of his discoveries of long-hidden secrets from Ottawa's fascinating past.