Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bytown Progress

I have more from the Bytown Museum today.

This portrait is by an artist named Moses Pierce, depicting two sisters, Annie and Mary McLeod.

This chair was used between 1876-1903 as the mayor's office chair.

This less comfortable looking chair was actually used by Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, during a visit to North America in 1860.

This formal brass helmet was worn by Charles Eliot, a member of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards who served a distinguished career in the Canadian military before retiring in 1910. 

In its earliest years, Bytown had a reputation for being the roughest town in British North America. Drinking, fighting, and a lack of law and order were hallmarks of the early years of the lumber town that would become Ottawa. Artifacts in this display case reflect that part of the story.

Another display case features items of the lumber trade, and a panel that goes into detail about Joseph Montferrand, a legend of the Ottawa Valley. I'll be showing you another take on him before the end of the month.

There are three models of Ottawa down through time set side by side on the third floor. The first marks the city as it stood in 1832, with the Canal first completed, and the town was still Bytown.

This model shows how the town had evolved by 1855 when it was officially renamed Ottawa. The town had been growing beyond its initial roots.

The last shows the city as it stood in 1918, with much greater development of the core, including a smaller basin on the Canal- that basin no longer exists today, but is where Confederation Park now stands. A close look at the buildings of Parliament Hill even shows Centre Block under re-construction, since in 1918, it had only been two years since the fire that had destroyed the building's predecessor.


  1. Interesting artifacts. Nice lighting on these!

  2. Interesting exhibits. The mayor's chair and the brass helmet are both very grand. And the models really portray the growth of the city.

  3. I always find it fascinating to see things that people actually used in their everyday life over a hundred years ago.. and in such good condition!

  4. ...a nice look into the past!

  5. The maps help me realize Ottawa's perfect grid system.


  6. @Linda: I agree!

    @Kay: they do indeed.

    @Grace: these are well kept up.

    @Tom: definitely!

    @Janis: it's got a lot of one way streets now!

  7. The lumber industry was huge and an important part of the Ontario economy. so some larger than life characters appeared on the scene to take advantage of the opportunities.

  8. I think that helmet must have felt a bit heavy on your head!

  9. Thank you for teaching us more about your country, William. Where did the name 'Ottawa' come from?

  10. I love the vintage items, William!

  11. Hello, wonderful exhibit. I like the vintage furniture and the maps and model are interesting. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and week ahead!

  12. Very interesting William. I enjoyed them all.

  13. I wonder what Prince of Wales thought about that does look kind of uncomfortable :-)

  14. The sisters look very much alike!

  15. @Red: it was quite a time back then.

    @Janey: it would!

    @Cloudia: an indigenous term. The Algonquins, I believe. There is also a tribe of that name.

    @Linda: me too.

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @Carolann: thank you.

    @Tamago: he might have liked it!

    @Marleen: they do!

  16. This was a nice tour with a lot of interesting objects again.

  17. Ottawa's grid reminds me of Manhattan, only bigger.

  18. Those pictures illustrate why I love to wander in museums.

  19. I've just finished a book, written by a chef, set in Westport area. I think I found an historical inacurracy! I just hate that!
    Interesting times.

  20. So many good photographs.
    I did like the one of the sisters, they do look alike don't they.

    All the best Jan

  21. @Jan: thank you.

    @Norma: in terms of geographic space, Ottawa is a very large city, as the former Ottawa Carleton region has been amalgamated into a single city. But the vast majority of that is rural.

    @Mari: I love visiting this one.

    @Jennifer: oops!

    @Jan: thank you.