In July 2013, I served as a volunteer on a Heritage Ottawa walking tour focusing on Lowertown East. The tour was guided by Nancy Miller-Chenier, Co-chair of the Lowertown Community Association’s Heritage Committee and long-time resident of the neighbourhood. Their work in Lowertown was started to save buildings from demolition by using historical research and community involvement to increase the number of buildings protected through historical designation. This has become important for Lowertown East, since much of what the workers built and lived in has already been demolished in an era of revitalization planning before efforts were made to preserve more of the heritage.
While structured around the buildings of the area, the tour had a social history aspect that highlighted the experiences of the predominately French-Canadian, Irish, and Jewish populations who once lived there. One neighbourhood, now known as “the Wedge,” exemplified this microcosm of working class life.