A few weeks ago, I finished reading Murdered Midas by 613 historian and author Charlotte Gray. I had really enjoyed it, so I Googled her to see what else she had written. As usually happens on a Google search, I ended up somewhere I hadn’t expected to go. In this case, it was the Historical Society of Ottawa website. Turns out they are hosting a free Zoom talk with the author on the same book I had just finished. I immediately signed up and began looking through their other events to see what else they were offering.
The Historical Society of Ottawa is pretty much what you would expect, given the name. Their stated aim is to “increase public knowledge of the history of Ottawa and the surrounding region through meetings, tours, awards, publications, and sponsored research.” Like almost every organization in the area, the pandemic has dramatically altered their way of achieving these goals. In the past, a major element of their educational outreach was through public talks given in the Ottawa Public Library auditorium. When that ended a year ago, they made the switch to Zoom meetings. This seems to have been a successful move since they have had to increase their maximum number of Zoom participants and are considering making the Zoom talks a regular post-pandemic fixture.
When I looked through their list of upcoming talks I was pleasantly surprised to see several future sessions that looked interesting and that I’ve now signed up for:
- On April 14, another well-known Ottawa writer, Phil Jenkins, is giving a talk about the development history of Lebreton Flats.
- On May 12, James Powell is speaking about what is definitely Ottawa’s best-known historical crime—the assassination of Thomas D’arcy McGee.
- Early in the fall, on September 15, Jim Hurcomb is presenting on the golden age of rock n’ roll in Ottawa.
There are lots of others, too… those are just the ones that caught my attention. Explore!
The current list of HSO events is here. All are free to attend and Zoom-based.