PO Box 523, Station B, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5P6
Sunday, 20 November 2022 19:44

"Through My Lens" With Guest Speaker Rod MacIvor

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Rod MacIvor enthralled us on November 16, 2022, with tales from his four decades as an award-winning Ottawa-based photojournalist, while sharing images of some the most remarkable photographs he has captured over the years. His seemingly endless portfolio of iconic photos included those taken of Pierre Trudeau and family (including the former PM's ground-breaking trip to Cuba in 1976), the Royal family, Wayne Gretzky, Jean Chrétien and more. Rod shared some fascinating inside stories including dust-ups with Cuban security and providing Margaret Trudeau with photography lessons. Rod shared many humourous…
Thursday, 27 October 2022 18:32

Philemon Wright & His Town

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We returned to our in-person Speaker Series on September 14, 2022, after a two and half year hiatus, with a fascinating presentation by Rick Henderson, great-great-great-great-grandson of Philemon Wright. Rick's presentation included not only thoroughly researched detail and a great selection of images, but also an excerpt from his recently completed "A Walk in Wright's Town in 1830" virtual tour of the Ottawa Valley's first permanent settlement. In his talk, Rick traced how, arriving over two centuries ago, Philemon Wright and his family carved out a thriving community, launched the…
Members and guests who attended the October 2022, in-person, HSO presentation at the Auditorium of the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library were treated to a tour de force by Jean-François Lozier, Curator at the Canadian Museum of History. Jean-François told a story that, while familiar to Ottawa’s Francophone community, is mostly unknown in the city’s Anglophone community—the “Battle of the Hatpins” or la battaille des épingles. In this David-Goliath struggle, Francophone parents, in particular mothers, fought the Government of Ontario in 1916 to have their primary-aged children attending…
Thomas Barber is proud of how much the Black community in Ottawa has prospered over time. Thomas tends to look at a darker past not with anger or bitterness. Instead he tends to see Black History in Ottawa as a series of challenges overcome and lessons to be remembered. Understanding the past is key to measuring how far we’ve all come in establishing a more inclusive community, and it’s to our benefit that Thomas relates the past with insight and humour. Much of Thomas’ presentation highlights his family members' journey…
In honour of Black History Month in Canada, both of our guest speakers for February discussed the history of Ottawa's Black community — one that is growing both in numbers and influence in our culturally-diverse city, and of the challenge of confronting prejudice and exclusion in the past. June Girvan is an award-winning educator, activist and community leader who came to Ottawa from Jamaica almost 70 years ago. June is the president of Black History Ottawa (a non-profit organization dedicated to carrying out research in the history, culture, traditions and achievements…
Wednesday, 02 March 2022 15:58

Sports Vignettes from Old Ottawa

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Football fans in this town have managed to remain loyal to their home team for 145 years, be it the Rough Riders, or the Renegades, or back again to the Rough Riders, and now the Redblacks. Hockey fans have retained their allegiance to two different Senators teams over 80 seasons, separated a by a 58-year winter when locals were forced to chose between the Leafs, Habs, or other members of the Original Six. But as we learned at our January 26th presentation, Ottawa’s sports history is much more than hockey…
Randy Boswell highlights the opportunity to find deserving figures "other than Victorian-era politicians, government functionaries and members of the British mobility" to name our landmarks after. Randy had been one of the first to propose, in a 2020 Ottawa Citizen column, to rename Ottawa's Prince of Wales Bridge in honour of Chief William Commanda. Randy, a past member of the HSO Board of Directors, draws attention to the way "the naming of streets, buildings and other places has sometimes memorialized slave owners and other unworthy figures from the past" and…
Thursday, 27 January 2022 12:26

Grampa Jack – British Home Child

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A few months ago, I had the honour of taking part in the Historical Society of Ottawa’s Speaker Series and speaking about my Grandpa Jack. My grandpa passed away when I was about 12 or 13 but during the lockdowns in 2020, I had a chance to reconnect with him. At the urging of my mother, he spent the last few months of his life using a tape recorder to record his early memories of coming to Canada as a British Home Child. Hearing his voice again, telling his own…
Sunday, 28 November 2021 12:12

Capital History Kiosk Project

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They’re easy to spot when you’re walking along any of Ottawa’s busy streets. They’re designed to be recognized. Our October 13, 2021 presentation is about the traffic control boxes at many of Ottawa’s intersections; not of the drab utility boxes themselves, but about the colourful history lessons that have been applied to them to remind you of what Ottawa used to look like 10, 50, or 100 years ago, and to tell the story of a significant event that took place near each control box. David Dean has been a…
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