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.

Al Uhryniw loves radio. He has always loved radio. The former broadcaster and present media studies professor at Algonquin College, still does not go to sleep without listening to W-C-B-S radio transmitting from New York City. He closely follows broadcast happenings in Canada and the United States and has a vast knowledge of the radio and television business. He continues to be fascinated by the development of the medium and, like many others, is looking to the future of an industry that is approaching a century of existence. He admits his presentation to the Society will include facts and occurrences that are new to him. And he hopes people will be entertained and informed by his history of Ottawa radio. Find out how the ‘ribbon of steel’ on the ground helped the airwaves in the sky. From O-A, to C-N, to R-A, to Radio One, Al will fill in all the blanks.
‘Don’t Touch That Dial.’

Details: Local newspaper headlines like "50,000 Ottawans Walk to Work When Great Storm Ties Up Public Services" and "Hottest Day in Ottawa History: All Records Smashed By Belated Heat Wave" reflect the extremes of weather we experience and their impacts. Official weather records, newspaper reports and archival records bear testimony to flood and drought, heatwave and bitter-cold, tornado and ice storm - remember January 1998? Our ancestors, aware of Canada's reputation for cold and the description as "quelques arpents de neige" before they arrived, were often shocked by the reality of extremes unknown in their homeland. This presentation explores the reality of our weather and climate through the years, some of the memorable weather events and their impacts, and a notorious local weather personality. Finally we'll speculate on what climate change has in store for the City?

Biography: Originally from England, John Reid arrived in Ottawa in 1966 and pursued a more than 30 year career as weather forecaster, researcher, research manager and Director of Policy and International Affairs with the Meteorological Service of Canada. Along the way he earned a doctorate in Atmospheric Science.
Turning his attention to family and local history in retirement he served as President of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, on the Services Advisory Board for Library and Archives Canada and as Chair of the City of Ottawa Arts, Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee. He blogs at Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections which has about 9,000 posts, and speaks at genealogical events in Canada and overseas.

Details: The Great Depression buffeted Ottawa, but failed to bring the city to its knees. Key events took place here during the 1930s that have had a lasting impact on Canadian history into the twenty-first century. Creation of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (forerunner of the CBC) in 1932 and the Bank of Canada in 1935 contend to lead this list.

Biography: Ian McKercher was born in London, Ontario, attended Queen’s University and moved to Ottawa in 1969 to teach English at Glebe Collegiate. He has a strong interest in local history and was a founding member of the Glebe Historical Society. After retirement, he became a regular columnist at the Glebe Report, a community monthly, and has published over a hundred articles during the last fifteen years. His first historical fiction novel, The Underling was published in 2012. The sequel, The Incrementalist, came out in 2016. Both books are set in Ottawa in the 1930s and revolve around the fictional exploits of Frances McFadden, a secretary hired to help get the Bank of Canada up and running. The novels are multi-layered, and deal with the coming of age of a young woman, a national institution, and Canada itself. McKercher’s writing flows from a belief that Canada has an esteemed but undiscovered history that is ripe for acknowledgement. Copies of his novels may be purchased for $20 each.

Details and biography of presenter to come.

Details: Despite being the most successful of the early National Hockey League teams, with the most Stanley Cup wins in the 1920s, the Ottawa Senators often struggled to attract fans. This presentation discusses how the building of a new rink, the Ottawa Auditorium, was seen as the solution to Ottawa's woes, but could not fight the economic tide that was pulling NHL hockey to larger American markets.

Biography: J. Andrew Ross holds a PhD in history from the University of Western Ontario, and taught economic history at the University Guelph before joining Library and Archives Canada as an archivist in 2015. He is the author of Joining the Clubs: The Business of the National Hockey League to 1945 (Syracuse University Press, 2015).

Details and biography of the presenter to come.

Details: For more than 40 years during Ottawa's transformation from backwoods Bytown to burgeoning capital of a new Dominion, the pioneer physician, naturalist and polymathic public intellectual Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt helped shape the city, its founding institutions and coalescing civic culture. Recent research has revealed the remarkable depth and range of Van Cortlandt's contributions to early Ottawa and illuminated his enduring imprint on the history of the capital and the country.

Biography: Randy Boswell is a professor at Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, where he conducts historical research while continuing to work as a freelance writer and editor. During a long and varied career as a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News, Boswell developed a unique national history beat that pushed edgy stories about Canada's past onto front pages across the country. Among his recent writings were an Ottawa Citizen front-page feature on the history of the marble cornerstone of the Parliament Buildings — which kicked off the newspaper's special coverage of the Canada 150 anniversary — a scholarly article revealing the origins of the 19th-century sawdust pollution controversy on the Ottawa River, published by the academic journal Histoire Sociale/Social History, and a magazine piece that solved the mystery behind Elvis Presley's 1956 mega-hit "Heartbreak Hotel", published by Rolling Stone.