COLONEL BY EXCAVATION

Quick facts

Story kiosk location

  • Corner of Mackenzie and Murray

Important dates

  • (1826) – The year Colonel By’s home was built, soon after his arrival.

Audiofile

  • No

Who lived here?

  • Colonel By lived here with his wife and two daughters between 1826 and 1832 when the park was known as Colonel’s Hill. His successor, Major Daniel Bolton, gave the park its current name.

Looking over at Major Hill’s Park, imagine a grand house in place of the manicured lawns and gardens.

Here was the home of Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the English engineer who was responsible for the construction of the Rideau Canal and who gave our city its first name, Bytown.


John Bainbridge’s watercolour, ​Lower Bytown​ (1841) Library and Archives Canada

In this beautiful watercolour of Bytown (later Ottawa) in 1841 by John Bainbridge, we can clearly see the home of Ottawa’s founder, Lieutenant-Colonel John By. Credited as Ottawa’s founder, By was responsible for overseeing the construction of the Rideau Canal and helping shape Bytown’s development.

 

Built atop what is now Major’s Hill Park, his house overlooked the entrance locks to this 200-kilometre waterway. The house was destroyed by fire in 1848.

 


J. V. Sciscenti 17H General Photos inside Dome (existing Light)​ (November 18th, 1972), National Capital Commission No. 72R3-13 M, Neg No 17H-50 M.
 

In recognition of By’s contributions to the city, archaeologists from Parks Canada and the National Capital Commission, with the assistance of student volunteers from Carleton University, carried out extensive digs on the site between 1972 and 1974.

 


Nicholas Leckey, ​Photo 7 China Teacup​, 2018, photograph, Colonel By Collection, National Capital Commission

A giant temporary dome was erected over the site to protect artifacts and workers. Many artifacts were found, including this beautiful teacup.

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