Introduction

In 1826, when Lt. Col. By first chose Entrance Valley over Kingston as the military headquarters for the Rideau Canal, he had no way of knowing his decision would have a significant impact on Canada’s social and political future. He did, however, understand the complexity of his immediate task. Unlike Kingston, which was fairly established, the land overlooking Entrance Valley was little more than a beaver meadow with a few small farms and northern logging operations in the surrounding area. While it was somewhat removed from some of Canada’s more populated areas, By felt that the location was ideal for a military base as it was equidistant between Kingston and Montreal and a major trade and shipping thoroughfare. With the canal at its centre, By’s plans for the new military base and supporting community began to emerge. Growing from a small military settlement into a brawling frontier town, a commercial hub, and eventually the capital of Canada, Ottawa’s rich history was built from the canal up.

Original Settlements»