Monday, 17 September 2012

Tell us your memories of Britannia Park

Photo from the City of Ottawa Archives
Established in 1900 by the Ottawa Electric Railway as a "Trolley Park,” Britannia Park has been a fixture in the social and cultural life of Ottawa for over a hundred years. We are now collecting its history and need your help. 

Did you attend dances, concerts, church or company picnics at the park?  Did you learn to swim at the beach?  Which big bands did you see in the old " Annex"?   What events did you attend at "Lakeside Gardens"?  What stories do you have to share about riding those old trolley cars to the park?

We are looking to collect your stories, photos and artifacts of the park's past.  If you would like to share these memories with us we would love to hear from you.

Workers History Museum
Post Box 4461, Station E Ottawa, ON K1S 5B4 

Photo from the City of Ottawa Archives
 Racontez-nous vos souvenirs du parc Britannia

Créé en 1900 par la compagnie de chemin de fer électrique d’Ottawa comme «parc à trolley», le parc Britannia fait partie depuis plus d’une centaine d’années maintenant de la vie sociale et culturelle de la ville d’Ottawa. Nous préparons ces jours-ci son historique, et à cette fin nous avons besoin de votre aide.

Avez-vous assisté dans le parc à des bals, concerts, pique-niques de votre église ou  entreprise? Avez-vous appris à nager à la plage du parc? Quel orchestre avez-vous vu dans la vieille «Annexe»? À quels spectacles ou événements avez-vous assistés dans les «Jardins Lakeside»? Quelles histoires pouvez-vous partager avec nous sur vos voyages à bord des vieux trolleys pour vous rendre au parc?

Nous faisons appel à votre aide pour recueillir des histoires, photos ou objets sur le passé de ce parc. Si vous avez quelque chose à contribuer, alors faites-nous signe!

Musée de l'histoire ouvrière
Case postale 4461, Succ. E, Ottawa (ON) K1S 5B4 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

WHM volunteers in the news...Lebreton Dig

On August 21, three of our volunteers attended the unveiling at City Hall of the finds discovered during an archeological dig which took place at Lebreton Flats over the summer as part of the environmental assessment of the City of Ottawa’s new Light Rail Transit System.

The most interesting item was an 18th century cavalry sword that was found under what would have been a back porch. WHM volunteer and heritage advisor Ken Clavette did an interview for CBC Television (watch it now) and Metro News (read it now) regarding the dig.

Here are some photos from the event.

Photos by: Ken Clavette. Copyright 2012.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Struggle for Family Leave continues its Ontario tour

The Workers History Museum’s exhibit, The Struggle for Family Leave, debuted at our Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2012 and officially launched its tour in late March at Carleton University’s Centre for Public History. Since then it has been on the move touring various venues across Ontario and Canada.

At all of these events, there have been very positive comments about this project which shows how unions and labour activists worked to gain rights for families and working parents. Many younger viewers were not aware of how long it took to get maternity leave and other benefits. A number of people did not know that the first ones to get maternity leave were at the University of British Columbia. It has been very informative even to those who were part of the struggle.

Where it’s been:

In March, the exhibit was displayed for 1500 employees working at the National Defence Headquarters in Gatineau. It then went to the President’s Conference for the Union of Taxation Employees and was viewed by their 150 delegates.

The exhibit next went to the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Women’s Conference held in Montreal where over 400 women were in attendance. In mid-April the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Bank Street displayed the exhibit in their lobby.

At the end of April and beginning of May, the exhibit was on display at the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s triennial convention for four days after being at the Canadian Association of University Teachers conference for the weekend.

In addition, for the May Day events held on May 1st, the exhibit went to two different venues, then back to the PSAC convention. To finish off this very busy week, the exhibit was at the Canadian Dimensions dinner on Saturday May 5th. Later that month the exhibit went to the Canadian Labour Congress Women’s Conference and then on to an event in Cornwall for the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.

In early June, the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada hosted the exhibit at their National Executive Board meeting in Ottawa. In mid-June the exhibit travelled to Edmonton for the Alberta Labour History Institute conference.

In August the exhibit was displayed at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation conference in Toronto. The OSSTF loved the exhibit so much that they’ve asked for it back in March and May 2013! The teachers were also wonderful in reviewing the early drafts of the educational and take home materials created by our summer student which will now accompany the exhibit as it tours.

Where it’s going:

In September, the exhibit is off to Port Elgin, Ontario to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Residential Education Program for a week.

In October at the SAW Gallery in Ottawa, the exhibit will accompany the official launch of its coinciding documentary “Fighting for our Families” which will feature a panel discussion and wine and cheese. This event is open to the public and is free to attend.

From November 17th to December 21st, the exhibit will enjoy a six week stay at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.

Where it could be in the future:

The exhibit is in both English and French and comprised of five free-standing panels. It has been on loan for special events lasting a couple of hours to a week, and is also touring for extended visits at museums.

If you would like to host the Struggle for Family Leave exhibit, please contact us at: