Many Ottawans look at the canal with a sense of pride, but Jennifer Roach’s connection is more familial.
Her great-great-great-grandfather, blacksmith James Roach, worked on the locks during the building of the canal between 1826 and 1832.
“Knowing your relative worked on it is kind of neat,” she said.
He was one of the fortunate ones. A ceremony held at the Celtic Cross yesterday remembered the more than 1,000 workers who lost their lives to accidents and diseases like malaria.
“Sickness was rampant and there were no doctors,” said Ottawa and District Labour Council president Sean McKenny.
“Many were blasted to pieces by gunpowder shots, others killed by falling stone.”