Happy new years to everyone. A big thank you to those who read regularly, and who appreciate local history like I do. I'm really excited about a number of things I'm working on right now, and wish there were more hours in the day to be able to get it all done!
A few highlights of things to come:
* My first article of the year in the Kitchissippi Times is on the history of streetcars in the area. It should be in the next issue (Jan 21st).
* I'm working on a blockbuster story that I can't wait to share, but it's about the unexpected discovery of a very significant, very old house in Wellington Village
* I'm hoping to start a series soon focusing on the history of Wellington Street/Richmond Road, dissecting the street block-by-block, and talking about the history of each block.
* Researching a few prominent families from the early days of the area, with stories to come on the Byers, Smirles, Hintons, and more
...By the way, if you recently read my story on the Smirle Avenue murder, you may want to go back and re-read the article - I was contacted last week by a descendant of Reg James, and she so very kindly provided me a lot of great additional details about his life. It really helps complete the story, and I'm proud to include it as an addendum (find the article at: http://kitchissippimuseum.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-sad-and-shocking-smirle-avenue.html)
...I am always acquiring items, though its getting harder and harder to unearth things I haven't seen before - and probably more importantly, more and more expensive! Did you know that purchasing a scan of a photograph at the City Archives just went up to over $13 a photo!? (I was already complaining when used to be $8.50, up until this fall). That's for one single photo. Did you know that the cost of obtaining a parcel register at the Land Registry Office just went up from $9 to over $30?! Anyways, ranting aside, I came across some exciting acquisitions in the last week alone - I drove down to Athens, Ontario and picked up a box of about 50 rare aerial photo glass plates, taken in the late 40s/early 50s, at a low elevation over west Ottawa including Lebreton Flats. These are incredible photos, and I can't wait to get them developed somehow. I also found a photo of Richmond Road in 1901 showing what is now the intersection of Island Park Drive, with the toll booth and O'Neil House (Bella's), which I'm excited to share. And I'm hopefully driving to Montreal later this month to meet (and copy some old photos of some important local sites) a 96-year old former long-time area resident!
It is also my goal this winter to launch an official Heritage Commitee for Kitchissippi (long overdue in my opinion), which will bring together those of us in the community with an interest in local history, for both fun/useful tasks such as research, discussions and presentations, but also important roles such as heritage acknowledgment, recognition, protection, and preservation. My plan is to coordinate this through the various community associations, but membership will be open to the public as well. So it will be nice to have a preliminary kick-off meeting, and see where we go from there. Absolutely I am jealous of what some communities have (Lowertown, Old Ottawa South) in terms of an organized heritage group, so I'd love to get something going of a similar vein here in good 'ol Kitchissippi.
By the spring-summer, I also plan on bringing to reality an actual real-life Kitchissippi Museum! I am working now on establishing a "pop-up" museum at a location in our ward, for anywhere from 3-7 days, to share photos, artifacts, maps, videos, etc. I'm really excited about this and hope to be able to pull it off soon, perhaps to coincide with Westfest.
That's all for now! Thanks again for visiting the blog. I appreciate all the input and comments I receive. Without the friendly encouragement I continually receive, I'd lose momentum on this project, but I only see the numbers and interest growing, so I really appreciate that. It's not easy to put these articles together, and wish very much I could come out with them more frequently!