Montreal contractor, Thomas MacKay, began construction, in 1827, of the Commissariat building on the lower west side of the Rideau Canal lock system in Ottawa. As the canal was being built (between 1826 and 1832), under the supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the Commissariat was in use as an office, treasury, and storehouse. By 1854, the building was turned over to the government of Canada for use by the various departments devoted to the maintenance of the canal. In 1951, the Women’s Canadian Historical Society moved their “Bytown Museum” ( founded in 1917) from the former City Registry Office to the Commissariat building. Today, this three story structure is the oldest remaining stone structure in Ottawa.
While visiting this museum, we happened upon a ceremony sponsored by “Tree Canada.” During their 25 year history of pursuing a greener, healthier environment, this organization has been responsible for the planting of 82 million trees. Originally named “The National Community Tree Foundation,” this not-for-profit organization provides resources and teaching expertise for planting trees throughout Canada. This was one of those unexpected and fun happenstances we’ve so frequently discussed.