Just as the pandemic struck in 2020, I was starting a course in Ottawolgy with Dr. Tonya Davidson at Carleton through the Lifelong Learning Program. Sadly, she had only delivered one lecture to us before the class got cancelled due to COVID. But that was enough for me to learn that Ottawology was the interdisciplinary study of all things Ottawa. It involves at least the sociology, history and urban geography of the National Capital Region. And while I strongly suspect that Dr. Davidson made up the word Ottawology, it does seem like a valid area of research. At least in Ottawa.
This fall, she is teaching another Ottawology course, “Ottawology II: Ottawa’s Third Places.” According to the course description, third places are those spots that aren’t either your home or your work location—places like parks, hotels, arenas, libraries, and markets. This course is running out of Carleton’s Dominion-Chalmers Centre, perhaps a good example of a third place. Half of the lectures will be walking tours based in the downtown area. Some of the possible third places that Dr. Davidson mentioned to me are the Arboretum, Tom Brown Arena, and the Lord Elgin Hotel.
The course is already at capacity, but you can join the waiting list. There are a lot of other courses being offered in the early fall session (mid-September to late October) of Carleton’s Lifelong Learning Program. These days, the classes are a mix of in-person and online offerings. Over the last few years, I’ve done at least 25 different courses and enjoyed every one of them.
Or perhaps you’d like to extend your 613 knowledge by learning more about Ottawan. I first learned about the group while browsing through used record albums at a market in Macedonia a few years ago. Apparently, they were a French disco group in the late ’70s/early ’80s with a couple of big hits. As far as I can tell, they had no real connection to Ottawa. Their biggest hit appears to have been “Hands-up,” which is actually pretty catchy. It topped the charts at #1 in both Norway and Ireland!
Carleton’s Lifelong Learning early fall session runs in September and October. The complete course list, along with costs, time, and locations, can be viewed here.