Coming Events

Unless otherwise stated, starting in September 2019, daytime meetings will be held at 1:00 pm on the last Wednesday of the month (except June, July, August, and December) in the auditorium of the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe Street. Light refreshments will be served in the auditorium lobby starting at 12.30pm.

The Historical Society of Ottawa’s Evening Speakers’ Series will begin in Fall 2019. These presentations will be held at 7:00 pm, on a Wednesday, unless otherwise stated, in the auditorium of the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Light refreshments will be served in the auditorium lobby starting at 6.30pm.

Details: During the second World War, a top-secret civilian unit was installed in a Victorian mansion in Sandy Hill to carry out code breaking activities. It was called The Examination Unit. Diana Pepall will examine how the unit came to be set up, who was involved, what it accomplished, and its post war legacy.

Diana Pepall is a graduate of the Masters of Library Science program at Dalhousie University. She spent the bulk of her career as a librarian and manager at the Ottawa Public Library. Since 2014 she has been researching, writing and lecturing on the Examination Unit.

Details: Did you know that ten prime ministers had lived in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Sandy Hill, four of them while they were in office? Through a series of often-amusing and little-known anecdotes, amateur historian François Bregha will shed light on their lives while in Sandy Hill.

François Bregha has lived in Sandy Hill for over 30 years and is an active member of his community association’s planning and heritage committee. He has written biographical capsules about the notable people who lived in this-once prosperous neighbourhood (see, leads heritage walks and gives presentations about Sandy Hill history.

Details to Come

Details: Since 1978, after emigrating from Liverpool and returning to Ottawa where he grew up in the 1950s, Phil Jenkins has worked as a newspaper columnist, travel writer, author and a performing songwriter across Canada. He was a freelance columnist (over eight hundred columns) for the Ottawa Citizen from 1991 to 2017. He writes for magazines (National Geographic Traveller; Equinox; Wedding Bells: Canadian Geographic: Ottawa Magazine: Toronto Life) and about the Canadian landscape in books via the national non-fiction bestsellers Fields of Vision, An Acre of Time, River Song: Sailing the History of the St. Lawrence, and, Beneath My Feet: The Memoirs of George Mercer Dawson. There are also two commissioned books, on the Ottawa Public Library and the Civic Heart Institute. Phil teaches and lectures in writing, the Canadian landscape and Ottawa history, including a 10-year stint as a lecturer at Carleton University. As a solo musician, songwriter and member of the Wakefield band Riverbend, he produced the albums Car Tunes and Making Waves, and a solo album Noteworthy. He lives in a straw bale house in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec, on the Gatineau River.

Joanna Dean, Ottawa's Urban Forest (1st Speaker at 1.00pm)

Stephen McKenna, Supreme Court Justice, Patrick Kerwin (2nd Speaker at 2.00pm)


Details to Come

Details to come

Details: John Buchan, Scottish-born renowned author of spy thrillers such as The Thirty-Nine Steps, became Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada in 1935. His appointment created a nation-wide controversy, but he was nonetheless welcomed for the accomplished individual he was.

Tweedsmuir changed the tone at Rideau Hall, making it less formal. Mackenzie King, who was Prime Minister when Tweedsmuir arrived on Canadian shores in November 1935, had first met John Buchan in England in 1919, and in 1924 hosted the Buchans at Laurier House and at Kingsmere.

Bill Galbraith, author of John Buchan: Model Governor General, will introduce Buchan and his wife Susan, who both endeared themselves to Ottawans and Canadians. Many people felt they knew Buchan through his books, and he and Susan contributed so much to Canada at many levels. He was also fortunate in Canada; as an incurable walker and sport fisherman as well as mountaineer, he could indulge his love of the outdoors. He was an inspiration to several of his Canadian successors and still inspires us today.

J. William (Bill) Galbraith was born in Fort Frances, Northwestern Ontario. He backpacked throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region before taking degrees from Carleton University and from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Following studies, and more backpacking, he worked first for a private sector business research organization and subsequently served in a number of federal government departments and agencies, involving investment review, intelligence, national security policy, and intelligence review. Bill retired in July 2018 and lives in Ottawa with his wife Kate. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.