on August 10, 1998
Jenkins has extensively researched the history of an acre of land in LeBreton flats near the centre of Ottawa. He begins with the geological formation of the area: the layers of rocks and sediments that were formed. He then discusses the natives that inhabited the land and their first interactions with the explorers of Canada (Champlain) etc. The land is then surveyed and settled. Jenkins shines with his stories of the people that lived there in the '40s and 50's. Then in the late 50's the land was expropriated for government office complexes that were never built and other than for a brief flurry of activity when the Pope came to Ottawa and gave a mass it has stood almost empty since.
Do the natives still have a claim on the land?
A pleasant read for Ottawa Valley residents and a must read and must have for historians of the area. It would make an excellent history textbook for high schools - makes history come alive.
Bernie Geiger, Ottawa
This book covers the history of a small parcel of land in the center of the City of Ottawa – Le Breton Flats. The author begins his story billions of years ago and quickly goes through the various geological time periods, always keeping this location in mind. Within a few pages, he reaches the post-Columbian period in which exploration, conflicts and settlements are presented in a whirlwind tour. Finally, much more space is devoted to the past two centuries: establishing communities, businesses and life in general on the Flats and its surroundings. Throughout the discussions about human involvement, the author ensures that the interactions between the First Nations people and the new settlers are well represented.
As a resident of the Ottawa area, I found the book generally interesting, particularly because, at this writing, serious discussions are underway (again) about massively developing Le Breton Flats in such a way as to satisfy the needs of the population – as much as possible. On the down side of this book, I believe that several well-captioned photos and diagrams appropriately distributed throughout the text would have given much more life to such a fascinating story.