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HERITAGE DAY: A big list of our favourite local Ottawa history web sites

Heritage schoolhouse on Slack Road (near Merivale) in Nepean.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 is Heritage Day in Ottawa, and all the week is Heritage Week, a nation-wide celebration that encourages all Canadians to explore their local heritage, to get involved with stewardship and advocacy groups, and to visit museums, archives, and places of significance.

If you’re near City Hall on Feb. 18, drop in between 11:30am-2:00pm to see exhibits from over 40 exhibitors. See how heritage is being celebrated in your community, learn about services offered by local heritage organizations, public programs and special initiatives, as well as professional development and volunteer opportunities.

You don’t even have to leave your house to access treasure troves of historical photos, maps, and stories about Ottawa’s rich local history. Here are our favourite local history web sites.

Our faves

  • Heritage Ottawa: This site is full of interesting articles, photos and news. One of the best features is an archive of their newsletters, dating from 1974 to the present. Also check out the 50 Years | 50 Stories series.

  • Ottawa Rewind, Andrew King’s excellent collection of Ottawa history. Equal parts storytelling, sleuthing, adventure and exploration. King has also written quite a bit on our blog…

  • Bytown or Bust: Pioneer families: A massive genealogical site run by Al Lewis containing information about pioneer families who settled in Ottawa starting in the early 1800’s.

  • The Margins of History: Christopher Ryan loves local history and takes very interesting photos of Ottawa buildings and landmarks. His specialty is researching the backgrounds of some lesser-known architectural gems. Ryan has also written a number of special features for OttawaStart.com…

  • The Kitchissippi Museum: Dave Allston’s blog about old west Ottawa’s little-known history, with stories, photos and information covering the fascinating history of the historic Kitchissippi neighbourhoods.

  • Mid-Century Modern Ottawa: A collection of photos, drawings and information about mid-century housing design in Ottawa. Written by Saul Svirplys, an architectural historian and PhD student at the University of Ottawa. Focus will soon be changing to 1970s suburban architecture and community design, he says.

  • Ottawa Past & Present: You can really get a sense of how Ottawa has changed over the decades with this blog by Alex Laquerre. His posts feature an interactive “slider” that allows you to compare scenes from the past with what they look like today.

  • URBSite: In each post, Robert Smythe does an in-depth historical and pictorial study of a very specific feature of Ottawa’s urban landscape.

  • Vanished Ottawa: A blog documenting “the vanished and the vanishing” in Ottawa, including buildings, landmarks, etc.

  • Ottawahh: Lots of incredible photos from Ottawa’s past.

  • Britannia: A history

Facebook Groups

Local History Web Sites

Originally published for Heritage Day 2018 and updated annually since then