Ottawa Celebrates 150 Years!
by E.B. Lapointe
"Mayor Bob Chiarelli reads the proclamation on the occasion of the
150th anniversary of Ottawa's birthday, while Mr. Daniel Richer dit La
Fleche, Ottawa-Gatineau's Town Crier, looks on."
Credit: M. Lapointe, CD
Ottawa, the capital city of Canada — located
in the province of Ontario's scenic Ottawa Valley, across the
Ottawa River from the neighbouring province of Quebec, and about
an hour away from the Canada/U.S. border — kicked off a year of
celebrations with the ringing of its church bells on New Year's Day, 01
known as Bytown (and named after Colonel John By, who had overseen the
building of the Rideau Canal), the town council requested Queen
Victoria rename the city to Ottawa on the first day of 1855. The city
has grown from a population base of 10,000 people from 1855, to over a
million inhabitants today.
nearby forests of timber to the north of the city, Ottawa began as a
lumber town in the early 1800s, with exports to the United States and
Europe leading to the growth of the city. In 1864, the city was already
on its way with two hospitals, eight sawmills, three iron foundries,
four breweries, four mills, and a tannery. The city also had 11
churches and four banks.
of the upcoming special events celebrating this special anniversary are
listed under the umbrella of "Come and Celebrate with Us!", and include:
launching of the Ottawa Stories Website - a bilingual website promoting the "city's fascinating history through the personal
reflections or memories of residents." The site presents the history of
the city by breaking it down into 150 years of history, and a timeline
of critical events will be shown. Ottawans are also being asked to post their history on the website at <http://www.ottawastories.com>.
Heritage Day - On 21 February, 2005, the city will present items to be placed in a time capsule at city hall.
Heritage Exhibit - The months of June, July, and
August will feature a heritage display at the art gallery at city hall,
as well as exhibits in various other museums throughout the city, such
as the Bytown Museum, the Billings Estate Museum, the Cumberland
Historical Village, and the Watson's Mill Museum.
- Mayor's Christmas Party - The fifth annual Mayor's Christmas Party will be held at city hall in December, 2005.
is home to two genealogical societies: the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario
Genealogical Society, and the British Isles Family History Society of
The Ottawa Branch <http://www.ogsottawa.on.ca
>, states as it's purpose "to encourage, assist and bring together all those interested in the pursuit of family history".
On the Ottawa Branch website are presented a number of projects such as
the Places of Worship Project (PoW), in which a database of the
churches of the Ottawa area are listed; the 1901 Census of Carleton
County is being transcribed; and Cemeteries, in which over 200
cemeteries of Carleton, Lanark, Leeds, Russell, and Renfrew Counties—as
well as the cemeteries of West Quebec—are located and indexed on the
website. The Surname 2004 list is also on the website, so that research
can be done instantly.
The provincial conference of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be held 18-20 May, 2007 in Ottawa.
Gene-O-Rama 2005, the annual conference of the Ottawa Branch, will be held from 8-9, April, 2005. Their program is on the website.
Over the past 25 years, over 200 publications have been published by
the Ottawa Branch, and are available for purchase on the website.
Meetings are held at the Library and Archives of Canada at 7:30 p.m. on
the 3rd Thursday of every month except July and August.
The mailing address of the Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
is: P.O. Box 8346, Ottawa, ON K1G 3H8. Various e-mail addresses are
available on the website.
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) <http://www.bifhsgo.ca
gathers information on the families from England, Ireland, Scotland,
Wales, the Channel Islands, and Isle of Man who went to North America,
and more specifically, to the Ottawa-West Quebec area.
BIFHSGO meets at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of September to June at the Montgomery Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion at 330 Kent Street, Ottawa.
The society has the Home Children (http://www.genealogytoday.com/ca/connect/031202.html
as one of their projects, as well as the Ottawa Sharpshooters Project,
where 53 volunteers of the Governor General's Foot Guards, Company of
Sharpshooters, left their jobs and lives in Ottawa to help suppress the
1885 Northwest Rebellion.
Their annual convention is held in Ottawa on 23-25 September, 2005. The
address is: P.O. Box 38026, Ottawa, ON K2C 3Y7. Their e-mail address is
<< Canadian Connections
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Top Ten Events in Canadian Genealogy
"A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I
became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own
ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts,
early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994,
I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing
Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was
French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to
travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people
and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe