Coming Events

Unless otherwise stated, these meetings are held at 1:00 pm on the last Friday of the month (except December, July and August) in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland.

Abstract: Navvies and Nation Builders will speak to the incredibly important and often overlooked contributions of the Irish to the development of Bytown (now Ottawa), with a special focus on the construction of the Rideau Canal, 1826- 1832. Using artefacts and images from the collection of the Bytown Museum, as well as first-hand accounts, historical documents, and biographical sketches, this talk will emphasize how the Irish, through their labour and perseverance, ensured that Bytown would progress beyond a backwater timber depot to become a thriving metropolitan centre and seat of national government.

The early Irish settlers were a diverse group, and built some of the first communities in the Bytown. Many workers brought their families, about whom we know precious little. For all, life was a constant struggle for survival. Despite old world prejudices, many of Bytown’s key figures were Irish-born or of Irish decent: community builders, businessmen and women, educators, and politicians, all with a role to play.


Biography: Grant Vogl is the Collections and Exhibitions Manager of the Bytown Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. Since 2009 Grant has managed the Museum’s permanent gallery and curated numerous special exhibitions highlighting the events, people and stories that have made Ottawa history. He also manages the Museum’s historic collection of over 10,000 artefacts, and has spearheaded

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a movement to rename landmarks in order to better reflect our history, and to remove names of those considered unworthy of commemoration. This effort is particularly focused on honouring Indigenous people, and removing commemoration of those who systemically mistreated Indigenous people. This has been broached at all levels of government, with the federal renaming of the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council (formerly the Langevin building); demands of the province by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario that Sir John A. Macdonald’s name be removed from public schools; and local renaming of LeBreton to Pimisi Station. This talk will discuss how history is used in these cases for reconciliation and to honour Indigenous people and cultures; whether this is effective; the basis of historical accuracy; and how the practice of renaming may be contested. We will also broach the practical fact that one group’s commemoration may come ¬– or be perceived to come – at the expense of another. The purpose of the talk is to raise examples and pose questions and options, without presenting a solution or prescriptive conclusion. With this open-ended format, a following discussion will be encouraged.

Biography: Betsey Baldwin is one of the owners of Public History Inc., a historical research firm in Ottawa. She has a PhD from uOttawa, and has been a part-time professor at that university since 2002. Her course offering include Public History and Indigenous History in Canada. In her work at Public History Inc., Betsey provides historical research that informs Indigenous claims related to treaties, reserves, education, and other matters, for First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, provincial and federal Crown clients. She believes that a shared basis of historical knowledge can aid grievance resolution, and she hopes that her career serves that purpose.

Details forthcoming later.