Ottawa The Golden Years

Ottawa the Golden Years is a strikingly unique collection of images showing life in Canada's capital around the turn of the 20th century.

It contains many original advertisements reproduced for the first time in over 100 years.

  • 2144 original images
  • 1317 in full colour (Gallery)
  • An incredible value
Table of Contents
  • Title Page
  • Introduction - Welcome to Ottawa 1901
  • Preface
  • About the Author
  1. Merchants of Ottawa
  2. Currency & Stamps
  3. Postcards Send & Received
  4. Greeting Cards
  5. Ottawa and the Empire
  6. Fashions
  7. Tobacco Cards
  8. Advertisements
  9. Music Sheets
  10. Book and Magazine Covers
  11. F.L.C. Pereira, Biblograph

Ottawa the Golden Years - Preface

Many books and articles have been written on the growth of Ottawa from a boisterous lumber town to a mature Capital City but none has captured the physical images of the late 19th Century Golden Years to the extent you will find in this unique Victorian volume. Unlike most others, its goal is not to record events but to create a broad collage of the symbols prevalent in earlier times, in the hope that they will inform and entertain the public today, just as they were intended to do a century ago.

The generous array of advertising, and other signs of the times, reveal how the middle class lived, what they read, what they wrote, where they stayed, what they played, what they owned, how they travelled, how they dressed and how they fought for King and Country. All images provided in this book were drawn from original documents, mainly from the author's collections and the estate of Sir Henry Newell Bate, a wealthy grocer, one of whose houses is currently the home of the author.

So what was life like in Ottawa a century ago? Well, if you were a lumber baron or railway tycoon you were world-class rich in both money and lifestyle, and there was little that you could not afford. The "Ottawa Millionaires," profiled in Saturday Night magazine in 1911, were the genuine article since the dollar (in terms of average wages) was a hundred-fold more valuable than its modern counterpart.

The Ottawa merchants enjoyed special status, hob-nobbing with politicians from nearby Parliament Hill and contributing to worthy causes. Most importantly, the merchants brought the products of the British Empire to Ottawa's doorstep, enhancing living standards throughout the region, which by the end of the 19th century was well settled and prosperous. Roads and railways radiated from the city to supplant the waterways, electricity was replacing gas, coal was replacing wood, asphalt was replacing planks and mud, and the age of the telephone and motor car had arrived, for better or for worse. These were heady days for the small capital when, a decade into the Edwardian era, a deluxe railway hotel, graced with a blend of French Renaissance and neo-gothic architecture was mooted, to be named the Chateau Laurier, seemed the natural thing to do.

It is hoped that the resurrection of these scarce documents will help the precious ephemera to endure, and perhaps give the reader pause to reflect on those happier days, long gone, when civility and sound Christian values prevailed, when integrity was honoured and dishonesty condemned, when patriotism was a virtue, when European identity was a point of pride, when traitors were punished not rewarded, when the Sun Never Set on the British Empire, when the country was ruled by men of goodwill, and individuals were ruled by their conscience, not by "social engineers" and censors imposing their stultifying, un-Canadian yoke of Political Correctness - while trashing freedom and nationhood in the name of "freedom" and "human rights."

Ottawa the Golden Years - Letter from the Queen


Buckingham Palace
12th May, 2008
Dear Mr. Macdonald

The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for your letter and the present of a copy of your book "Ottawa - the Golden Years" which you have kindly sent to Her Majesty.

The Queen was pleased to hear from you and glad to accept this remarkable album, compiled to celebrate the 150th anniversarry of the designation of Ottawa as the capital of Canada, and spanning the era of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and King George V.

I am to tell you that this volume, with the collection of memorabilia which you have collated, will become a welcome addition tot the Library as a pictorial reflection of this period of history.

Her Majesty was interested to hear of your Scottish connections and to learn of the worthwhile service you and your father gave in the two World Wars.

I am to thank you once again for this splendid gift, and for your loyalty and good wishes which The Queen warmly appreciates.

Yours sincerely
Annabel Whitehead

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Museums and Art Galleries
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