Rideau 175 Lecture - Brian Osborne - March 18, 2007

At the first Merrickville Rideau 175 lecture, attendees were welcomed by Colonel By and Lt. Pooley of the Royal Sappers and Miners. In his presentation, Professor Brian Osborne provided a fly-over view of the history of the Rideau Canal to the full house. He described the evolution of the Canal from its inception, through its period of greatest success, not as the intended line of defence, but as a commercial viaduct to the developing Canada West. We heard of the bust that followed the boom when the railroads and preferred water routes stole the Rideau’s commercial advantages.

But, ever resilient, we saw the Rideau transform from commerce to the recreational success it has been and will increasingly become. But Brian Osborne also warned us of some ominous clouds on our horizon. They were the clouds of unmanaged prosperity which could, as they have in other beautiful areas, blanket the Rideau in a smog of adverse development.

At the conclusion of his presentation, John Cowan presented to Professor Osborne a special plaque commemorating the 175 Lecture Series. Cast and donated by Merrickville’s Alloy Foundry it was mounted on wood recycled Canal gates wood donated by Parks Canada

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