27 March 2019

HSO March Meeting

Navvies and Nation Builders: The Irish, the Rideau Canal and Early Bytown is the topic for the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday 29 March 2019.

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 Using artefacts and images from the collection of the Bytown Museum, as well as first-hand accounts, historical documents, and biographical sketches, this talk will emphasize how the Irish, through their labour and perseverance, ensured that Bytown would progress beyond a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.

The presenter is Grant Vogl, collections and exhibitions manager at the Bytown Museum, who is featured in this video.

As usual the meeting is at 172 Guigues Ave. and starts at 1pm.

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