The popular Ottawa Valley history website is back online


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The Historic Township of Westmeath project is available again. Since it went online in 2013, the site attracted thousands of visitors interested in the history of the Ottawa Valley.

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This summer, the platform became unstable and the site went offline. Technical assistant Robyn Voisey successfully resolved these technical issues. Voisey’s support has been vital for the website since its inception.

The website is back, and better than ever, with new formatting and a new, more contemporary look.

Researched and written by Gayle McBride Stewart, the website supports general knowledge of our shared history. Written in a simple style and dotted with additional links to enjoy, visitors will find plenty of rabbit holes to take down. When over 900 visitors come to the site in a month, you know there is a need and people all over the world are looking for it.

Stewart worked to digitize microfiche recordings from public records, images of sites and people, historical maps, correspondence, journals and stories. His research has been eclectic and extensive. The use of images is extensive. Seeing an image of what interests you is a powerful learning tool. She sees herself as an average person eager to have a good knowledge of local history from a layman. She has also included several old and long out-of-print books from local writers so that they are available to the modern reader and researcher. For most people, sourcing is about putting an idea, question, or name into a search engine. will often be the only outcome.

When asked about her favorite section, the quick answer is Maps. The old maps are hand-drawn works of art, and the website contains a treasure. Maps showing the “boundaries” of logging companies; maps with paths and trails used by indigenous peoples and early settlers, or roads that are no longer in use; maps of long-lost transportation systems like the “Gould’s Line”; maps of explorer Champlain traveling in this region and writing in his journal.

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The main section of covers a wide range of topics, including the mysterious Ottawa Caves and an introduction by Rester Baron Alex Fraser, who was born in Pembroke Township, and his sons due to a set of circumstances. fortuitous. There were many unexpected twists and turns on the website search.

The second section, the “family register”, concerns people who have come to this region. Almost 150 pioneer families are included. This alphabetical directory will be back online shortly when its reformatting is complete.

The Riverview Seniors Social Club has proudly sponsored the website over the years. Its members share roots in the Westmeath Peninsula and the Whitewater area. This sponsorship has allowed Stewart to volunteer knowing that the costs of the website will be covered. It is invaluable support.


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