PO Box 523, Station B, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5P6
Sunday, 28 November 2021 12:12

Capital History Kiosk Project

Written by Richard Collins
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…
Sunday, 21 November 2021 18:07

Mapping the Ottawa Valley’s Ancient Indigenous Trails

Written by Richard Collins
HSO Presentation Wednesday, November 17, 2021 Imagine going online 500 years ago to find something on Google Maps. You’d see no grid of streets with familiar, mostly British names; no array of colourful icons directing you to coffee shops or LRT stations. What you’d have seen then is a vast wilderness broken only occasionally by a few narrow, meandering paths. These trails were winding, not because the trail makers were lost, but because the trail makers were following the path of least resistance. To the Anishinabe traders, trappers and hunters,…
Saturday, 02 October 2021 11:16

Tunney’s Pasture - The Story Behind Ottawa’s Field of Dreams

Written by Richard Collins
If there’s one area of Ottawa that seems devoid of history, it’s easy to imagine Tunney’s Pasture being that place, but our September 29th guest speaker, Dave Allston managed to add some humanity to the story of an area famous for its dehumanizing buildings and wide, vacant parks. Tunney’s Pasture has a much richer history than you might expect. Dave is a long time resident of Ottawa’s west end, and maintains a website, The Kitchissippi Museum, dedicated to telling the stories of communities like Hintonburg, McKellar Park, and Britannia. A…
Saturday, 02 October 2021 10:52

Jim Hurcomb: Rockin' on the Rideau

Written by Richard Collins
You can say that the Historical Society of Ottawa’s guest speaker for September 15, 2021 is certainly an accomplished speaker. From 1973 to 1980, Jim Hurcomb was a familiar voice on CKCU-FM, Radio Carleton. From 1980 to 2000, Jim hosted a number of programs on CHEZ-106, including the morning show, and the afternoon variety show, In the City. From 2000-2008, Jim worked at CFRA Radio. In all these years of jockeying everything from vinyl records to MP3s, Jim has gathered a wide collection of memories of the music scene in…
Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:19

Project 70,000: The Indochinese Refugee Movement to Canada

Written by Richard Collins
Our last presentation before the summer 2021 break took us halfway around the world but the story resonated here in Ottawa in 1979. After seeing stories on the news about the plight of refugees fleeing Cambodia and Laos and Vietnam, Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar anxiously arranged a public meeting at Lansdowne Park to gauge the interest within the city for sponsoring refugees in desperate need. Dewar expected about 500 people to show up, but when she arrived to open the meeting she discovered that 3,000 had arrived to do their…
Tuesday, 17 August 2021 09:07

James Powell: The Assassination of D’Arcy McGee

Written by Richard Collins
Our guest speaker for May 12, 2021 was James Powell, who is a long-time member of the Ottawa Historical Society, and a director on the HSO board. For his presentation James spoke about one of the most tragic heroes in Canada’s history. Thomas D’Arcy McGee was murdered near his Sparks Street apartment on a chilly April evening in 1868. James talked about McGee’s early life in Ireland and his brief stay in the United States. While in the US he visited Canada, and it was here that McGee felt Ireland’s…
Saturday, 31 July 2021 11:56

Dorothy Phillips: Victor and Evie

Written by Richard Collins
Our meeting on April 28, 2021, was as much a romance story as it was a history lesson. HSO member Dorothy Phillips has researched the life of the Duke of Devonshire, Victor Cavendish and his wife, Lady Evelyn Petty-Fitzmaurice, which the duke affectionately called “Evie”. In 2017, Dorothy assembled her extensive research into a book, Victor and Evie: British Aristocrats in Wartime Rideau Hall. Unlike many of Canada’s governors general who accepted their posting as just a stepping stone to better political opportunities in the UK, or to a future…
Saturday, 31 July 2021 11:02

Phil Jenkins: Arrested Development

Written by Richard Collins
In recent years we’ve enjoyed many presentations by Phil, where he has brought a joyful presence to Ottawa’s past, in story and song, but Phil has a special passion for the old neighbourhood of LeBreton Flats, and it’s hard to tell the story of this community without diving into the troubled waters of this troubled land. Vacant since the late 1960s, there’s a generation of Ottawa residents unaware that a close-knit community once thrived here before it was removed as part of something called “urban renewal”. Phil has many stories…
Sunday, 11 April 2021 18:45

Charlotte Gray: Murdered Midas

Written by Richard Collins
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)…
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