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 professor of History at Carleton University since 2000. He got the kiosk project moving forward in 2015 with utility boxes along Bank Street, to tell the story of the local businesses. This early stage was completed in collaboration with the Workers History Museum and the Carleton Centre for Public History. The Capital History Kiosk Project expanded city-wide in 2017, as part of Canada’s 150th Anniversary celebration.
Danielle Mahon is an MA student as Carleton. She talked about the process of gathering information on each kiosk, and uploading location information on the kiosks to the Capital History website, at www.capitalhistory.ca. Students have also assisted in the project to add QR codes at each traffic box so that pedestrians can scan the code with a cell phone to read more about the history depicted at each box.
Being the national capital, there is no shortage of stories to tell about Ottawa, and fortunately there is no shortage of control boxes. David notes that the city as about 19,000 of them. The kiosk project is expanding as more research is done, so don’t be surprised if you see a new one next time your walking, jogging, or cycling around town.
Visit the HSO YouTube channel for to view the full presentation about the Capital Kiosk Project.