Hospitals and Remembrance
Bytown lacked a dedicated medical service centre until 1826, when a small hospital was set up on Barrack Hill. Although it initially served only military personnel, the hospital eventually opened some of its beds to civilians. In 1828, increased incidence of disease and a dramatic rise in the death toll meant that the dead could no longer be transported and buried in Hull as they previously had been. A makeshift burial ground was created in Bytown instead. As church organizations assumed a stronger role in the community, they established a new and more permanent cemetery in Sandy Hill – an area just south of Lower Town, where the University of Ottawa is now located. Historians estimate that some 500 labourers died from disease during the construction period, many of whom remain anonymous. In 2004, a Celtic cross was placed adjacent to the Ottawa Locks, acknowledging the human cost of the Rideau Canal project and honouring those nameless workers whose final resting places remain unknown.