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.

Lillian Bilsky Freiman (1885-1940) nicknamed “The Poppy Lady”, was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian Government. During the First World War, Lillian worked tirelessly for the benefit of our soldiers overseas by setting up sewing circles which would become a Disraeli Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire. She also co-founded The Great War Veterans Association which would become the Royal Canadian Legion. Lillian crafted the first Canadian poppies in her living room in 1921. This presentation will look at this fascinating woman.

Dan Mackay has had an extensive career in the military, and is now a Friend of the Canadian War Museum, and as a volunteer, is guardian and custodian of the military artifacts in the Museum. He has been deeply engaged in conserving the history of our Armed Forces holding such positions as Army Heritage Officer at NDHQ; Deputy Director, Directorate of History and Heritage at NDHQ and, in earlier days, served in senior positions as a geographer and cartographer with Energy, Mines and Resources and on secondment to the Department of External Affairs.

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.

Kevin Dooley, novelist, musician and heritage activist, will be the speaker at our Annual General Meeting. His topic will be "Human and Inhuman Aspects of Building the Rideau Canal".

Abstract: to come


Bio: Janet Young specializes in the study of human skeletal remains and has been working at the Canadian Museum of History since 1994.
Dr. Young’s research interests include biomechanical and pathological changes in the human skeleton as they relate to activity patterns and general health outcomes of past and present populations. Her publications and presentations have covered a range of topics, including repatriation, forensics, historical bioarchaeology, Aboriginal bioarchaeology, burial practices and disability. Reflecting the Museum’s research focus on population movements and settlements, some of her current work deals with a historical cemetery population from the Ottawa area.

Dr. Young holds an Honours BA in Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Ottawa, an MSc in Human Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology from the University of Bradford, England, and a PhD in Population Health from the University of Ottawa

Abstract: Ms. Wren-Gunn's lecture will examine the membership and work of the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa from 1898 to 1932. Through commemorations, historical tableaux, exhibitions of artifacts, and the publication “Transactions”, they participated in the construction of a nationalist and imperialist collective memory which celebrated connections to the British Empire, a mythologized settler past, and Ottawa’s evolution from lumber town to national capital. Ms. Wren-Gunn’s description of the origins, class and ethnicity of the Society shows that French-Canadian participation fell and membership broadened as Ottawa became a government town. She will also discuss the competition from the male-dominated Bytown Pioneer Association in 1923 over the commemoration of Colonel By, and how the masculinization of the historical profession may have led the Society to abandon written accounts in “Transactions”, and focus instead upon the collection and display of artifacts in the Bytown Museum.

Bio: Connie Wren-Gunn began her master’s program in History at Carleton University in 2013. She wrote her thesis on the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa, examining the role of women in shaping Canadian history in the early 20th century, a period in which women were largely denied entry into the emerging profession of academic history. Connie is currently the Associate Director of Know History Inc., an Ottawa-based firm that specializes in Canadian historical and genealogical research, Oral History interviewing, and Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies for Indigenous groups, government, and museums.

Abstract: In observance of Remembrance Day, Dr. Mélanie Morin-Pelletier will share with us the experience of Canadian women on the home front such as war workers and the impact of the war on families, as well as that of the First World War nursing sisters.

Bio: Dr. Mélanie Morin-Pelletier is the First World War Historian at the Canadian War Museum. She is the author of Briser les ailes de l'ange: Les infirmières militaires canadiennes (1914-1918). Her current research interests focus on human experiences of the war, whether on the battlefield, in military hospitals or on the homefront.