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Ottawa Rewind: Investigating Ottawa’s History Mysteries

Posted by Jesika Arseneau
30 March 2014 - 7:40pm

Local history mysteries often escape popular attention, with fascinating stories never seeing the light of a textbook, article, movie, or heritage moment. Cities and towns across the Canada remain a treasure trove of mysteries waiting to be unraveled. The mystery of familiar places not only provides an excellent teaching opportunity to demonstrate effective research methodology, but also allows for the development of an inquisitive relationship with history. Andrew King’s website, Ottawa Rewind, is a blog dedicated to telling stories of Ottawa’s past. Ottawa Rewind publishes posts that pose interesting questions, challenge preconceived notions of historical events, and allow the reader to engage intellectually with the information displayed before them. The narrative form of blog allows the stories to come to life in the imagination of the reader – a connection that local histories strive to make and do not always succeed.

The Knight's Templar and Canada's Parliament Buildings muses on the possible connections between the Knight’s Templar, a group of knights established in 1120 to protect pilgrims in Jerusalem, and the architecture of Canada’s Parliament Buildings designed by Thomas Fuller. The post delves into the history and traditions of freemasonry style and symbols, and provides a wealth of images to illustrate the information provided.

King uses the recent destruction of cinemas of the past as a jumping board to introduce readers to Ottawa's Abandoned 1200 Seat Downtown Theatre, located at 300 Spark St. Newspaper ads, archival photographs, and sketches are used to bring the former Place de Ville Cinema into vision. Once briefly explaining the history of the building of the cinema, the author provides photos of the abandoned theatre. After the post was published, an exclusive photo tour was arranged through CBC and Brookfield Properties.

Other posts written by King include: Vanier Mystery Chamber, Hartwell's Silver Lining, Submerged Fortress of Doom: An Island Fort Under the St. Lawrence River, and The Hudson Stone: A Clue to a 400 Year Old Mystery in the Ottawa Valley.

The Ottawa Rewind blog reflects a growing popular interest in engaging with the narratives of local histories in an informal manner.

How do you engage with mysteries of Canadian history?