Dark Moments in Ottawa History- Porter Island

Dark Moments in Ottawa History- Porter Island


images (8).jpegPublic Archives- MIKAN 3318778 —Smallpox tents on Porter Island, circa 1895-1911. William James Topley Small Pox Shack served as the hospital

There was a time was when the Ottawa’s facilities for cases of smallpox were poorly inadequate, and when the only ‘pest house” was a decrepit, rat-ridden shack unfit for human habitation. The outbreak of smallpox was a very real menace and those inflicted slept three to a bed inside, and outside, 10 patients shared one tent on Porter Island.

April 25, 1894

In February of 1911 a Water Street mother spoke to the Ottawa media and said she was not going to send any child of hers “to that Isolation Hospital” which was situated on Porter’s Islandon the Rideau River just south of Edinburgh Park. The distraught woman said she had read in the newspapers about the inhabitable conditions, and even if some city councillors defended it, no…

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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