Friday, May 29, 2009

The Chelsea Club

Founded in Ottawa in 1926.

The Chelsea Club was founded in 1926 by a group of 227 women, including future Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton.

At its 1926 founding, the club was described as “quite the finest achievement yet in Ottawa for women and by women.".

It once held annual tea-parties for the wife of the Governor General.

Its membership has included prominent women senators, members of Parliament, lawyers and university Chancellors.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Catherine Ahearn


Born in Ottawa in 1949.

Obtained an M.A. from the University of Ottawa in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1979 (French Literature).

Worked as a professor and writer until 1981 where she became the president of Poasis Properties Ltd. in Ottawa, Ontario.

First Poet Laureate of the City of Ottawa in 1982. The post was created to "help promote the City of Ottawa as well as enrich the lives of its citizens". It was Mayor Marion Dewar who made the position official, and named Ahearn the first Ottawa poet laureate; Ahearn wrote six poems a year for three years, and attended various civic and community group functions across the city.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Queen Victoria

Ottawa's Founding Mother

Although Queen Victoria was not born in Ottawa and did not live in Ottawa, she is mentioned in this blog because she is the one who chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada.

Queen Victoria named Ottawa the capital of the United Province (Quebec and Ontario) of Canada on December 31, 1857.

In the 1840s and 1850s, the location of the capital had been a matter of dispute. It had moved between Kingston, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City. The rivals could not agree on a permanent capital, so the matter was deferred to the young Queen Victoria.

Ottawa was likely chosen as the capital because it was on the border of the two provinces, had a mixed population of English and French-speaking inhabitants, was easily reached by water, was far from the American border, was seen as a neutral and central location within Canada, being situated on the border between Canada East (Quebec) and Canada West (Ontario) and it was in a secure, easily defended position.

Ottawa also already had publicly held lands available for the construction of government buildings and the stone and wood needed to construct the Parliament buildings. These lands had been acquired by Colonel By. Before being called Ottawa, the city was called Bytown in honour of this colonel.

Ottawa was far from a popular choice at the time as it was a rough lumber town. It has since blossomed into Canada's fourth largest city.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Suzanne Cloutier

Film actress

People were enchanted by her freshness, her extraordinary capacity for invention, and her acumen in pursuing her ends, and I must admit, I was among them. - Peter Ustinov

Born in Ottawa in 1927.

Became a Powers Model in New York at the age of 18.

Was a member of Jean Dasté's Comédie Française touring company in Paris.

Appeared as Desdemona in Orson Welles' 1952 film adaptation of Othello. It was her most celebrated role. She was the 11th actor Welles auditioned for the role.

Married Peter Ustinov in 1954.

Moved back to Canada in 1988 and lived in Montreal where she passed away in 2003.

Kristina Groves

Olympic long-track speedskater
Ottawa's most decorated Olympic athlete

Born in Ottawa; lives in Calgary.

Single Distances World Champion on the 3000-m in 2008; won a medal in every event that she skated at these championships; also won an additional 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.

Placed 8th in the women's 3000-m speed skating at the 2006 Olympics and was part of the silver medal winning Canadian pursuit team. She also won a silver medal in the 1500-m.

Ottawa's female athlete of the year seven of the past eight years (a record).

One of 11 Canadian Olympic athletes, winter or summer, to win four or more Career medals at the Games.

University of Calgary's Distinguished Alumni of the Decade.