I am finishing my series on Colonel By Day with this ceremony. A Celtic cross was erected on the east side of the Rideau Canal several years ago. It commemorates the more than a thousand people- workers or family members- who died during the building of the Canal. Either by illness or work mishap, many of them died far from home, and were buried in unmarked graves, a large portion of them Irish. Each year on this holiday, a small ceremony takes place here. Along with a number of people, I crossed over from the exhibits on the west side of the Canal to watch.
The fellow I showed you the other day checking his messages was serving as the Town Crier for this ceremony. Members of the 100th Regiment Of Foot formed an honour guard as part of the service (check out yesterday's post for a link I added to a previous photograph I took of them). There were several speakers: the mayor, who's the tall fellow in glasses and light blue shirt, the deputy chief at the Irish embassy, the president of the Ottawa Irish Society, the head of the Bytown Museum, and a leader in the labour movement. The ceremony also included a moment of silence and the singing of the Canadian and Irish national anthems by a local singer.
The cross stands out as a monument here. It includes inscriptions in English, French, Gaelic, and Algonquin. Of those who lived to see the Canal finished, many of them settled here instead of returning back across the sea. Their roots run deep in the Ottawa Valley.