The tour will follow city sidewalks.
As every schoolchild learns, Queen Victoria declared Ottawa the capital of Canada in 1867. But the process of truly 'capitalizing' this place was mostly a project of the 20th Century. And what a project! This narrative ramble will start around 1900, when our civic and federal leaders finally took a hard look at their chaotic, unruly lumber town and found it wanting. From there, we'll walk and talk through the successive waves of grand capital plans and the tsunamis of expropriation and destruction that followed. And together, we’ll try to conjure up the ghosts of some of the colourful characters, magnificent buildings, and the rough-edged public spaces that once defined our town. And we’ll discuss what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained, but mostly what we’ve learned – or should’ve learned – about how to create a healthy space for both town and crown.
The walk will begin at Bronson Avenue and Sparks Street and head eastward along Sparks Street and Wellington Street ending at Geneva Hall, Knox Presbyterian Church.
Dennis Van Staalduinen is a local storyteller, community activist, and co-founder of the Champlain Oaks Project. He thrives on discovering the hidden connections between cities, stories, and history.