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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…
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

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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

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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

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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)…
Thursday, 08 April 2021 10:34

Andrew King: What’s Ottawa Hiding?

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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…
Tuesday, 29 December 2020 13:45

Kettle Island: A Bridge to Ottawa's Past by Randy Boswell

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If you missed our virtual Speaker Series presentation "Kettle Island: A Bridge to Ottawa's Past" with Randy Boswell, or you'd just like to watch it again, you can view this presentation online. Here's a link to the recorded video of Randy's talk. Enjoy!  
Wow! Did you miss our virtual Speaker Series presentation "Uncovering Canada's Past: Digging Up Parliament Hill" with Stephen Jarrett? What an amazing presentation it was! The good news is... here is the video link to enjoy Stephen's talk in its entirety! Our apologies to those who were unable to attend Stephen's presentation due to Zoom's 100 attendee limit. We had processed the request to increase attendance but we seem to have experienced a technical glitch. We're so sorry! The November 2020 presentation was our third foray into the new world…
Saturday, 14 November 2020 15:37

Jo-Anne McCutcheon: Researching Ottawa’s Past

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We’ve all been obligated to face many new challenges this year, and it was with some concern that the Historical Society of Ottawa chose to make a transition to on-line meetings so that we can continue to reach out to our members and the community during this difficult time. We weren’t certain how well the transition would go. Perhaps people might pass on HSO presentations if they were to be presented via computer. However, for our second online lecture we gathered 86 participants. That compares favourably to some of our…
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