Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

Following this, Susan McKellar gave a brief history of the village and Cameron Minor introduced the types of architecture in the village. Then the group followed him on a walking tour through the historic part of the village. They viewed about 15 homes, with Cameron pointing out architectural features. He also told stories about the families that lived there and the long-gone businesses like the steam mill, stores, funeral parlours and hotels.  

The group returned to the hall to listen to Jim Mountain from the National Trust for Canada talk about regenerating main streets. He feels heritage is about people, building relationships, and managing change. He encouraged communities to consider questions like “what do we care about?” and “what are we proud of?”. Mountain gave several inspiring examples of work he has done with communities across the country. People were particularly intrigued by his description of the Manitou Mounds in Rainy River.  

The day wound up with a bus tour of a loop from Kars to North Gower and back, viewing churches, barns, schools, and homes, with commentary provided by Owen Cooke. The bus stopped at the Rideau Branch Archives where the group was welcomed by Georgina Tupper; she pointed out some of its treasures and opened the vault for viewing.  

A full day, entertaining and educational, an opportunity to make new friends and expand one’s horizons!  

Martin House

Martin House

A restored Fargo pickup truck

The walking tour encountered a beautifully restored Fargo pickup.  Remember those? The light spots are reflections.  

The bus for the bus tour

The bus tour of part of Rideau disembarks at Rideau Archives in North Gower  

The Forum Room

Over 50 people enjoyed a heritage forum in Kars presented by the Rideau Township Historical Society and Heritage Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 30.  

After welcomes from RTHS president Sandy McNiece, Heritage Ottawa vice-president Linda Hoad and Councillor Scott Moffatt, three speakers gave presentations.  

Architect and Manotick resident Guilio Maffini spoke about design guidelines for rural villages. The importance of preserving villages is world-wide – the phrase “once the villages are gone, the culture is gone” comes from China. While villages often tend to be consumed by urbanization, the Ottawa region is very varied, with less population than some areas, so there are more opportunities here for preserving heritage in the 26 villages of the region.

Guilio Maffini presenting

Guilio Maffini presenting

Maffini illustrated the use of the guidelines in discussions with the developer who is replacing the Falls House in Manotick. He had some advice for the village of Kars, including retelling the stories of the village, highlighting what remains, and being politically savvy in discussions with developers.  

Avery Marchall and Amber Polywkan, City of Ottawa heritage planners, described the Ottawa’s Heritage Inventory Project in which they are involved. The former informal heritage reference list is gradually being replaced by a more formal register. They are collecting information on heritage buildings through observation and research in the different neighbourhoods of Ottawa. This will be available to the public through GeoOttawa. As with the previous speaker, the audience responded with several questions and comments.  

Then Paul Henry, City Archivist, outlined the participatory work of the Rideau Township Branch of the City of Ottawa Archives. He praised the Branch for its extensive use of volunteers and its use of a heritage building to hold the memory of the community. He also mentioned the importance of its holdings such as drainage maps and its LACAC files on heritage buildings, and the valuable contribution made by researchers. Volunteer Georgina Tupper spoke about the beginnings and development of the Branch.  

Thanks to Ruth Wright for supplying coffee and snacks all day. A delicious lunch was served by members of the St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, Kars, and participants had an opportunity to browse displays from different heritage organizations.

The Heritage Forum
Saturday 30 September 2017

Article by Susan Mckellar, Photos by Owen Cooke and Maureen McPhee