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Browse Exhibits (6 total)

Ottawa Life Stories at the Power of the Arts 2015

A Wheelchair History of Disability in Canada

The Wheelchair is:—

            An engineered, manufactured and commercial object;

            A therapeutic and assistive technology object;

            A symbolic object.

It is also an artifact in museum collections which can tell a story. If we look through the wheel of a wheelchair, we can see places where physical impairments were visible and where they were invisible. We can see the medical profession’s expectations for the injured and infirm. We can see rehabilitation experts defining goals for the bodies of those who could not walk. We can see engineers, tinkerers, and the women who cared for the sick re-designing the wheelchair to meet changing needs.

Look far enough and we can see the people who used a chair, what the wheelchair cost them and what they gained.

Carleton University, with its partner museums, presents how Canada and the wheelchair changed each other.

Explore our wheelchair collection. What do you see?

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Vacant Space?

Are swamps and forests vacant spaces? That depends on whose eyes you see them through. This exhibit showcases two ways of looking at the former wild spaces that now house Carleton University, in the middle of Ottawa. One perspective is from the university planners, who saw an untouched wilderness waiting to be used. The other is from Tim Farr, who grew up in Ottawa South, the neighbourhood that borders Carleton University. He has an unusual awareness of nature, particularly for someone who now lives in the center of a major city. As a child he played in a swampy, old-growth forest beside the Rideau Canal, which was turned into a parking lot for Carleton. The links on the right will take you to interviews, pictures and written histories that show the two different ways of seeing and remembering natural spaces, and in doing so raise a question: what makes nature “vacant space”? 

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A Boy's Life on Belmont Avenue

For a young boy in the 1930s and 40s, his street was his neighbourhood and his world. For Alex Saunders, that world was Belmont Avenue in Old Ottawa South. In this exhibit, Alex tells his stories about growing up on Belmont, giving a glimpse into life during the Depression and World War II.

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It Felt Most Like Home: Lois Hope & Catherine (Hope) Fornier's Memories Of Growing Up In Ottawa South

Mother and daughter share a love for their childhood home and neighborhood in Ottawa South. They grew up in different times, but have the same wonderful memories of a place that felt most like home to them.

Lois Hope was raised (in part) by her Aunt Ena and Uncle Mac (her mother's sister), where she spent several years during the 1930s and 1040s growing up in their home on Belmont Avenue in Ottawa South. She tells of these years being the happiest moments of her childhood, in particular the moments spent with Aunt Ena in their Belmont Home. When Uncle Mac passes away in the early 1960s, Lois fulfills his dying wish (that she take care of Ena when he is gone) by moving her young family into the Blemont home with Aunt Ena. Her eldest daughter, Catherine, spends the next five years growing up in the same house her mother did surrounded by the same love and support of Aunt Ena.

This collection shares some of the memories of place, space, and most importantly the people that made living in Ottawa South such an important part of Lois and Catherine's childhood. Both Lois and Catherine share several memories of the Belmont home and growing up with Aunt Ena as a motherly and grandmotherly figure. Catherine shares stories of play and interaction with the immediate neighborhood surrounding the Belmont home. Lois recalls memories of larger community events and places. What is most striking about the narratives told by both Lois and Catherine is the importance of Aunt Ena to their childhood as well as their lives as a whole. The last section of this collection is an assortment of several family photographs. Perhaps the most important of these images is the one of an older Aunt Ena, the central figure to both childhoods. 


Margaret Coleman

Margaret Coleman, born in 1943, grew up in Ottawa’s Glebe community. The story she tells of her childhood is one of play and interaction. All of her stories are centered on how her surrounding landscape became transformed in a child’s eye. Everything took on a kind of ‘play value,’ a static hill became a place for sledding, the sidewalk a place for biking, and the larger Glebe community a place to traverse. Margaret’s childhood story unfolds in a three-part structure based on her interactions with her immediate neighbourhood, interactions with the larger community, and interactions with and at school. Between the time period of the 1940’s to the early 1960’s Margaret took the Glebe and created it her own image, designating importance to the landmarks and places she saw fit. Let us explore through the eye’s of a child the magic and vibrancy of the Glebe in the 1940’s to the early 1960’s.