The Ottawa Locks have a series of structures around them as they climb the slope away from the river. Some, like the Commissariat, are still here. Others, like the similar structure on the east side of the Canal, are long gone. The lockmaster station at the top of the locks dates to the later part of the 19th century, while Sappers' Bridge was long since replaced by Plaza Bridge, though some of its foundation stones can still be seen today if you're beneath Plaza Bridge.
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
The Humble Beginnings Of Ottawa
Historical plaques, in English and French, are mounted on the wall of the staircase going up to the second floor.
Here at the top of the stairs, plaques and displays note the presence of First Nations people through the Ottawa Valley for thousands of years.
These stone tools are a testament to their presence.
The Museum tells its story- of how with the building of the Canal, the town known as Bytown became a violent lumber town, but changed into the national capital after those turbulent early decades.
By would found the city, since it was the starting point of his Canal. After it was all done, he would return to Britain under a cloud of scandal for going over budget, and die soon after. However, he had done it because it had to be done or the project would have faltered, and history has vindicated him entirely. He'd be pleased to know his Canal is a World Heritage Site. This over-sized bust of him is here.
As mentioned before, the War of 1812 was a big factor in the decision to build the Canal. Tensions with our southern neighbours was common through the first half of the 19th century, ending after the Civil War.
This cannonball was shot from Ogdensburg in New York across the St. Lawrence at Fort Wellington. British defenders picked it up and fired it back. Now it rests here.
This is Colonel By's travel trunk. He and his wife came to British North America for the building of the Canal.
It was the men who did the hard work, overlooked at the time, but what they did was an engineering marvel.
By had commissioned cups to be given to some of the men who led work in their respective areas. This is the Drummond Cup, given to Robert Drummond, whose work area was around Kingston Mills.