More than taverns and brothels: French Canadian, Irish, and Jewish struggles against oppression in Lowertown

Photo: Byward Market, 1895

Discover Lowertown and the Market’s colorful origins as home to French and Irish canal workers and timber men, and its subsequent evolution into a place of refuge for Jewish immigrants. Hear about key moments of solidarity and division, as these three groups, each with their own pre-Ottawa experience of oppression, resisted the domination of their communities by Ottawa’s self-appointed British rulers. Learn about the institutions and organizations the French, Irish, and Jews built, and the demonstrations, strikes, riots, occupations, and other actions they undertook to defend themselves during the first century of Ottawa’s history. 


Starting from the top of the steps between Sussex and Mackenzie, south of the American embassy and on the west side of Sussex from York Street.  We will cross Mackenzie into Major's Hill Park, and then retrace our steps back to the staircase and down to Sussex Drive. From there we will go north on Sussex to St. Patrick, east on St. Patrick to Parent, south on Parent and Byward Market Square to George, and west on George back to Sussex. 

About the walk leader

Brian McDougall is a long-time activist and socialist, owner of Peoples' History Walking Tours, and an Adjunct Professor of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University.  He can be reached through the website below.

For more information on Peoples' History Walking Tours, see


Brian McDougall

Date:Sun May 6, 2018
Time:11:00 AM
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Start:Top of the stairs at<p>.............................Sussex & York Sts
End:George St. near Sussex
Area:Byward Market
Distance:2.0 kms

The route traverses the long stairs west of Sussex and York.

ByWard Market, c. 1910
Volunteer to Marshal This Walk