Without this man, Ottawa would not have existed.
Over the long weekend, thousands of people celebrated the greatest accomplishment of an English military engineer who is now known as the city’s founding father.
A statue of Lt.-Col. John By looks over his canal from its place in Major’s Hill Park. And yesterday marked the first permanent annual Colonel By Day in Ottawa.
Yet, By died disgraced in 1836, having been accused of overspending his budget on the building of the canal, said the founder of the Rideau Canal Festival.
“During his lifetime, he was never acknowledged for building what is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Michel Gauthier, who wants people to realize the important role that By played in Ottawa’s history.
“The Rideau Canal goes back to the dream of one person. Colonel By arrived when this was a lumber town. He created Bytown, he built the Rideau Canal and thanks to the Rideau Canal, we have become Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
“Today, people acknowledge the work he did as a real coup, a real success story. Hopefully, wherever he is, he is happy to see that finally, his canal is being acknowledged.”